God or Chief Petty Officer

God or Chief Petty Officer

By: Garland Davis

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I am told that I have a God complex. It isn’t complex. I am God.

In this form, I was born in 1944. However, I have always existed in one form or another.

Once I was a star far out in an invisible galaxy. It was hot and boring. I couldn’t sleep in all that heat.

Then for a short time I was a cockroach on a U.S. Navy Frigate. But I was crushed when a foretopman hit me with the bitter end of a line. I tried once more as a cockroach in a more modern Navy, but an HM1 with a can of liquid sprayed me into oblivion. After that I lost interest in insects.

For a time I was an aircraft carrier. But it was always turning into the wind to launch aircraft and turning into the wind to recover aircraft. All this turning made me dizzy. Then I was hit by a Kamikaze and burned. It was like being back as a sun. The heat was too much.

I tried being an alligator but ended up on some cowboys feet as a pair of boots. Part of me became a belt for his girlfriend. For a short while, I was a green chile pepper but a guy named Jerry chopped me into a bowl of chili. From that point I eventually ended up as a cloud of smelly gas. Now I am finally a human.

I was a mess cook on a Fletcher class can. There is an old adage that, “Stuff rolls downhill.” You couldn’t get no further downhill than mess cooking. Then I became a Second Class Petty Officer. Senior enough to avoid the dirty work but junior enough to lack a lot of responsibility. But that became boring.

I became an Ensign. A gold bar and all the enlisted men salute. That’s where I learned that there is a step lower than mess cook which catches a lot more “Stuff.” Looking around, I thought I found the perfect place. I would be Captain. Everyone said the Captain is God. Since I am God, this would be perfect.

I discovered that Admirals really control Captains. Captains want to be Admirals and will put up with a ton of “Stuff’ for the chance to be an Admiral. So, I decided I would be an Admiral.

That didn’t work out either. The politicians dream up so much “Stuff” to encumber the Admirals with. I briefly considered becoming a politician, but realized I had more character and dignity when I was a cockroach.

Finally my search is ended. I have found the perfect place for God. Now I am all knowing and all powerful. “Stuff” from topside rolls around me. I have the power to send “Stuff” back uphill.

I am God. I am Chief Petty Officer!

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Part 5 – The Bullsh** Log

Plausibly Live



Once you’re qualified, going to sea on a Ballistic Missile Submarine during the Cold War is a combination of boredom, stress, and trying to figure out what to do next. You’ll stand your watches, qualify your next watch stations, and do a lot of maintenance and cleaning. In fact, so much cleaning that there will be a four page memo that describes the difference between “Clean Up Ship” and “Field Day.”

Because even XO’s get bored and once they start writing…. well…

Shoved in between all of that, is eating, sleeping, showering, working out, watching movies, reading books, listening to music and trying to figure out the best prank to pull. Most of which you will never ever hear about because, frankly, they’re only funny to submariners.

There are drills galore. Division and Departmental Training. Throw in some General Military Training just for good measure.

Once in a while there’s…

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Operation Song Than

Operation Song Than

By: Captain Jim Barton

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On May 13, 1972 the first South Vietnamese counteroffensive Operation Song Than 5-72 just south of the DMZ began in order to retake the areas lost in the NVA Easter Offensive 6 weeks before. An earlier attempt by 5000 ARVN soldiers airlifted in to retake the areas lost had been largely decimated. It was give and take over the next couple of weeks.

Early the morning of the 24th, it seems every cruiser and destroyer in the 7th Fleet lined up to provide Naval Gunfire Support and to prepare the beach for the renewed South Vietnamese helicopter and amphibious assault in Operation Song Than 6-72.

My ship USS George K. Mackenzie (DD-836) was positioned 2000-3000 yards from the beach between the 8 inch heavy gun cruiser Newport News (CA-148) and the 6 inch light cruiser USS Oklahoma City (CG-5).

Just prior to amphibious landings by the Republic of Viet Nam’s 369th Marine Corps Brigade, B-52s from Anderson AFB in Guam laid down a line of 500 pound bombs along the beachhead.

The concussion from the bombs and the gunfire from the ships was unreal and prompted us to say, “I love the smell of cordite in the morning.”

Support for the troops ashore continued over the next several weeks but I had never before or after seen such an array of ships shooting at the beach on this particular D-Day/H-Hour.

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Heroes and Role Models

Heroes and Role Models

By: Garland Davis

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Between some old movies seen on the TV and at the theater, I commanded a PT Boat with John Wayne, bombed Tokyo with Van Johnson and Spencer Tracy, drove a bulldozer with John Wayne and the SeaBees, stormed the beaches at Guadalcanal with numerous other movie actors. These movie actors and later television actors portrayed positive role models for boys and young men. Actresses like Judy Garland, Doris Day, and Katherine Hepburn set the example for young girls and women.

These actors and actresses weren’t angels, but their private lives weren’t open to the 24/7 scrutiny that plagues today’s celebrities.

Sports stars presented themselves as clean shaven, properly barbered, and well dressed men. The worst one would see watching a baseball game was the constant spitting and an occasional argument with an umpire.

As boys growing up in the late forties, the fifties and into the sixties, we were surrounded by heroes and role models. Every family and every neighborhood had someone who had served in WWII. We only knew it because someone told us. These men didn’t talk about it or brag about their exploits during their war.

I remember a number of these men. There was Mister Jim. Jim lived with his three younger sisters and his nephew. He farmed tobacco. Jim was up in the morning to milk the cows and feed the animals and was still working when the sun set. He owned no tractors, trucks or other modern farm machinery. He plowed his land with a team of mules, hauled what he needed in a wagon or in a sled. He walked the mile to and from church on Sunday mornings, regardless of the weather, while his nephew and sisters rode. His younger sister told me that Jim spent a year in the trenches in France during WWI. When I once asked him about it his only reply was, “You don’t need to know that stuff boy, now let’s git this ‘baccer laid down.”

I was in the Boy Scouts for awhile when I was twelve and was struggling to learn Morse Code. A friend’s dad helped me with it. He told me he learned it in the Army. He also taught me the chords on a guitar, but I was tone deaf and couldn’t tell one from the other. I learned at his funeral that he had been a radio operator in B-17 bombers and had flown eighteen missions over Germany during WWII.

I had a cousin whom we all looked up to as a hero. He had flown the P-38 Lightning during the invasion of Italy and later escorting the bombers into Europe. He started a crop dusting company after the war. He was recalled for the Korean conflict and was killed during a training flight in Texas.

Another cousin came home from Korea a mental basket case. He was a corpsman and was caught behind Chinese lines with seven wounded soldiers. When American forces regained the ground they found him with his patients and the four Chinese soldiers he killed protecting them. The Army hung a bunch of medals on him and sent him home. He was in and out of mental facilities until he took his own life while I was in boot camp.

The gentleman who cut my hair walked with a limp. He was with the Marines and had invaded Guadalcanal with an artillery unit. They were setting up the artillery and an accident crushed his foot. When I asked him about it all he ever said was, “It was hot and miserable.”

A very gentle and religious gentleman taught sixth grade at my school. He had been an artillery officer manning a gun position on the Outer Banks of North Carolina during the war. He said they spent their time looking for Nazi Submarines trying to land saboteurs on the beach.

A cousin was married to a sailor who was a BT. He had served during the war in a DE escorting convoys to and from Europe. After the war he stayed in the Navy Reserve. I was in North Carolina after I made CPO and attended BTC Raymond Mallory’s retirement from the Reserves.

We were surrounded by positive role models and we idolized our movie heroes and walked in awe of the ordinary men we knew who were heroes.

What role models do boys have today? Charlie Sheen, Snoop Dogg, Colin Kaepernick, Bill Clinton?

Who do the girls have Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus? And Monica taught them that giving blow jobs was okay.

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Shipmates

Shipmates

By: Bill Bentley

 

I would like to recognize all of the everyday compatriots who have been my friends and associates for oh so many years. To all the Beer Drinking, Whiskey Swillers, who ran the streets of Asia on some of the most amazing liberty known to man while in port and worked so hard in their chosen profession at sea. The person who would give you the shirt off his back, the one who would lend a hand in ensuring that your task got completed, the one who would rag your ass out without making it personal, the one that could lighten the mood with a tasteless joke, the one who would listen to your problems and keep them in confidence, the one who kept you out of trouble or at least made sure he was standing right next to you when trouble showed up, The story teller and even the dude who everyone likes to pick at….The American Sailor – each and every one of them deserve to be on the Honor Roll and I salute them all. Not only have I had the pleasure of being able to keep in touch with them via the internet, I get to meet with some of the best each and every year at the Westpac’rs reunion In Branson MO. serving with them has been an adventure and I would do it again in a heartbeat if offered the chance!

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St. Patrick’s Day

Saint Patrick was a gentleman,
Who through strategy and stealth,
Drove all the snakes from Ireland,
Here’s a toasting to his health.
But not too many toastings
Lest you lose yourself and then
Forget the good Saint Patrick
And see all those snakes again.

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one.
A pretty girl and an honest one.
A cold pint– and another one!

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The Nasty City Snake Ranch

The Nasty City Snake Ranch

By: Garland Davis

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Most sailors understand the term “Snake Ranch.” Many of us were involved as either renter, co-renter, shareholder, or tolerated as a visitor at a “Snake Ranch” one or more times during our Naval career. They were usually located within a reasonable distance of the base with a NEX Beverage Store or a liquor store located on the direct route between the base and the Ranch. Most were located in areas that were prime cross-pollination areas. If you couldn’t hook up and get laid out there you were one ugly son of a bitch or had major halitosis or hygiene problems.

I am reminded of an especially memorable Snake Ranch in National City. Now “Nasty City” was the chosen hunting ground for Navy wives whose husbands had the duty, WestPac widows, ex-Navy wives, and every girl hoping to become a Navy wife, often known as National City Purty Girls. Many homely girls, and some downright ugly ones, not to mention the heavyweights, with a tube of lipstick, two pairs of clean cotton skivvies, and a bus ticket eventually found their way to the environs of National City. Mecca of the First Fleet. Right outside the main gate of 32nd Street Naval Station, a bastion of the largest per capita population of totally irresponsible sons of bitches with resources of disposable income, and a monumental appreciation of sexual commingling.

The National City Snake Ranch was, to put it mildly, a dump. Not an ordinary dump, but a spectacular dump, with a record-breaking backyard collection of empty beer bottles and cans, as well as, a co-ed bathtub used more often for hanky-panky than actual bathing.

The house was furnished in a hit and miss fashion. What passed for the dining room had a wire spool for a table surrounded by three or four three-legged stools. The table was usually cluttered with the Colonel’s buckets full of gnawed bones and sacks from the Jack in the Box on the corner. The kitchen had a stove and a frying pan. There were no plates of utensils. I don’t recall anyone ever trying to cook anything. The kitchen sink was used to give the dog a bath. The living room consisted of a couple of sofas and some stuffed chairs with sprung springs. There was a big God Damned anvil where a coffee table would normally be situated. No one had any idea where it came from, why it was there, or who thought it would enhance the ambiance of the room. I guess it stayed there because it was too damned heavy to move. Oh yeah, the beer reefer was along one wall of the living room.

The house mascot was a mutt dog who answered to the name Son of a Bitch. He drank beer, ate Fritos and farted. He tolerated cats. He was so lazy, he just let them wander in and out. All he did was lay around, lick his nuts and ass, and fart. He seemed to just fit in with the occupants of the Ranch.

The rules were pretty straight forward.

  1. You had to be single.
  2. You had to be a Petty Officer. No non-rated and No Chiefs.
  3. No parking your cars in the yard.
  4. When you contributed beer or booze, log it in. The log was checked to see who wasn’t contributing.
  5. When the rent was due, pony up your share or you are out.
  6. Don’t throw beer bottles into the backyard from the second-floor windows.
  7. No goddamn phone. (We knew if there was a phone, the number would get out.)

No Chief or Officer could ever know about the Ranch. If your mother was being tortured by the Commies and your sister was raped by Marines, you were dead if someone showed up to tell you. The Ranch was a serious Monastic Brotherhood dedicated to fermented beverages and porking ugly damsels.

The house had three bedrooms. Someone had rescued about fifteen mattresses from Navy Salvage and they were distributed between the bedrooms. There was always someplace to crash when, after drinking beer for twelve or sixteen hours Old Morpheus hit you over the head with his sack of sand.

Over the years a number of different sound systems had been installed in the Ranch. There was often a battle between Rock and Roll and Shitkicking music being waged between different rooms of the house. There was no problem from the neighbors as they were drunks and derelicts of whom the female members were often in attendance at the Ranch. After all ,it was a “Snake” ranch and we tried to be good neighbors.

You would think that a First Class Electrician and a Second Class ET would know the danger of running six or seven cheap extension cords in a daisy chain to power the stereo. Luckily with our Damage Control training, we were able to put the fire out with a couple cans of beer and one asshole pissing on it without having to call the Fire Department.

Somebody had drug home a glass fronted refrigerator that was emblazoned with the Coca-Cola logo. It didn’t work, but the AC&R MM from the ship brought his gear and Freon tank and got the bitch working. He tweaked it until the temp was between 33° and 36°. Cold beer! It would hold a hell of a lot of beer. Seven or eight cases.

We did have a TV for a while, but there were too many arguments about what to watch. Guys would get pissed off when they were watching something and everyone would vote to switch to “I Dream of Jeannie.” A Boatswain’s Mate got pissed one night and threw the TV through the back window into the backyard where it rested among the beer bottles. It was still there when I transferred and relinquished my share of the Ranch.

For all, I know the Nasty City Snake Ranch is still going strong. When I returned to San Diego with a wife, I never went to check. I knew I wouldn’t be welcome. I had violated the first rule.

The only other Snake Ranch I know of that was more depraved and debauched than the Nasty City one was located in the Barrio, but that is a story for another time.

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