The Mid-Morning Moon
By: Garland Davis
I have always been skeptical of folks who begin the recounting of an event with, “Honest to God, this really happened.” Having dabbled in the verbal horseshit trade myself, I am suspicious of such a lead in. I have served with some of the most accomplished liars in the free world. All sea stories begin with, “No shit, this REALLY happened.” Well guys, in the following instance, honest to God, this really happened, No shit!
A Pearl Harbor based Destroyer was ordered to the South Pacific to shadow a Soviet Cruiser and two Destroyers. The Shipyard at Pearl had fabricated a device to scoop their garbage from the water so the intelligence detachment ship riders could paw through it. The scoop contraption was mounted on the fantail portside. There was a scoop that could be lowered to water level and then lifted to deck level, something like a skip loader. The contraption was covered with a tarp during the day to prevent the Soviets from discerning its use. I do not believe any garbage was ever actually recovered during the operation.
The Soviets were extremely interested in the covered item on the fantail. They became almost fanatic about photographing whatever was under that tarp and took every opportunity to close the U.S. ship and try to photograph the fantail. The Captain amused himself with turning the ship to hamper their view. Everyone assumed the Commies thought it was some new anti-submarine or weapon system.
The Soviet cruiser became very aggressive and made an approach as close as ships do during UNREP operations. Many Soviet Officers with cameras were at different positions shooting photos of the American ship. The CO passed the word over the internal 1MC, “Anyone wishing to photograph the Soviet Cruiser lay to the portside with cameras.” Within five minutes there were forty or fifty cameras pointed at the Cruiser.
Two Electrician’s Mates, working on the boat deck, not having cameras, dropped their pants and mooned the Soviets.
The Soviet skipper, becoming flustered, took off like a bat out of hell. Later there was a query from the State Department about American Naval Personnel showing their backsides to the Soviet ships while the Soviets passed to render honors. Of course, no one knew anything about it officially. Unofficially, it became known as the “Mid-Morning Moon.”
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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.