Seaview was 12 miles offshore of her destination. The decision by Nelson to undertake this emergency mission, in response to the Captain’s pleading was granted on the condition that at least this time, he help out. He’d even secured approval by the Air Force for the Flying Sub to get involved up close and personal as well.
Crane was already boarding the Flying Sub giving Sharkey a thumbs up, while uncharacteristically garbed in a plain red jumpsuit. While the crew was used to the Captain taking on various covert operations, no one had ever seen Nelson in Jeans, casual T-shirt, sunscreen, and sneakers.
There had been a host of volunteers when informed of this assignment, but the old adage of rank having its privileges had won out.
All Seaview’s crew could do was wait. At least they had adequate radio and visual coverage. And coverage it was.
There had been a mass migration to the rendezvous coordinates her officers were headed to and the press vied with each other for the best vantage points of this newsmaker event.
Holding their collective breaths, the crew of Seaview watched and listened to one official and reporter after another while the countdown clock ticked down. Suddenly jet fighters swooped down and over the assemblage, with an acrobatic show of power and might. The Flying Sub followed suit with her own roller coasting and twisting maneuvers until she too flew out of range.
The jets returned with a few more glide paths, while Seaview had finally been informed of the Flying Sub’s landing in the Halifax River, and that Nelson and Crane had already made it to the main event via the special escort sent for them. As for the yellow craft herself, she was being safely watched by the Coast Guard until her owner’s return.
“Hey! There they are!” exclaimed Kowalski after what seemed like a year, as the men watched the various scenes on their monitors.
A happily smiling and already grease splattered Crane had just emerged from doing something under the hood of a red vehicle, and Nelson was handing the driver, (a good friend of Lee’s, who’d found himself in dire straits when some of his team had come down with digestive difficulties), a Gatorade. They’d retreated to the safety of the infield when an official announced, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” The Daytona 500 had begun.
It was a matter of debate aboard Seaview later just which car/ team had really won the event. But as they saw the happily laughing and smiling driver and his pit crew, especially their own dirty sweaty Captain and Admiral, they knew there was no need for a Victory Lane. It was already in their hearts.
*Feb. 17, 2008 Happy 50th Birthday Daytona 500!The Flyby for today's 500 is courtesy the US Air Force Thunderbirds