Naval Submarine Base New London - Groton, Connecticut
And just like that, it's over.
At 1209 this afternoon, the 1MC* came: "the ship is moored." If I have the count right, ninety-one days, twenty-two hours, and twenty-one minutes after getting underway from Groton on a surge deployment she was handpicked for, USS Memphis (SSN 691) returned to her homeport on the eastern shore of the Thames River. We're told we've made significant contributions to the United States' fight against terrorism, and our efforts have already drawn notice from some of the highest levels of Naval brass. As I went forward to change into my service dress whites, I heard what seemed to be music, bit I didn't know where from. I listened more closely, and indeed, the theme from "Team America: World Police" was blaring over the 1MC. This return to port was especially welcome, because our primary distilling plant - the thing responsible for making our fresh water - bit the dust two days ago. No showers, no laundry, eating pizza off napkins Saturday night. We have a backup, so we could get some refilling of our tanks, but not nearly enough to compensate for our normal usage levels. As my leading petty officer put it Saturday morning, "Memphis, at present, cannot sustain life." The shower I took an hour ago was probably the best one I've taken in a long time.
As I went topside, I met Bateman, who was forced to leave the boat in Gibraltar due to some excruciating back pain. He has a herniated disc, and is having surgery on Tuesday; he'll be out of commission for a while. But seeing him today allowed me to transfer some things I had picked up for him. I also saw Gagne, who was left in homeport for the entire deployment for schools. I wonder if he yet knows the full range of what he missed; if not, he'll get the rundown tomorrow on our duty day.
This afternoon was a busy one...I got a decent meal at Subway; picked up some beer at the package store; went back to the boat to get some stuff I had originally left behind; set up for Tuesday's vehicle transfer; did laundry; went to the commissary and exchange, getting a haircut, the lost seasons of "Chappelle's Show", and some food; and taking a shower. And I did all this without my car. As I just alluded to, I'm getting the car back Tuesday morning, catching a ride to the ferry and then crossing the Sound to meet Mom in Orient Point.
Time to take the rest of the day and relax; enjoy a couple of brewskies; and get ready for tomorrow's duty. Ninety-three days of prowling the sea in defense of human freedom was plenty long enough. Good night.
* The 1MC is the shipwide general announcing circuit.