t To commemorate the War of 1812, the United Kingdom's First Sea Lord/Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope (on the right) and the U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert (on the left) hosted a media event and reception onboard the United Kingdom's Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Argus, this past week in the Baltimore, Maryland, Harbor.
During the event, Stanhope and Greenert spoke on lessons learned during the War of 1812, and the changes seen within the countries' navies over the past 200 years.
As a preliminary to the "Enemies to Allies" ceremony held later in the week at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, the two admirables chatted "admirably" as media personnel filmed this historic occasion! It is as if they were demonstrating what the Bible says in Matthew 5:24 when it says "First go and be reconciled to your brother...."
The two navies that these men now lead, fought on the Chesapeake Bay at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814. It was that battle that inspired the national anthem.
In this photo, Admiral Greenert is shown pointing toward Fort McHenry (site of the original "Star Spangled Banner"), which could be seen a short distance from where the Argus was moored. Go to http://www.starspangled200.com/ or http://www.baltimore.org/ to learn about all the Baltimore-area activities planned to celebrate the 200 year anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner Anthem in 2014.
Admiral Greenert is quoted as saying the War of 1812 "really signified our rebirth as a Navy and a nation." The message in the press release from the U.S. Navy was, that studying the history of the War of 1812 will help us come away with a greater appreciation of how the U.S. Navy has been keeping the sea free for more than 200 years. You can keep up with our Admiral on Facebook under the title "Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert" .
Admiral Stanhope quipped that one of the major differences he can see between this historic meeting of the two navies, versus the one that occurred in the war of 1812, was that "this time we were INVITED into the Baltimore Harbor!" :) A video and transcript of parts of this interview can be seen at http://www.navy.mil/viewVideo.asp?id=17238
When the interview was over, the sailor who had been on his knees holding the microphones throughout the interview took a while to get straightened back up, as did I, who had also been sitting on the floor amongst the tripods, for the entire interview!
Marine dealers (and even furniture stores) advertise a design called "The Captain's Chair", but the seat located on the bridge of the Argus could be called "The Admiral's Chair" on this particular evening!
After the dignitaries had left the bridge, I persuaded one of the sailors to take a photo of my sister and I, to prove that we had actually witnessed this historic "meeting of the Admirals"!
The top of the Argus had a commanding view of much of Baltimore Harbor. You can see videos of events held in the Baltimore Harbor for Sailabration at www.navyweek.org/baltimore2012/index.html That site will also give you the cities where similar activities will be held during the next three years. The Commemoration will continue with events marking the Battles of Lake Erie and Lake Champlain, and the Battle of New Orleans. Local civic committees in each city are organizing events in which the Navy and its partners will participate. Get details at http://www.navywarof1812.org/
This flight deck is set up for the reception that was held after the media event. Although we did not attend the reception, there are photos of the "Ceremonial Beating Retreat" on Admiral Greenert's Facebook page.
With more than two thirds of the Argus length taken up by the flight deck, she has the ability to accommodate most helicopters, and to operate several at once.
The media used a VERY STEEP gangplank to get to the bridge of the ship where the interview was held. However, didnitaries used the special steps set up within the scaffolding, covered by the British naval flag.
Although no one told me this, I surmised that these were the vehicles and drivers for the very top distinguished guests attending the reception.
RFA stands for Royal Fleet Auxiliary. It is a civilian manned fleet, owned by the Ministry of Defence. Its main task is to supply warships of the Royal Navy at sea with fuel, food, stores and ammunition, which they need to remain operational while away from base.
The RFA Argus (which is the big gray hull behind the USS Donald Cook in the foreground), carries a hospital facility. I am thankful none of the media had to use the hospital facilities, especially considering we had to SPRINT up 10 flights of stairs in a very narrow stairwell, in order to make the scheduled interview!
Although Sailabration 2012 is over in Baltimore, it is not too late for YOU to see a great gathering of all kinds of navy vessels at other locations around the United States. Operation Sail, Inc., 2012, still has two more cities to visit. They are Boston, MA from June 30 - July 5, and New London, CT, from July 6 - July 9. Go to http://www.opsail.org/ to start planning your own version of "Anchors Away!" and miles of smiles! Tricia