What's a Tiger's Cruise? The sailors, and officers stationed aboard the ship are allowed (and encouraged!) to invite a non-spouse (parent/sibling/grand parent/friend) to be a passenger on board the ship as they steam back into their home port of San Diego. Kind of a big deal, since the ship had been all over the Pacific Ocean for seven, almost eight months - away from families and friends.
What an incredible experience for me! Not only to understand how our active duty men and women serve our country, but to also have a real appreciation for all who have served before them. This is not an easy job.
First things first - catch a Hovercraft at Camp Pendleton for a 5 (nautical) mile ride out into the ocean. (please don't make fun of my hair - lol!) It was cold and super noisy. All of the crew and the Tiger's had to wear ear plugs - an absolute necessity. Kind of awesome tho!
The USS Harpers Ferry LSD49 is part of the "Amphibious Navy", Hovercraft and other small land ships park right inside the ship. Helicopter's can land on top, and the bay inside the ship is full of jeeps, and tank-like vehicles. Pretty incredible! While they were at sea serving our country on this tour, there were just over 330 US Navy personnel and over 400 US Marines on board. For seven months.... (just think about that for a minute)
Then to finally see Alex after so many months at sea! Very very happy mom -
I was assigned a middle bunk in the women's birthing, and got to do "Navy" stuff with Alex and his shipmates for 24 hours. Had a great time! Except for trying to get into the bunk - that was sort of embarrassing. I could not figure out how to contort my over 50+ body into the bunk, and completely missed how to jump in, and fell flat on the floor. Huge black and blue bruise - but great story!
Had breakfast, lunch and dinner in the ship's mess. Incredible to me, how this tiny dining room and kitchen managed to feed over 700+ people every single day!
All dressed in their "white" ready to man the rails coming into San Diego. Mom got a little bit choked up.....
Very proud mom.
Thank you to all who have served, and who continue to serve our great nation.