Wednesday, May 31, 2017

An afternoon at Dulles - Two Navy Vets, a Turkish Dad, and a Can of Peas

Yesterday, I headed out to Dulles International Airport to pick up my oldest son, who spent the last three weeks in Germany as part of his honors college international program.  His plane was scheduled to arrive 7 pm ... but I left my house at 2 pm to beat the rush hour traffic on I-495, the ring road Washington, DC. An hour later, I found myself inside the busy terminal.  Perhaps I could spend time in the USO Lounge ....

... instead, I chose to get some exercise by walking laps around the building.  I passed many women dressed in sari (India) and burqa (Saudi).  I also spotted several men dressed in customary clothing from Africa.  I watched the check in lines ebb and flow as the international airlines landed, loaded, and departed.  I was fascinated as families repacked suitcases, discard items that were not worth the excess weight fees, and sit on luggage to close them.  

During one of my laps, I spotted an older gentleman wearing a Navy cap for the USS Begor (APD-117).  From its website (link),

USS BEGOR was named for LtJG Fay Broughton Begor, Medical Corps, US Naval Reserve. Young doctor Begor was a Medical Officer supporting amphibious operations during the invasion of Japanese-held Lae, New Guinea, in September 1943. He was wounded by enemy fire and died five days later on a hospital ship.

After launching the ship on May 25, 1944, the topside was redesigned ... capable of delivering and supporting Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) personnel close to shore

(UDTs are the predecessors of the SEALs)

With the surrender of Japan .... Begor was one of the first allied ships to enter Tokyo Bay on 29 August and would be the first to land troops, UDT-21, ashore at Futsu Saki Point in Tokyo Bay.

I approached the Navy veteran and thanked him for his service. We chatted about military life, including his Air Force son, who served in the Gulf War.  He noted that his son was recently diagnosed with PTSD by the VA hospital - I responded I would pray for his son's recovery through therapy.  The Navy Vet was on his way to Columbus, Ohio, to attend the PGA's Memorial Tournament with his younger son.  This lead to a conversation about golf, Jack Nichlaus, and Arnold Palmer (Arnie hails from Latrobe where my inlaws grew up).  I asked him if he needed any help checking in his luggage.  He responded, "I generally find the prettiest agent and play the old man card".  Oh, he is a Navy vet indeed.

I continued my laps and spotted another older gentleman wearing a blue cap with Navy Retired. Once again, I thanked him for his service.  We chatted for a few minutes about his career as a Navy pilot - he flew off the decks of numerous ships, including the USS Independence.  From Wikipedia (link),

USS Independence (CV/CVA-62) was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy. She was the fourth and final member of the Forrestal class of conventionally powered supercarriers. She entered service in 1959, with much of her early years spent in the Mediterranean Fleet.

Independence made a single tour off the coast of Vietnam in 1965 during the Vietnam War, and also carried out airstrikes against Syrian forces during the Lebanese Civil War and operations over Iraq during Operation Southern Watch, the enforcement of the no-fly zone over southern Iraq.

Independence was decommissioned in 1998 after 39 years of active service.

During my last lap, I spotted an older gentleman wearing an Aloha shirt. I stopped to comment on his shirt, leading us into conversation.  He was a Turkish immigrant who became an American citizen. He was waiting for his daughter from Turkey to visit him for the summer.  We chatted about Turkish culture, demonstrating that it's a small world after all.

I then received a call from my son who had deplaned his Iceland Air Flight.  Once I met him in the terminal, he shared that he noticed the Turkish Airlines Airbus parked next to his aircraft.  Given the size of the airplane, he knew the customs line would grow long.  So he did not dawdle like other passengers, thus demonstrating that he takes after me!

And the peas?  I spotted a can of peas abandoned on a seat ... apparently, it didn't make the cut for packing.  Rather than throwing it away, I brought it home to donate to the food bank.

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash.  To enter the giveaway,

1. How do you pass time at an airport, train station, etc.?  Have you chatted with fellow passengers?  Do you like canned vegetables?

2. Comments are open through Sunday, June 4, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Monday, June 5.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City


  1. I usually do not fly or take trains.....but the last time I did have to fly I read.

    1. Rest assured, I had a book in my purse ... but I wanted to exercise after sitting in the car for an hour. As interesting as it was to see the world at the airport, I grow less interested in air travel - so much hassle!

  2. LOl who would bring peas on a trip!!! I love people watching and guessing about their lives. I will talk with people nearby but love how you really get people to open up!

  3. I think it's wonderful that you talked to all those people while waiting for your son. I usually read a book.

  4. I browse the shops at the airports, especially the Duty Free shops at the international terminals.

  5. I have to admit, I'm not nearly as inventive as you, Kim! I usually spend extra airport time reading or working word puzzles.

  6. I haven't flown in years & rarely take trains - sometimes I would have brief conversations with fellow passengers.

    I use canned veggies for specific recipes like Crockpot Fiesta Chicken that uses cans of black beans, diced tomatoes & corn.

  7. Don't care for canned veggies that much. I read at the airport and I do talk to people occasionally while traeveling.

  8. I always Have a book with me to read. It makes the time go by faster. If I am with someone, I will visit with them. If I am in the mood, I will start a conversation with My husband is the social one and will strike up conversations with anyone, especially veterans. I will admit we have had some interesting conversations.
    I love vegetables fresh, canned, frozen - any way I can get them. I always keep my pantry stocked with canned vegetables. They are easy to fix and we donate them to the church food pantry.

  9. I do like to people watch at airports.

    Prefer my veg fresh.

  10. I haven't been on a plane in years much less traveled. Depends on vegetable.

  11. I read, people watch and talk to some.

  12. I think it's wonderful that you approach and thank our military, active or retired for their service. I'm sure it makes their day. I haven't traveled by plane or train in years but when I did I always loved interacting with other passengers. Love vegetables.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  13. I normally don't travel, but I do do a lot of pickups from airports and train stations/bus terminals. I usually just read a book or people watch, but sometimes I find myself in conversations with others either waiting to board or picking up.
    Yes, I do love vegetables, usually fresh, but canned in a pinch.

  14. I love to people watch at airports. It is so interesting to see reunions, ages of people meeting, reactions and emotions of those going and coming.

  15. Read, like most people. LOL.
    Natty's Mama

  16. I read, of course! I don't usually talk much to other passengers - at least not for long. Oh and canned veggies? I'm good with them but prefer fresh most of the time.

  17. I use shop or people watch. Sometimes I talk to people too.
    I love some canned vegetables. Beets are my favorite. I will eat them right out the can

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