March 20, 2019
Fort Pierce is another quiet and charming coastal town with a military presence. The marina boasts two restaurants with very good food—our Gumbo from Cobbs Landing fed us three meals—and we relished a great Thai dinner in town, as well. We “Ubered” to the Navy Seal Museum; these are bits that linger with me:
- We picked up models of various types of guns and were amazed at how HEAVY many of them are! There was an opportunity to “suit up” and climb into an inflatable dinghy with a gun for a photo shoot, which we, of course, declined.
- There was a model of the Bin Laden compound and details about the assignment, the practice runs in a full scale model of the compound, the helicopter that failed, the retreat with all aboard the one functional helicopter with the remains of Bin Laden in tow.
- We sat in the Black Hawk Helicopter which rescued Jessica Buchanan and Paul Hagen Thisted in 2012 from Somalia.
- I specifically looked for explanation of the Iran Hostage Crisis in 1979, in which militant Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 63 hostages. This was the final indignity which undermined Jimmy Carter’s legacy as President. Carter, frustrated with the slow pace of diplomacy, launched a risky military rescue mission known as Operation Eagle Claw which was executed by an elite rescue team. Several of the helicopters were caught in a desert sandstorm and malfunctioned as a result, and the mission was forced to abort. During the expedition a helicopter veered into a large transport plane and eight servicemen were killed. Carter took responsibility for the the mission failure, and my recollection is that the hostages were not released until President Reagan took office.
- There were photos of the recipients of the Medal of Honor and their incredible stories of sacrifice and heroism.
- The educational rigors of a Navy SEAL are impressive: Passing a battery of academic tests is required, because missions that involve diving physics, ammunition ballistics, high altitude parachute jumps, and time distance calculations for swimming, diving and small boat operations all require a strong academic baseline. SEALS must perform mentally as well as physically at a moment’s notice.
Mike and JoAnn Konczal on C U Later in the slip next to us are looping. They’re in port with a passel of mechanical issues, but he, being an outboard mechanic, is a very handy guy. Between tinkering and appointments with specialists regarding their own issues, he offered to take a look at our outboard, which, if you remember, works—but only at slow speeds. What a guy! Immediately he targeted the problem-being that only one cylinder is firing; cause, tbd. With all the labor already thrown at this engine ($$$), this should have been figured out, but at least now we know WHY our dinghy goes “putt putt” and not “vroom vroom.”
Thursday evening after dinner, we stopped by to say hello to some Loopers who had just come in that day. They were lovely, we had common Looper acquaintances, and they invited us to come aboard and share docktails and an anniversary celebration with them. We met Bruce and Bev Kness on Seaquest, Bev’s sister Cheryl and her husband Cal Freeburg on No Snow, and Greg Stephens and Nancy Turk on TxAu. What fun, inclusive people they are!
Our plans to visit the botanical garden and walk to the manatee museum next door were nixed by snotty weather and a need to plan for the coming weeks. Ah, well…