Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The lights come on with an audible "click." I was already awake. Waiting.

"Every day is an adventure! Every meal a feast! Every paycheck a lottery! Now get out of those racks."

Ah yes. I am on board the USS Little Rock. A Cleveland-class cruiser converted to a missile cruiser and flagship. The latter means that there is additional superstructure, replacing a few guns, to tack on Admiral's Quarters a deck below navigation.

The Medina Guides spent Saturday evening through Sunday morning on the ship, moored next to the destroyer USS the Sullivans and the submarine USS Croaker. The Sullivans were five brothers, serving on a ship in the Pacific fleet during WWII. They were lost off Guadalcanal. The destroyer was named after them. The submarine took out the ship that took out the brothers.

We weren't there alone. We were fifty-eight, but there were over two hundred hands on board, mostly scouts.

The weather was cold and wet, so whatever comfort the ship provided was welcome.

The overnight included a simple dinner. Hands-on exhibit of firearms (I was drawn towards the Enfield and the BAR - familiar to me only through video games). Three different movies in different rooms. Lights out at 10:30, lights on at 6:30. A simple breakfast and your run of the place for as long as you'd like.

I loved being able to explore. After the movie, I struck out on my own and quickly found myself alone. I wanted to find my way to the bridge. That's how I discovered the Admiral's Quarters, the map room, and the bridge. It was odd being up there, alone, in the dark, with the cold Buffalo wind whipping past the windows. I could see some of the city lights, but it wasn't a good vantage for a cityscape.

I could easily imagine what it must have been like to serve on her during wartime. I was glad it was only one night, for me.