I often reminisce about events I experienced in the Navy that were resolved without disciplinary action. In 1964 I received orders to the USS Nereus AS17, a submarine tender home-ported in San Diego, CA. The ship had a crew of about 900 officers and enlisted men. We also had several submarines tied up alongside us.
The food on the Nereus was great and plentiful. Take all you want, eat all you take. The supply officer CDR Goble was aware of food waste and wanted to know why. A petty officer was assigned duties as to where the sailors returned their food trays for washing. If you have uneaten food, the petty officer would take your name, rate, division, and why you didn’t eat your food.
The cocky sailor gave his information, then stated that the food tasted like shit.
Needless to say, when CDR Goble read those remarks, he wanted to talk with that sailor. When CDR Goble finished asking that sailor how long he had been eating shit, did his mom cooked shit for him at home, whether it was served hot or cold, whether it was a side dish or the main course, were there leftovers, etc.?
CDR Gobles office was in the supply office, and about ten sailors heard the conversation as CDR Goble intended.
That story spread throughout the ship; sailors answered honestly about uneaten food, and food waste was cut down to nothing.
From day one, we were told that you don’t smoke while walking on the base or in a government vehicle. Sailors love to break rules, so if caught smoking by the base 1st lieutenant, you were given a bucket with sand inside. You would then walk around the base until for found someone smoking. Within an hour or two, you could not find anyone smoking.
There are many others, and they were called “severe emotional learning experiences.” Once adjusted to Navy life, it was a great experience.
I enlisted in 1962 when I was 22 years old and served for 26 years. Retired when I was 48 years old in 1988. Followed by a 29-year federal civil service career and fully retired when I was 78.
We’ve all heard much about the Chinese Balloon in the last few days. Not the first time balloons have been used against us.
SOMETHING YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW.
THE JAPANESE BALLOON BOMB IN 1945.
Warren Hyde never served in the military, but his extraordinary effort in a remote part of Box Elder County, Utah, one day provided key intelligence in stopping a widespread Japanese attack on American soil during World War II.
On this day, 4 February 1945, Hyde, the county sheriff, received a call from Floyd Stohl, a rancher in the Blue Creek area.
While heading out to do his morning chores, Stohl spotted a strange-looking contraption that looked like a parachute floating in the air in one of his pastures.
When Stohl described the object to Sheriff Hyde, it immediately rang a bell in the sheriff’s head.
Sheriff Hyde jumped in his vehicle and raced to the ranch.
When he saw the object, he knew what he was dealing with…a weapon known as a Japanese “Fu-Go” bomb.
Between 1944 and 1945, the Japanese military launched an estimated 9,000 bomb-rigged balloons across the Pacific Ocean.
Carried by wind currents, the balloon bombs traveled thousands of miles to western US shores.
Hundreds were discovered up and down the west coast, and even as far inland as Indiana and Texas.
One killed six people in Oregon.
The bombs weren’t just aimed at killing people, but also at starting forest fires, something they never achieved, thanks in part to Sheriff Hyde and his wild ride.
On that February morning, Sheriff Hyde sprang into action.
He drove his car to the pasture as far as he could, then ran across the field, chasing the balloon as the wind carried it along.
When he finally caught up to it, he saw the bomb dangling below the balloon and knew he would have to be careful.
If he touched it, or if it touched the ground, it would detonate.
Sheriff Hyde grabbed one of the shroud lines, and when the wind picked up, it carried the balloon into the air…along with the sheriff, as high as 30 feet in the air.
He was eventually able to anchor it when it came back to the ground, and soon after, FBI agents and military personnel arrived to detonate the bomb and take the balloon away.
It was the first Fu-Go device to be captured fully intact, and the information it provided would lead to the end of the program.
Harrowing balloon ride aside, Sheriff Warren Hyde was a legendary figure in the Box Elder County, Utah community.
In June 1945, four months after his airborne adventure, Sheriff Hyde was summoned to the Utah State Capitol, where he was honored in a packed governor’s boardroom full of military officers, civilian defense leaders, state executives and others who had come to pay tribute to his efforts.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote him a personal letter of thanks.
Two years before enlisting in the Navy, I learned to bowl in my hometown’s first all-night bowling lanes. We worked in the restaurants until late and then went and bowled until two or three in the morning.
At my first duty station, I was assigned to the station Bowling Lanes for a short time. There were five of us assigned there, the Chief in charge, a Petty Officer bowling machine mechanic, two other non-rates, and me. The Chief and Petty Officer performed maintenance and oiled the lanes while our duties consisted of cleaning up before opening and issuing score sheets, renting shoes, and collecting for games during the day. There were three of us to accomplish all of this. The business was slow during the day, the lanes were idle, and we spent many hours bowling. It cost me nothing, and I became a damn good bowler with tutelage from the Chief.
Fast forward almost three years, which I spent in the Galley at the station, in an Ammunition Ship during a WestPac cruise, and five months in an advanced school for cooks and bakers. I arrived in Yokohama, Japan, in July 1964 as a twenty-year-old, newly minted Second Class Petty Officer. July 24, 1964, I moved into Bayside Courts and met the pretty girl who would become my wife a little more than a year later.
In those days, Yokohama was akin to Paradise for the underpaid sailor. But, a sailor couldn’t spend all his time in the bars and fleshpots of Chinatown no matter how hard he tried.
There was the bowling alley. I could bowl and drink beer, legally, for not a lot of money. Bowling was a cheap date, and the pretty girl liked it. We became frequent bowlers before and after we married. We eventually ended up on a few teams, bowling in leagues.
Japanese Asahi Taxi company offered to sponsor a team we were forming. This meant they would provide bowling shirts sporting their logo, and the team would incorporate the company name into the team name. The owner of the company became a spectator almost every week.
A televised Kanto area bowling tournament of two-man teams was planned. The owner of Asahi Taxi offered to sponsor another player and me as a team in the tournament. We worked through the preliminary games and made the cut for the televised games.
There were numerous donated prizes for the different accomplishments of the bowlers. We didn’t win the tournament but were in the top five. The prize for the fifth position was a suit for each of us from a tailor shop. I bowled the tournament’s High Game of 262. The prize for the high w game was a one-year’s supply of Kirin Beer! Turned out to be a twelve-bottle case of Kirin delivered to my quarters in Navy housing each Monday morning. The empty bottles from the previous week were required for the full delivery. Those of you who were in Japan in the sixties remember the almost two-liter war clubs of beer.
Almost twenty-four liters of beer each week was a bit much. I recruited help! My shipmates stepped up to ensure that twelve empties would be available each Monday. We worked Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday and Monday was our weekend.
For a year, Saturday or Sunday became “Drink Dave’s Beer Night!”