Sunday, December 13, 2009

...Till the shine wears off

Dear Camp Shelby, MS:

When having quarters at 0730 is considered "sleeping in", we've gone too far.

0545 quarters one day.

0600 quarters the next.

0430 quarters the next.

0530 quarters the next.

0530 quarters the next.

0530 quarters the next.

0615 quarters the next.

See where we went wrong? Lest I've lost my ability to count, that's only one week. Considering that we must wake up about 1 hour (on the average) to load out and prepare for the day's missions, it comes as no surprise that tomorrow's 0800 quarters call is appreciated. And my training is also 100% complete.

While it can't be discussed what exactly I trained on, I can safely say that the majority of it was NOT mission critical stuff. I rest well tonight, knowing that I will not be donning my flak vest and kevlar helmet, standing in one of many of your expansive and isolated fields all day, rain dripping down my back and front, soaking me through and through.

It has been interesting, Camp Shelby. Though our relationship has been strained from the beginning, I feel as if you have taught me a lot about who I am and what I am able to tolerate. I will not miss your dreary, always-a-rainy-day feeling and overall soggyness (yes, that's right, soggyness). But the times weren't all bad. Like when we finished training early on sunny days and I just lounged around with you, counting the minutes... But overall, you will not be missed by this sailor.

I'm coming home.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Death and all of his friends

When one has time to think freely and openly, over a long enough timeline, the possibility of death peeks its head out of some distant forgotten corner of the mind. Not thoughts and contemplations of suicide, or even how one might die, but something different: One might stand with a mental Rolodex of their life's memories and rifle through them, good and bad together, as one whose life may end sooner than they think. It's not something individuals ever talk about, but I am sure that it has conceivably crossed everyone's mind.

What would my mom/wife/husband/dad do without me around?

How would they be alright/able to cope?

In what way would they remember me?

Would they feed my cat?

The old civilizations of the world celebrated the separation of life and spirit from mortal body that we know as death. They congratulated those who had ended their time on this planet and moved on to some higher level of existence. The afterlife, after all, if presented to be glorious and at least, in one way or another, an improvement on our experience here on Earth is without a doubt something to celebrate achieving. I mean, let's be honest: Death is certain. But a lot of people on our planet today are too smart for the 'afterlife' school of thought.

I have specific feelings about my life as it has evolved to this juncture in time. I value my time on Earth, and when my Father wants me back, it will happen. I love my wife and daughter, my family, my friends, my job. I love my car. Life is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

In Memoriam

Reticent in tongue,
But vociferous, 
man's heart,
Today they live on.

Three cheers for Memorial Day.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist

A friend of mine studied for 2 weeks and spent one extra week in shipboard walk-throughs to prepare for his enlisted surface warfare specialist (ESWS) qualification.  Obtaining the qualification takes a passing score of 80% or higher on a (at this command) 100-question test, and passing an oral board administered by various shipboard personnel.  After one unsuccessful test attempt I helped him study for a few days and my friend then managed to pass with an 83% and achieved satisfactory results on his board as well.  He is now allowed to wear the designator pin for ESWS on his working and dress uniforms as proof of this achievement.

Am I proud of my shipmate?  Certainly.  But a selfish humor within me caused me to call the validity of his ESWS pin upon examining the actual test he took and after speaking with him in some detail about his oral board.  He said 7 different people showed up, asked him 5 questions each, and that was it.  The test was also full of simple short answer questions and, barring the fact that it was 100 questions, looked pretty easy.  When I remember the time I spent preparing for my ESWS test (200 questions) and my oral board(s), my real exception to their ESWS program comes to light.

For us on active duty, it was difficult.  Very difficult, very long, and unforgiving.  You begin by learning to a great extent the inner workings of every aspect of all ship functions, such as engineering, supply, personnel, aviation, navigation, operations, combat systems, and so on.  You do this by standing Under Instruction (UI) watchstations and getting them to sign off a qualification book to prove you have assimmilated the requisite knowledge to the appropriate level.  Then once you feel you are ready, you turn in your book, which is then verified, and you are allowed to be proctored the aforementioned test.  After the test, you go through 3 oral boards, and the failure of even one board nullifies your test score, and you have to retest, meaning you had to select a different test out of the 10 randomized versions.  The first board was usually scheduled for 2.5 hours.  The second, or "murder board", was not only scheduled for 3 hours and usually ran longer (mine was 4.5) but was sat by only senior officers and enlisted as well (Senior/Master Chiefs, the XO and CO of the ship, and various departmental Commanders [Papa Raynor] and Lieutenant Commanders).  The third usually lasted less than 2 hours.  To describe the amount of time it took me to feel prepared to test and board with confidence, I would use the word tremendous.  2 hours a night studying, standing different watches twice a week around the ship, and getting a stack of papers about 2 inches thick signed off by the watchstanders I was with.  All that and more was my preparation for what ended up to be about, oh, let's say, about 7 months.

7 months.



Congratulations, nonetheless, are due to IT2 (SW) Sitzman upon the occasion of successfully completing the requirements to be designated an enlisted surface warfare specialist, and tomorrow, with the ship's crew as audience at Captain's Call, it will certainly be my personal pleasure to present him with his letter of designation and inaugurally pin the emblem on his chest.

Machinist's Mate, 
Second Class, 
Surface Warfare, 
Donny R. Hathorn.

MM2(SW) Hathorn

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Annual Training for FY '09

The amount of anti-depressant advertisements they show on TV here is amazing.  It has been sunny for the weekend, and the rain is supposed to resume on Monday.  It's a change from Ft. Collins, but I'll be glad to be home.  It'll still be a week this Tuesday, but I can make it.

You know, one day I was at the Air Force base for Drill Weekend, talking to this guy who plays basketball:

And I told this fella that we (in Colorado) needed him to step his game up if we were to go anywhere in this years NBA playoffs.  So he did.

Sorry Dallas (and Kim)...  Time to go home.

Sun 03 @ Denver Conf. Semi-Finals  L 95-109
 Tue 05 @ Denver Conf. Semi-Finals  L 105-117
 Sat 09 vs Denver Conf. Semi-Finals  L 105-106
 Mon 11 vs Denver Conf. Semi-Finals  W 119-117
 Wed 13 @ Denver Conf. Semi-Finals  L 110-124

Kidd should be ashamed.  But you gotta pay respects to Dirk, 30+ points a game.  The big man, however, can't win by himself.

This guy that I know...

... and his whole team really gave the Mavs more than they can handle.  But the Nuggets won't hold the Lakers, I think.  The Lakers will spread Denver's defense and play the paint.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A good snow (prank)

It's been awhile...

A buddy who has been perpetrating pranks on me involving my car was finally served his come-uppance.  He puts a car jack under my car in the front, lifts the front wheels off the ground, and moves my car around places.  He even moved it in the backyard one day after tearing down part of the fence.  It was hilarious!!

After a few good snows, pranks were in the air.  He was shoveling his walk one night while we were getting a 6 inch snowfall, and I was harassing him because he had been drinking (he isn't a church member), and he is my neighbor, and as we all know, harass and neighbor are very similar words in the language of Donny.  So after harassing him, I went in, and so he shoveled his walk onto my steps.  It was a pile about 2 feet high, and the width of my steps.

So I got payback for all the car pranks.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Do the Japanese translation where you yourself are strange!

Step 1:

Open internet browser and go to

Step 2:

Enter a phrase or quote of your choosing into the "Translate" box.

Example: (English in the "Translate" box)

That is one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind.

Step 3:

Open the menu below to choose a "Translate to-and-from" language.

Step 4:

Pick "English to Japanese".

Step 5:

Press "Translate".

Step 6:

If done correctly, your English should now be translated to characters of Japanese in a thin box above the place you entered your original phrase or quote. Highlight the text and copy/paste into the "Translate" field over your original phrase or quote.

Example: (Translated and copied over)


Step 7:

Open the menu below to choose a "Translate to-and-from" language.

Step 8:

Pick "Japanese to English".

Step 9:

Press "Translate".

Step 10:

If done correctly, your Japanese should now be translated to Engrish in a thin box above the place you entered your translated phrase or quote. So, laugh and rejoice.

Example: (Translated to Engrish)

That is big leap of 1 for step and the mankind whose one for the person is small.

Merry Christmas,