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July 27, 2006

Bringing home the Rodgers.

We're in Lázaro Cardenes. We were met by a Captain and Lieutenant from the Mexican Navy, and we're off to lay eyes on the Rodgers, and have a "Welcome to Lazaro Cardenes" lunch with the Mexican Navy.

And, importantly, I have access... which means tonight... PICS!

Meet our motley crew...

Brewer's Banditos.

Ward Brewer -Captain
Ken Guiles - Number 1
John Donovan - Gunnery Officer
John Nowakowski- Chief Engineer
Sean Quigley- Able Seaman
Jeremy Byers - Able Seaman
Jim Nowak - Chief Photographer's Mate
Rob Harshbarger - Intel Officer

We're a patchwork crew, come to take a look at the Cuithuiloc/John Rodgers for the first time. All *any* of us have seen of her are old photos and the relatively current satellite shots. Not a sailor among us, either. What's up with you swab-jockeys, anyway? We've got a retired Army guy, retired Air Force guy, OIF veteran, a former Marine, a firefighter, two camera guys...

We're hoping she's a Pretty Woman... a down-on-her-luck, long-in-the-tooth chick who will clean up nicely.

We're prepared for a pretty bad initial impression. Rust peeking out from faded, peeling paint. Water in some of her compartments, the depredations of rodents.

But she was very well cared for by the Mexicans for the 30 years she was in service with them, so we're confident that her basic structure is sound. Oh, she's had some cosmetic surgery here and there, trying to keep up with all the young chicks, what with their missiles, slick radar suites and stuff.

She's had her 20's removed, had her stern cleaned up by losing the depth charge racks and the splinter tubs the 20's used to sit in. Her balcony gun mounts on the funnels are gone, and she's had her torpedo tubes tied removed.

But she's got her 5 inch/38s, all five of 'em. And she has something all these new chicks don't.

A war record. Where she went close inshore for shore bombardments and stuck her neck out to defend the big girls from the Kamikazes.

Those new chicks? Of sure, some of them have launched missiles at targets they can't see... but how many of them have just steamed back and forth, pounding away, emptying their magazines against something that shoots back?

*That's* why we want to bring the Rodgers home.

We want to take better care of her in her dotage than the VA does with her flesh and blood crew.

We can't fix, nor fund, the VA.

But we can fund and fix a home for DD-574, the USS John Rodgers.

This is gonna be kewl.