Gary "Cowboy" McLaughlin
Monday, June 11, 2001 at 12:43:57

OK, I'm gonna try and see if I can get through this, I tried yesterday but the emotions were simply too much! Please forgive the lengthiness of the POST.

Before the BASH, CinCHouse would tell me... NEVER AGAIN!, and I'd say "Sure, Honey, you're right, we'll never do this again." But all the while I'd be thinking, "she'll soften and within a few months I'll be planning the next one."

Friday I knew we were having fun, all were really enjoying themselves. But Saturday..... that was something entirely different. In the late morning I started really looking around at my guests and shipmates, I mean really looking at them, and paying attention to their expressions, their demeanor, the open armed greetings and bearhugs, the tears in
the eyes, the animation of the conversations. I watched Bob Taylor walk around with his qual book from God know when, and how guys looked at it, Roy Ator had his QB from Diodon, and so it went.......everywhere you looked that kind of thing was happening.

Jim Peveler came here from Utah, I hadn't seen him since 1977. We were both on Sterlet, but he was there 10 years ahead of me. In 1976 he became the President of a company I worked for in San Francisco, and in reading my personnel file he saw that I was on submarines, and we discovered not just on submarines, but that we served on the same boat. Then, he saw that Grant Riddle was here, one of the eleven Sterlet alumni here. He and Riddle actually served together, and had not seen each other since 1956! This story repeated itself over and over again this weekend!

On Saturday, seventeen (and NTINS) different people came up to me and said...."this is like Woodstock for boat sailors!" And they were telling me that they were getting the same vibes (a Woodstock word, for sure) that I was.....


I bought about 80 cases of beer for the BASH, yesterday afternoon I still had over 20 unopened! I never saw anyone drunk.... never saw anyone get angry about anything......

Several told me that at the conventions (I have never been to one, save the B-Girl Reunion last year), people see each other, say hello, and visit. Here, they said, people were "connecting"!

Can you imagine going to a reunion or convention of submariners and having 50 plus people stand out in a horse corral, in the hot afternoon, for over an hour watching a horsehoeing demonstration? It happened here at the BASH! People who had never ridden a horse in their lives, or for many, many years, went on our trial rides.

Our house was left wide open during the BASH, and whenever I or CinCHouse would come in, we would find people we didn't know wandering freely through it on self guided tours. After 3 days of, in some cases, complete and total
strangers helping themselves in and out of our unattended house, nothing is broken, nothing is disturbed, and nothing is missing! Could that be possible with any other group?

There were 3 Army veterans here, who came with Subvets. I made it a point yesterday to talk to each of them yesterday to ask them how they were treated. One of them, a Korean War Veteran, actually broke down when he told
me that he felt more welcome here than at some of his own Army Unit reunions!

Since yesterday morning, when I stood up and openly made a fool of myself by crying like a baby as I tried to thank everyone for coming, for making the BASH happen, I have continued crying as I try unwind emotionally. I was just a very few minutes ago trying to tell CinCHouse about my feelings, and I couldn't finish a sentence! She watched me blabber again, and simply said, "this BASH really meant a lot to you, didn't it?"

Yes, Shipmates, it did. For those of who didn't make it here, you missed something that would forever burn bright in your memories and heart! For those of who did get here, Doug Weston all the way from Cairo, Egypt, for example....from the very bottom of my heart:




Monday, June 11, 2001 at 14:11:22

There were no plans for anyone to help me here at the BASH, but there are some who came and did just that! Actually, anytime there was a "work party" call, guys just started coming in from every direction, it was magnifient, so in that sense just about every one here who could did pick up something and tote it! In one work party line as we were passing stores or something I turned around and there was Goldia Canutt, all 5 feet and not much more of her, standing in the line and heaving to!

But, let name a single out a few for special mention...

Master Chief Bill Linne (he insists I call him that or he'll put me on report...)Bill just kind of "took over" and started getting people parked, organizing work details whenever the need arose, etc. He truly worked much harder during the BASH than did I. If he got a little grouchy at those who wanted to talk during the show...well, they DAMNED WELL deserved it!

Chief John Clear, another one who simply just stepped in and took over. It seemed that whatever Bill wasn't doing, John was. John also worked harder than I.

Terry Stoops, Denisse Hedman, Jo (who came with Cliff Nutter and whose last name I cannot remember, I just put "Nutter" on her name tag!"), and the other shipmates and ladies who sat for hours at the check in table.....thanks to each of you!

Mighty Joe Young, Phil Sutton and his entire family, Jon Krup, who slaved over the open cooking fires, grills, and scullery, who lugged food up that hill to the arena...and to Leonard "Coosie" Sanders, Teddy his main man---and one Prince of a Man, I might add!, Leonard's daughter (whose name I also cannot remember, but she kept putting ice down my back!)

Hal and Liz Clark, who provided the sound system, karaoke, background music, and the BASH database.....

Ken and Millie Krause and Millie's gorgeous sister...(what a dish!), but alas, I am so old and feeble minded I can't remember her name either...although she told me no less than 3 times....who hauled horses here and wrangled the trail rides. Tommie Tomlinson, maybe my closest friend in the world, an airedale, but I have to overlook certain things about him. Tommie worked very hard in getting the ranch ready long before anyone else got here, and he was trail boss on the rides....

Lon Schmidt, Rocky Rockers, Ed Koskie, who all showed up early and pitched in getting things set up and ready.

Glenn Boothe, who schlepped the refer and ice trailers up and back from Fresno.

I missed folks in this recitation, I'm sure, who I shouldn't have....forgive me for that, no slight is intended......

At the risk of being redundant...thanks to all of you who made the BASH such a wild success!

June 17, 2001 at 16:15:40:

I was just sittin here enjoying one of the left over San Miguel beers...thinking it was only a week ago that folks were
pulling out of here....

and thinking I'm glad it was a week ago and not this weekend, it's 103 out there right now, was about the same yesterday! Weather was just one of those things that added to the "magic" of the BASH last weekend, a little warm, mid 90's during the day, but absolutely balmy cool/warm in the evenings! Couldn't have asked for more.

Yet, there is an emptiness here at the ranch this was so "alive" with good friends, good memories remembered, new ones being made, Sue and I still expect to step outside and see someone camped under every tree in site, and heads bobbing on the pool......I think that the "Ghost" of the BASH will always be here, in the barn, the pool, under the trees...along RV row (our version of Battleship Row, had five Class A rigs lined up nose to tail, and a 5th wheel bringing up the rear)...up in the arena, I can still the cut where we dug the trench for the cook fires and dutch ovens, smell the food cookin, the coffee boilin'.....and at sunset, standing in the arena and looking north up toward the house, I can see and hear the Sons of the San Joaquin, the American Flag behind them, flying in all her glory, the sun setting!

I hear Leonard, our camp cook, piping "Amazing Grace" after the Tolling of the Boats, and see the look of surprise, then the emotion on the faces of everyone as they hear the first strains of that coming from behind
them....and the tear stained cheeks as they turned back around to face me after Leonard had marched over the hill to "Going Home".

Yes, the "Ghost" of the BASH AT THE RANCH 2001 will always be here to remind me.....of the very special thing that happened here in June, 2001!

From the very bottom of my heart, I thank each of you who were here!

Hand Salute!



Bash Memories