A Night at Kitsap Naval Base

Last Thursday Diane and I chauffeured Cedric to his new home on Kitsap Naval Station Bremerton, Washington. Before leaving St. Helens, we stopped by Diane’s Mom’s, Jean’s, house so he could bid farewell to her.

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Since it’s somewhere between a 2.5 and 4 hour drive, depending on the chosen route, we booked a room at the Navy Inn & Suites in Bremerton, thinking that we would deposit Cedric there, where he was assured of a bunk. On the way, however, we double-checked the address of the temporary facility where Cedric would be staying until his ship comes in. Yes, he has to wait until his ship comes in because it’s at sea and won’t be back for a month. But, unlike many of us, Cedric actually knows that his ship is coming in. Really.

This is the Trigger Ave gate to gain access to Bangor. Diane just flashed the guard a smile and he let us in without any trouble at all.

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He just doesn’t know when, for sure. So, until it does, he will be spending his time in the TDU. I think that stands for Temporary Detention Unit, but I could be wrong.

The TDU is located on what used to be the Bangor Naval Base which is north of Silverdale, Washington which, in turn, is about 20 miles north of Bremerton. So, since Cedric was a day early for checking in (his choice, and a good one) we had time to check room options for Diane and Myself. Turns out the Navy Lodge that told me there were no rooms available when I initially attempted to book a room for this trip, saves rooms for walk-ins. So, since I’d just walked in, I qualified and got a room for the night. Then we took Cedric to his detention facility.

I went in with him to check in, his choice, so I got to visit with a bunch of active duty folks who live in, and work at the TDU. When Cedric had all the paperwork done I helped him hurk his luggage to his room.

The room, unlike his 2-bedroom condo during training at Fort Lee, VA, has 4 bunks in close quarters. I guess that’s to get these kids used to living in cramped quarters. All the sailors in his room are headed for the USS Nimitz with him. He said one of them has already been at the TDU for 5 weeks and still has 4-5 more to go. Guess he’s still smiling.

After checking in Cedric learned a little about his new-found freedom. No curfew, for one. All he has to do is make it to morning muster at 0715. Then they get assigned to work parties. Last news from Cedric was that he had been assigned but hadn’t yet learned what they do on those work parties. I’ll be curious to find out.

Taking advantage of this new freedom, we went in search of a decent place to have a nice sit down meal. We found a place, and in the process, learned that sailors desiring sustenance other than fast food, or galley food, must fork over a generous portion of their wages to make it happen at the facility we chose. I must admit that the service was great and the food was awesome, so it was OK in the end. We enjoyed it and we got to spend the evening with Cedric.

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Sorry I didn’t take a photo of the food but you’ve all seen the food I eat before. It’s kind of repetitive.

After eating we adjourned to our room at the Navy Lodge, which was conveniently located about mile from the TDU, and just hung out for a while, until Cedric thought it might be a good idea to go back to his room. I was allowed to drive him back in Diane’s truck, all by myself. It was touch and go, but I made it there and back without mishap. Made me proud.

After a wonderful night of slumber we arose, checked out of our room, and headed for a sit down breakfast that was mercifully cheaper, though just as good, than our dinner the previous evening. After dinner I gave an old shipmate, Ernie W., a call to see if he was up for guests. Ernie and Sue live in Bremerton. He and I were stationed on the USS Cleveland during the early 80’s and we worked together. Actually Ernie did all the work while I spent the majority of my time doing other stuff. Like playing Chief Master At Arms for the command. That’s a tale for another day.

It was good to see Ernie again after about 30 years of not seeing him. We had a nice visit and caught up on most of the things that happened after we parted company in 1986. We both had tales to tell, as all old sailors do. I won’t share our conversation because everything we talked about is a secret. He and Sue do have three dogs. I can share that. They also have three cats. I think.

Sue was at work so we didn’t get to visit with her this time. Perhaps there will be another opportunity in the future. You know Diane and I love to jump in her truck and just take off. Sometimes we even know where we’re going ahead of time. It’s more fun when we just decide on the way out of our driveway.

Me and Ernie …

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We bid Ernie adieu and headed south out of town. That road took us by the piers where some old carriers and other ships are tied up waiting for something. We’re not sure what. The only we could name from the street was the USS Kitty Hawk because its name was still visible on the fantail. You can’t see it here, but trust, me, that’s the Kitty Hawk. Diane said so.

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Actually, that’s two aircraft carriers berthed next to each other. The Kitty Hawk is the one whose superstructure is on the left. We have no idea what the other one is. They are pretty impressive ships even though they’ve seen their day.

Now it’s 2300 and way past my bedtime. I know that’s true because Diane told me. So, I must stop and prepare myself for slumber.

Nite.

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