It was never easy

theleansubmariner

It was never easy

On the day I retired from the Navy, my crew presented me with a shadow box. That box sits on my desk and I look at it from time to time when I am not typing stories or checking out the latest on the Internet. It’s a nice box with beveled edges, a glass =cover that has kept the dirt at bay for many years and a deep blue velvet background. The display is a chronology of my service from the time I enlisted until the day I retired. All of the achievements of my career are visible and each remind me the one thing that all military people know and understand. It was never easy.

The Oath

I took my first oath at the age of seventeen with my proud parents standing by. Like my father before me and his father too, I chose the…

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The Cold Iron Watch

The Cold Iron Watch

By John Petersen

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You’ve been at sea for months, your routine has become a rut.

Get off watch, eat, sleep, train, maybe a shower, then back on watch,

but there’s that weird feeling in your gut.

Home port is near, time to prepare and arrange your brain,

for all those months at sea have been nothing but a drain.

Finally! The last line is secure, all shore services connected!

Another successful switch, your friendly EM has shore power selected!

The main engine is locked, evaps brought down, and then as a closer,

“Test the overspeed trips on the SSTG’s, this pm was due in October”!

As luck would have it, (or maybe not), guess what? You have duty tonight!

Checking the watchbill you realize the night will not be alright.

You’ve been awarded after all the months of hard, sweaty work,

the cold iron watch, from midnight to four,

No homecoming party with your buds to attend, no night on the town,

just you, lonely snipe, touring now silent spaces that cool down to their core.

Remember that feeling? The one in your gut?

You’re reminded of that as a door somewhere above is slammed shut.

As you check these spaces now growing cold and still,

you stop at each ladder and entrance, and get this uncomfortable chill.

There’s no more noise, no constant and steady hum and mechanical beat,

of all the things it takes to ensure this vessel is never in fear of defeat.

Descending several decks to the port shaft alley for readings and such,

that long narrow space can’t possibly be that bad, for some four hours back,

this huge shaft was turning strong, giving no slack.

Now it is still, as is your heart, for there is no noise, until that pump down the ally,

goes into auto start!

Down in the aft engine room, things get really strange you see,

for every screaming turbine is now still and rumored boogums are unleashed and set free.

Every sound is heard, every creak, groan and slight squeal,

you swear you saw something move, upsetting your previous meal.

Roaming the upper level can be enough to give anyone a start,

yet that lower level in an engineroom when cold will stop the saltiest heart.

Four hours of anxious, nail biting watchstanding, in the middle of the night no less,

Does nothing for your sense of well being, not to mention your shorts, you confess!

And as if things weren’t bad enough, in the port shaft alley towards the end of hour three,

Whatever sense of security you have left, decides it’s time to flee.

While checking the shaft seal, several decks down and all the way back,

The lights start to flicker, suddenly the world goes black.

Now for all the sailors of this mighty vessel who live life above the waterline,

A loss of power would be a mere inconvenience, it’ll come back on in due time.

But when you’re the poor snipe stuck deep in the bowels of this storied ship,

The sudden darkness and silence stokes fear and quivers the lip.

It matters not what your rate, rank or level of seniority, I will tell this:

Standing the cold iron watch will make you a man, and those shorts you will not miss!

MM1 Petersen

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“Coffee, Nectar of the Gods…er…Chief Petty Officers”

“Coffee, Nectar of the Gods…er…Chief Petty Officers”

By: Garland Davis

If asked, “How do you take your coffee?” I reply. “Seriously, very seriously.”

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The coffee plant, discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th Century, has a white blossom that smells like jasmine and a red, cherry-like fruit. At that time, the leaves of the so-called “magical fruit” were boiled in water and the resulting concoction was thought to have medicinal properties. As the fame of the coffee plant spread to other lands, its centuries-long voyage was about to begin.

Istanbul was introduced to coffee in 1555 during the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent by Özdemir Pasha, the Ottoman Governor of Yemen, who had grown to love the drink while stationed in that Country. In the Ottoman palace a new method of drinking coffee was discovered: the cherry seeds, later called beans, were roasted over a fire, finely ground and then slowly cooked with water on the ashes of a charcoal fire. With its new brewing method and aroma, coffee’s renown soon spread even further afield.

Over the next century coffee spread throughout the countries of Europe. England first became acquainted with coffee in 1637 when a Turk introduced the drink to Oxford. It quickly became popular among students and teachers who established the “Oxford Coffee Club.” The first commercial coffeehouse in Oxford opened in 1650 and was called the “Angel.”

In 1652, the first coffeehouse was opened in London. Using his extensive knowledge of how to prepare and brew Turkish Coffee, the Greek owner introduced his friends and clients to its peerless Taste.

By 1660, London’s coffeehouses had become an integral part of its social culture. The general public dubbed coffeehouses “Penny Universities” as they were patronized by writers, artists, poets, lawyers, politicians, and philosophers. London’s coffeehouses offered customers a great deal more than piping hot cups of coffee: the entrance fee of one penny allowed them to benefit from the intellectual conversation that surrounded them. It is believed that William Shakespeare conceptualized and wrote plays in the coffee houses of Strafford upon Avon.

Many coffeehouses of London placed a brass box bearing the words “To Insure Promptness” where patrons could leave a coin in payment for the services rendered by the coffee wenches. That is where our current term “TIP” and the practice of “Tipping” originated.

Coffee reached North America in 1668. The first coffeehouse in New York, “The King’s Arms”, opened in 1696.

Coffeehouses of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, as in London, were frequented by students and intellectuals.

In 1714, the Dutch presented Louis XIV with a coffee sapling from their plantations on Java. The sapling was planted in the royal Jardin des Plantes in Paris.

In 1723, a French mariner took a sapling from the Jardin des Plantes to the island of Martinique. From here, the coffee plant spread to other Caribbean islands, as well as to Central and South America.

In 1727, a Portuguese sailor carried coffee saplings to Brazil from French Guyana. Today, Brazil is the number one producer of coffee in the world, accounting for 35% of global coffee production. By the mid-nineteenth century, coffee had become one of the most important commodities in world trade.

After the “Boston Tea Party,” the drinking of tea by the colonists fell out of favor. Coffee grew in popularity throughout the colonies and later the fledgling states. During the American Civil War, the blockade of Southern ports created an extreme shortage of coffee. Numerous substitutes were attempted, primarily toasted corn, toasted barely and the ground root of the chicory plant. Many in the deep south developed a taste for chicory and still mix chicory root with coffee.

Coffee was mostly drunk by the officers in the early American Navy. The sailors preferred their beer and rum rations. It slowly became more popular as a morning drink throughout the Navy.

The practice of coffee being made available twenty-four hours per day was established as a Naval tradition at the Battle of Manila Bay when Commodore George Dewey ordered the fleet to keep the galley fires lit to make coffee available throughout the battle.

Early versions of the Navy Cook Book required that the coffee be made only so strong as to see the bottom of the cup. This was to prevent the sailors from becoming overly stimulated. It later became customary to make and drink coffee strong enough to “float a marlinspike.” Coffee became the favored beverage of sailors until the invention of Drink, Instant, Strawberry, Artificially Sweetened better known as red “Bug Juice.” There were also Lemon (yellow Bug Juice), Lime (green bug juice), Orange (orange bug juice), and Grape (you guessed it, purple bug juice) flavors available. It was not uncommon to hear a sailor answer, “Red,” to the question, “What flavor bug juice do they have today.” But bug juice is another story for telling at another time.

Coffee not only became the at-sea beverage of choice, the cans of coffee grounds raised the practice of barter (Cum Shaw to the Asia Sailor) to an art practiced by some of the canniest Blue Jackets afloat. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if some sailor didn’t have the SRF in Yokosuka build him an entire ship. I have a brass ashtray that was produced by the Foundry at said SRF. My boss traded coffee for it and presented it to me after winning the 1982 and 1983 Ney Awards as Leading MS in Midway.

Being the Chief Cook and Baker, I was also the custodian of the ship’s supply of coffee grounds. I could always tell when my shipmates were going to hit me up for a can. They would be extra nice to me for a few days before. Of course, I always acted as if it would place a financial burden on the General Mess, but after listening to them tell me of all the glorious products they were going to get for a mere twenty pounds of coffee, I would relent and give in. Of course, I always kept a stock of coffee already charged as used just for these instances. In preparation for an extended availability while in Midway, I had over two thousand pounds of coffee charged off. I would surmise this isn’t done in our new kinder and gentler Navy.

During stores on loads and working parties made up by sailors from all divisions, it became a game for me to make sure all the coffee made it to the storeroom with my fellow Chiefs urging their troops on the working party to misplace a case of coffee (two twenty pound cans). Coffee wasn’t the only items popular for pilfering. Aforesaid bug juice was popular, it would take the tarnish off brass and shine deck plates. Wonder what it did to our stomachs. And snipes would take anything edible, even dehydrated mashed potatoes. But again, coffee is the story.

I remember when the Navy made Coffee, Powdered Instant available. We tried it on one of the ships I was in. (The Food Service Officer claimed to prefer instant coffee.) To placate him I ordered a case. I took a jar into the CPO Mess. Those of us who tried it figured you could make a better beverage with the detritus gathered at evening sweepers. The jar sat alongside the coffee pot for a couple of days and then disappeared, I presume into the shitcan. The Food Service Officer took a jar, paid for by the Wardroom Mess. Two years later when I transferred, the were ten jars of the original twelve still on the books.

As for decaffeinated coffee, it is one of four items that I consider substitutes for the real thing. The other three are non-alcoholic beer, skim milk, and masturbation. Not even worth consideration.

Having retired some twenty-six years ago, I am not sure which direction coffee has taken in the Navy and aboard ship. With the rise of the specialty coffee stores and shops offering Espressos and other foo-foo, exotic made up drinks, I would not be surprised to see an espresso coffee maker in the Ward Rooms and General Messes and, I hate to say it, even the CPO Mess. As for me, I’ll take my coffee hot, black, and strong enough to float that marlinspike.

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A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.

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Leaving Subic Bay

Leaving Subic Bay

By: John Petersen

USS Halsey CG-23, WESTPAC 91-92. Made a port visit to Subic on the way to the Gulf, this visit was after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and during the workings of the base closure. We were not allowed to leave the base. Some areas of the base still functioned. The Navy Exchange (pretty much a ‘liquidation’ sale type deal), a few food joints, base club, etc.

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Getting around the joint was a crapshoot, the base taxis (remember those shitty little white Isuzu I-Marks?) were idle unless someone volunteered to drive ’em. There were mounds of volcanic ash everywhere, the maintenance shops were shuttered.

A few native vendors were still on site, hawking bamboo furniture and WESTPAC jackets and such, but not much more. Pretty dismal, actually. I picked up a matching ‘his & hers’ set of jackets, and a cool San Magoo mug.

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At one point during the few days we were there, I found myself looking through the fence across that notoriously putrid river at Olongapo, picking through my memory bank of the fun, the debauchery, the seemingly endless supply of San Magoo’s and MOJO and Green Bullfrog, and the caramelized skin of those warm little sweeties…I may have actually shed a tear that day, knowing that when we pulled out of port, we would never return. The day the ship got underway, the crew was solemn, other than the barking over the 1MC and the chatter of the 2JV down in engineering, things were strangely quiet.

During the return trip from the Gulf, we passed Grande Island. The base was by now closed, no US ships remained. I stood on the fantail having just gotten off watch, along with probably every other individual not on watch. The port side of that cruiser was lined with people. As we passed the Island, without any fanfare or orders from the bridge, practically everyone popped tall, saluted, then placed our covers over our hearts, knowing that decades of a Naval tradition was no longer. Almost akin to a burial at sea, only the ceremony detail was sharply attired in grungy 2190 soaked dungarees.

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The memories of Subic Bay that I have will never wither away. B-52 Club, Cordon Bleu, Tigers Den. The Shakey’s Pizza joint a quarter way up Magsaysay on the left side. The grizzled old toothless woman selling black market Marlboro’s on that famous bridge. Getting one’s butt kicked by a seven-year-old pool shark. Trike races to the Barrio in ankle deep mud (long before that road was paved). Showing up at the Iron Horse in the Barrio, somehow Mamasan knew exactly when you would be there, and she’d have a plate loaded with lumpia and a huge mound of shrimp fried rice and a couple of cold one’s waiting for you. A rousing game of smiles at Marilyns. White Castle ‘n Sprites. Dancing baluts on the table while a bunch of tough guy Marines stare at you with contempt, then biting the heads off and wind up in a brawl. River Queens and her minions diving for pesos in Shit River, before they put up that twelve-foot steel wall. Subic City, the complete adult Disneyland, where everything goes (and stayed). Scarfing down a fistful of BBQ of questionable origin while staggering back to the ship to hopefully grab an hour or two of shuteye before quarters, swearing on a stack of Bibles that after the day’s chores it was nothing but sleep that evening, yet back to the fun you went instead.

I swear, there will never be any place on God’s green Earth that will compare to Subic Bay in it’s heyday. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be a part of it’s history are to be revered. Those who have not pulled a liberty in this paradise, including today’s Naval warriors, should bask in the glory of the true Asia Sailor, for you have no idea what fun really is.

My Last time in Subic:

The Bridge

By: Garland Davis

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It doesn’t seem so long ago that I crossed that bridge for the first time. It was 1962. A couple of hours at the club to get a buzz on before you hit the gate and crossed the infamous “Shit River Bridge.” Your shipmates had told you about Olongapo and the one peso beer and the four peso short times. You halfway believed them. You really wanted to believe them. But could it be that easy? They were right about liberty in Sasebo and Yokosuka. There was no way liberty in Subic could be better than Sasebo.

Stopped at the on base money changer. The exchange rate was P3.85 to one US dollar. Supposedly you could get a better rate from the money changers across the river, but a lot of guys had been burned with worthless Japanese occupation Pesos. Better safe than sorry.

With almost forty P’s tucked into the inside pocket of my white jumper, My watch in my pocket. (I had heard about the watch snatchers.) I headed for the gate only to be blocked by Marine Private brandishing a billy club. He looked my uniform over, told me to square my white hat and asked how many packs of smokes was I carrying? After he had been satisfied that I was squared away and wasn’t going to wreck the Philippine economy with black market cigarettes, he motioned for me to pass. I walked to the edge of the bridge to wait for my shipmates.

Suddenly I was hit with a god awful smell. Something like the combination of a leather tannery, a paper mill, a landfill, and an overflowing shitter. It was all I could do to keep from gagging. I surmised that it was the odor of the much talked about Shit River. They had damned sure named the son of a bitch correctly. After a few moments, my friends satisfied the Marine Corps and joined me. As we walked across, we looked at the boys in the water begging for sailors to throw coins, wondering why they still lived after swimming in that black viscous liquid.

The tales about the delights of Olongapo proved true. It became a looked forward to port of call on many WestPac cruises. Of course, there were other ports, the aforementioned Sasebo and Yokosuka in Japan and later Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, and Keelung. They were all sailor towns and catered to the American sailor.

As the Vietnam War dragged on, the economy of Japan and Hong Kong improved, and they became less enjoyable and more expensive than in the past. New liberty ports were discovered in Singapore and a small fishing village in Thailand known as Pattaya. All these ports were welcome interludes in the endless hours of flight operations, plane guard, gunfire support, constant rearming and refueling. The cold drinks and the warm, willing women healed us and maintained our sanity.

Viet Nam ended only to be replaced with Indian Ocean cruises. A stop at Subic on the way into the IO, if lucky, a stop in Freemantle/Perth on the way out and, of course, Subic.

The one port, the one city that became the Asia Sailor’s Mecca was just across that bridge. Olongapo and onward to the much more debauched, if that is possible, Barrio and Subic City became the one liberty port that I looked forward to over all others. I guess one of the best descriptions I have ever heard is, “Big Boy’s Disneyland.” I could do and did shit in Subic that they would put my ass in jail for in Oklahoma City. Am I proud of all that I did there? No. Am I ashamed of some things that I did there? Probably should be, but I just can’t find it.

Twenty-five years, eight Seventh Fleet ships and numerous trips across that bridge passed until I made the last trip across. It was 1987. That time it was in a Special Service’s van to Clark AFB to catch a flight to Japan and on to Hawaii for my twilight tour before retiring.

Sometimes when I am walking my dog in the mornings, I will see one of my young Filipina neighbors walking to the bus stop and catch the odor of a Filipino mother cooking their breakfast, and it flashes me back to a morning in the past and wish I could go back, Just One More Fucking Time!

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Vietnam Memorial Wall Facts

Vietnam Memorial Wall Facts!

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A little history most people will never know. Interesting Veterans Statistics off the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which they were taken from us by date and within each date the names are alphabetized. It is hard to believe it is 61 years since the first casualty.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass. Listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956. His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on Sept. 7, 1965.

There are three sets of fathers and sons on the Wall.

39,996 on the Wall were just 22 or younger.

8,283 were just 19 years old.

The largest age group, 33,103 were 18 years old.

12 soldiers on the Wall were 17 years old.

5 soldiers on the Wall were 16 years old.

One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock was 15 years old.

997 soldiers were killed on their first day in Vietnam ..

1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam .

31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

Thirty one sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 soldiers attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia. I wonder why so many from one school.

8 Women are on the Wall, Nursing the wounded.

244 soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio with a population of 475 lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

The Marines of Morenci – They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop 5,058) had ever known and cheered. They enjoyed roaring beer busts. In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail, stalked deer in the Apache National Forest. And in the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci’s mining families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted as a group in the Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966. Only 3 returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale – LeRoy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues. They lived only a few yards apart. They played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field. And they all went to Vietnam. In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three would be killed. LeRoy was killed on Wednesday, Nov. 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day. Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 – 2,415 casualties were incurred.

For most Americans who read this they will only see the numbers that the Vietnam War created. To those of us who survived the war, and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces, we feel the pain that these numbers created. We are, until we too pass away, haunted with these numbers, because they were our friends, fathers, Husbands, wives, sons and daughters. There are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

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Cooks and Snipes Continued

Cooks and Snipes Continued

By: Mark Bowen

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On the DD-963’s the galley was just above main control. The Waste heat boilers that supplied the steam were terrible and in combination with finicky evaps. we were on water hours often. This helped to develop a good working relationship between the night baker and the snipes.

Being a newer ship in the 80’s we just turned the potable water on and off from main control with the push of a button. When we were on water hours we just secured the potable water. The night baker would call down for water and we would turn it on. When he finished baking early in the morning he took a trip to Aux 1 and had his shower on the Evap Flat. It was one of the perks of having the night watches to get fresh baked goods delivered with butter.

Listening to that damn mixer run on the 20-24 sucked because he usually did not have anything ready by the time you were off watch.

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Yes Garland even if you took good care of us we stole from you any chance we got. Mess cooking snipes were moles and A gangers with reefer deck keys were not above reproach. I used my experience when I made Chief and was the mess caterer to harden the CPO mess from these raids.

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There were occasions that we showed our love in different ways and one still sticks in my mind.Now this is no shit, I was eating early chow and the MSSN on the serving line gave me a very poor portion of the main course and we started having a discussion about it. I reminded him that I was a Second Class and I did not appreciate his disrespect. Things escalated and he got the best of me and Iside-armed my tray back under the sneeze screen like a Frisbee. It went past him at a high rate of speed missing him as I had planned.

I walked off and went down to main control and and told the Chief what had happened. About a minute later the MS1 shows up and says to the Chief ” Bowen just threw a tray of food at one of my cooks” Ol’ Chief Lurch looks at him and says “The food must not of been any good I have never known Bowen to miss a meal”

MS1 left main control muttering” I am going to write him up”. Chief says to me that I need to get in front of this and get something worked out with the MS1. I sat there on watch and decided to write the MSSN up for disrespect to a petty officer. The MSSN had had his problems and a recent Mast. I went to the MS1 after watch and apologized. He told me the MSSN was having problems but he had already written me up and turned in the chit it was out of his hands. I pulled the report chit out on the MSSN and I told him that I was turning it in too.

I was lucky we had CPO mast for report chits, I guess they decided it was offsetting penalties and dismissed both cases.

A Couple anecdotes by Garland Davis on snipes:

I was a CS3 serving in USS Vesuvius AE-15. WE were in our homeport of Port Chicago, California. We were leading stores. I was in the reefer decks stowing the frozen and chill items as they were struck below.

The escape trunk from the lower level of the engineering spaces opened directly between the reefer doors. Since the ship was on cold iron the hatch was open. An MM3 yelled from the bottom of the trunk, “Hey Davy, throw me something to eat.”

I ignored him and continued to work.

“Hey Davy, how about a piece of fruit. An apple or an orange. Something!”

I had just placed a crate of watermelons in the chill reefer. I yelled down the trunk, “Okay here it comes” and dropped a watermelon. I was picturing watermelon seeds and bits of rind all over the place.

The asshole caught the damned thing.

“Hey thanks, Davy. The first round is on me tonight.”

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Another time, a couple of firemen climbed the trunk and absconded with a three-gallon container of chocolate ice cream.

The Captain, the CHENG, and the duty engineer were touring the engine room and discovered them in the evaporator flats eating ice cream with a couple of spoons the had stolen from the mess decks.

When asked where they had gotten the ice cream, they admitted to stealing it.

The CO said, “Well then, you’ll have to eat it.” He instructed the Duty Engineer to stay there and make sure they ate every spoonful of it and to ensure they returned the spoons to the scullery.

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MS2 “Furd”

MS2 “Furd”

By: Garland Davis

He was a Second Class Mess Management Specialist. He always insisted that he was a Commissaryman and not a fucking Steward. He was nearing retirement at twenty years. He was from one of the deep south states. His middle name was “Alfurd.” I don’t know if the spelling was intentional or the mistake of a poorly educated registration clerk.

He came to be known as “Furd” by the cooks and the crew. He took their joking and pranks with good spirit. He had one tooth, upper front. When the dentists were pulling teeth, I often wonder why they just didn’t take them all. For his birthday the cooks bought a new toothbrush and cut all the little bristles off except for one clump. They said that was all Furd needed for his tooth.

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He didn’t drink coffee. Furd kept a case of Pepsi-Cola in his locker and would drink a room temperature Pepsi each morning. I once asked him why. He told me he was Mormon and didn’t drink caffeine. I told him that Pepsi also had caffeine. He swore I was wrong. I told him Mormons weren’t supposed to drink beer either. He haughtily informed me that he was a “Jack Mormon and it was okay.”

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Furd was a “one-nighter.” Payday night he went ashore and blew his whole paycheck, whatever port we were in. Sometime he would be moping around the Mess Decks between paydays and I would loan him a Twenty so he could go ashore. He always kept track and paid me back the first thing after he was paid.

He was mediocre cook but he was a hard worker and would take on any task assigned but not without bitching about having to do it. Once he was making Chili and told me he was going to make it so hot I couldn’t eat it. He was chopping Jalapeno Peppers and told me he was going to use them to make it hot. I was eating one of the peppers as he told me that. I asked him how they were going to make it too hot for me to eat when I was eating the pepper.

He once asked me if I would help him study for the MS1 test. I told him that of course I would. He said, “I want to learn what you have learned from experience not that shit in the books.”

I told him that they would be testing him on the books, not on what I knew.

He replied, “Then they are fucked up.”

He creeped the XO out with his one toothed smile and I was directed to make sure he wore his dentures when outside the berthing compartment. When Furd could, he would be in the compartment during XO Messing and Berthing Inspection and would grin at the XO without his teeth. The XO sent the Yeoman into the compartment to make sure Furd wasn’t there and eventually required that I be there to clear Furd out of the space before he would inspect it..

That was one of the reasons I eventually assigned him to the Wardroom Pantry. I didn’t think it would last long, but it gave me a chance to take a dig at the XO. I stated before that Furd was a mediocre galley cook. Furd shined in the Wardroom Pantry. It turned out that he was an excellent cook when cooking in small batches and giving individual attention to each serving.

The Junior Officers loved him and the XO even came to accept him, as long as he kept his teeth in his head. He took a load off my shoulders by keeping the Officers happy and well fed and minimizing bitches from the XO..

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