I wanted to take a photo using the sky as the background, but I waited too long and the sun washed it out:
Looking at the picture again it reminds me of the turtles in the EAC in Finding Nemo. Like it's eating a Pac-Man dot.
So I came back inside and threw this bad boy together
My class ring I normally wear with the stone facing up, but I turned it around to join the Squadron 8 shark in today's composition.
What you see in today's photo is a command coin from SUBRON Eight. Submarine Squadron Eight, out in Norfolk, Virginia. Here's the flip side of it:
If this is your first time to my blog, I served in the US Navy from '99-'04, and my last year was with Squadron Eight as a Commodore's Assistant/unofficial yeoman.
We had a little get together before I had separated in September of 2004, and as Master Chief Bobby Allen shook my hand, I received what he had been palming on the way over. As a young sailor receiving a command coin from the Master Chief of Squadron Eight on his way out of the Navy that he would not be able to retire from (I was being discharged for medical reasons), this was a great honor, and wonderful token to take with me. For years I kept inside a nice wooden display case, alongside a coin from the Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle team I had helped out while I was still stationed on the Rickover, but when I moved to Indiana, I decided to start carrying it in my pocket again.
I like reminders. Some I have tattooed on my body (see Day 9: Under for the latest one), others I wear, like my class ring, a symbol of the milestone I accomplished in education and art, and others, like the Squadron 8 coin, I carry with me. I started carrying it with me because moving here has been difficult, and I've been through challenging situations before: boot camp, deployments, involuntary medical separation from a Navy I gave myself wholeheartedly to, so as long as I remembered that I can make it through, and that I've been through worse, I keep going.
Maybe "reminders" isn't the best choice of words. "Affirmations" is more fitting, and although I'm not at the point that this little girl is at (see here for affirmation awesomeness), I bring with me reminders and affirmations that I can succeed, I have succeeded, and that I can continue to.
It may not be as easily recognizable as a gold medal, but that's the great think about tokens, reminders, and affirmations--they are better if they are personal and individualized.
So thank you Master Chief Allen, Senior Chief Baisley, Petty Officer Hilton, Captain Tanaka, Commander Ekker, and Commodore Connor for welcoming me into Squadron Eight and appreciating me as a young sailor on my way out. As you can see, it hasn't been forgotten.