Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Veteran's Day 2008
Veteran's Day 2008
I am not a vet. I did, however, have the incredible opportunity to work for the Department of Defense. I did three tours of duty on Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. It used to be a top secret base, housing about 1,500 military personnel, plus another thousand or so base operating contractors, but after 911 its strategic location and amazing preparedness and strike/support capabilities pretty much put it on the map. Thank you Wolf Blitzer. I was MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) manager in 1991-1993, 1995-1996 and again in 2000-2001. My job was to create, run and manage all the clubs, recreation programs and anything that kept the kids entertained, motivated, active and on the path towards continual improvement (bigger, faster, stronger).
One day, three Navy Seals on rehab waltzed into my office wanting to know when our next triathlon was scheduled. It was December of 1991 and I had to answer that not only did I not know when, but I did not know what. They patiently explained that a triathlon was a swim, followed by a bike, and finishing with run. All in all a great work out and something they they needed as a part of their training, assignment and mission. I called Pete, my right hand man, drew it up on the map and said, let's have the course up, marked and ready to go for a Sunday morning at 0800 start.
That Sunday morning as I watched the 30 or so people swim (in the 80 degree protected waters of our lagoon), bike (on pancake flat DG1) and run (a 5K under the baking 95 degree IO sun), I was hooked. Soon, we were doing one a month, and eventually we even pulled of a Half Ironman with the winner getting a slot to IM Malaysia. Pete took over the course management as I was now training and racing next to those three Seals. I need to thank them for that. And thank all the Vets out there today.
Because if it wasn't for what you have done in service for your country we wouldn't be able to do what we do today.
Part of our small but fanatical training group. Elite athletes Ernie and Derek are the bookends. I am in black hat and shades. You can see one of the pre-positioning ships in the lagoon in the background. Like I said top secret stuff.
We trained, we raced, we partied. Nuff said.
Me on Navy Broadcasting TV my first week on the job. The CO called after the broadcast to tell me that my enthusiasm was most refreshing but my handle of military time needed some work. Oh, it's HUNDRED hours??, Sorry, skipper.
An awards ceremony for our ISO-09000 completion. All the guys in the back row are retired military. I am fourth from the left. Can't name them all, but Richard, Bill, Bob, Gary and Norm are all at attention. The guys in front are our Filipino and Mauritian supervisors, hardest working crew I have ever had the pleasure to watch.
You can click on any photo to enlarge and up the resolution.