Yesterday I wrote of inspections. The following is the story of an inspection by my shipmate Pat Dingle.
“Pure Sex Sir”
By: Pat Dingle
I guess it all started in boot camp. It was the one thing all of us teenagers had in common. None of us knew how to clean anything, let alone do it the Navy way. Our training started on day one with the words “The right way, the wrong way and the Navy way” We learned the Navy way. I could clean a head better than I could tie a knot but then I had countless hours practicing one and rope exposure of only an hour or two. We assured ourselves that things will be much better when we get out of this chicken-shit outfit and into the real Navy. And in my case it was much better. The OI division head aboard the Yorktown was smaller than the one I cleaned in boot camp.
As an E-2 then E-3 those first two years aboard taught me to clean every compartment the OI division was responsible for. My teachers were 3rd classes and above and we new guys considered them pricks (until we made Petty Officer) but it was always a team effort and really no sweat. The only real advantage came from the fact CIC was never cleaned while we were at sea. First, it was too dark in there and second we couldn’t have any distractions while on duty. The downside was coming in port and turning on the overhead lights. The rubber coated deck would have gagged a maggot. Spilled coffee like layers of varnish, cigarette butts, ground in candy bars and things never identified, nor would you want to.
There was one space I was assigned to however that I really called my own. It was the passageway outside the starboard entrance to CIC. It was small, dog-legged, and not well traveled. The deck was linoleum, the bulkhead painted gray. There were overhead wires, cables, and a host of other objects I had no clue as to what they were. I had no need to know, I just cleaned them. The brass compartment label over the door leading into CIC read “Combat Intelligence Center”, a term left over from World War Two. I loved this space to clean as mine and mine alone. While on my hands and knees scrubbing and waxing the deck the other radarmen were very careful to step lightly or on paper I’d lay down. The Admiral’s jarhead orderlies would step anywhere like I was invisible as would a number of his staff officers. A common practice among the brass I guess. The Admiral himself walked through a few times while I’m working and as I recall was very courteous. So were all ensigns.
While preparing for an inspection by our division officer one day, I decided to make my space really mine. The only colors in there were baby shit yellow decks and the Navy gray we all love to this day. My space lacked pizzazz, color, something that would set it apart from all the other spaces aboard ship. In other words, it sucked. So I went out and found some paint and painted an eye bolt sticking out right at eye level bright, bright red. Boy did it stick out now. When my Chief, Division Officer, and a First Class with a clipboard came through later that day I snapped to attention, identified my space and reported ready for inspection Sir. Normally they would nod and keep on walking, tiny space, nothing to see. Not this time. As the 1st class screwed up his face and the Chief glared at me, the officer, Lt somebody, just stared at the bright red eye bolt sticking out like a stop sign. He then turned to me and dryly asked, “What’s this”? I replied “Pure Sex, Sir”……… Found out later I received a 4.0 on the inspection of “Mine and mine alone space aboard the USS Yorktown”.
Bring back memories guys? What was the space you called your own?
3 thoughts on ““Pure Sex Sir””
I loved doing the starboard passage way.It was long ,and narrow,and was that deep green floor tile.I would strip it down with the floor scrubber.I had that scrubber bouncing of the bulkheads like you wouldn’t believe.Then I would mop it a couple of times to get the cleaner film off.After that I would change the scrubbing pad to the buffing pad.I would lay down about two ,or three coats of wax,and buff the shit out of it.For old tile it would realy shine.Like you said their would always be someone trying to walk on it before it dried,but most of the crew were pretty respectful.
On my tour of the USS CORAL SEA, I was assigned the divisional duty of PPO. The CWO I worked for was a stickler for ship cleanliness. I have as pushed hard by him to keep our spaces the best and dutifully pushed my guys to make our spaces the standard of Operation Department. I discovered that someone had painted all the electrical covers black in the RADAR room. The one thing I loved about old ships was the amount of brass on them went about stripping the paint off of them. The bulkhead had seven large covers that when stripped and polished drew your eye to their shimmering golden presence. This stared my desire to make any of the spaces I was assigned to be optimized to their potential.
Fast forward many years and promotions……
When I was stationed on the USS JOHN F KENNEDY, there as a space just outboard of Air Operations that was used as a copier room. I thought it was as a waste being used for that purpose and as the Operations Master Chief had the copier moved to smaller space that had an electrical aircraft starting unit cable storage box that protruded into it. I then went about transforming the space.
I put in an acoustical drop ceiling that had an egg crate panel that allowed light to shine through. This effectively hid all the cable runs and I-beams in the overhead. I tapped into a main air conditioning duct feeding the carrier controlled approach radar room, insuring the space would always be cool. I covered the bulkheads with a pastel wallpaper that had intermittent stripes of green, pink and blues. The deck is as was navy blue carpet squares and a CMC buddy from a fighter squadron had his corrosion control shop paint the door Blue Angel Blue. The CCOL was framed as was the bullseye (kinda took on a Warhol picture). It could comfortably held two desks, a metal coffee type table to hold a tv, vcr and coffee pot. Walking into the space was like walking into a different world that didn’t look like a typical navy space.
The space was tried to be “appropriated” by the COMDESRON staff because the Commodore saw the space one day as I exited it and thought the space was more appropriate for his status vice the “shithole” he was assigned. He bellyached to be skipper ( Capt. Fahy), who came down to see what he was trying to commandeer. The Captain (a great guy) was impressed with my handiwork and asked why I had invested so much time, money and energy into the space—-my answer—“because I could and wouldn’t the ship look better overall if all onboard took such effort to improve the it assigned spaces.” He agreed —the Commodore was told to back off.
I was told years after I left the ship the overhead remains the same but the space reverted back to green tile, typical green/white bulkhead paint and standard bulkhead CCOL/Bullseye markings.
But what I did to the shithole assigned me as a Squadron CMC on CVN 71 was probably the best transformation I ever did to a space and kept it in navy standards (almost). 😂😂
CMDCM/ACCM Michael Filz (ret)
I just saw all my grammatical errors. I write better than that. I think you get the gist though. My typing and proofing on an iPhone needs work… please take that in account when reading.