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.


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.


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.”


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.


8 thoughts on “Cooks and Snipes Continued

  1. Jim Shane says:

    Big cans of coffee always went down the holes for barter/trade goods in Westpac. You could get an amazing amount of extra tasks done in the Subic yards for a few pounds of coffee. I think most (all?) Chengs & COs knew this & turned a blind eye.


    • I was on DD-986 (USS Harry W. Hill) when loading aft stores there was always missing coffee. As the line went right past the HT shop. They never said anything but the galley was always a priority on repairs.


  2. John Croix MMCS(SW) ret 1961-1988 says:

    The Ice cream reminded me of GRAPE Ice Cream. One time the USS Maddox was refueling of the coast of Vietnam and the oiler sent over several 3-gallon containers of GRAPE Ice cream. Naturally, we MM’s in Main Control needed one so we took possession as it was headed to the reefer decks.
    We got out our pilfered cups, bowls, and spoons to eat the GRAPE ice cream. We knew we would have to eat fast before the stuff melted. Turned out you cannot make good ice cream using grape Koolaid powder. After we tried it and found it was truly inedible that container sat on the workbench and melted. Strangest thing I have every seen, It would melt but only become semi-liquid. If you tried to scoop some out it was a liquid but it was still stiff enough to hold its shape kinda like whipped cream. The last I saw of it, the messenger from the forward fireroom was taking it out of main control thinking we were good guys to share our “ice cream”


  3. Our night baker was MS2 “Pick” he was mean, drunk or sober, you tried stealing anything, and there was a good chance something was going to be thrown your way most often a knife.

    Since MS2 did not play well with others he was often given tasks that kept him somewhat isolated from other sailors. He was the DCPO for the cooks. So me being a DCman, I helped him out were I could, and we had a decent working relationship.

    Once we were underway headed to Desert Storm If I was on the midwatch in Central, I would often wander up to the galley and get some hot fresh pastries. But I would call out who I was before entering the galley, Pick would grumble but I would leave with enough to make my watch mates happy.


  4. Joe Frederickson says:

    On the USS Safeguard (ARS-25) we got ourselves a brand new CS1, a gentleman named Price Taylor. Price had been in the Navy forever and as a black guy was stuck as a steward’s mate in the early days of his career. Once that got fixed and he got into the CS rate he advanced well and in addition to being a fine mess manager he was an excellent baker, staying up all hours of the night to bake breads, cakes and pies for our crew of 100. Unfortunately, Price allowed some liquid detergent into the bread batter one morning. I was the quartermaster of the watch underway and part of that job was to get down to the chow line and prepare a tray for the OOD because he couldn’t leave the bridge. I fixed a tray of eggs, fruit and toast and delivered it back up. The OOD took about five or six bites and started vomiting. Something was wrong. By that time the crew was going through the chow line and the same thing was happening to them. Price shut down the chow line and got to the bottom of it. Everybody laughed about it later and we loved to rib old Price about it for a long time. I remember Price more vividly than most of my shipmates because he had such an engaging personality, always smiling, a “happy to be here” kind of dude. I ran into somebody from the ship years later who told me Price retired with 30 years in an immediately went to work for a major resort hotel in a warm climate.


  5. Jim collins says:

    In the early sixties we had a cook working in the ga!let that was from West by God Virginia, liquid shortening and liquid detergent came in the same size gallon cans he picked the wrong one one night, needless to say , liquid detergent was banned from the cooking areas after that.


  6. Richard Honaker says:

    A lot of food found it’s way to the fireroom during taking on stores. We were always cooking something. Boiled eggs from water out of the DFT. Cooked pork chops on the drain tank. We never went hungry. The giveaway was the smell of cooked food leaving the fireroom. Bilges were good for storing.


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