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?