Fat Boy Program

Fat Boy Program

by: Garland Davis

It was sometime during the 1980’s.  One of the FF’s I served in…not sure which…doesn’t matter.  He was a non-designated fireman.  He had flunked out of BT ”A” School and had been sent to the fleet to cover the mess cooking and compartment cleaning requirements of the engineers.  I had him a couple of times as a mess cook.  He was a heavyweight and got heavier.  There were no worries about leftover breakfast pastries or desserts while he was around.  He pretty much took care of leftovers.  Some of the other mess cooks told of him eating leftovers off trays while working in the scullery.

This was one of the many periods when renewed emphasis was placed on physical fitness and a new iteration of the “Fat Boy” program was promulgated.  Responsibility for implementation of the program was placed on Executive Officers.  Our XO had stars in his eyes and was determined that no “fatty” would impede his progress toward said stars.  I was called to the XO’s office/stateroom and was told to create a “diet menu” for his review.  He fancied himself a nutritionist and decided that a twelve hundred calories per day diet would be enforced on anyone he determined to be overweight or who appeared fat. After a lot of effort and the XO’s rewriting of my suggested menus, we finally reached a nutritional regimen that I will describe as “slow starvation.”

The XO had the “Doc” move his scale to the passageway outside sickbay and personally conducted a weigh-in of the entire crew, with the exception of the Captain.  Next morning the POD announced the fat boy program. It outlined an exercise and physical fitness program for the entire crew, including a thirty-minute run each morning when in port.  It also listed the personnel who were to eat the restricted diet in the mess decks.  These personnel could not purchase “geedunks” from the ships store, could not use the soda machines and were not permitted to visit the NEX roach coach.  The XO cautioned that anyone assisting members on the list to circumvent these rules would be placed on report.

Which brings us back to our Fireman.  He was immediately removed from mess cooking and sent to the fireroom.  The first day he came through the mess line and was only given those items designated for the diet menu, he threw a fit.  He was screaming and threatening the cooks and mess cooks.  The CMAA and a couple of Petty Officers got him out of the mess decks and calmed down.  He appeared to give up and get with the program.  He gave up on the histrionics with an exceptional “Feed me’ yelled as he came through the mess line.

The FN wrote to his mother, who was a doctor.  He sent her the POD with the Xo’s rules and a copy of the diet menu.  The doctor contacted a Senator and Congressman from New York and complained to them that her son was being mistreated and that the diet was extremely unhealthy.  Shortly afterward, the Commanding Officer received a Congressional Letter of Inquiry asking for an explanation for the restricted diet of a valuable constituent’s son.

I can only surmise that the Captains comment to the XO was, “knock this shit off.”  I was told to scrap the diet menu, all PT was canceled, and all restrictions on designated personnel were rescinded.

Soon after this was made known to the fireman, word was passed that the mobile canteen was on the pier.  FN was first off the ship.  After he made his purchases, he kept the truck between himself and the pier.  The truck pulled away to reveal him, shirtless, with his big gut hanging over his belt.  He had smeared chocolate candy all over his body and face.  With a candy bar in each hand, he stood there with both middle fingers extended and yelled at the top of his lungs, “Fuck You XO, Fuck You XO.”, like it was a mantra. The XO stood on the O1 level speechless.  Doc called the Naval Hospital and got an ambulance.  FN was taken to the Psychiatric Ward and was sent home as a mental case.

The XO eventually retired as a Commander.

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