Christmas in Singapore 1972
(18 years old and two months)
By: Mike Kane
It was nearing Christmas of 1972, and USS Jouett DLG 29 (Radio Handle: LOVELAND on the gunline) was cut loose from the Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club to steam to the liberty port of our choice.
Capt gave us a vote.
I voted for Olongapo.
We cruised thru Yankee Station and headed southward to Singapore.
Before we entered Singapore, we crossed the equator.
Got my ass kicked, greased, beat and had to eat garbage and kiss the Royal Baby’s belly. My knees were bleeding from crawling in my skivvy’s on the main deck non-skid.
But, I survived and surfaced out of the garbage pool on the fantail a shellback.
The next day we set special sea and anchor detail to enter port, we finally tied up at Singapore Royal Navy Base at 0900. We shifted colors and were eventually moored after 45 days on the gunline. Our score was 1 SAM site and rescued 2 of our pilots off the USS Bon Homme Richard on SAR and an assist for 1 MIG.
Jouett was a BAD girl.
I was a BT, and we got the word to go cold iron. The Royal Navy Base was a protected base, so we were allowed to go cold iron.
It feels like Christmas when we did that.
By 11.00, I watched all the Twidgets go ashore. B+M Div still had to secure ship’s power, and shift to shore power.
Twidgets took their electrons for granted.
13.00 had dinner on the empty Twidget less mess deck and then shifted power.
I asked Chief can I hit the beach.
He said no. Hang loose because we have to pump bilges. Plus we have to rig the donut which he had just ordered.
Sad and unloved: Aye Aye, Chief.
15.00 Hooked up the donut by myself. Got tired of waiting for the Bos’ns, so I climbed over the side without gear and did it.
17.00 Finished pumping the bilges and asked Chief if it’s time.
Chief said we have to refuel, hang loose.
I wanted to say aye aye, but the words were stuck in my brain.
18.00 we started refueling. Which under normal conditions takes two hours, but this time we only had gravity flow. I almost got into a fistfight with one of the English Marines guarding our ship on the pier.
I was watching drunk Twidgets coming back laughing and talking like little school girls to get more money and go back.
21.00 tired, pissed off, smelling like jp5, Chief said the magic words: Hit the beach, Killer.
My nickname was Killer. Even Capt called me Killer. A fellow BT started it and the name stuck.
B and M Div were free to hit the beach.
We got a taxi at the base gate. Earl, Roger, Dave and I.
I didn’t know where we were going.
The cab stopped in front of the brand new Shangri-La Hotel.
We got out, and I booked a room. I had a lot of money too.
I showered dressed and went down to the bar near the pool.
I saw my mates at a table and joined them. Mai Tais were the big hit. I drank beer.
The table layout was weird.
They had four tables in a lump separated by beautiful tropical flowers. You could look through the flowers and see the tables and people behind you so close you could touch them.
I was looking through the flowers and looking back at me was a gorgeous, beautiful long haired, blond girl tanned just right. She would have qualified as a TEN in Florida, my home state.
I looked away but then looked back. She was with her mom and dad and little brother. She smiled at me. I couldn’t hear her, but it looked as if she was saying come here.
Finally, I got up and went over to her and asked her if she’d like a drink and can we talk.
She answered in an Australian accent: What might I have?
I swam all night in that pool with her in her bikini.
I almost went UA and got married.