Birthday Away

Birthday Away

By Robert “Okie Bob” Layton

There is a saying in the Navy, that seagoing sailors like to use when one finds himself in trouble with the upper chain of command.

Heavy on the sarcasm, dripping with apathy, and boldly challenging, it went like this:

“What are they going to do—-take my birthday away?”

For it was a common assumption, that your birthday was safe from any punitive action one might incur after a foul up.


I’m here to testify that the US Navy took my birthday away!

Here is how it happened.

In the summer of 1967, I found myself stationed at Naval Air Station Agana Guam. After a brief stint around aircraft, I was shanghai’d to the Weapons Department, where I was tasked to be the Weapons Department yeoman. This assignment came with a requirement of a Top Secret clearance, and with a background investigation. Here is where the rub started.

Now, my Mother had me believing that my birthday was on the 29th of November, and I regarded this to be true for 20 years.

During the course of my background investigation, it was revealed that on my birth certificate, my date of birth was the 28th of November! One day off—how could this be?

I want you all to know that mother swore the 29th was my true birthdate.

She would say, “I ought to know I was there.”

She had all the details about the event:

I was born at 6:36 PM, weighed 8 Lbs 6 oz.

My place of origin was the old Lindsay Memorial hospital, Pauls Valley Oklahoma, which is now the 1st Baptist Church parking lot.

But—yet there it was, in black and white, my official birth certificate, from the state of Oklahoma records my birthday as the 28th of November.

And so it came to pass, that the Naval Investigative Service [NIS] recognized the 28th of November and took my birthday away, granting me a Top Secret clearance.

So now here I am—70 years young, confused as hell, but happy to be on top of the daisies. I guess I’ll count both days.

Thanks Mom, for having me, Love and miss ya.


A Destroyerman’s Creed

A Destroyerman’s Creed

We are Destroyermen!

Ready to sail and always can-do,

the first to arrive and the last to go.

We believe a big-ship man would have trouble filling our shoes.

We like to think we would have no trouble filling his.

We learned the lesson of self-reliance, of pressing the fight with all we’ve got.

By not being afraid of a little rough living, or any tough assignment.

The green-water, open-ocean sailors in the little but mighty combat ship

We are real sailormen, the Destroyermen of the fleet.

We can follow the tracks and ride the backs of the dolphins.

We will be where the action is in every situation.

When things are getting too rough for anyone else,

they’re getting just right for us


Tales of an Asia Sailor – 2nd Anniversary

Tales of an Asia Sailor – 2nd Anniversary

Garland Davis

Monday, November 27 marks two years since I created and began posting the Crap, true and not, that wanders 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 almost seven 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 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.

We have conducted five extremely successful reunions in Branson Missouri since forming the Association, and plans are well underway for the sixth reunion scheduled for May 2018 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:

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 tales and our stories. During the previous two years, there have been over 275,000 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 the following e-mail address:

Thanks again and have a great Navy Day Shipmates!


Remembering the Seven Seas Locker Club

We Served Too

by Kim Medders, US Navy, retired


The Seven Seas Locker Club in downtown San Diego was a huge place off Broadway that took up a city block and never closed. You could go there at anytime, day or night, and get your uniform cleaned, pressed or completely tailored, complete with full zippers on each side of your jumper. Don’t forget to get liberty cuffs along with that. Could get your shoes re-soled and have a complete meal. One of the really cool things you could have done there was to get your neckerchief rolled. They had a machine that would perfectly roll it so you wouldn’t look like a boot. At one time, enlisted sailors were not allowed to have civilian clothes on bases or ships. The “7-Seas” provided a very large locker room so you could change into civies and “blend in” to avoid the Shore Patrol.

To new…

View original post 268 more words


Wet Deck – Go Around

Wet Deck – Go Around

By; John Petersen

We’ve all experienced this. No matter what your rank, or how important you feel you are, no one aboard a US Navy warship holds more sway than the unhappy schlep tasked with stripping and waxing the P-ways after taps. If there is a mere 15 feet between your destination and said unhappy E3, and he has that section taped off, you, my friend, are taking the scenic route of the ship, most likely involving several decks and a good amount of time, only to reach your destination to find that P-way man has finished and the route is now opened for all traffic. Once you’ve finished you business and head to your rack, guess where P-way man is now…

Image may contain: text


Tribute to a Friend and Shipmate

Tribute to a Friend and Shipmate

Shipmate…We wish for you fair winds and following seas, deep green water under your bow, your main rifles trained in the posture of peace and a gentle breeze at your stern.

By Jim Graslie (ETCM Retired)


I first met Dave Frank in 1971 at Naval Communications Station Yokosuka Japan when we were both young Third Class Electronics Technicians. We spent many hours running the Honch together while somehow managing to stay out of trouble. It was during this time Dave met his future wife Tomoko who worked at Daiei Department Store in Yokohama. It was thru them I met my future wife Ritsuko who worked with Tomoko. In late 1974 he transferred to the Pre-Comm crew of the USS Tarawa (LHA-1). 1n 1977 I transferred so San Diego and we were able to renew our friendship.


When Dave’s tour on the Tarawa was over he decided to try his hand at civilian life. After a year or so he realized his true calling was to be a Sailor. He re-enlisted for orders to Fleet Training Group Western Pacific in Yokosuka Japan, during his tour at FTG he was advanced to Chief Petty Officer.


From Jack Thomas (ETCM Retired)


My first contact with Dave was at his CPO Initiation while he was trying to pick up an olive from a block of ice with the cheeks of his ass. We shared many a beer over the years. Rest well, my friend. RIP”.

Following his tour at FTGWP he transferred to the USS Lockwood (FF-1064) where he was advanced to Senior Chief Petty Officer. By this time I had returned to Japan and Friday nights at the Chief’s Club were routine for us.

From Phil Massie (STGCM Retired)

“I am forever grateful to have been in Dave’s Mess in onboard the Lockwood. He was Senior Chief at the time, and I was so impressed with his calm, professional even handed manner, and his professional competence. The man knew his stuff. I’m very proud to have been in the same Mess, and to have had Dave as a friend. Lockwood was my first ship as Chief, Dave was an inspiration, really made me understand what the Mess was all about, and how to be a Chief Petty Officer. He treated me as an equal, cutting me with that rye humor when I needed it, but showing all of us what a professional looks like. He wore the Hat, he was one of the best, and I’m proud and thankful of his friendship, and having worked with him. Rest in Peace Dave, thanks a million”.

When his tour on the Lockwood was finished, Dave transferred to Mobile Technical Seven where he was advanced to Master Chief Petty Officer. After completion of that tour he transferred to USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) for what would be his final tour.

In 2000 Dave retired from the Navy and started his second career as the AIRPAC Combat Systems On-Site Rep for the USS Carl Vinson and later the John C. Stennis (CVN-72).

In 2011 Dave retired for a second time. His health started declining shortly thereafter. I last saw him November 19th and was able to say my final farewell. On November 21st Dave received hi final orders, slipped his mooring and joined the Staff of the Supreme Commander. He leaves behind his wife Tomoko, children Christopher and Caroline, a brother and a sister.

On this Thanksgiving I’m thankful to have known him, proud to have had him as a friend, and privileged to call him Shipmate.


Papers tell their life stories

When politicians leave this earth,

Their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing,

And proclaim that they were great.

From the time that they were young,

But the passing of a Sailor

Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution

To the welfare of our land,

Some jerk who breaks his promise

And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow

Who in times of war and strife,

Goes off to serve his country

And offers up his life?

The politician’s stipend

And the style in which he lives,

Are often disproportionate,

To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Sailor,

Who offered up his all,

Is paid off with a medal

And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians

With their compromise and ploys,

Who won for us the freedom

That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,

With your enemies at hand,

Would you really want some cop-out,

With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Sailor

His home, his country, his kin,

Just a common Sailor,

Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Sailor,

And his ranks are growing thin,

But his presence should remind us

We may need his likes again.

For when countries are in conflict,

We find the Sailor’s part,

Is to clean up all the troubles

That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor

While he’s here to hear the praise,

Then, at least, let’s give him homage

At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simple headline

In the paper that might say:




Something to be truly thankful for


Somewhere in the world tomorrow, men and women will be gathered together far away from home.


Some will be keeping a watchful eye for dangerous activity, some will be far below the water’s surface and some will be launching aircraft in support or another mission to preserve freedom. If they are very lucky, they will be treated to a meal something like this:














Starting tonight on submerged submarines everywhere, the cooks and mess…

View original post 614 more words