Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Arab Spring, Minus 30 Years

The “Arab Spring” of 2011 was a poignant time for me.  Thirty years ago, I was onboard USS King, DDG-41 in the eastern Mediterranean in 1981 when Anwar Sadat was assassinated.  We were operating with 4 LST’s at the time, and were sent to the Egyptian coast as a show of support for the new Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak.  Anchored 15 miles off shore, it was quite booring for us, and I am sure there was no way we would have ever landed the attached Marines in Egypt, regardless of the outcome of their power stuggle.  But Mubarak was peacefully installed as President, and announced that Egypt would honor all its treaties and obligations.
Thirty years later, I was at a get together of my wife’s high school group, watching the news on a monitor at a bar, and trying not to look as bored as the rest of the husbands present. I nudged the husband next to me and said, “I was there when Mubarak took power.”
He replied, “Really, so was I.”
I explained I was part of the task force off of the coast of Egypt, and he said so was he. 
That’s quite a coincidence.  “You were on one of the Gator-Freighters?” refering to the LST Marine transports.

He said, “No.”
“Well, you weren’t on my ship”, I declared.
He said, “That’s true, I was about 500 feet below you on the sub assigned to trail you.”
Subs and targets.  Too true.