Continued from my earlier post Our First Overseas Adventure: Japan 2000 (part 10).
“4/8/01 Hello, Home, I always debate as to whether I am going to tell everyone what is going on because things change so much in the Navy; you never know if things will turn out the way you want or expect. On that note, I am going to tell you what our current situation is and what we are trying to do. I found out last month that there is an O-4 with orders to replace me in June of this year. That means that I have an opportunity to leave here 6 months early. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, and initially I did not want to leave because after June I would get to spend the whole summer with SR and the kids. I didn’t want to roll straight from here, zip through the Fleet Replacement Squadron (helicopter training) and then right back out to sea. That would also change when I went to San Diego and make it so that I would be flying H-46’s…bad. Well, our Air Boss made a suggestion that I couldn’t believe; he said, ‘Well, why don’t you just go to the Wing in San Diego and help them set up the H-60 (the Navy’s Army Blackhawk) program?’ It is too good to be true. The ship is behind my early release, and I have talked to the detailer (the guy who writes my orders), and he is going to try to make it happen. Here is the plan: Detach from Sasebo July 20 and go straight to Florida for 30 days leave en route. We would spend the summer visiting (SR would also like to see her mom and sisters) as well as going to Pensacola to check out the house. Following leave we would go to the Wing in San Diego until January 21, 2002. Then I would learn to fly H-60’s for 5 months and then go to Guam. We could take 30 days leave on the way to Guam if we wanted to. We’ll see – you know how things went last time we tried to go to San Diego. I am trying to check into NAS North Island in Coronado before school starts there so that the kids would get a whole year there before going to Guam. This is great because it doesn’t change my timeline and I still get to fly 60’s. This hasn’t happened yet, so I can’t get my hopes up, but this is a nice alternative to staying here and going to sea in the fall. In other news, things here are great. I love being back with SR and the kids, and once again have fallen into the coaching role (if only for two weeks). Yesterday, Jay’s base team played against the Japanese team he used to be on. It was a very good game even though the Japanese team won 12 to 6. Jay pitched the last half of the game and allowed only 2 runs. He is a thinker and threw some amazing trash at those poor kids. Our first pitcher throws much faster than Jay, but he is 12 and about twice his weight. He also throws the ball in the same place every time. Jay, on the other hand, had them swinging at balls that landed ten feet out in front of them and then watched strikes go by. In one case I told him to look out for one of their batters (their best player hitter who hit a home run off of the first pitcher), so Jay threw him four balls. He could have ben a little less obvious, but it was funny. One ball must have gone 20 feet in the air! Mr DL and Lulu are on the same team… the Angels. SR loves it and is so proud that her team is doing well (especially since some of the parents are starting to complain about the crummy coaching of the first team they were on). I think she is doing a great job. Mr. DL is having a blast, and all he wants to do now is play catch and hit balls off of the tee. Lulu is having fun too and is getting a little more caught up in the game because the poor girl is outnumbered especially now that SR is coaching. I am on watch now and it has been a busy night. It is time to go to sleep, so I will bid you goodnight. G8r”
“6/25/01 I hope you liked the e-mail from Jay. We had a fantastic time on that golf course, and he loved the fact that I lost more balls than he did. We finally received orders and are slated to depart here in early August. I really enjoyed reading your e-mails about the farm and how the hay season is going. It makes me miss home, and I can’t wait to get back there. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t having fun here though. The Japanese are some of the nicest people I have ever dealt with. I see where they can be incredibly frustrating when you can’t speak the language, but my Japanese has really improved since I got back. I love watching the looks on their faces when I start talking to them. They generally light up and smile although a couple of times they have just laughed because I used the wrong word (just a couple of times). I saw a comedy routine once where a young Chinese guy steps onto the stage and starts talking with a wicked Tennessee accent. Sometimes I wonder if that’s how I come across. Oh well, we are having fun, and I am going to try to schedule a trip to Mount Fuji before we leave. G8r”