Rising to the Challenge

Members of 2nd Fleet lined up for attention (March 2016)

by LCDR Patrick Giese, 2nd Fleet Ops Officer — 2021.01.19 PD / 349.18.15 AL

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that the last year and a sizable chunk of 2021 offer huge challenges for our ships, groups and personnel. We’ve had to shelter in place, mask, avoid social situations, and large gatherings – which are considered by many to be the lifeblood of fan organizations. Some of us in fact either suffered directly from the pandemic, either contracting COVID, looking after someone else who came down with it, or worse case, watched as some parted company with us too soon and soared off into the void. Jobs, family members, friends, and shipmates all impacted in strongly negative ways.

Nonetheless, rising against the challenge is part of the 2nd Fleet character, and once again, we lifted off under heavy fire and still managed to pull together in fun and unique ways. Out on the Discord servers we planned and schemed fun in ways that kept us safe and let us continue to (virtually) gather to game and socialize. Socially distanced Geocaching hunt early in the year, later, contributing to virtualized cons like CDRE Justin Grays at vConvergence for the panel on POC in fandom, HMS Vixen’s Blood Drive challenge, and the HMS Havoc Theater watch events to name a few. It might be that given the challenges of upper Midwest winter living prepared us for hunkering down and still having fun!

On the relief front, the Gryphon’s Wings was there time and again to help those adversely impacted from among us, with donations rolling in to support those less fortunate from among our shipmates. No doubt more will yet be required of us until we can be together and celebrate meeting the challenge. So we still do the necessary, follow guidelines, help our shipmates when needed, and plan for the return of gatherings.

Looming on the horizon of 2022 is our part in delivering WorldCon in Chicago. The fleet has offered to assist with the event, and RADM Geoff Strayer is assembling the fleet support team for that event. And the big one this Fall of course, the Matter of Honor LARP on the USS Edson in Bay City, Michigan! But most important, please remember to stay safe, and respect the guidelines that are in place to mitigate the scourge, until we can gather again!

Stop the Bleed

2020.05.31 CE / 349.11.16 AL (MNB)

A bleeding injury can happen anywhere, and even on one of Her Majesty’s ships, there’s not always a Corpsman available to immediately respond to an emergency. Which is why Commander Brian Lee Gnad, commanding HMS Bravery (CL-21), decided to take advantage of the Defense Health Agency’s “Stop the Bleed” classes that they’ve been offering in their operating area of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Heading out to grid reference Broken Arrow on 6 March 2020, Gnad and four of his crew arrived to learn how to recognize life-threatening bleeding, and active quickly and effectively to control that bleeding using three quick techniques.

The class was free and taught by two licensed paramedics from the Defense Health Agency’s command staff (who did not wish to be identified). This first aid procedure involved first, calling 911 to get assistance quickly, applying pressure with your hands, packing the wound and pressing down, and then finally, applying the tourniquet. They got into greater detail, which involved teaching the students how to use of the combat tourniquet, hemostatic agents, and various forms of dressings and techniques to stop life threatening bleeding.

Obergefraiter Joy Wandrey, proudly wearing her Clan Fraser shirt, said, “Learned a lot…, many thanks to Paul and to Brian, as well as the whole Devlin clan. Then spent today learning a little about stormspotting including how and what to report! Very educational weekend indeed!” Even those who couldn’t be there, such as Senior Chief Petty Officer Benjamin Koch, said, “Awesome opportunity! This is some real useful knowledge to have. If you are on the fence I recommend you go for it!”