The story behind the cover…
This is my first concept cover for Hot Run. I love this picture. I took it the last morning I was at sea on the USS Key West SSN-722. I was lucky enough (or more likely I whined enough) to get the look out watch the morning we were pulling back into Pearl Harbor from a six month Western Pacific Deployment, or WestPac, as we called it. Lt. Cmdr Waaler was the Officer of the Deck up in the Bridge with me, which was another bonus, he was a very cool guy. After we had set up the flying bridge, a Shop Keeper, whose name escapes me now, came up with a cell phone and I was able to call my wife, Amy, who was staying in a hotel in Waikiki. She went out to the balcony as we talked and she was able to watch us come around Diamond Head as we made our approach to the mouth of Pearl Harbor. Looking back on it, I think it may have been the first time I had made a call on a cell phone. It’s not that cell phones had just been invented, I mean the kids on 90210 had them when I was in high school, but I grew up in 49053, I only knew two people with cell phones back then and they carried them around in bags.
After a beautiful sunrise (and it wasn’t just beautiful because I hadn’t seen the sun in a few weeks, I mean come on look at the picture) we made what seemed to be the slowest march ever past Waikiki. When we finally made it into the Harbor, everyone was buzzing with excitement, but no one was more exited than my friend, Fire Control Technician, John Wayne Johnson. His baby girl had been born while we were on deployment and he had yet to see her. My heart goes out to all the mothers and fathers who are on deployment now, especially to my brother in law who started a nine month deployment just a few days after he and my sister’s son was born. God speed Brian, stay safe and come home soon.
Later that morning, after we had safely moored and everyone was reunited with their loved ones on the pier, I was overcome with emotions. Amy and I had spent 14 of the first 23 months of our marriage apart. Now, I was getting out of the Navy and it finally felt like we were starting our life together. Of course, there were a lot of my shipmates I would miss, and the Submarine I had spent the last 3 years, 8 months, and 5 days of my life aboard would be relegated to my past, but the one thing that really sticks out in my mind, the memory that I go back to again and again, is how fat the Ronald McDonald, who was there to entertain the kids was. When you think about it though, it was completely appropriate. Every image of Ronald McDonald should depict him with no less than a 64 inch waist. So that’s the memory (and a few tangents) which the picture on the cover stirs for me. I am still working very hard putting the finishing touches on Hot Run to bring you the best submarine experience you can get through a book!
Thanks for checking in~
T. Steven Sullivan