Stories Of Interest
Star Spangled Banner Flag
Hours In The Life Of A Road Warrior
An idea had been spawned. After fifteen months of communications with the U.S. Navy, several Fortune 500 companies, and even the AAA, the idea led to those two famous words, Road Trip. From most was heard, ‘You’re going to do WHAT?" To those less faint of heart, and crazy Irishmen was heard ‘Let’s go!’ Actually, the first words were "head south!” So, started an epic journey of the Pease Greeter Road Warriors to go south, to a place called the Norfolk Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia.
The journey was uneventful in the beginning. The fierce rainy weather had broken and wonderful Spring heat was felt. The floods were just a painful memory. The states slipped by as in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut …Oh, if you hadn’t guessed by now we were driving. The pleasant unwavering car speeds were just glorious, and actually within the posted speed limit, until we entered the outskirts of New York.
Whereas, we had been hearing the pleasantries of passing birds and idyllic New England scenery; now came New York and the infamous George Washington Bridge. Ironically, we saw the George Washington Bridge along with many, many others in ways never thought possible. We saw it very, very slowly. I took a picture for my friend Chuck A. Everyone knows Chuck A. so I will not embarrass you. This picture is for you!
Since we had time to ponder, I should tell you why we were in such a predicament. The Road Warriors were on their way to Norfolk, Virginia to retrieve a historic flag, The Star Spangled Banner Flag. In fact, it is the only flag of its kind in United States history. Time was of the essence.
Luckily, once we got over the George Washington Bridge everything was downhill. We actually made incredible time downhill until we got all the way to Virginia in the wee, wee hours. The only thing that stopped us now was the incredible steaks and prime rib at the Sage Restaurant in Virginia.
Man, that steak and seasoning was so good. I would drive to get it, which I actual did for some ten hours. The meal was incredible as southern cooking usually is. It was even greater when a patron, Mrs. Stilwagen and her relatives joined us for some lively talk. Her husband Bill Stilwagen, a Vietnam vet, runs a tour agency specializing in tours of Vietnam. Further information can be found at VietnamBattlefieldtours.com As we left the restaurant the echoes of ‘You’re going to do WHAT?’ resonated in our heads. We made it to our hotel and pillows in good stead. Hey, did I mention those fabulous steaks at the Sage Restaurant? Oh, for the legal beagles out there, the Pease Greeters does not endorse nor confirm the abilities of VietnamBattlefieldstours.com. Consumers of this service should do their own due diligence.
The next day was a big day for us. We had a big presentation and would be picking up the historic flag. Breakfast was cheery, which is what happens when the human body gets sleep in ample doses. After a couple dozen cups of good coffee (the things we do for a good cup of coffee) we were joined by several members of Air Force National Guard.
We talked for hours and hours. I would tell you about them and the important cargo they were flying on their C-17, but it would be a security breach. All I can say is that I hope it arrived on ice. Their final comments to us were, 'You’ve driven from where to do WHAT?’ We seemed to get a lot of comments like that.
We finally arrived at our destination. The destination was the imposing headquarters of the Maersk Lines, Limited. We were feted by the company’s Head of Security while viewing this.
If by queue he said, ‘You DROVE from where, to do WHAT?’
received the historic, Star Spangled Flag, at 1121hrs and the
pictures speak for themselves. Our thanks go out to all the levels of the
Maersk Line, Limited employees for their professionalism and hospitality.
Of course, lunch was great, We did some quick sightseeing.
Of course, I was quite nervous when I looked up from a slumber and saw the U.S.S. Wisconsin looming out my window. My first instinct was to look at the crazy Irishman and imply that yes we were lost and not still in Virginia. But yes, Virginia, there really is a battleship named Wisconsin in your backyard.
We settled in for a enthusiastic and satisfying journey back to the Northern Kingdom, when we were hit with a GARMIN glitch. The nice letter to GARMIN about there magnificent GPS system was suddenly turning into a 35 mile glitch. We resolved the GARMIN glitch by doing what normal people do, literally cross-country driving through medians and other sundry coordinates.
On the way home across the magnificent Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel we were in the zone and decided to play chicken with . . . the crazy Irishman let the LHD-1 U.S.S. Wasp win.
It would have been a great geometry problem. A car going 65mph intersects with a 40,000 ton aircraft carrier going 25 knots.
The rest of the trip was uneventful as the states whirled past until Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and finally New Hampshire entered our front windshield. The Road Warriors went from Tuesday at 0800 hours until Thursday 0500 hours for our soldiers, and a historic flag which everyone will see soon on permanent display at Portsmouth International Airport Terminal building at Pease International Tradeport with a plaque to read:
Road Warriors Dick Sweeney, Scott Mace and Jon Anderson.