June 28, 2008

Thanks For the Memories, Three-One MEU

In six hours, my squadron will no longer be part of the 31st MEU.

For the record, in the last two years, we flew over twelve thousand passengers and three million pounds of cargo.

We went to Australia, Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.

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June 27, 2008

March of Technology

One of the things that the the Corps does very well is dentistry. Having a toothache or a dental infection is a bad thing in the field. So everyone gets a dental cleaning twice a year, and an exam annually.

The two events don't normally line up. It just so happened though, that I had a cleaning Thursday and my exam Friday, so the dentist was very impressed by my brushing habits, at least until she was told that I'd been at dental the day before.

What interested me most was my X-ray. They used the same X-ray projecting machine, but instead of film in my mouth, they had a sensor wrapped in disposable plastic, attached by a cable to a computer in the room with me. The projector hummed, and a digital X-ray appeared instantly on the computer. No developing. I shouldn't be surprised, though- we've got ubiquitous digital cameras, and there's no reason you can't make a image sensor sensitive to other wavelengths than visible light.

Not only was it faster, it had a major improvement in quality: instead of squinting at tiny little images, the dentist looked at a full-screen image on the computer in the exam room. A 17-inch screen is surely easier to read than a two-square-inch slide.

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June 20, 2008

Back

I'm back on solid ground! I'll work on a post covering all the excitement today. I'm also going to back-fill news that I emailed when I couldn't post here due to the ship's filters. So if you've been getting forwarded emails, no need to read all the posts that are going to start appearing below this one.

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June 19, 2008

Silent Hunter

Seems I may have misjudged the Captain's motives in going through the Samar Straits in the Philippines. Turns out that there's a Chinese sub tailing us, so he was trying to lose them through the strait, as submarines don't like having to surface to make a strait transit.

But the sub's captain is made of stern stuff, and he's still after us. The sailors are most unhappy.

We Marines are more sanguine about it. We sail all over the Pacific on training missions, so why shouldn't the Chinese? If we go to war over Taiwan, carrier groups are their number one target, but amphibious groups would be number two. They're just tailing us for practice, and there's nothing we can do about it.

And in a strange coincidence, today's General Quarters drill featured a simulated submarine attack. For the first time in the last two years, I might add. Normally the GQ drills have either air attacks, asymmetric surface attacks (speedboats with RPGs), or both.

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