Sep 27, 2007

Where in the world is Skydad?

When Doc interviewed me, I mentioned that I would do a post on the places I visited in the Navy. Well, I forgot about it until now (sorry Doc) and put together a list of places and rememberences from foggy memory and an album I found in the basement. Here we go:

My first ship was a Destroyer home ported out of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the USS Morton. This is where I left for my first deployment to WestPac (Western Pacific).

Olongapo City, Philippines - Nastiest city in the world. You cross over a bridge walking into the city that goes over the Olongapo river, which is in effect one large open sewer.

Subic Bay, Philippines - US Naval base in the Philippines which has since been abandoned and turned back over to the Philippine government.

Kaohsiung, Taiwan - No laws about copywrited material, I bought about 50 albums that were recordings of big name groups that were direct copies of US albums, or recordings of live concerts. They make their own album art, and translate the lyrics with a ridiculous amount of errors on the back!

Surabaya, Indonesia - Walked off the ship long enough to get a couple of beers, thought this might be the second nastiest city in the world next to Olongapo, went back to the ship.

Perth, Australia - Fell in love with this city, I would gladly live there. Small city at the time with the friendliest people I have ever met. Once they pegged you as American, you never bought another beer or meal. Nice family took me and a buddy home for a BBQ, it was heaven! And, there was this one girl named Jill...

Diego Garcia, Indian Ocean - Small Atoll out in the middle of the Indian Ocean with a landing strip, re-fueling station and about 500 goats for some reason. They have no natural enemies, and they wander all over the place.

Seychelles Islands - Just before we were due to arrive and look around, the local government was overthrow. We sailed in, pulled up to the pier and took on all of the Americans to evacuate them. Went back to Diego Garcia so they could get airlifted back to the USA.

Mombasa, Africa Port city in Kenya, we got a cool tour of the local wildlife in a day safari from VW buses with the roof cut off. Got chased by a mama elephant which came pretty close, I was wondering what she could do to a VW bus...

Abadan, Iran - Worlds largest filling station. Seriously, a little town surrounded by a refinery, they have ships backed up for miles ready to either take on fuel to ship elsewhere, or to refuel themselves like us. July port stop, 134 degrees! You could not make out the horizon due to the heat waves, the sky blurred into the sea.

Singapore - Cleanest place you will ever visit. They have serious laws against littering, even spitting on the sidewalk. Don't want to be on the receiving end of a caning!

Hong Kong - Beautiful place. This was before it went back to China's control. I was struck by how weird it sounded to hear Chinese people speak with a British accent! Climbed up Victoria peak and took a lot of pictures.

Manila, Philippines - A lot nicer than Olongapo City, beautiful parks, and we saw Corregidor at the entrance where they evacuated MacArther at the siege during WWII.

I found an old album in the basement that had some supply statistics in it. Get this:

Butter 2570 lbs.
Milk 1400 Gal.
Eggs 18,720 dozen
Hamburger 58,500 lbs.
Roast Beef 31,300 lbs.
Chicken 2120 each
Tomatoes 170,250
Apples 394,650
Oranges 297,800
Fruit Juice 570 gal.
Bacon 1600 lbs.
Ham 1330 lbs.
Ice Cream 703 gal.
Kool Aid 4050 gal.
Bread 750 loaves
Soda 64,704 cans
Beef jerky 5016 packs
C film 135,269 rolls
Coffee Mugs 427
2117 gallons of Grey paint!

Second Deployment to WestPac aboard my second destroyer, the USS McCormick, home ported out of San Diego.

Apra harbor, Guam - We only stopped a day, not long to site see, but there are still a lot of wrecks of old WWII ships, planes, equipment just laying around. Kind of weird.

Subic Bay, Philippines - Same place it always was.

Keelung, Taiwan - Did a tour of a brewery that produced some of the best tasting beer I have ever had. Who knew?

Sasebo, Japan - The harbor entrance is beautiful, huge mountains go up either side right out of the water.

Yokosuka, Japan - Major US Navy base there, did some site seeing, part of my duty I had was ships driver of a van, and they drive on the opposite side of the road than Americans. My only training was "Be careful, don't kill anybody". There's a tip!

I took a 2 day tour that went to the base of Mt. Fuji and climbed it. I figured it was "only" 12,000 some feet. I had been on 14ers! Well, this was 12,000 feet from sea level. That is one long hike!

Nagasaki, Japan - Toured the museum that had a lot of displays from the Atomic bomb that leveled the city. It was incredible, something that anyone who ever has the codes should be required to view. The most striking thing to me was a hand with a wristwatch on it that stopped at the moment of the blast. The hand was preserved under glass.

Pattaya Beach, Thailand - Oh My God... Sin city, if they don't have it, they will find it for you.

Hong Kong - Took a tour over to the Kowloon side, up towards China. Amazing amount of people all packed into a very small space. It gets rather claustrophobic actually.

Pusan, South Korea - Great shopping district, and really nice people.

Midway Island - A lot like Guam, less foliage, lot's of old wrecks.


  1. Awesome post, S.D.!

  2. Chris, thanks a lot! Glad you like it.

  3. You're military experience sounds much more interesting than my wife. She basically sat around and listened to the radio all day and never left U.S. soil.

  4. Grant, where was your wife stationed at?

  5. i was in the pacific as well ... stationed at okinawa for 4 years and then in cheyenne wyoming for a year.

    talk about environmental change!! both were very interesting.

  6. That's a lot of bacon!

    Your passport must look cool with all those stamps.

  7. ThatGirl: What did you do while you were in? How was Okinawa?

    GKL: No passport required, just a military ID card. So, sadly, no stamps!

  8. Anonymous3:24 PM

    Did you do that crossing the equator drag thing I've heard so much about?

  9. Kirby, there is a "ceremony" where you become a shellback for going over the equator. You get to crawl through garbage, get whacked on the ass with a firehose (that hurts a lot!) and then kiss King Neptune's belly that is coated with grease.

    King Neptune is always the fattest guy on the ship...

    No dressing up like a lady though.

  10. So, Australians will pay for me to get drunk?? I know where my next vacation will be! I've always wanted to hook up with an Australian dude too. Hopefully he'll look like Russell Crowe, but I guess if the guy buys me enough beers, it won't matter.

  11. Sure they will get you drunk Beckeye! The catch is that most I met looked more like the old Paul Hogan than the young Russell Crowe.

  12. okinawa sucked while i was there but once you leave you miss it ... it's very small and there isn't a whole lot to do there

    when i was fist in the af i was in aerospace physiology for 3 years ... basically teaching pilots and flight crews the effects of hypoxia on your body ... it was fun ... got to do alot ... repelling with army rangers ... flying on army night drop missions ...

    then i cross trained to general admin ... and after i left okinawa went to cheyenne wyoming ... i was with a rescue helicopter squadron there ... the primary mission was in support of missile command so they did alot of transport to and from the silos ... but i got to go on training flights with them to places like vail ... for lunch ... cause they needed to log time!! it was fun!!

  13. My wife was in Hawaii. I'm not sure of the actual name of the base. Then she was in DC for a couple years.