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Published: August 10th 2009
Okay, so this consists of going to Mariner’s Cafe and having Aussie beer (or American beer if we buy some from MWR) and getting Magda to make a pizza for us. Kyle, Brittany and I hang out with some of the ADVON (Advanced something, pretty much the advanced party). Here are some photos of everyone but me getting crazy. 😊 We hung out with some Australians from the HMAS WEWAK as well, a LCH... their oldest actually, that has a stag crew (that’s what they call it anyway, all guys).
Funny thing happens, it’s a pretty good story if I can tell it right. I need to get a little background first. Right now, the BYRD consists of Ship’s Company MILDET, Civilian Mariners, PHIBRON 1 and all the personnel embarked to them. PHIBRON is somewhat its own entity, so let’s pursue that line of thought for a moment. The Amphibious Squadron consists of a small group of officers and enlisted, making command decisions for the mission, the Commodore is the Mission Commander. Since they are a small unit (not completely unlike the MILDET, though mostly officers), they have a mascot, a gnome, that somehow was lost or
Ryan (Fish) and me
Always make friends with guys who have Australian accents... they're fun to talk with.
stolen prior to getting to Tonga. In the capital of Tonga, Nuku’alofa, the ADVON team arranged to have another gnome made.
For some unknown reason, they decided to bring it to the Mariner’s Cafe. You can see Kyle and some enlisted Aussies kissing on it... nice, right? Well, Andrew has this great idea to steal the guh-nome (as they say it)... so I distract the PHIBRON guys and Andrew makes the steal. We make our way back to the RHIB and as we’re waiting for the boat to arrive, PHIBRON folks come running up to the dock... “Hey, did you guys see the guh-nome?” Brittany and I look at one another with a puzzled look, I shake my head and tell them that I only saw it on the table at the cafe. I don’t know where she got this from, but Brittany says, “Oh yeah, you know... I saw it in the bathroom. It was really strange, I was wondering why someone put it in there to watch me as I went to the bathroom.” I look at her with an open gape and quizzically turn to Kyle, trying my best not to burst out laughing.
I found out the next day that Andrew put the G’nome in the PHIBRON office where they have their morning meetings. The same people who allowed their mascot to be captured find it at the very meeting they were going to present it to the Commodore.
As an aside, let me get back to my previous evening...as we get back onto the RHIB, I’m reminded of why I love being out at sea so much. I look up at the Southern Cross and the Milky Way. Tonga has very little light pollution and the effect of that is tremendous. I never thought I could see as many stars as I have on this mission. I never thought I would see the Southern Cross, it’s even more beautiful than I had imagined. People ask me why I stay in the Navy and hands down, I always say that the night sky is what keeps me coming back for more. It’s incredible, and surreal.
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