By: Garland Davis
He cross decked to the ship from a Yard Water Barge (YW) in Da Nang Republic of Viet Nam. He came to us for a price. He cost six packs of Red Bug Juice, a couple loaves of fresh baked bread and a pound of butter. He left his Mama and his siblings on the deck of the YW.
He was a black and white puppy of questionable ancestry. We were half way to Subic with a tow before the Officers learned he was aboard. The XO was for putting him over the side. He was worried about animal and quarantine laws in the various countries we visited.
The Captain looked at him and said, “He’s a cute Son-of-a-Bitch. Just keep him hidden when we are in port.” That was how he acquired the rather unusual name. Since the term was an integral part of a sailor’s conversation, Son-of-a-Bitch came to think that he was needed in all areas of the ship.
He was sworn in as a Seaman Recruit. Over the first few weeks, he underwent a rigorous training program. He learned to use the fantail for a toilet in good weather and the head in rough weather. He learned that he wasn’t permitted in Sickbay, the Wardroom, or the Galley. He could go pretty much anywhere on the main deck he wished. He learned early that he could climb the ladders, but usually fell when he tried to descend a ladder. He often slept in the passageway forward by Supply.
Son-of-a-Bitch also learned ship’s routine, and since he was a non-watch stander and had no duties, he managed to be at the head of the chow line for all meals.
The signalman had a sewing machine area in the Supply storeroom. One of the deck Seaman who had sewing ability converted an old dress uniform to a doggie size dress blue jumper with the piping rank and everything. He fell in with the Deck/Supply Division for Quarters and Inspections.
During his two and a half years in the crew, he was advanced as high as Seaman several times. Every time you thought he would make it he screwed up and the BM1 held mast on him.
SN Son-of-a-Bitch didn’t go on liberty often because of the necessity to keep him hidden inport. Although a couple of snipes did bring a bitch dog in heat aboard and he had his way with her. Another time some snipes took him ashore in Yokosuka and paid a streetwalker to give him a blowjob.
When we learned, we were getting a new Commanding Officer, the decision was made to retire Son-of-a-Bitch into the care of an EN1. An appropriate retirement ceremony was held on the Foc’sle. He was presented with an Honorable Discharge, DD214, transfer to the Fleet Reserve, and a meritorious promotion to Kay Nine Third Class. A box of Milk Bone Biscuits was ceremoniously opened, and he partook of a couple (the RM3 joined him and ate a couple also).
He was piped over the side and went to live out his retirement years in a life of luxury although the EN1’s wife shortened his name to Son.