We had a wonderful whirl wind weekend in San Diego. It’s taken me a week to re-center and get back to reality. I was on a patriotic high due to our great nation and those who dedicate their lives and careers serving the United States of America.
As I mentioned, Mr. Chicken Fry received a gracious invitation to attend a “Change of Command” ceremony aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt. (more about that below) To take full advantage of this amazing opportunity, we flew out of Dallas last Wednesday morning to soak in all that Coronado Island has to offer.
This precious town is beaming with patriotism and zeal. The weather is a steady dry but sunny/salty 72 degrees. It is most definitely a place I will visit again for a long weeknd, college tour or a relax and chill get away. For starters, Coronado is beautiful in landscape and architechture. The main drag is Orange Avenue and it’s lined with palm trees as far as the eye can see. The island of Coranado is shared with the US Naval base so it’s surrounded with a military presence. The moment we began our long walk to rent a golf cart, I saw what reminded me of Tom Cruise speed by on motorcycle in full gear most likely coming from a sand volleyball game with his Navy buddies! lol
We stayed at the newely rennovated Marriott Coronado Island Resort on the bay. This is a bustling area with much to see. All day long we watched marine helicopters, naval jets, and Navy aircraft carriers going in and out of the bay. Never a dull moment and plenty of action packed activity.
As a whole, Coronado has it all. There is shopping, wine bars, quaint places to lunch, beaches, fine dining, art, exercise, hiking, biking and a whole lot more. We ended our day tour at Danny’s Palm Bar. This 1943 small hole in the wall joint is beyond sanctuary. The bar walls pay tribute to the fallen Navy Seals. It’s old, it’s special and you can’t leave without having a salute toast to our lost heros. The architechture inside of Danny’s is something to see and I hear their famous frog man burger is tastey!
The US Misway is a small Naval carrier available for public tour. I highly recommend taking the ferry out in the bay to tour the ship to get an up close picture of what Hollywood can’t depict in a movie. The village, where you board the ferry has an array of shopping, dining and activity. Locals are out walking the strand and frockling in the comfortable climate.
It is with a humble heart and a ton of gratitude that I proudly share this once in a lifetime experience. We were told to bring our ID for security verification. We had to order a cab/ taxi with naval base clearance. Upon pulling onto base we all had to present our credentials. I felt so official. We had a second ID and security check point once we were dropped at the carrier. Can’t be too careful.
First stop, golf cart rental to tour the charming island. We had a patio water front lunch at Peohe’s in the harbor.
We took a trip down to the old historical and magnificant Del Coronado Hotel. It’s pristine beach landscape is as a timeless as the well kept interior of the hotel. The elevator, chandelier and wood work is spectacular. We spent about two hours laying in the sand relishing in the sun.
Thursday we spent the day at our hotel pool hanging out but not before a long morning walk and breakfast.
Later that evening we were hosted at a welcome party in the hills of Point Loma. The party was to celebrate the retirement of the man of the hour, Admiral John Alexander.
This house was spectular in its own right. I hesitated to start snapping pictures but this place was incredible. The bay view was uncompromising as was the comradre. About twenty five frat guys (Sigma Chi’s from Texas Tech) and their guests came out for this special event. When I met John, I immediately thanked him for including us for this unique experience. He replied “it’s my pleasure and it speaks volumes to the bond we shared in college but also… anytime I can include civilians to participate and see their US Navy at work I do it. It’s your Navy! You pay for it! I’m so glad you could come and be apart of it.”
Jaw drop… no words! Speechless! Bring it on!
My my my…our great country and the people who choose to serve are remarkable.
We boarded the ever so massive US Theodore Roosevelt. We were civilians with security clearance for a special “Change of Command” ceremony for Vice Admiral John Alexander. Admiral Alexander is a US Navy 3 Star Admiral and former Sigma Chi at Texas Tech. John and Mr. Chicken Fry were frat brothers and technically Carter’s big big brother in the linage. Three star general there are only six men in entire US Navy to hold this prestigious title.
Basically, when you are Admiral of the 3rd fleet it means you are acting CEO of the pacific fleet.
Once aboard the ship we were placed on a platform also knows as the aircraft carrier elevator. It hoisted all of the guests in groups of 30 up to the flight deck where a tent and band welcomed us to the special occasion. All of the pomp and circumstance had my eyes flooding with tears. I could fill my heart bursting with pride. All of the states flags were represented and flying. As we stood for the pledge of allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner, tissue was a requirement. As introductions and speeches were made, I sat listeining in awe! Amazed at thir stories and how far we have come as a military, as a country and as human beings.
The sound of the silence, the 21 shot gun salute, the whistles, and the flags whipping in the wind will forever been engraved in my memory. The prayer and the formal marching and dress was just enough to open the water works. From there I was unable to keep my composure. I was wrecked with full blown love of God and country. Mr. Chicken Fry and I stood hand in hand. I didn’t even try to dry the tears. Let them flow! I’m so proud and my heart was full.
God bless America. God! One nation under God!
After the formal ceremony and salutes, we were sent back down the elevator which is not for the weak…and greated with a 5 star reception. Fine cuisine and music. And would you get a load of this cake!!! The aka Cake Boss made a replica of the ship. Speaking of the ship…YES I did get a tour of this massive piece of art.
The new Top Gun movie “Maverick” set to open Summer 2020 was just filmed on the Roosevelt. Apparently all of the flight scenes and ship scenes were filmed on the ship. While I was assured that Tom Cruise does all of his own stunts, he is not in the cockpit of the fighter jet. Hollywood does their special effect magic because in actuality Tom is in the co-pilot seat.
Nonetheless an extraordinaty experience touring the ship and all of the different bridges and decks. If you are a y’all specimen the narrow ladder like stairs are difficult. Mr. Chicken Fry hit his spotlight head right off the bat as did many of his counter parts! The stairs are crazy steep and skinny. Thankfully I was warned so I took a pair of flats and did a quick change.
The flight deck is about 1092 feet long. The whole ship is 5 acres in totality. The Roosevelt carries / houses 4700 men and women, 2000 sailors and the other 2700 are naval aviation.
I feel so privileged to have experienced this moment. It was a fantastic farwell tibute to a wonderful man and family.
Later that evening we were hosted at the Admiral’s home for one last celebration. Friends and family gathered to honor a man who gave his life and career in service to the United States of America. This Admirals mansion was exquisite. Each room was filled with years of unique collections.
The food and fellowship was warm and happy. The bright lights glowing on the bay water was the perfect backdrop. Check out this Texas longhorn cake!! Isn’t this fab! It was delicious.
I may never have the clearance to step foot on a Naval aircraft carrier again but I will never forget this endearing extraordinary experience. To me it was an affirmation of our freedom that we often take for granted.
Next time your called for jury duty or walk down the street, or check in at the airport…never forget that men and women all over the world are out there working, serving to keep us all protected and safe.
Love, behave and God bless the USA!!