Dodged a Bullet

,

By Garland Davis

Larry left the gangway with his seabag and an AWOL bag after the crowds welcoming the ship back to Pearl Harbor had cleared off. He was leaving the ship after three years and three months.  He would be leaving the Navy with over four years’ service.  He had voluntarily extended for three months to complete this last Westpac cruise. The Chief PN told him that he could arrange for orders to a WestPac forward deployed ship if Larry would re-enlist.  Larry thanked him but told the Chief that he was going home to marry his childhood sweetheart.

Larry walked a few yards down the pier and stopped and turned for one last look.  His running mate and best friend, Roger was watching him from the fantail.  They both lifted their hands in a final farewell.  They had promised to keep in touch with each other and get together when Roger finished his four years. Roger’s home was only three hundred miles from Larry’s.  Larry knew that his fiancée, Marie, thought poorly of Roger because of their antics when they got together on their last leave.

Larry was on the way to the Naval Station Personnel Support Detachment.  Within the next few days, he would be processed out of the Navy.  It had been four long years; even longer with the extension.  He decided to make a stop at the Bloch Arena telephone exchange and place a long distance call to Marie letting her know that he would be home in a few days and they could carry out their plans to get married and make the life that they had dreamed of.

Larry and Marie had been a couple since First Grade.  Everyone always said that they were the perfect couple and destined to spend a lifetime together.  There had been plans to marry after graduation from High School since neither of their families could afford college.  Larry had insisted that they wait until he had a good job.  There was the crux, good long lasting jobs were hard to come by in their town.  Within the last three years a factory that assembled lawn mowers and another that made boots, belts and holsters for the military had shut down.  These closing and with the closing of businesses that had supported them raised the unemployment rate dramatically.  There were few jobs for highly trained craftsmen, much less, untrained, high school graduates.  The best option was to move someplace where jobs were available.

Marie was extremely close to her family and didn’t want to move away. After discussing it, they both decided it was best for him to take his father’s advice and enlist in the Navy to learn a trade.  After all, his father had learned the rudiments of his profession as a tool and die maker in the Navy.  So through the tears and promises to write every day, Larry left their small Midwestern city for the Naval Training Center, San Diego, California.  After recruit training and a machinist’s school, Larry was ordered to a destroyer out of Pearl Harbor as a Machinery Repairman Fireman.

During the next three years, he made two cruises to the Western Pacific, had been promoted twice and was now a Second Class Petty Officer. Larry had gotten leave home three times.  Things were looking up for Larry and Marie and their life together and they planned their wedding.  Larry’s father felt that with his Navy training he could make a decent living. Larry dusted off their plans to resume their life together after his discharge.  Marie did get upset when he told her about the extension.  She didn’t understand why he agreed to extend.  The Captain made a good case that the ship and his shipmates needed him.  He didn’t want to let them down.

Larry stacked his bags in a corner of the phone exchange and made his way to the counter where he told the pretty young Filipina clerk that he would like to place a long distance call.  After Larry completed the call information and she had collected the fee, the young girl directed him to one of a dozen phones booths along the wall and told him to answer when the phone rang.

Almost immediately there was a ring.  Often he had waited as long as a half hour for calls to go through. He said, Hello,” and heard Marie’s mother on the other end.  He said, “Hello Mrs. Marks, this is Larry.  Can I please speak to Marie?”

“Just a minute Larry.  I’ll get her.”

Faintly over the phone in the background, he heard Mrs. Marks say, “If you don’t tell him, I will.”

“Hello”, Marie said

“Hi Honey, it’s me.  I will be getting discharged in a few days and then I’ll be on my way home.”

Larry could tell that she was on the verge crying as Marie said, “About that, Larry I have started dozens of letters but couldn’t finish them.  I just don’t know how to say it, how to tell you, but I have fallen in love with another and,” in almost a whisper, “I am pregnant.”  Then Larry heard the tears start.  Marie continued, “He is from the next town over, his family has a large dairy farm.  Larry, we are getting married next week. I meant to write and tell you, but after all the planning and saving your money, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  I am so sorry,” sobbing uncontrollably.

Larry sat silently, thinking, “If this is a broken heart, it doesn’t feel so bad.” Instead of sadness and a heavy heart, he felt a lightness as if a heavy weight had been lifted off his shoulders.  He suddenly knew what he really wanted to do.

Marie asked, “Larry, please don’t come home and cause problems for Rodney and me.”

A smile came across his face as he said, “Don’t worry. It’s all okay Marie, I understand.”

“What will you do?” She asked.

“It’s really okay honey, my Detailer offered me a forward deployed ship in Asia if I ship over. Don’t worry about my coming home, I’ll be heading West to Japan.  Congratulations, I wish you the best.  I hope you are happy and have a pretty baby. Bye Honey.”  He could hear her crying as he hung up the phone.

Larry sat for a minute staring at the phone, then shook himself and went to the counter for his change.  As the pretty young Filipino girl counted his change, he asked, “Do you have a phone I could use to make a call on base?”

She pointed to a single booth set apart from the others.  Larry walked to the booth, searching through his change for a dime. He knew the PNC had duty today. Larry dialed the ship’s Quarterdeck number and asked to talk to him.  After a few minutes, the Chief answered. Larry identified himself and said, “Chief, I’ve decided I want to ship over for a ship out of Yoko or Subic.  What do I do, come back to the ship or go to PSD?”

PNC asked, ‘Did you report to PSD yet”

“No, not yet, I stopped to make a long distance call.” Larry replied.

“Then, come on back to the ship and I will take care of you.  We can use your separation physical and have you ready by tomorrow morning. Is it okay if the Captain ships you over?”

“Fine with me, I’ll be there as soon as I call my Mom and Dad to tell them I have decided to make the Navy a career,” said Larry.  His dad had often said he wished he’d stayed in after Korea.

As he started for his bags, Larry detoured to the counter and said to the girl at the counter, “I need to make another call.” He gave her the information for the call, then said, “There is a possibility that I will get orders to the Philippines.  Maybe you can tell me about life there. I don’t see a ring on your finger.  Would you like to go to dinner after work?

 

To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.

 

A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

Standard

Memories of Yesteryear

,

By:  David Paul

With me Mates did we sail in the days of yore upon the high seas. We searched the sea for those who would do us harm. We laughed, we drank, sang some songs and along the way did we find some treasure. Our Mates became our family their backs we did have in times of good and even more when times turned bad. The lasses we did favor in the ports ‘o call we made, to rest from the sea and fill our hull with supplies. Davy Jones, we did cheat and left his locker a little barer. Neptune, he did throw us his best hurricanes, storms and other calamities but we withstood and today we stand sailors that now live off the land. Our hearts and minds they do wander out past the breakwater and across the mighty seas. For the sailor they say may leave the sea but the salt of the sea embeds itself within their bodies and souls, never to escape the minds, hearts and souls of those who at one time sailed upon the sea.

 

 

David Paul is a native of Missouri but presently lives in Arizona. He has had an interest in writing from a young age. He has written many articles but none published to date. Most of his writing have been for personal use and encouragement to friends. It is his dream however to someday publish his writings and/or several book ideas. David is a U.S. Navy veteran having served twelve years prior to leaving the Navy

Standard

Saturday Morning

had

By: Garland Davis

 

“Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
Then I washed my face and combed my hair
And stumbled down the stairs to meet the day”—
Kris Kristofferson

I woke to the thunderous roar of sunlight streaming through the window.  On the other hand, maybe it was an un-muffled jeepney passing outside.  I knew that I wasn’t dead.  I hurt too fucking much. A dead man would not feel this bad.  Where the hell am I?  I squinted at the room through aching eyes.  I think it is my brother’s house at Baloy Beach.  I vaguely remember stumbling in here with a girl sometime in the night.  He told me to stay, just lock up when I leave and drop the key with Hanson at the Rose.  He had to leave early; told me he had duty Saturday.  He isn’t here. Must be Saturday.  The girl isn’t here either.  Was she a figment of my alcohol riddled brain?

I fell off the Futon onto the cement floor fumbling around for my glasses.  It never ceases to amaze me that no matter how drunk I get, I always know where I leave my glasses. Of course, I was bare ass naked.  My crank was stuck to my leg with dried saliva and other body fluids. I hadn’t been wearing skivvy shorts.  I had thrown them away when a group of Airdale assholes, somewhere in Subic City, started doing skivvy checks.  I saw my denim shorts in the corner. I stumbled to my feet and slipped into them.

Somehow remembering that had I placed my wallet under the futon, I snaked my hand under and retrieved it.  I hesitated to look inside.  How much money had I spent or did the girl I was with rip me off before she left?  I was afraid that I had shot all the ammunition in my peso gun last night. Wow, I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t spent a lot at all. I checked the secret pocket sewn into the denim shorts to ensure that the three one hundred dollar bills were still there.

My mouth was as dry as the street outside. I stumbled into the kitchen, looking for something to drink. There was nothing in the reefer. A cooler sat by itself in the corner.  Looking inside the cooler, I found a single San Miguel beer submerged in tepid water.  The thought of warm beer made my gut turn over.  Nevertheless, I was so thirsty; my mouth was so dry that I would probably consider drinking a gallon of Shit River if it was served over ice.  I grabbed the opener off the floor and popped the top on that hot beer.  I drank about half the bottle, gagged and fought to keep it from coming back up.  If it did, at least, there was something in my stomach to puke up.  I held onto the table to prevent falling, weaving back and forth for a moment, and then forced down the rest of the beer.

I found my shirt in another corner, pulled it on and stumbled around looking for the athletic shoes that I usually wore out here.  I don’t have to worry about combing hair or grooming.  I keep it in a buzz cut.  I discovered long ago that a man’s wallet carried more weight than his hair when it came to female companionship in Olongapo.

I remembered that there was an outdoor bar thing just down the beach.  I would seriously consider performing a perverted sexual act for a cold soda right now.  I locked the house as the bright sunlight almost knocked me to the ground and stumbled toward salvation for my dehydrated condition.  The pretty young teenaged girl behind the counter showed no surprise as my sick drunk ass approached the bar.  I asked for a cold Coke or Pepsi.  Then I told her to make it two. She set the first one on the bar.  It was streaming water and ice chips.  I think I mumbled grace to some sailor’s deity as I clutched it with both hands and drank it down in an almost single gulp.  Nectar!  The cold and wet began the healing process.  I sat the empty onto the bar as she replaced it with the second one.  I threw some peso coins onto the bar and told her to keep them coming.

As I sat there drinking cold Pepsi in an attempt to repair the damage, I thought back over the previous day and the events that had led to my waking up wishing for death to help me feel better.

Midway had moored at Cubi Point, yesterday; Friday morning.  As usual, when entering port, I had been occupied getting stores aboard, the underway watches secured, and the inport watch set.  Finally, everything was done; a three-day weekend awaited, nothing between Tuesday morning and me but seventy-two hours of liberty.

I left the ship about fourteen hundred Friday afternoon.  I grabbed a cab with a couple of airdale Chiefs.  They were heading to the CPO Club.  I figured “Why not,” I would have a couple of San Miguels there and then head for my stomping grounds in the Barrio. We walked into the main room of the club; the two airdales spotted some of their friends and moved that way.  I told them to have a good liberty and made my usual way to the stag bar.  San Miguel was calling!

I saw the beginning of my downfall at the bar as I walked through the door.  A Senior Chief Aviation Boatswains Mate who we called “Smokey” (he smoked four packs of Camels a day) was at the bar.  Smokey drank beer with a shooter of rum on the side and he had the proverbial “Hollow Leg.”  No one could recall ever seeing him drunk.  He always insisted on buying shooters for anyone he knew.  He knew that I drink Crown and immediately ordered a shooter for me.  I asked for a beer; deciding that one and I would be out of there.  If I tried to drink with Smokey, I would be “knee walking drunk” by sixteen hundred.

I managed to get out of the club after drinking only one beer and two of Smokey’s shooters.  I headed through the gate, across Shit River, to the moneychanger and stocked up on ammunition for my “Peso Gun.”  I intended to take a taxi to the Barrio.  There wasn’t one around, so decided to walk down to a shit kicking joint on the right and have a Pepsi.  The beer and two shots were heavy in my stomach.  I didn’t want to get fucked up before dark.  Going in that joint was a mistake.  A half dozen of my cooks was there and called to me as I entered.  By the time, I made it to the table a frosty cold San Miguel was sitting before an empty chair.  I thought, “You can’t fight fate, fuck, it must be my karma.”  I sat down and took a pull on the bottle.  I finished the beer and bought a round of Magoos.  After that one, I left.  Outside, I stopped a taxi and negotiated the fare to the Barrio.  I told the driver to drop me at the Irish Rose.

Things went downhill from that point.  There were about a dozen people that I knew in the Rose.  The beer was flowing freely, the jukebox was playing, the overhead fans were exercising the flies, and I was negotiating with one of the girls for a blowjob when I suddenly realized that it was dark.  Where the hell had the day gone?  It seemed as if I had just left the ship.  The rest of the night became a kaleidoscope of bars, beer, and girls.  I remembered jeepney rides, a girl stroking my leg, drinking Mojo, another girl, more beer and going into my brother’s house with another girl.

Now here I am sitting on Baloy Beach drinking Pepsi trying to sort out the events of the night before to decide whether I had had a good liberty.  I concluded that had a hell of a time; it was all good.  I was hung over, sick, my dick was sore and I still had plenty of money.  That is all a sailor can ask of a liberty.

I finished the second Pepsi and signaled for another as a tricycle taxi came roaring down the beach road and stopped at the bar.  There were two passengers crammed into the passenger side car. I recognized one of them as Jack Coates, a Navy retiree, and ex-pat. I didn’t know the other fellow, but he and Jack were obviously about three sheets to the wind.  But then, I had never seen Jack in any other condition.

They stumbled to the bar and Jack ordered three beers.  The girl placed the beer on the bar and Jack handed one to his companion and slid the other in front of me.  I said, “Jack, I’m drinking Pepsi, it is too early for beer.”

Jack stumbled toward me, grabbed my fresh Pepsi and threw it across the road onto the beach and said, “Stewburner, When I’m drinking beer, ever fuckin’ body’s drinking beer.”

You can’t fight your fate. Karma is karma.  I thanked Jack lifted the bottle, hoping that I could keep it down, and took a pull.  After the Pepsi, it went down much easier than the warm beer I had had for breakfast.  Drinking the beer and laughing at one of Jack’s stories, I was thinking that I still had three days’ liberty to go.

Fuck, still three more days liberty.  I love it; a sailor’s life is good.

 

To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.

 

A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

Standard

A Seventh Fleet Legend –The Red Haired Chief

A Seventh Fleet Legend –The Red Haired Chief

By: Steve Hayes

 

It was May, 1984, USS Sterett, homeported in Subic Bay, was finishing a four-month deployment to the Persian Gulf with a Stateside carrier battle group. Our final port call before returning home to Subic was Pattaya Beach, Thailand.

I took leave while there and booked a room at the Royal Gardens, as was my usual practice when in Pattaya. There was another CG in port and, while visiting a few bars on the main drag, I bumped into a sailor from that ship, who had once worked for me in USS Worden a few years before. He quickly pointed out that my hair was considerably grayer than the last time he had seen me. I was somewhat insulted and in my buzzed condition, I said, “You have gotten considerably balder over the years, at least I have something to work with.”  After this exchange, we parted company and went our separate ways as I continued to test my capacity for Singha beer.  I actually spent the rest of the day and part of the night at this endeavor.

The following day, I again met the same sailor while running a verification test on my Singha capacity. Almost an identical conversation about my hair took place. This time I became somewhat indignant and reminded him that, unlike him, I still had hair to work with. With each beer, I drank, my thought processes began to eat away at me and I was determined to show him.

Now, to appreciate the remainder of this story you should know that I, a Senior Chief at the time, was the Sterett’s Senior Enlisted Advisor. No Command Master Chief had yet been assigned.  Another important fact is, that prior to arrival, The CO, Captain Sullivan, had announced that anyone getting into trouble on the beach would have their liberty suspended for the remainder of the trip. A sound policy, with which I agreed.

After the second meeting with my balding, former shipmate and taste testing about ten more Singha beers, I determined that I couldn’t let this hair thing pass without some resolution. I began a stumble through the side streets of Pattaya, way off the main drag, searching for a shop to rectify my gray hair situation.  I would show that baldheaded dude and prove my point that I still had hair to work with.

It wasn’t long until I found a beauty salon that would seem to satisfy my need to abolish the gray in my hair.  It quickly became apparent that there was a failure to communicate.  No one there could speak English and I couldn’t speak Thai.  Actually, after all the Singha, I had doubts about my ability to speak English.

The Sterett slogan of Dauntless encouraged me to press on. I searched through the various products on the shelves until I found a package of hair dye that to my bloodshot eyes and Singha addled brain to be a perfect match to my once dark brown hair.  By pointing to the box of dye and my hair and making many other hand gestures, I successfully conveyed to the beautician that I wanted my hair dyed.

Having quaffed a considerable number of Singhas earlier, I soon drifted off to sleep as the lady began washing my hair and preparing me for the dyeing procedure.

Quite a while later, I was nudged to consciousness. As I awakened and realized where I was and remembering, I lifted my head and looked in the mirror to see the new, younger looking me with no gray hair. There in the mirror was this American dude looking back at me with a head full of bright red hair. I realized it was me and screamed, “RED!” Oh my God, I thought, what the hell have I done. We were a few days from Subic. My new wife and 7-month old daughter would be waiting for me.  How would I ever explain this red hair.  Everyone would think I was nuts!

After thinking about it and realizing that we still had two days in port, I determined to find another beauty salon and get it re-dyed to brown the next day. The girl who had done this to me wasn’t at fault, so I paid her and went on my way. Knowing I would have a lot of explaining to do once I got back to the main drag and my shipmates, I found a nice straw hat that covered my bright red hair and went back to the beach road. Of course, after a couple of ice cold brews and feeling pretty mellow, I began to show everyone my new head of red hair. I got a lot of laughs. I wasn’t worried though, it would all be fixed the next day.

Continuing drinking Singha and other tropical concoctions, I became considerably more intoxicated as the evening wore on into the night. Of course, I had lost the straw hat, by this time, and had become rather proud of my bright red hair. Just as my Irish ancestors would have been. Then disaster struck.

I had begun a conversation with a young woman in one drinking establishment. And in my alcohol confused mind, I became convinced she was a spy or something otherwise devious. There had been a recent terrorist bombing in the news and, in my alcohol infused brain, I just knew she was part of the group and had the evidence to prove it in her purse. Being a proud defender of America, I grabbed her purse and headed down the street with her following closely and loudly behind.

After about half a block, I was abruptly accosted by the Shore Patrol. And they, apparently weren’t buying into my story about how I saved the liberty party from this dangerous terrorist following me. Despite my pleas, they returned the purse to the girl and escorted me to Shore Patrol headquarters.  As it happens, the Shore Patrol Officer was a LTJG from the carrier. I have always thought that had the Shore Patrol Officer been a WestPac veteran, we would have resolved this pretty quickly and I could have just gone to my hotel room. Unfortunately, he had little sympathy for me and ordered me back to the Sterett.

It was a courtesy ride, no charges other than securing my liberty for the night (that’s what he thought). Of course, being in Pattaya, a courtesy ride meant waiting for the liberty launch to come get me.

Well, that was not a good thing. Shore Patrol returning a sailor to the ship would likely be considered a liberty incident and I was looking at remaining on the ship for the next two days and having no way to resolve the problem of my red hair. I wasn’t feeling especially proud of myself at this point. It was too late to do anything right then so I just headed to my rack and passed out.

Early the next morning, after dodging multiple snickers and questions from my fellow Chiefs and crewmen, I went to the CDO, Lt. Ted Dill, and pleaded my case to return ashore. I promised not to drink, just to go get my hair fixed and come back to the ship. It took a while but fortunately, being a good and fair officer, he agreed to let me off the ship.

True to my word, I went ashore and immediately located another beauty salon. This one was operated by a woman who had lived in Los Angeles and spoke decent English. She re-dyed my red hair to a passable dark brown.  Although there were some red streaks and highlights, it was much better than the red.

Despite my promise to the CDO, being a WestPac steamer, I decided to have a few Singhas on the strip and show off my new hair color.  Of course, I remained ashore until we departed Pattaya for Subic and, other than a lot of jokes, the red hair faded into the background and was mentioned less and less.

And as things happen, when I lifted my daughter to say hello, she reached up and grabbed my cover exposing my odd looking hair color to my wife. She took one look and said, “why you put that paint in your hair”. I later explained the entire story to her while judiciously editing parts of it as a matter of self-preservation.

That should have been the end of the story but evidently, like so many of us who sailed in the Asia fleet, I was to become a 7th Fleet legend.  Two and a half years later, I returned to Sterett in Subic while attached to FCDSSA, Dam Neck. I was there to conduct a System Integration Test on the new SM-2 NTU Tactical Data Systems upgrade.

Most of the Sterett crew had turned over since my tour aboard, except for a few who were still there.

I was now an OSCM. I was sitting in the Chief’s Mess having coffee when a Chief, whom I didn’t know, sat down nearby. Exchanging pleasantries, he noticed my name tag and asked, “Master Chief, were you the Hayes who was stationed on here before?”.

“Yes, that was me”, I replied.

He said, “Were you the one with the red hair”?

My face must have gotten the same shade as my hair had been as I sheepishly admitted I was the guilty party.

 

Steve Hayes is a product of the Bronx, New York. In 1966, neither the street life of New York nor the prospect of being drafted for service in Vietnam seemed to present a promising future so he sought out the local US Navy recruiter. Over the next couple of years, each trip back home witnessed the same guys on the same street corners contrasted to opportunities to visit ports all over Westpac. Staying in the Navy was a no brainer.
Following a successful 21 year Navy career, he spent the next 24 years employed by defense contractors in Virginia and Mississippi while single-handedly raising three great daughters.
Now retired, he spends his time boating and spoiling six terrific grandkids.
Standard

The Return

The Return

By:  David ‘Mac’ McAllister

 

The bar was at the end of a dirt road around the corner from the Marmont Hotel. The monsoon’s were in full force and the streets of the Barrio ran resplendent with red mud; that horrible staining clay that would never wash out of a set of whites. It was dismal, dreary and depressing, the last Navy ship had sailed four weeks ago and aside from the occasional station sailor business was terrible. People were hungry

She sat in front of the Sansui fan that had just started circulating the wet heavy air after the latest power outage. Fanning the perspiration with a banana leaf fan, nursing a rum and coke and silently cursing the Chinese son of a bitch that owned the place, she watched as Mama-san sat sympathetically across from her tracing the water pooled from her drink on the bar into obscene suggestive hieroglyphics.

In the past, when business was slow, everyone had an opportunity to take the time to visit their province. A chance to be with family, see old friends, commensurate, rest and forget about the rigorous chaotic life of a bar girl. But not this time, the Koreans were starting to build a shipyard across the bay and the greed of the owner overruled past precedence.

Oh, the Koreans made occasional visits to the bars; however, there weren’t enough of the tight wadded, short peckered, and ill-tempered little fucks to go around. If it wasn’t for mamma san feeding the girls, they would have starved. She missed her US sailors with their deep pockets, pleasant banter and willingness to pay a bar fine for a night out. She especially missed her Tom Selleek. Oh she didn’t know his name, that’s just what she called him. He always showed up in nice shorts, a polo shirt, dark shades, moustache, and a body that would make a girl stick to her seat – he was sought after by all the girls. He liked her, though, and when he was in port they were as steady an item as you would find in this place.

She had just rolled off the bar stool, placed a Peso in the Juke box and was about to play “I am a Women in Love” for the umpteenth time as they bounced in. Two drunk, slobbering, groping pains in her beautiful heart shaped ass. Korean sand crabs never bought girls drinks, they just harassed them unmercifully and as long as they were patronizing the bar, the commie bastard owner could care less. She and her fellow hostesses just endured this piss poor treatment until the Garlic breaths either got bored and left or passed out. In the latter case, they would always boost them for what cash they had before rolling them to the street. So there was some profit in the pestilence.

By now the sun had reappeared and as the rain water vaporized and filled the air with humidity the afternoon turned muggy. The Koreans moods changed as odious and sultry as the air and the cold beer could not keep their tempers in check. Seems everything set them off, there was no consoling or placating the sorry little shits. In an effort to distract this bad behavior she reached down in an effort to fondle one of them only to have her hand grabbed and arm twisted up behind her back.

That is probably the last thing he ever remembered, for just as quickly, Mama-san came up from behind the bar with a shore patrol baton and laid him out colder than a Yukon turd. His amazed running mate was dispatched as he stood gap-mouthed and wide-eyed. Mama-san was on a roll; I guess the climate got to her as well, for she took direct aim on the little Chinaman in the corner and let that head knocker fly. On the run now, she picked up a chair and ran his ass out of his own bar.

While Mama-san was chasing Charlie Chan down the muddy street, she and the other girls relieved the Kim chi gourmets of what cash remained on their persons. As the unconscious interlopers were being unkindly deposited outside in the muck, she looked up to see a jeepney stop by the Marmont Hotel. An oh so familiar polo shirt short pant clad figure climbed out into the blazing sunshine, adjusted those shades and walked her way. It was her Tom Selleek.

Although the notoriously reliable bamboo telegraph had failed to tell her of his return ahead of time, she was happy beyond her surprise to see him. Having reached into that freezer in the back room and pulled out one of those famous ice covered Sam Miguel’s that he liked so well, she watched as he eased up to the Juke box, dropped a Peso in and selected “I am a Women in Love”. Turning he leaned up against the ancient record machine, drank deeply and grinned that pearly white smile of his. Walking towards him she was thinking, “I may just be only a Barrio Barretto whore, but its times like this that I love my fucking job”.

 

 

David “Mac” McAllister a native of California, now resides in the Ozark Mountains of Southwest Mo. Having served in Asia for the majority of his 24-year Navy career, he now divides his time as an over the road trucker, volunteer for local veteran repatriation events and as an Asia Sailor Westpac’rs Association board member and reunion coordinator. In his spare time, he enjoys writing about his experiences in Westpac and sharing them online with his Shipmates

Standard

“A Breath of Fresh Air”

“A Breath of Fresh Air”

By:  Garland Davis

There were two Warrant Officers in an oiler out of Pearl Harbor.  Bud Jackson was a W-3 and the ship’s Bosun and Chris Clark was a W-3 Machinist, serving as the MPA.  These two officers shared a portside stateroom in the after deck house across the passage way from the Executive Officers office and stateroom and adjacent to a water tight door leading onto the 01 weather deck.

The new XO was a trade school graduate.  He was a brand new Commander and bitter because he was coming from an XO billet on a DE and instead of CO of a Destroyer, he was assigned to another XO tour of a tanker. He didn’t understand that officers with excellent ship handling abilities were assigned as tanker XO’s because of the limited experience of the Airdale officers often assigned to gain ship handling experience of large hulls. The XO had little regard for Warrant Officers and took an immediate dislike to Bosun Jackson.  Bud did very little to change the XO’s opinion of Warrants and himself in particular.

The XO loved planning meetings and he especially loved Officer and Chief meetings in the Wardroom.  Many afternoons were wasted crowded into the Wardroom while the XO harangued us regarding upcoming inspections, evolutions, and etc.  The XO loved POAM’s (Plan of Actions and Milestones). When we weren’t in a planning meeting, we were creating detailed POAM’s for his consumption.

Bud never missed an opportunity to irritate the XO.  The ship had anchored in Lahaina, Maui.  The morning we were departing; Bud was involved in bringing the forty-foot utility boats aboard.  It was a complicated evolution which meant using the booms to lift the boats, swing them inboard, turn them athwart ships and cradle them aft of the forward deckhouse.

As the Boatswains Mates were performing the evolution, the XO comes from the forward deckhouse, headed aft.  He stopped and started issuing orders to the winch operator and the men on deck.  When he arrived in the Wardroom, Bud was there having breakfast.  The XO says, “Mister Jackson, what are you doing here? I thought you were securing the boats.”  Jackson says, “You were doing such a good job XO since you had taken charge of the evolution, I decided to have breakfast. I was hungry.”

Another time, the XO asks Bud, “When are you going to get the port bulkhead painted, Mr. Jackson?”  Bud replies, “I’ll have to get back to you on that XO, I left my fuckin’ POAM in my other shirt.”

We were crowded into the wardroom for another interminable meeting.  I was sitting on the deck beside Bud, who was perusing a Playboy magazine.  Bud holds the centerfold up to me and said, “Chief would you eat this?”  The XO stops his diatribe, glares at Bud and exclaims, “Mr. Jackson, do you have something pertinent to add to the discussion?”  Bud says, “No XO”, holding up the magazine, “I was just checking with the Chief Cook to find out if this is edible.”

Another time, Bud came to me and asked if he could take his meals in the CPO Mess for a couple of weeks.  The other Chiefs were agreeable.  Many of us had known him before he became a Warrant. When I asked him why, he told me that he was barred from going into the Wardroom.  He had farted in the Wardroom in the XO’s presence and was summarily evicted for two weeks.

The ship had gotten underway from Subic after an extra-long weekend in port.  Everyone was a little under the weather.  Bud tells the story this way: “My gut wasn’t feeling good, probably ate some bad pussy or monkey in the barrio, so I decided to hit the rack early.  Chris (the Warrant Machinist) was already in the bottom bunk.  I stripped down to my skivvy shirt and boxers, grabbed the pipes to swing into the top bunk and shit all the way to my heels. Chris was covered in shit and it was running down my legs.  I grabbed my towel, went into the passageway and through the water tight door onto the 01 level, took off my skivvy’s, threw them over the side, wiped my ass with the t-shirt threw it over the side, cleaned the shit off my legs with the towel and threw it and my shower shoes over the side.  I came back through the WTD into the passageway, bare ass naked, just as the XO exited his stateroom.  He looked at me and says, ‘Mr. Jackson, I hope you have an explanation for this.’ I said yes sir, my stateroom smells like shit and I just stepped out for a breath of fresh air.”

This was in the day when Warrants were temporary grades and each Warrant had a permanent enlisted grade.  Bud was a permanent BMCM. He received orders to the Ammunition Depot at West Loch, Pearl Harbor and decided to revert to BMCM.  He told me, “Dave with the fitness report the XO gave me, I would probably have ended up as the head pier sweeper.

I lost track of Bud.  This is all true, but, I have changed the names here to protect the guilty.

 

To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.

 

A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

Standard

navy retirement

navy retirement

by: Garland Davis

 

a quiet knowledge, an

unspoken admission, a stupid goddamn truth

all our great adventures

lie in the past

 

that that we were has nothing to do with

who we are

but we will never forget that that we were

 

perhaps our truths no longer hold pleasure

but our fucking truths none the less

 

that very moment where I finally stopped

growing up and just started growing old

where you wear the cloak of USN(ret)

 

To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.

 

A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

Standard