Welcome to my office. My Uncle owns this place. Welcome to the USS Philippine Sea (CG-58). I'll be spending the next couple of months aboard this ship teaching American History.

I’m back in the US Navy. Well, sort of. My new job certainly creates that illusion – and what an illusion! I will board the “(CG-58) USS Philippine Sea” around the 10th of May. Clio’s coming, too. She and I will pair up to teach three courses of college history to naval enlisted personnel.

I am right proud of this assignment. As a former “squid” myself, one hard and seasoned “shellback,” a member of Uncle Sam’s “canoe club,” I cannot wait to see what changes have transpired in shipboard operations.

How many historians can make the claim that they taught their discipline on the front lines? Yes ladies and gentlemen, more than likely (for I really don’t know), it’s a Med-Cruise for me, and if it’s the Mediterranean then more than likely this means an off-the-coast visit to Libya.

Nonetheless, I am honored to have been chosen for this assignment. As an Atlantic Studies Historian, to see places like Gibraltar, Minorca (at least a sail by…please!), Barcelona, Naples, Crete, Sicily, etcetera and etcetera, well, I’m still getting used to the idea. As a historian of the early-modern, post-Renaissance era being able to view the port cities and trading routes of the region will add to my arsenal of smarts, especially with the book I’ve been writing in my spare time.

But more than anything, I’m looking forward to the challenge of teaching on a steel-wrapped warship with little to no access to the outside world. Internet? No. Cell phones? No. Nearly all of my pedagogy is student-centered, inviting students to conceive themselves as historians, working their way through the historical inquiry process, conducting research and writing as the semester moves along. Not sure this is possible given the classroom is a sea-going craft of the making war kind. Thus I may be forced to – gulp –lecture! What a chore, and I’m loving the anticipation. Let’s see if I love the reality.

So, it’s anchors away, full speed ahead. Physical is passed and done, background check is done, just a couple of more “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed. And though I am leaving for the Atlantic just in time for me to miss my oldest daughter’s high school graduation, my youngest daughter’s tenth birthday, and my wife’s, and our anniversary (hmn, maybe it is for these reasons I left the navy? Nah.), I am looking forward to finally work in the profession that I chose. I hope to make CSU Chico proud, my professor’s proud, my colleagues and peers, my wife and kids, and my country in general. What a great feeling. To be employed to teach history in the service of one’s country. Salute!

More to come.

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