Well after surviving food poisoning , Rain, Snow , Mud and the usual blisters we are all safely back home.

Thank you all to those who have followed the blog and our ‘challenging’ week.

We leave you this year with a most welcome and fascinating insight and ‘blog correction’ from our new found Camino buddy Tommy, from South Carolina and his ‘larger than life’ cousin Tex – who, if you have the pleasure to meet him on the Camino will certainly have a tale or two to tell.

As Pilgrim brother Davin pointed out , two of the most intesting characters we have met in the Camino.

Thanks Tommy for the info below:

“It was my grandfather, not my father, in the tobacco spittoon story..

In the US Navy, I was employed as an aircraft jet (turbine) engine mechanic and also held speciality qualifications as a Class C Test Cell operator, and as a Spectrometric Oil Analysis (SOAP) Operator / Evaluator.

In the US Navy folks that work in Engineering are responsible for operating and maintaining the ship’s propulsion systems. I was on three aircraft carriers during my career:

USS Coral Sea during the Vietnam War. We mined Hiaphong Harbor (aerial drop) under President Nixon’s orders in 1972. The USS Midway also participated. The following “cruise” was the first USN aircraft carrier deployment in the Tonkin Gulf following the ceasefire.

Also the USS Independence and we were involved with both Grenada and Lebanon during 1983. Went through (round trip) the Suez Canal to Singapore steaming by Bipol India to show US presence in the area following the Union Carbide disaster there. Our flag officer was Admiral Chang, who was born in Singapore.

Lastly, the USS Nimitz in 85-87 We made a Mediterranean deployment, and went through the Suez Canal round trip – conducting flight operations off the coast of Misera Oman in support of Navy activities in the Persian Gulf. After leaving the Med, the Nimitz and the USS South Carolina (SOCAR), a nuclear powered guided missile cruiser, went into the North Atlantic. Each vessel went to DEFCON 1 readiness and emitted signals pretending to be the other. The Nimitiz was able to hide from the Russian Navy, Air Force, and satellites for four days. Our mission was to prove a nuclear powered aircraft carrier could conduct flight operations in the Vestfjiord. We succeeded. We left the North Atlantic for a visit to Rio de Janiero, through the Straights of Majellan, and to offload our airwing in San Diego. Finally the ship arrived in its new home port of Bremerton WA. I was in WA for 4 months before transferring to Alaska.

Don’t know how much of this you want to use, but now you have a clearer picture. A modern US Navy nuclear aircraft carrier carries an airwing of 80+ aircraft. On the Nimitz, we had 100 aircraft and 6800 men. The crew and airwing has downsized a small bit due to more efficiency.

Not to cut my cousin Tex short, he was an electrician and scheduler / panner for Michelin for 40 plus years. Worked in SC, Ireland, France, and I think Spain, during his career.

You can say such runs in our blood/genes. His father was an electrician for Monsanto and Dow Chemical, his brother was a master machinist for Conoco-Phillips, and the youngest brother is a chemical / mechanical engineer with the same firm.

My surviving brother was a construction electrician for Flour Daniels. He worked at several nuclear power plants across the US, revamping them when they went “cold iron” (shut down for rehab). My father drove 2.5 ton trucks (the deuce and a half) and worked in the motor pool (maintenance shop) in the SC Army National Guard. He bootstrapped that experience into driving 18 wheel trucks across the US… We’ve always been “hands on” type of folk.”