One of the memories I have of being at sea on a Navy destroyer is Underway Replenishment (UNREP). Often we would steam alongside a big supply ship and take on fuel while steaming 15 knots or so. Often the supply ship would have a couple of giant twin rotor helicopters and they would load of pallets of Ammo or food and drop the pallet of on our fantail where an all-hands working party would stow it all away.
Watching these helicopters was like watching an aerial circus. When they left delivering to our ship, they would often spin around several times on the rear rotor on the way back to get more stuff. It sure looked like those pilots were having fun.
After all these years (1966-2016), I finally met one of those pilots. And yes, it was at sea – this time on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the Mediterranean.
Fred noticed my Navy hat and we started talking. I soon found out that he was one of those pilots, and “yes it was a blast” he told me.