Memories of the ICEX 2014:
- Light meals on the submarine. The supply officer hadn’t ordered enough food for the entire underway, so the meals were rationed. The supply officer wasn’t happy. The XO kept telling him to think of it as a grand adventure, like Shackleton’s trip to the north pole. I don’t think that helped. There was no creamer for the coffee when I arrived, and they ran out of ketchup before I left. However, there was lots of pudding for dessert.
- Great meals at the ice camp.
- Washing the dishes at the ice camp for my first dinner there.
- Teaching the Air Force Colonel that was with Lt. Gen. Handy (Commander Alaska Command – visiting the camp for two days) to play cribbage. And then losing to him. I mean. The Air Force. And new at the game. At least he didn’t skunk me.
- The Army Lt. Col. that was with the general telling the submarine crew that he couldn’t spend the night onboard because his wife forbid him to get underway on the submarine.
- The three-star general standing on the ice for over three hours to just watch the submarine surface without a warming hut. Did I mention he was a three-star?
- The outside “urinal” boxes at the edge of camp. Cold during the day. Even colder at night. With a threat of polar bears. It made one think twice if you could get back to sleep or really needed to pee.
- Unheated outhouses. But not for peeing.
- Prudhoe Bay. No alcohol. No restaurants. Nothing to do but try to leave.
- Will calling me at 3 in the morning. It was 7 here and he was just calling me back.
- The XO waking me up at 8am Sunday morning (I had been awake until 2am teaching one of the watchstanders about presetting torpedoes) telling me that “the helicopter will be here in 15 minutes, you need to be packed and on the helicopter.”
- No showers at the ice camp.
- The totally cool hole in the ice in the command hut. The team melted the hole when they set up the camp. The water beneath the camp was 2 miles deep. I was going to bring water back from the camp, but I forgot. I was more focused on trying to get to Anchorage and not have to spend the night in Prudhoe Bay. Did I mention there was no alcohol at Prudhoe Bay.
- Falling off the sled behind the snowmobile on the ride from the airplane to the camp. It was an amusing start to my trip there. At least the chief on the back of the snowmobile thought so.
- Not seeing any polar bears. But always wondering when taking a leak at night if that white blur in the distance (in the dark) had been there earlier in the day.
I’m sure I didn’t nearly cover it all…. but enough for the night.