The Dependent’s Cruise
By: Steve Golla
After being assigned to a destroyer Forward deployed out of Yokosuka Japan for a couple years, life became a little mundane, well to be more accurate the underway time became mundane, work, watch, shower ( if the evaporators were working), sleep, repeat. Throw in a couple UNREP’s, a couple VERT REP’s and the ever present General Quarters drills. Here’s where the story breaks the monotony of underway life
General quarters for a hole snipe usually consisted of being part of Repair Five either as a fire hose-team member, number one or number two nozzlemen or the firefighting team leader. I was assigned as Team Leader. I was the guy who had the Naval Firefighters Thermal Imager (NIFTI) and directed the two hose teams in fighting the fire. It’s not the easiest job but it beats lugging a charged salt water hose around an engine room.
Navy life consists of inspections and the mother of all inspections for a hole snipe is the Operational Propulsion Plant Examination (OPPE). This is an all-out inspection of everything in the Engineering Department from the propulsion plant operations, the electrical plant operations, auxiliary plant operations, firefighting and damage control as well as the paperwork and records keeping, in other words, every facet of the Engineering Department.
There is usually a two to three month preparation period for the inspection. During the period leading up to the inspection, the entire department is usually involved in daily drills repeatedly throughout the day, in port and at sea. This is in addition to other required shipboard evolutions.
The Engineering Department passed the OPPE in record time, less than 48 hours, which became a Seventh Fleet record. The command, to celebrate a successful OPPE decided to conduct a dependents cruise. Wives, girlfriends, children, parents and other guests were invited to embark and enjoy a cruise of a few hours to display the ship’s capabilities and to experience what their sailors did at sea.
This is the point where things got interesting. I didn’t have a guest aboard and not having an assigned watch, I decided to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Apparently in the depths of exhaustion and deep asleep somewhere in my dreams I heard the General Quarters alarm. I immediately reacted as any experienced sailor does, I went into automatic mode, up out of the rack coveralls in one hand, boots in the other and in my skivvies I started for Repair Five at a dead run. I charged into the Mess decks amid women and children yelling, “Make a Hole, Get the Fuck Out of the Way.” As I made this mad dash, I was wondering why I was the only one. I made my way to the door of the locker. It dawned on me that there was no main space fire as I struggled to dress my naked ass with every dependent wife and child in the chow line staring at me. I finished dressing and returned to Engineering Berthing. In true snipe fashion, I returned to the compartment to a standing ovation from my mentally warped shipmates.
I asked, “Why did you let me go, why didn’t you stop me?”
The reply I received was, “Hey dude, we thought you were streaking the dependents cruise.
I would never dream of changing anything I did as a snipe, not even streaking the dependents cruise.
Steve is a Native of Pennsylvania, he served six years in the Navy as a Gas Turbine Systems Tech, followed by two years as a US Army Military Police officer, Steve currently resides in Northwest Pennsylvania where he spends his time in his gun shop. He also evaluates search and rescue teams Top of Form