Day 16 – Sightseeing

January 18, 2011 – Day 16 – Japan

He telephoned tonight!!  Thank the Lord for international calling cards and the still-in-existence pay phone!  He sounded very good, upbeat.  Finally, as of this past weekend, they were allowed to leave the base, in company with a buddy, to see Okinawa in all its present gray.  It’s the rainy season there, days on end without sun.  But he’s enjoying listening to the locals, eating their food, visiting their mall, and taking some photos.

He was supposed to have boarded ship yesterday, but true-to-the-miliary, it’s been put off another week to 10 days.  His unit’s been whilling away the hours mostly bored, and doing a little grunt work, cleaning arms, PT.  Today was a 6-mile run.  Just a warm-up for a Marine.  They can eat up and spit out a marathoner.  (The only running I’m personally familiar with is en route to the little girl’s room when there’s no grace period. Go, Mom!!)

Care package:  his first one is… “Somewhere, over the wild blue yonder…”  So much for ‘delivery confirmation’.  Last notation on the tracking was January 12, stating that it had departed it’s last location (1.5 hours from us!).  It will be interesting to see when and where he actually receives it.  It’s in his favor, care package time-wise, that he’ll be on land another week or so, increasing his changes of getting it a little quicker than if he was out to sea. 

I can’t imagine what months at sea will be like…  as “cargo’, which is what I understand ship-bound Marines are  He’s excited about it, though – from the standpoint of port-to-port, seeing that region of our world.

The USS Denver, below,  is the sixth AUSTIN – class amphibious transport dock and the third ship in the Navy to bear the name.  For those of you who enjoy the fine details of a Naval ship, see beneath ship photo below.

So good to talk to you tonight, bud.  It was good to hear your light-hearted voice.  We are so proud of you.   Love you so much…    Mom

  • Launched January 23, 1965
  • Length: 569 feet (173.4 meters)
  • Beam: 105 feet (32 meters)
  • Draft: 23 feet (7 meters)     ballasted: 34 feet (10.4 meters)
  • Displacement: approx. 16,900 tons
  • Speed: 21 knots
  • Well deck capacity: one LCAC or one LCU or four LCM-8 or nine LCM-6 or 24 amphibious assault vehicles (AAV)
  • Aircraft: none, but telescopic hangar installed aboard. The hangar is not used to accommodate helicopters but on the flight deck there is space for up to six CH-46 helicopters
  • Crew: Ship: 24 officers, 396 enlisted     Marine Detachment: approx. 900
  • Armament: two 20mm Phalanx CIWS, two 25mm Mk 38 guns, eight .50-calibre machine guns 
Lance Corporal R.S. M.


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