Stay Navy
Last Updated: October 29, 2001


Mike Soz - A little introduction is in order, this letter came to me at least 
third hand, or possibly fourth, but I would like to believe that it's real/true.

Dear All:
This is an e-mail from an Ensign stationed aboard the USS Winston

Dear Dad,

Well, we are still out at sea, with little direction as to what our next
priority is. The remainder of our port visits, which were to be centered
around max liberty and goodwill to the United Kingdom, have all but been
cancelled. We have spent every day since the attacks going back and forth
within imaginary boxes drawn in the ocean, standing high-security watches,
and trying to make the best of our time. It hasn't been that fun I must
confess, and to be even more honest, a lot of people are frustrated at the
fact that they either can't be home, or we don't have more direction right

We have seen the articles and the photographs, and they are sickening.
Being isolated as we are, I don't think we appreciate the full scope of
what is happening back home, but we are definitely feeling the effects.

About two hours ago the junior officers were called to the bridge to
conduct Shiphandling drills. We were about to do a man overboard when we got a
call from the LUTJENS(D185), a German warship that was moored ahead of us on
the pier in Plymouth, England. While in port, the WINSTONS CHURCHILL and the
LUTJENS got together for a sports day/cookout on our fantail, and we made
some pretty good friends.

Now at sea they called over on bridge-to-bridge, requesting to pass us
close up on our port side, to say goodbye. We prepared to render them honors on
the bridgewing, and the Captain told the crew to come topside to wish them
farewell. As they were making their approach, our Conning Officer
announced through her binoculars that they were flying an American flag. As they
came even closer, we saw that it was flying at half-mast.

The bridgewing was crowded with people as the Boatswain's Mate blew two
whistles- Attention to Port- the ship came up alongside and we saw that
the entire crew of the German ship were manning the rails, in their dress

They had made up a sign that was displayed on the side that read
"We Stand By You".

Needless to say there was not a dry eye on the bridge as they stayed
alongside us for a few minutes and we cut our salutes. It was probably the
most powerful thing I have seen in my entire life and more than a few of
us fought to retain our composure.

It was a beautiful day outside today. We are no longer at liberty to
divulge over unsecure e-mail our location, but we could not have asked for a 
finer day at sea.

The German Navy did an incredible thing for this crew, and it has truly
been the highest point in the days since the attacks. It's amazing to think
that only a half-century ago things were quite different, and to see the unity
that is being demonstrated throughout Europe and the world makes us all feel 
proud to be out here doing our job. After the ship pulled away and we prepared
to begin our man overboard drills the Officer of the Deck turned to me and said
"I'm staying Navy."

I'll write you when I know more about when I'll be home, but for now, this
is probably the best news that I could send you.

Love you guys.