CUPS and CAPS

CUPS and CAPS

By Cort Willoughby

Edited by Garland

Like most young North American Blue Jackets I was totally fascinated at my arrival in Japan and Asia. This fascination did not end with just one trip. I am constantly being force-fed an IV of memories of the times i was there. As I transitioned from a very meager childhood, a new world opened and I embraced and wrapped myself in this new world in abject fascination.

A very small meaningless act became an indelible memory, never to be forgotten. I bought a coffee cup in Sasebo. Snoopy, a cool dude, laid out, flat on his back, on top of his house. Snoopy on my coffee cup with the exclamation, “ FUCK IT! JUST FUCK IT!” Hell Yes, I bought it and bought into that cool puppy’s sentiments,

On the bridge, at sea, one afternoon, after having earlier finished a cup of good Navy Kick Ass coffee, I decided another was in order. I searched all over the bridge for Snoopy. Finally, I asked, “Ok, who is the asshole fucking with my coffee cup?”

One LTJG Eels says, “I threw it over the side, I’ll not have pornography on the bridge while I am the OOD,”

I Thought, “YOU SORRY COCKSUCKER, IT’S ON!”

It is interesting and fitting that we pulled into Sasebo again as I was looking for a way to get even, NO hell NO! I was going to get ahead. We died up in India Basin portside to. I was straightening up the chart table when, HOLY SHIT MOMMA RUE, whose fucking combination cap is this? See, the one left under my chart table.

Oh, Hell Yes! Too Damn Good! Name tag says LTJG Eels. My Oh My Me Eels. Did you leave your shitpot hat under my chart table? I’ll never tolerate in my Pilot House is for any Piece of Shit to leave personal property on My bridge under My chart table. This major infraction will be addressed immediately. Starboard bridge wing, here I come..

After briefly admonishing the combination hat for violating my cardinal rule of cluttering my chart table, I gave it the only fitting punishment possible. I gave it a sail test. In other words, see how far it will sail when I flung it off the starboard wing into India basin. Oh Joy! A perfect landing.

Just as it went plop into the water of the basin, guess who joined me on the starboard wing? Right, LTJG Eels.

“Petty Officer Willoughby have you seen my combination cover/” His eyes pop out as the combination cap afloat in India basin goes “Glug” as it takes its dive. He turns gray! His eyes widen as he witnesses the final seconds of his cap.

“Fuck you,” I say. “Some people lose cups, some combination covers!”

Sorry Bastard knew he had lost the war. Short of sending divers to recover a worthless water soaked piece of crap, he would have to dig deep to buy a new hat.

The cup was much cheaper to replace than that high dollar cover…

I WOULD DO IT AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT.

DGUTS BOSN

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BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND

BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND

By Garland Davis

I live in Hawaii. My house is on the side of a hill and overlooks Pearl Harbor. I can see Ford Island and the Arizona Memorial from my rear patio. An atomic airburst over Pearl harbor would, in all probability, destroy my house and take our lives.

My wife and I have played the what-if game about an atomic attack on Hawaii. It is just an academic exercise playing, “What would happen and what will we do.” The consensus we reached was, very little due to our location overlooking Pearl Harbor.

This morning, shortly after eight, my wife was changing for a trip to the Commissary and I was reading an article on a local news site when my cell phone chimed the urgent alarm tone. I picked up thinking there is a Tsunami warning, I know there is no storm, not a cloud in the sky when I walked the dog barely an hour earlier… I saw this on the phone:

Emergency Alert

BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII! SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL!

Suddenly the “What-Ifs” we had talked about became a horrifying reality. My wife asked, “What can we do,”

“I told her, “If this is real, we have less than ten minutes. We’ve talked about this and have determined there is nothing to do.”

She called the dog into the office. The three of us were together if it happened.

I got on the phone and called a couple of people in the know. Within a couple of minutes, I learned that a friend was in contact with the Pacific Command and had passed the word that it was “Bullshit.”

My wife and I left for the Commissary and were on the freeway when the “False Alarm” message was passed via cellphone. Thirty-eight minutes after the initial alert! How many thousands of the one point three million residents and visitors spent that time in abject terror.

I was under fire a number of times during the Vietnam War but I never felt the sense of helplessness during those times that I did this morning.

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They’ve No Idea

They’ve No Idea

BY John Petersen

San Miguel and Red Horse. Red or green Bullfrog. Mojo! For the tea totalers, sipping a White Castle and Sprite poolside at the Whiterock resort. Chowing down on a questionable pizza at the ‘Shakeys’ on Magsaysay. Engineering Dept party at Tigers Den on Rizal. Losing your butt at a game of pool to a seven year old shark.

Trike races in the mud trying to get to the Barrio. Mamason knowing, somehow, exactly when you’ll grace the threshold of the Iron Horse in the Barrio, and having a feast of shrimp fried rice, lumpia and at least two ice cold San MaGoo’s waiting for you.

Countless warm, cuddly, scantily clad bar girls (or at least you hope they were) vying for an overpriced watered down Coke and some company for the night, provided the bar fine was paid. Peso Shows and other wonders (no description given here) in Subic City, otherwise known as the Adult Disneyland. All this enjoyed before the midnight hour.

Awakened at 0430 to the sound of a bike horn and the sole word ‘Balut!’. The morning screamer (ice cold shower in a wooden cubicle), the mad scramble to obtain the necessary transport to get back to the ship before quarters, somehow just making it. Swearing up and down all day that after work, gonna do nothing but hit the rack, get some sleep. Not happening. Come liberty call, the above sequence is repeated, daily until the ship finally gets underway, finally a chance to actually get some rest. Gonna take a week at least to overcome what has to be the most challenging port ‘o call in the Pacific theatre.

My hat is off, and a slow hand salute is offered, to what is now no longer, that being a port visit to Subic Bay, Philippines. Ships may still sail there, but those who visit now will never behold what this port was all about in years past.

They’ve no idea…

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Confessions of a BT

Confessions of a BT

By Marc Sahr

Garland,

I read this morning’s edition and the Midway’s 111 days in the IO cruise, Brought back a TON of memories as I was a BT2 then working for Chief Rags (Larry Ragghianti) in 2-Charlie fireroom. I think BTCS Rick Mudge (who you’ve referenced before) was our LCPO, having relieved ‘OB’ (BTCM Melvin O’Briant). We stood 6×6 watches the entire time. You had to know your craft on Midway.

Anyway – what I wanted to do was make a confession. We had a FA messcook from Tennessee who had recently returned to the pit after serving his 90 days. The mistake S2M made was allowing the mess cooks to keep their NEY award t-shirts that you issued them when they went mess cranking.

This FA kept his t-shirt in a steaming locker in the pit, and when we’d start bitching that we were hungry (and the Weenie Wagon on hangar bay 2 was secure), he’d put on his S2M t-shirt, go up to the bake shop (right above 2C Fireroom on the 2nd deck), get a paper hat and grab the keys. The cooks up there didn’t give him a second look….

Then it was off to the reefers to snag an airdale reenlistment cake (we were particularly fond of only the airdale ones as they were considered passengers without a GQ station), and a box or two of Magnolia chocolate or strawberry milk. Then just drop off the keys and back down to the pit to feast. The upside down mess deck trays went back to the scullery and the perfect crime was complete.

I haven’t thought about those things in too many years. This is why I crave those old stories of yours because during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s I was there.

BTW – that fucking Weenie Wagon was a lifesaver for us hole snipes. The messdeck MAA’s used to bust our balls about being dirty and smelly, and requiring a clean t-shirt under our coveralls (which most hole snipes didn’t wear on watch). The Weenie Wagon changed ALL that BS, plus we didn’t have to wait in any lines as we could send our messengers up there for ‘take out’ and eat on watch. Got the most sleep that way. That Weenie Wagon would make a good story by itself!

Sorry this turned into a novel, but wanted to share my confession with you :).

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Weight Control and Scale Weights

Weight Control and Scale Weights

By Garland Davis

I think the year was ’82, Midway was going into the Indian Ocean. If I remember correctly, we were out there for about one hundred thirteen days. Everyone had goals they hoped to accomplish on the cruise. I know my division, S-2, was working full blast preparing for the final Ney Award Inspection. It was a busy time, but then, life on a carrier is always hectic and busy.

We had a new Senior Medical Officer, a Captain, who decided to tackle the problem of overweight sailors. Each division was required to designate personnel for a weigh in to determine if they met Navy height-weight standards. The corpsman lugged the scale up from Sickbay and set it up on the starboard side of the aft mess decks. The designated sailors lined up and their weight recorded. Those determined to be “overweight” would be subjected to weekly weigh-ins to document their progress.

MS2 Bob was a portly…portly hell…if he wasn’t obese, he was knocking the door down. Placing him on the list to be weighed was a no-brainer. I have always had problems with maintaining weight standards and since I found it almost impossible to run on the carrier, I placed my own name on the list out of a sense of fairness. I barely met the standards.

MS2 Bob was categorized as morbidly obese. People in this group also had to attend weekly lectures on proper foods and nutrition. I attended the first lecture because food was my business and I was interested in what the doctor had to say.The gist of his first lecture was that wild animals take a crap after eating while humans have taught themselves to retain bodily wastes, sometimes for days before eliminating. In other words, the lecture boiled down to “Eat less and shit more.”

A month passed and I received notification that MS2 had made satisfactory progress by losing five pounds. I thought this was miraculous because he was a Watch Captain in the Forward Bake Shop where all the pastries and desserts were baked. During my rounds, I stopped by and complemented MS2 on losing the weight.

He said, “I got to tell you Chief, I cheated.”

“How’s that?” I asked.

“Well, the first weigh-in, I put sixteen pounds of scale weights in my pockets and each weigh-in I have removed a pound or two.”

I laughed and told him, “You know, I wouldn’t really worry about it. This program will fall through the cracks and be dead by the time the IO is over and we get back to Subic and Yokosuka.”

I was right. MS2 Bob still had about eight to ten pounds of scale weights to lose before he got to the point or really having to lose weight.

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Mess Deck Cups

Mess Deck Cups

By Garland Davis

I was night baker in USS Vesuvius AE-15. The galley and bakeshop were located on the main deck and the mess decks and scullery one deck below. There was a dumbwaiter lift from the galley down to the mess deck.

The Mess Deck Master at Arms was a crusty BM1 with over fifteen years’ service who somewhat resembled a big hairy Orangutan. He ran the operation with an iron fist. Any mess cook who gave him a problem would be invited to a counseling session in the scullery. After being threatened with a trip through the dishwashing machine their performance and attitude usually improved greatly.

He didn’t permit any talking in the mess line unless the person was speaking with a cook or a server. The mess line came through a door from the forward berthing compartment into a narrow passage with a bulkhead on one side and the serving line on the other. When BM1 caught someone jacking their jaws he normally would pull them out of the line and bounce them off the bulkhead a couple of times and then put them back in line and ask, “Now, what did you have to say?” A mumbled, “Nothing!” was the only acceptable answer.

The coffee urn was at the end of the mess line. As night baker, I had to set up for Midrats and make coffee for the watches. The Quartermasters made the coffee before breakfast, but that is a story for another time. During the nights, I made many trips down to get coffee. I would use a mess deck cup.

The XO became upset about finding mess deck coffee cups in workspaces throughout the ship and reminded BM1 that it was MDMAA’s responsibility to ensure that mess gear wasn’t taken from the mess decks and evidently, he was doing a poor job because there were coffee cups all over the ship. Pissed BM1 off.

He and a mess cook carrying a fryer basket toured the ship daily collecting coffee cups. When he caught someone trying to take a cup from the mess deck he threatened them with report chits and bodily harm. He decided that the Galley and Bake Shop were also included in the edict that mess gear wasn’t permitted off the mess decks and confiscated the cup I used in the bake shop.

I appealed to him to no avail. I was reduced to using a measuring cup to drink coffee until I remembered a couple of cases of mess deck cups in the storeroom. I was back to using mess deck cups. Each day BM1 would confiscate my cup and each day I would break out another one.

It wasn’t long before BM1 didn’t have enough storage for cups. He took it to mean that he was performing a good job by collecting cups daily and recovering lost mess gear.

Some months later, after the WestPac and BM1 was back in Deck Force, we were having a couple of drinks in the Bank Club, I told him where all the cups came from. He could laugh about it then but would have probably dismembered me and sent my parts through the scullery machine if he had known when it was happening.

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