Three couples from nearby Langley Air Force Base took their last sail together near Williamsburg before they start deploying overseas as physicians. Two are dermatologists and three are anesthesiologists. They had a fun time sailing in gradually rising winds.
When the winds subsided we sailed over to the north shore for swimming. Near the channel marker to Sara Creek the water is shallow enough to lessen the river current but deep enough to avoid jellyfish.
Knox Beasley seemed to be the most world-traveled of the group.
“I did a hiking trip with some buddies throughout Southeast Asia. We went to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. When we got to Hue, for some reason we could make phone calls but not receive them. One guy called his dad, who flew an Army helicopter gunship during the Battle of Hue. We got him on the phone and gave us a virtual tour. He quoted the pilot: “See that intersection coming up? Is there a building on the right? Does the front wall look riddled with bullet holes? I did that!”
Four of the doctors are scheduled to go overseas shortly, to Afghanistan, Africa and Qatar.
Jared Wilson is the first to deploy, leaving in a few days for Bahrain. Just briefly, he spoke in measured tones about the anxiety of going. “I’ll be okay, but I worry about leaving Meghann and our two kids. That makes it rough. I’m stationed in Qatar, which was America’s base of operations back at the beginning of the first Iraq war. I’ll be in a forward unit with three other doctors and two nurses. These medical teams are smaller than MASH units but they’re very flexible. Our presence gives our special forces and combat troops more confidence that they’ll be okay out in the field because they really will be okay. If something happens to them, we’re right there.”
As the sun began to set, two ladies sitting on the bow turned around and one of them said lovingly, “Can’t we stay out another three hours?” The unspoken context was that deployment was looming.