Last Saturday, J and I took advantage of a sunny Saturday to tour the USS Whidbey Island, an amphibious warship that was docked in Boston Harbor’s deep-water port for this year’s Navy Week festivities. Just like our tour of the USS Bataan two years ago, last weekend’s tour of the Whidbey Island gave us a sense of how tough it is to be a sailor or Marine.
For example, after a friendly Marine explained the features on a standard-issue Light Armored Vehicle–the kind of Marine tank the USS Whidbey Island often carries to overseas deployments, and which Marines often live out of during desert deployments–J asked the obvious question: “How hot does it get in one of those things?”
The Marine smiled and nodded with an expression that said “You have no idea.” It turns out Army LAVs are air-conditioned, but Marine LAVs aren’t. After merely peeking inside the Marine version, I could imagine the claustrophobia–much less heatstroke–I’d feel if I had to share one. I guess there’s a reason Marines are both few and proud.
After we’d finished talking with this same Marine, J thanked him for talking to us and asked one last question: “Will you pose for a picture with my fiancee?” The Marine agreed and asked if J wanted him to pose with or without his gun. “Have her hold the gun,” J urged, and the Marine complied.
Joking that J won’t want to see me armed after we’re married, I took the gun, posed with our Marine friend, and smiled for the camera. Getting to tour a warship, look at tanks, and handle (unloaded) guns is all part of the Summer Fun that is Navy Week…but when the going gets hot, I’m glad these well-trained soldiers and sailors are doing a job that I surely couldn’t handle.