Where Were You on September 11th, 2001?

Where were you?

I was in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on board the USS Louisiana, SSBN-743 Gold.  The USS Louisiana is a fleet ballistic missile submarine.

I can’t even begin to tell you what it was like to be at sea when something like this happens.  It was nearly two months before I was actually able to see images of what had happened.

Our world really did change on that day.

So, where were you?  What is your story?

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Trooper Joe Snipes, Tennessee Highway Patrol

Yesterday we lost a friend and fellow officer of the law.  Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Snipes was killed in an off-duty motorcycle accident in Bradley County Tennessee.  Even though we didn’t hang out while off-duty, I considered Joe a friend.  I had several occasions to work with Joe on vehicle wrecks where I either assisted him or he was assisting me.  He always offered whatever help or advice he could and he was always very appreciative of the help he was given.  Even when frustrated he always treated me with respect.

The one thing that I will remember about Joe is that he rarely complained.  I remember pulling up to a crash on I-75 on one particular occasion.  A storm was coming in and it was bringing heavy rain with it.  As the rain began to pour down Joe just looked at me and said, oh well, this is what the State pays me to do.  He took his job serious and was always there to ensure the safety of the motoring public through enforcement.

I heard a talk-radio journalist read the headline about the accident this morning.  It went something like this, Just because your a law enforcement officer doesn’t mean accidents don’t happen to you.  That isn’t a direct quote but it was something to that affect.  I took offense to it.  No one ever said we were perfect.  We, as law enforcement officers, are human just like everyone else.  We make mistakes and, at times, our lives are cut short just like everyone else.  We just try to do our part to make this place a better and safer place to live.

As we head in to this Labor Day weekend and as we soon begin to reflect upon the emergency workers that were lost ten years ago on September 11th, 2001, lets remember that our law enforcement officers are just trying to do their part.  Thank an officer, medical person or firefighter when you see them and remember Trooper Snipes and his family.  Keep them in your prayers, especially his wife Sheila who was taken to the hospital due to the injuries she sustained as the passenger of the motorcycle they were riding.




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Year 33


Today, July 17th, is my birthday. I am 33 years old. Thus far my life has been pretty good. The Lord has truly blessed me. I am healthy and I have two beautiful daughters, along with a pretty big family, who love me.

Today may not have been the most exciting birthday, but I spent it with the ones that I love and that is what is important.

Thank you to all who made this day wonderful.

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A Fathers Love

*Disclaimer: the names have been changed to protect the innocent.*

I witnessed one of the most touching acts a father should never have to be a part of the other morning.

My shift was just about to end when myself and my zone partner were dispatched to a wreck with injuries and entrapment.  The crash was less than a mile from my current location and within a couple of minutes I was pulling up to one of the most complex vehicle crashes I have seen in my short five year law enforcement career.

What I saw as i pulled up was a mid-sized vehicle on its side, but what made this more interesting is that the vehicle was wrapped around a tree.  The resting position of the vehicle was causing the driver to be unable to get out of the vehicle.

As I ran around the side of the car to assess the damage and to get some patient information I was met by a gentleman in a button-down shirt.  The passerby began giving me some patient information and then crawled back into the car as far as he could to talk to the driver and assure him that help was on the way.

As time progressed I learned that the passerby was not just any citizen who happened to stop to render aid; he was the drivers father.  The dad never once broke a tear yet the love for his son was apparent.  He never left his son’s side until forced to do so by the Rescue workers.

The most memorable part of this scene and the part that will stick with me forever is when I heard the father and his son pray the sinners prayer as the young driver accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

From what I have gathered, the driver survived.  I’m not sure about the extent of the injuries and honestly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing those here anyway.

Two fathers were at work on this particular morning.  The drivers earthly father saved his son’s life by giving a few breaths to revive him and our Godly father worked a miracle by placing his earthly father on the scene and then entering his heart when he prayed the prayer that will now ensure his eternal salvation.

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Old Technology

A few weeks ago my grandmother, Ruby Bryant, passed away.  She was 82.  She passed away due to congestive heart failure complications.  My grandfather, Emary Bryant, passed away over 20 years earlier.  So now that my grandmother is gone, the time has come to begin the process of going through their house.

Yesterday we went over to the house to have one of our last family get-togethers.  We all had a wonderful yet sad time.  As we were looking through the house my daughter, who was in the other room, called my cellphone.  The voice on the other end wasn’t the typical high quality voice from my daughter that I am use to hearing.  She told me in a very excited voice that she was calling me from an old rotary phone that was in the spare bedroom.  As the grand kids were making a list of the things that we wanted from the house I decided to put the rotary phone on the list.

I was shocked to find out that I was the only person, besides my daughter, who wanted that old phone.  So we took it home.  The true subject and topic of this post follows.  As we were sitting on the couch talking about our evening, my daughter asked me, “I wonder what the phone number is of that old phone we got?” All I could do was laugh and of course I played along.  So I told her to go plug it in and call me so I could see what number popped up on my cell phone.  We all got a good chuckle out of that.

I love the fact that Emilie, my daughter, has a love for old technology.  Hopefully someday she can get her ham radio license like me and my dad so we can use some of the other old stuff that we found.

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Friendship, True Friendship!

My grandmother passed away last week.  She has been battling the affects of congestive heart failure for sometime now.  Her body had finally had enough and she let go and is now in Heaven.

My dad’s best friend, David Cook, moved away from Cleveland several years ago due to his job.  He has kept in touch and when he comes back to town to visit family he always stops in for a visit.  I’ve known David my whole life.

When David received word that my my grandmother, my dad’s mom, had passed away he dropped everything and came to Cleveland.  He drove from Texas to be here for his friend.

We all have friends and we all are a friend to someone, but what level of friend are you?  Are you the friend who would drop everything and drive 12 or more hours to be with someone during a hard time?

David Cook is a true friend to my family and I will never forget that.

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The Chief’s Board

In a few months, this blog post will either be updated or deleted depending on the outcome.

To advance (make more money) in the U.S. Navy we are given advancement exams. These exams test our job knowledge and our general military knowledge. The test scores are coupled with yearly evaluation scores and a magic number (final multiple) is derived. If your final multiple score is above the score that the Navy determines it needs to meet advancement needs then the individual will be advanced to the next higher pay grade. This method is true when a person is trying to advance to E4, E5, and E6, but differs slightly when trying to achieve the rank of Chief Petty Officer (E7).

To become a Chief Petty Officer (CPO) a sailor must still pass the exam and that is where the similarities end. Once the exam is passed the Navy will issue a list of those who are Selection Board Eligible (SBE), just passing the exam doesn’t automatically make a sailor board eligible. The “Board” is made up of several senior enlisted personnel who pour over service records to find the best of the best to be selected to wear the coveted gold fouled anchor with the silver superimposed U.S.N.

So, making board means a lot because if you don’t make board, then you have to wait another year before you can take the test and try again.

I made board. This is my second year taking the Chief’s exam and the second year I have made board. I am hopeful, but I am not holding my breath. At present, twelve other First Class Sonar Technicians took the Chief’s test. Only eight of us made board. Last year only one person out of eight was selected to become a Chief Sonar Technician.

Personally, I think I have what it takes, but the decision is not up to me.

So, if I become a Chief Select I plan on using this blog to document the process. If I do not, then I will delete this and try again next year.


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What’s ever harder to believe though is that my oldest will turn twelve soon.  She and I have a special bond.  She’s my little buddy and I am proud to be her dad.

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It’s hard to believe that my youngest daughter is nearly three months old.  It seems like only yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital.

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