What it was like Commanding the Navy Dolphins

I saw the movie Flipper last night, filmed in 1996 (the same year I had command of the US Navy’s MK6 dolphin system) and immediately realized they were using a Navy trained dolphin – which brought back many powerful memories but also made me a little sick.  I had taken the whole dolphin experience for granted, thinking at the time it was merely excellent fodder for my resume.  But looking back now almost 20 years later, I can savor the individual personalities of those 6 dolphins, the misty air as we sped our boats through the night, the camaraderie of men that few have the privilege to know – and the overall splendor of such a unique experience.  So what was it like commanding the Navy dolphins?  It was awesome!  The dolphins were like playful 4 year olds, splashing us for attention, pouting when they didn’t get their way, and always performing their best operationally, constantly seeking our approval.  We never wore uniforms, but instead wore flip flops, shorts and of course Oakley sunglasses.  The commanding officer of EOD Mobile Unit 3 called us The Gypsies.  Wherever we travelled with the dolphins they were celebrity spectacles, attracting admirals and movie stars alike.  Our jet was refueled inflight to minimize the dolphins time out water.  Money was no object when it came to the dolphins.  And when my men told women in bars that they could visit the dolphins the following morning – they never went home alone.  Memories of glory days always tug at my heart, mostly because I was too much of a fool to live in the moment.  So appreciate every moment of your lives my friends.  In another twenty years – today’s events will be your fondest memories.  These are the good ole days!  Hoo Ya MK6!

Giving Naval Academy Midshipmen a dolphin tour. 1995  00000041

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