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The Boat

We received our sub in the fall.

It was so amazing! As soon as we got it I went down and made my way from bow to stern. Words cant do it justice! Could it be that the whole thing really moves? Could it be that it submerges and surfaces an equal number of times? But it does, by God! If you ask me, it looks like it should just sink right there at the pier, together with all of our professional training. But no!

It really is a miracle!!!

Open up the panel of a French sub, and whatll you find? One part made in Japan, another in Sweden, the third in Germany, the fourth in the US, the fifth in France - the world at your fingertips.

Open a Russian panel and your fingertips will take you to another world entirely: Uzbekistan, Kirgistan, Lenkoran, Leninakan, Ufa, Kzyl-Orda! The whole of what used to be the USSR is sailing with you. Set sail, my son! Sail on and on...!

And for years they do sail, submerging and surfacing an equal number of times. Whats the secret? A thousand different alloys. Alloys designed by the best minds, carved by the best hands, and propelled by the best national and geo-political interests.

And then, suddenly, one of them sinks. Then another. And in its wake, a third. But wait a minute! It cant be! I mean, how could they possibly sink? I mean, who could have expected it? Could you have expected it? No, we couldnt have expected it either - after all, each of them had met the absolute strictest standards of military and ideological preparedness.

Really? Well in that case, hats off....

And everybody removes their hats for a moment of silence, wreaths are cast into the water, funeral music plays over the loudspeakers.

Is it over? Okay, then all the rest of you put your hats back on and get out there to pick up the slack. You heard right, get back to sea....!

But you know what? We conducted an informal survey of the survivors, and all of them - every last one - still wanted to serve on submarines.

Its uncanny!

What is a navy? A navy is people. And what else? A navy is iron. And what else? A navy is people who have become one with this iron.

So what more could you wish for them?

Wish them a safe return.

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