In Waters Deep

In Waters Deep

Eileen Mahoney

In ocean wastes, no poppies blow,
No crosses stand in ordered row,
There young hearts sleep… beneath the wave…
The spirited, the good, the brave,
But stars a constant vigil keep,
For them who lie beneath the deep.
‘Tis true you cannot kneel in prayer
On certain spot and think. “He’s there.”
But you can to the ocean go…
See whitecaps marching row on row;
Know one for him will always ride…
In and out… with every tide.
And when your span of life is passed,
He’ll meet you at the “Captain’s Mast.”
And they who mourn on distant shore
For sailors who’ll come home no more,
Can dry their tears and pray for these
Who rest beneath the heaving seas…
For stars that shine and winds that blow
And whitecaps marching row on row.
And they can never lonely be
For when they lived… they chose the sea.

 

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Crying In The Rain

Crying In The Rain

Anon

I come to The Wall
All Alone
To see my friends
They say are gone
I see my reflection
I feel the pain
And with my buddies
I do my crying
In the rain

Very few
Really understand
Even fewer
Want to lend a hand
But The Wall
Seems to ease the pain
And with my buddies
I do my crying
In the rain

My buddies are here
I know
I can feel
Their presence close
We help each other
‘Cause we share the pain
And being together
We do our crying
In the rain

No one can see
The tears I cry
The raindrops hide
The way I feel inside
So I survive
By hiding the pain
And with my buddies
I do my crying
In the rain

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The High-Tech Toilet That Sank a German U-Boat

The High-Tech Toilet That Sank a German U-Boat

 

Garland Davis

 

From the problems we are having with the LCS Frigates, DD-1000, and CV -78 one would think that the descendants of these German Naval Engineers now populate the Pentagon.  The Captain of the boat was probably at some irrelevant training session and didn’t qualify himself on his command.  A lot like today where the emphasis is placed on social training instead of how to operate and maintain the new, questionable technology installed on the ships.

By World War II standards, the German Type VIIC submarine was an advanced hunter of the seas. But one unlucky vessel of its class, the U-1206, sank during its maiden combat voyage after its captain used its high-tech shitter improperly.

Yes, this happened and was an unexpected and tragic consequence of a real marine engineering problem. The cause of the sinking was improper training in the operation of new submarine shitter technology.

For years, crafty German engineers had been busy developing what they thought was the next generation in undersea plumbing. While Allied subs piped their sewage into onboard septic tanks, German U-boats saved precious weight and space by discharging waste directly into the sea.

But pulling off this latter operation posed unique challenges. The system only worked when the submarine floated near the surface, where the water pressure was low. One can only imagine the unpleasant workarounds forced upon the crew when boats had to stay submerged for prolonged periods.

As the war — and Allied anti-submarine technology — progressed, submarines were increasingly dead meat in shallow water or on the surface. But by 1945, Germany’s toilet technology had matured.

Germany’s top minds had produced a newfangled “deepwater,” high-pressure shitter” which allowed them to flush while submerged deep below the waves.

Advanced as it was, the toilet was extremely complicated. First, it directed human waste through a series of chambers to a pressurized airlock. The contraption then blasted it into the sea with compressed air, sort of like a turd torpedo.

A specialist on each submarine received training on proper toilet operating procedures. There was an exact order of opening and closing valves to ensure the system flowed in the correct direction.  I wonder if Shitter Operator was a separate rating or was it an assigned collateral duty.

Now meet U-1206 and its proud 27-year-old captain, Karl-Adolf Schlitt. On April 14, 1945, Schlitt and his submarine were eight days into their first combat patrol of the war. The submarine lurked 200 feet beneath the surface of the North Sea when Schlitt had to shit. He decided that he could figure the toilet out himself.

But Schlitt was not properly trained as a Shitter Operator meaning his quals for the safe operation of the equipment hadn’t been signed off. Schlitt, realizing that he didn’t know how to operate the shitter flushing mechanism called an engineer to help, the engineer, also unqualified, turned a wrong valve and accidentally unleashed a torrent of sewage and seawater back into the boat.

The situation escalated quickly. The unpleasant liquid filled the toilet compartment and began to stream down onto the submarine’s large internal batteries — located directly beneath the head — which reacted chemically and began producing chlorine gas.

As the poisonous gas filled the submarine, Schlitt frantically ordered the boat to the surface. The crew blew the ballast tanks and fired their torpedoes to improve the flooded vessel’s buoyancy.

Somehow, it got worse when the submarine reached the surface. “at this point, British planes and patrols discovered us,” Schlitt wrote in his official account.

After taking damage from an air attack, the only option was to scuttle the sub and order the sailors to abandon the Boat.

“The crew reached the Scottish coast in rubber dinghies,” Schlitt added. “In the attempt to negotiate the steep coast in heavy seas, three crewmembers tragically died. Several men were taken aboard a British sloop.

Schlitt survived the war and died in 2009. U-1206 rests on the bottom of the North Sea to this day with the flushing mechanism still incorrectly lined up.

 

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Tales of an Asia Sailor

Tales of an Asia Sailor

Garland Davis

Sunday, November 27 marks one year since I created and began posting the Crap, true and not, that has wandered through my mind on Tales of an Asia Sailor.  I have tried to post each day.  In addition to my own ravings, I have reached out to Shipmates David McAllister, John Petersen, Okie Bob Layton, Captain Jim Barton, Captain John Wallace, Jerry Juliana, Pat Dingle, Jerry Collins, Kurt Stuvengen, and others (if I haven’t mentioned you, it isn’t because I don’t appreciate your participation, it just speaks to my ability to forget almost everything).  I have borrowed from renowned Diesel Boat sailor and storyteller “Dex” Armstrong for his view of the diesel submarine world.

The title, Tales of an Asia Sailor, was taken from an association of which I am a proud plank owner and founding member.  The Asia Sailor Westpac’rs Association is a membership of over five hundred sailors who served in Asia during World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam War, throughout the Cold War, until the present.  I am proud to be a founding member of the website asiasailor.com and the Facebook group ASIA SAILOR Westpac’rs Association. Qualifications to join either the website or the Facebook group are simple, you must have pulled at least one liberty as a member of an afloat or ashore unit in Asia.  Membership is free; there are no costs or fees to join either entity.

The Westpac’rs Association has conducted four extremely successful reunions in Branson Missouri since forming the Association, and plans are well underway for the fifth reunion scheduled for May 2017 at the Clarion Hotel in Branson. Sea stories abound, and many activities are available.  It is the most fun you’ll ever have with your clothes on. Information regarding the reunion can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/324019217940571/

I am overwhelmed by the reception of my stories and the Blog.  My stories have been viewed by people all over the world, from countries on each of the continents, even Antarctica.  I am humbled by the comments from the many readers and the compliments on my inadequate attempts to tell my and our stories.  During the previous year, there have been 96,427 individual viewings of articles.  Overwhelmed doesn’t describe my feelings and amazement.

I wish to say Thank You to everyone who follows and reads Tales.  I also extend my thanks to each of you who have shared and passed along the link to friends and shipmates.

I created the Blog as a venue for my writing. I didn’t start Tales for personal enrichment. I gain no monetary benefit from Tales and I haven’t permitted any advertising (we get enough of that elsewhere).  I pay annually for the site and the domain name and am happy to do so.

Anyone wishing to contact me with a story idea, comment on something I have written, or to inquire about becoming a member of the Asia Sailor Westpac’rs Association can do so at either of the following e-mail addresses:

davisg022@hotmail.com

davisg022@hawaii.rr.com

Thanks again and have a great Navy Day Shipmates!

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Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Garland Davis

 

Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until after the American Revolution. During the revolutionary period, political influences affected the issuance of Thanksgiving proclamations. Various proclamations were made by royal governors, John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each giving thanks to God for events favorable to their causes. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”

Thanksgiving was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863 by a presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by the campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for around 40 years trying to make it an official holiday, Lincoln proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states. Because of the ongoing Civil War and the Confederate States of America’s refusal to recognize Lincoln’s authority, a nationwide Thanksgiving date was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s.

A 1948 Thanksgiving Menu from the Naval Training Station Hampton Roads, Va.

 

Celery                                              Pickles

Cream Asparagus Soup

Cold Ox Tongue

Asparagus Tips                  Mashed Potatoes

Roast Princess Anne Turkey

Oyster Dressing                  Giblet Gravy

Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Pie                      Citron Cake

Oranges                               Bananas

Mixed Nuts and Raisins

Coffee                                      Cigars

After dinner cigars and cigarettes were provided by the Recreation Fund for the two Thanksgiving Meals that I helped prepare and serve when I was in USS Vesuvius.  It was a practice and tradition that fell to the machinations of the non-smokers.  When I was leading CS in USS Morton, I proposed cigars, but the XO decided that it wasn’t a good idea.

Depending upon a ship’s operating schedule, the Senior Commissaryman/Mess Management Specialist began planning and ordering specialty items for Thanksgiving dinner as early as the first of October.  One of the first items ordered were whole turkeys.  Although they used a lot of freezer storage space, I always ordered early because waiting too late would often be met with a “Not in Stock” from the Supply Center or the stores’ ship because everyone was ordering the birds.  When I was in USS Midway, we roasted whole turkeys for display and backed up with the boneless turkey.  There wasn’t sufficient freezer space.  A meal for the carrier at sea would have required about three hundred whole turkeys.

Menus were prepared and sent off to the print shop.

Actual food preparation began as early as a week before the holiday.  Extra bread was ordered and dried, or when at sea bread was baked and dried for preparing bread dressing.  The stuffing of turkeys is not permitted by Navy Medical procedures.  There is a great danger of Salmonella.  In 1936, half the crew of a heavy Cruiser was hospitalized because of the foodborne illness.  It was attributed to undercooked turkey stuffing.

For two nights before the holiday, the night baker is busy baking pies and bread.  Pumpkin pies, Mince pies (I never knew anyone who liked them) along with apple and cherry pies were standard menu items.  The afternoon before Thanksgiving found both watches in the galley doing preparations for the next day’s meal.

Breakfast/Brunch was usually served during the morning of the holiday while most of the cooks were concentrating on getting the special meal ready to serve.  Enough food was prepared to permit the serving of second and third servings. Thanksgiving meal hours were usually 1500 to 1800.

Thanksgiving was a special day where members of the Food Service Division could highlight their skills and their profession.  I was always impressed by the CO’s and XO’s who gave up their Thanksgiving celebrations at home and came to the ship to work on the mess line and help serve the meal.

I wish each and everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

 

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Simulating Daily Shipboard Routine

Simulating Daily Shipboard Routine

Garland Davis

 

Every Monday morning completely disassemble and inspect the parts of your lawn mower.  Note that you have accomplished this by initialing the PMS Schedule posted on the back of the kitchen door.  If you initial that you had completed it when you didn’t do it, restrict yourself to the house for a month for “gun decking.”

Every six months disassemble, inspect, and verify all tolerances with the proper instruments. Reassemble your car engine using only a 12″ Crescent wrench, ball-peen hammer, and screwdriver.  In keeping with aviation tool control requirements, inventory the contents of your toolbox to ensure you did not leave a micrometer in the engine.

Develop a PQS program to qualify all member of your family to operate all the appliances in your home (example: Qualified Dishwasher Operator, Qualified Blender Technician, Qualified Toaster Operator, etc.).  These quals will also apply to their Enlisted Home Warfare Specialist (EHWS) Qualifications.  Conduct weekly classes where you teach family members the electrical and plumbing diagrams for your house.  These classes are best conducted after working hours.

Walk throughout your house and garage for four hours, check the tire pressure, oil level, and fuel level of your car every 15 minutes and keep an accurate log (record book) of the readings.

Invite your Grandfather over for Sunday Morning Brunch.  At 2200 (10 pm) the previous night make your family paint the entire interior of the house in the event the Admiral wants to take a quick look around. Don your Sunday best and stand on your front porch waiting for the Admiral (Grandfather).  Have Grandfather call, at the last minute, to say he can’t make it this morning.

Periodically run your household on an “eight on eight off” routine.  Work 8 hours at your normal day job.  Take care of your personal matters during the next 8 hours.  On the next 8 hours off, have an 18 wheeler from a grocery distributor pull up in front of your house.  Gather all your neighbors, form a human chain from the truck down to your basement (be sure to route it through the backyard to avoid “officer’s country”).  Pass the entire contents of the truck hand-to-hand down to the basement.  Turn your cap around and go on your regular work shift.  Repeat the process the next eight off shift, but this time unload a truckload of high explosives. The next shift run hoses and transfer the contents of your neighbor’s heating fuel tank to your tank.

Remove the contents of a walk-in closet and replace with three desks.  At the nearest Salvation Army Thrift Store salvage the oldest computer that you can find (make sure that at least two vowel keys stick) and set it on one of the desks.  Take three of your “closest” friends into the closet and shut the door.  Give everyone a five-page article to type and a 15-minute deadline.  As one is typing, have the other two talk, tell jokes, and hit each other.  As you type the last page, have someone unplug the computer (do not save the document).  Attempt to retype the paper with people yelling, “Hurry up.”  Repeat five times a day.

With the help of your two six-year old nephews and a partial 1976 manual, replace the starter in your 1987 car, working only from the top. Have your father-in-law remind you every 3 minutes that you have 15 minutes to finish because the car is needed for the next mission (trip).

Stand by the phone on the mid-watch (12 A.M. to 4 A.M.) with a log book, fire bell, and intrusion alarm panel within reach. Mount a gauge on the wall to read your house’s water pressure. Have your youngest child walk around with a tape measure to see if your house is flooding. He/she must check each room every hour and report back to you that all conditions are normal.  With each report, phone a neighbor and tell him all conditions are normal at your house and report the water pressure. Have your child wake up your spouse (watch relief) a half hour before the end of your watch, so he/she is sure to be 15 minutes late relieving you. This ensures that you will get two solid hours of sleep before you face another day.

To simulate flight operations walk outside your house, preferably in dreary weather, and direct traffic on the street for 8 hours. If a break in traffic flow permits you a short rest, go in the house but don’t get into your bed – lie down in the hallway.

To simulate working in the pit install humidifiers throughout your house.  Fill humidifiers with a half and half mixture of water and 90 weight gear oil.  Remove the muffler from your lawn mower and bring it into the house.  Run humidifiers and lawn mower constantly.

Disconnect your TV cable box and stare at the snow static for six hours.  Report every 15 minutes to no one in particular, “Sonar holds no contacts.”  Do not fall asleep.  The following 6 hours disassemble your TV and rebuild using VCR operating instructions.  Touch a live circuit thereby shocking you.  Report back to watch and receive extra military instruction to hold safety training on the topic, “Why it is dangerous to be electrocuted.”

Go to a local bridge, stare at the water for twelve straight hours.

To simulate rough weather operations go to an amusement park, fill your stomach with coffee and funnel cake then ride a roller coaster non-stop.

Pick a six month period when your work and home life are at their busiest, get your neighbor to phone you at 2330 (11:30 pm), dress in the dark, and hang a brick on a string around your neck and stare at the backyard from your patio. Identify the whereabouts of all bats, crickets, moths and stray dogs by sound and sight, keep a written record of everything you see, and choke down at least one cup of four-day-old coffee (preferably black) every thirty minutes. Anytime a critter enters the yard, call your wife on the cell phone to apprise her of its movements. On snowy or foggy nights be sure to blow an air horn at regular intervals to warn the neighbors of your whereabouts.

Sit in front of your kitchen stove for six hours. Look at nothing but the stove. Maintain a log (record book) of the position of all the knobs. Have your kid randomly report to the kitchen “conditions normal” in the house. Have him randomly ask permission to turn on various appliances in the house. Grant him authorization to start half of them, and have him immediately report the condition of the each appliance.

Wash and wax all the cars on your block once a week in the rain to simulate washing aircraft.  Have a 10-year-old neighbor kid QA (Quality check) the work and tell you all the places you missed.

Have your father-in-law (Squadron Maintenance Officer) set 20 unachievable goals on Monday morning with the promise that if they are achieved there will be liberty for the whole family on Sunday.  Have the entire family work 18 hour days for the whole week while your father-in-law goes golfing.  Achieve all the goals. Upon his return Saturday night have him announce one of the following on a rotating basis, Due to operational commitments: (1)The duty section (1/3 of the family) will have to work Sunday, or (2) Liberty is canceled.  Do this for a couple of years and then reward your father-in-law with a promotion and a medal for superior operational readiness.

Purchase a beat up 30-year-old car (aircraft).  Keep the following schedule to the letter and with accurate records of everything.  Have three highly qualified people inspect the car before driving (preflight), then have 16 year old who just got his license and knows nothing about cars inspect it again. Have him drive the car as if it were a rented Corvette with full coverage insurance (flight ops).  When he returns have him tell you everything his one month of vast experience tells him is wrong, using vague phrases.  Have three people inspect it (Post-flight/Daily inspection) and the next morning even though the car has not moved have three people re-inspect it and repeat twice a day.  Every third day replace the alternator before driving.  Every 7, 14, 28 and 56 days, take one section apart and reassemble and every 128 days take entire car apart and reassemble.

3.20 When talking to your wife drop every third word in your sentence to simulate ship to shore voice communications.

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A Day to Remember

A Day to Remember

By: Garland Davis

Shortly afternoon, November 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated as he rode in a motorcade through Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, Texas.

Everyone who was old enough to remember can tell you exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. It happened at 12:30 PM CST November 22nd.  It is one of two lifetime events that I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I was told its circumstances.  The other was the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11.  The country went into shock on that day fifty-three years ago.  Schools closed.  Some companies shut down for a few days.  The United States and the world were stunned.

I was half a world away.  It was 1:30 AM on the morning of November 23rd in the Western Pacific.  I was serving in USS Vesuvius, an ammunition replenishment ship, anchored in Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines.  At 3:00 AM, the crew was awakened and the Commanding Officer made an announcement over the ship’s announcing system.  He told us that the president had been killed and as a precautionary measure, the fleet would sortie at first light.  The warships would go first and Vesuvius, the oiler USS Cacapon and the stores ship Pollux would follow once the fighting ships had cleared the bay.

At the time, no one knew the circumstances of the assassination.  There was speculation that the Soviets may have been involved in reprisal for the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The fleet went to sea expecting Soviet Submarines to be waiting.  I stood on deck and watched the warships leave.  I counted 18 cruisers and destroyers.  I can assure you that they went to sea locked and loaded.  As soon as we cleared port, the destroyers were lining up to top off their magazines from us and their fuel tanks from the tanker.

Later that day, one of the carriers that had been inbound for Subic Bay, came alongside to top off her stocks of five hundred pound bombs.

We stayed on alert for a week or two and then settled back into routine operations.

A day to remember.

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