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Captain B Smith

Captain Smith                   

       Lifetimes ago, he believes he was a gypsy. This time around he was born to be a merchant seaman for over 40 years - a civilian sailor who worked aboard commercial ships for a living. Captain Smith began his maritime career as an ordinary seaman in 1971 on a Great Lakes ore freighter.   He was never in the U.S. Navy, even though he retired in 2013 as the Captain of a U.S. Naval Intelligence Gathering Ship operating in the Far East.

      He has worked on many types of ships throughout his career.  Once, as a deck officer, he was part of a hand-picked crew that transported NATO's 100,000 GX and VX nerve agent weapons from Nordingham, Germany to a disposal site on Johnston's Atoll in the Pacific. The ship was at sea for 46 days.  "Operation Steel Box," was escorted by a naval warship to deter pirates and terrorists.  Had the ship been boarded, pre-set explosives would have been detonated to sink it.

    A voyage during the first gulf war was bound for the Persian Gulf 20 miles west of Borneo in pirate the ship lost all power.  The crew managed to get an anchor out before the ship could run aground on nearby shoals.   During one attempt to re-start the engine, a fire broke out in a large generator room.  The space filled with dense, blinding smoke, making firefighting dangerous and difficult, but the ship was saved.

     During his second month of winter on a research vessel above the Arctic Circle, he often watched brilliant colors from the Northern Lights – pink, violet, milky white and green – eerily pulsate across the sky for hours.  Other times at sea, he'd seen stars so thick they looked like clouds. Once he saw a full moon’s reflection on glassy waters, surrounded by stars, as the back of a whale slowly broke the surface and then sank beneath.  On a ship far out in the Pacific, he saw the reflection of a shooting star pass through groups of stars reflected on the ocean's mirrored surface. 

    From a ship anchored in the Suez Canal, he traveled to the outskirts of Cairo and rode a camel at sundown past the Great Pyramid of Giza. From a tanker anchored in Naples, he traveled to Pompeii and walked through ghostly ruins at dusk. While on a cargo ship anchored in Piraeus, Greece, he traveled to the Parthenon and watched the sunrise. On a cable ship docked in South Hampton, England he went to Stonehenge on a bright, sunny afternoon and stayed until after sunset, watching as gray-black shadows from the monoliths grew in length until they had moved through the circle of giant stones.