Blackshoe Connection 3-11-99  info: NCO 

He was Lcdr. Dave Eldridge and a pleasing person of wide knowledge and a better roll model than I had previously been following. He came to our Connie crew 644 and was a smooth pilot, not jumpy or unsure. He would let me pickle the auto pilot from the right seat and we commenced 100 credit hours of 'what is what' talk while I practiced straight and level flight on instruments across the Pacific. This never was allowed in my log book but later during an easier than could have been FAA Instrument check ride out of Plymouth, Mass., I thought of him as when we had been boring holes in the sky out of Quonset Point ( NCO ) and over Mass. Maritime Academy. I thought of him again and how he must be doing as I heard that he went on to become skipper of VX-6, later retiring as a Captain and some time spent in DC. He had graduated from Maine Maritime and told me that after a very good education that he was ready to attend Navy flight training and go onward and upward. Sure sounded cool to me. We had those Flying Red Horse caps with our names on the back. Jerry Plasko, Gordy Williams, Hank Moorehead, George King, Jim Frazier, Fred Overson, Earl Rudder, etc.. We probably all had too much fun and settled down later. Fast Foward to 1993 aboard the Arco Alaska plying the Alaskan oil trade to west coast USA. We are leaving the Long Beach sea buoy after supper and there is a new 3rd mate aboard. Good!, its always great coffee time and sea stories after 8pm when the 'sparks' gets off the 500 radio watch and hops on up to the wheel house where the 3rd mate will be at the con till 8 bells. Any new mate worth his crewmanship will keep you there an hour anyways. Well, watta guy this Bernie Joy. It took till midnight with many side bars to exchange not only some good interesting stories but some down east humor as Bernie narrated his growing up in Bangor, Maine and joining the Navy reserve downtown, had gotten all the way to Boston by the time he was a seaman duce. He got twofer credit while at Maine Maritime, a good education and Navy Reserve time. Starting active duty with 4 years on the books made him a full blown ensign with a hash mark. Shows ya what a kid from Maine can do. He retired as a four striper and CO of the Amphib base at Coronado to his horse farm in San Diego and a little moonlighting as mate on the Alaska, a 1000' 190K ton tanker. This 8-12 watch was way better than videos as we parted for a good nights slumber. I happened to mention on the way down the ladder " Oh, by the way, did you know a Dave Eldredge at Maine Maritime "? " KNOW HIM ???" Bernie yelled with a far out big deep semi permanent grin, "HE WAS MY ROOMMATE" And that is the story of the Black Shoe Connection, OVER.