|USNS Leroy Grumman in drydock, Boston|
This is 'Leroy Grumman' in dry-dock. Two months ago I assisted in bringing her in to Boston and placing her hull in the dock; I watched the water being pumped from the huge basin and the hull being revealed, inch by inch. Now, as we labor to make our ship ready for return to the sea, one might be excused for thinking that I'd have grown used to the idea of 'Grumman' as a three-dimensional object, but it isn't really true.
Whenever I go ashore or come back aboard I simply must pause to look at my ship in this unfamiliar position. To see the screws and rudders, bilge-keels and forefoot exposed to my sight seems somehow wrong; even indecent. Removed from the sea there is a vulnerability to my ship's appearance, a kind of betrayed innocence, and I find myself looking forward to the day when this dock will once more fill with water, 'Grumman's keel will lift from the blocks, and she will become once again a thing of the sea, powered and powerful and ready to set out upon great waters with purpose.