San Diego: Almost Home

Point Loma from NAS North Island, CA. 1986 Photo Credit: Will Pennington My business trip with the Navy to San Diego last week was like going home. The joy began when, while riding the bus to the rental car center, I spotted the USS Carl Vinson — my last ship — tied up at North Island. Ohh, the memories. USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70). Photo Credit: US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist … Continue reading San Diego: Almost Home

Honey Ko, (Sweetheart), Book 2, Chapter 7: Frank Bailey. 1968

Approach to Cubi Point Naval Air Station, Olongapo, Philippines. The sun set on another blistering day in the Philippines as our C-130 touched down at Cubi Point Naval Air Station. The war in Vietnam was nine-hundred miles in the past. I could finally relax and put the horror of that last, bloody attack behind me. For the next week at least, I wouldn’t have to … Continue reading Honey Ko, (Sweetheart), Book 2, Chapter 7: Frank Bailey. 1968

Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 6

Author’s Photo. The view from the apartment bedroom. I edged the gate open with a gentle push, but the squeal of the rusty hinges gave me away. I uttered a silent oath when Aida poked her head out the window. Oh, Tommy, she cried. You forget again the oil. I’ll bring the oil home tomorrow, Aida. I promise. Yoshi had run ahead, barking at the … Continue reading Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 6

Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 5, Part 2

Back in the apartment, I put away the picnic supplies while Aida unpacked and put away the clothes, a quantity of clothing since she had taken advantage of the laundromat at the cottage rather than wash them by hand at the cement sink in the courtyard. After we were settled on the sofa, she nestled against me and watched television while I read. Soon, her … Continue reading Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 5, Part 2

Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 5, Part 1

Romance and a sexual tension made the air surrounding us buzz with expectation and fulfillment of some deep-seated desire or need. Holding her suddenly seemed so much more than just an embrace between two people. I saw Aida now as a necessary part of me, an essential element in what made me who I was. At the time, I didn’t realize what had happened. Only … Continue reading Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 5, Part 1

Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 4, Part 2

The flicker of lights along the arc of the shoreline to Subic City snapped me from my reverie. The rising moon with the mountains in silhouette, the soft lapping of the waves, the warm night, all induced a languidness I didn’t want to disturb. Satisfaction with the moment, the weekend, the treasure hunt with Aida all combined to lift my spirit, and for a moment, … Continue reading Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 4, Part 2

Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 4, Part 1

***Author’s Photo. Ferry launch to Grande Island (No, not the big one!) Officer’s Landing, Subic Bay Naval Station, Olongapo, Philippines 1983. Aida, sweet and lovely like the opera, searched for treasure among the debris washed ashore by the latest storm of the monsoon. Her breasts filled her top as she leaned over to examine a bright and colorful smorgasbord of seashells, pebbles, smooth-worn glass, and … Continue reading Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 4, Part 1

Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 3

**(Photo provenance unknown) Shit River Bridge between Subic Bay Naval Station and Olongapo. The banca boats hold Shit River “Princesses” who entice coins from passing Sailors and Marines. The young boys dive in after the coins.** The sun rose blood-red through the ash drifting from Mount Pinatubo’s smoking crater. Enough moisture filled the air to quench a dying man’s thirst. The wind pushed the sun’s … Continue reading Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 3

Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 2

Photo by Dominik Simecek The balut man’s quavering voice penetrated my sleep-filled head, and I squinted at the clock. My brain read zero-dark-early, but six a.m. glowed bright and cheery in the dark. He called out again as he wobbled away, pushing his creaking handcart. Baluuut. Baluuut. Aida peeked at me from behind the edge of the bedsheet. She scratched the side of her nose and … Continue reading Honey Ko (Sweetheart), Book 1, Chapter 2

The Roof

On the flight deck, broiling hot sun, bright blue sky, blue sea, whitecaps throwing spindrift with the wind, another day in the Persian Gulf during Operation Iraqi Freedom, I’m standing between eighty thousand pounds of Hornet and sixty thousand pounds of thrust at full throttle, two fighter aircraft held back against their will, straining to break free, to pierce the sky, my head on a … Continue reading The Roof

Eighteen Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty

For Dad John William Pennington 12/29/1926 – 12/10/1994. GM2C US Navy WWII; SSGT USAF Korea, Vietnam There are two kinds of dead in war: those who die and those who live. Those who die stay dead; those who live die again and again and again until, someday, they too stay dead. He died in World War II during the Battle of Okinawa, but lived another … Continue reading Eighteen Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty

Servicemembers We Lost in 2017

Rest In Peace 12 Dec 2017 Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Staff Sgt. David Thomas Brabander, 24, of Anchorage, Alaska, died Dec. 11 in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, as a result of a non-combat related incident. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Alaska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. 27 Nov 2017 Operation Inherent Resolve. Cpl. … Continue reading Servicemembers We Lost in 2017

Sasi and Tom, A Wished-For Love, Chapter Twenty-One

I’m pretty happy with this chapter 🙂 Ten minute read Tom grinned when Sasi waved and called to him from her balcony. He returned her wave and walked faster. When he looked again she had gone. He pushed through the revolving door and strode through the lobby to the elevator. The clerk called to him but the words didn’t register. The elevator doors opened and … Continue reading Sasi and Tom, A Wished-For Love, Chapter Twenty-One

Wake of the Wahoo, a non-Book Review Review

I’ve never written a book review; this is not one, sort of. Book critics who use William Faulkner words and philosophical language to sell books, or not, intimidate me so I leave that skill to others. However, Wake of the Wahoo, by Forest J. Sterling, struck a chord with me and I wanted to share a few observations. Wake of the Wahoo is the story of … Continue reading Wake of the Wahoo, a non-Book Review Review

The Satisfied Life

When I was in the Navy, I was stationed, among many other places, in Brunswick, Maine, and Barbers Point, Hawaii. At both duty stations, there were places overlooking the sea that I frequently visited to relax, take photos, and swim or scramble around the cliff faces. In Maine, that place was on Bailey Island at a place along the cliffs called The Giant’s Stairs. There … Continue reading The Satisfied Life

Chilly Willy

Winter appears to have returned with a vengeance over the weekend. The high in Southern Maryland yesterday was forty-three degrees, and may reach thirty-four today. I’m not one to complain about the cold (except for a cold seat-of-ease; don’t they make heated ones?), and believe temperatures this cold should be accompanied by snow. My northern friends may cast eye darts at me, but I don’t … Continue reading Chilly Willy

Sea Duty, Cont’d

It thrilled me to learn I was going to deploy overseas with my squadron, Patrol Squadron Eight, the “Fighting Tigers”. My first military deployment! The P-3 Orion is an anti-submarine warfare aircraft; Soviet submarines were their primary targets. Although I was a groundpounder – a mechanic, not aircrew – everyone shared in the glory when our squadron aircrews found and tracked a Soviet boomer, sometimes … Continue reading Sea Duty, Cont’d

Eighteen Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty

For my father, John William Pennington 12/29/1926 – 12/10/1994. US Navy WWII; USAF Korea, Vietnam There are two kinds of dead in war: those who die and those who live. Those who die stay dead; those who live die again and again and again until, someday, they too stay dead. He died in World War II during the Battle of Okinawa, but lived another forty-nine … Continue reading Eighteen Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty

Ode to Orion (or Mechanic’s Lament)

Great metal Goddess, mined from deepest earth, Forged in blazing flame, molded, beaten, formed at birth; Measured, cut, and riveted, assembled frame by frame, The beauty of this graceful beast, too marvelous to tame; Glorious vision, Orion, strong upon Her legs, Pins of solid steel, shining sliding shock absorbing pistons beg Disbelief that such a being could be wrought by hand of man; Her might … Continue reading Ode to Orion (or Mechanic’s Lament)

Eighteen Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty

There are two kinds of dead in war: those who die and those who live. Those who die stay dead; those who live die again and again and again until, someday, they too stay dead. He died in World War II during the Battle of Okinawa, but lived another forty-nine years filled with anger that he did not die in the war and stay dead. … Continue reading Eighteen Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty