Weight Control and Scale Weights
By Garland Davis
I think the year was ’82, Midway was going into the Indian Ocean. If I remember correctly, we were out there for about one hundred thirteen days. Everyone had goals they hoped to accomplish on the cruise. I know my division, S-2, was working full blast preparing for the final Ney Award Inspection. It was a busy time, but then, life on a carrier is always hectic and busy.
We had a new Senior Medical Officer, a Captain, who decided to tackle the problem of overweight sailors. Each division was required to designate personnel for a weigh in to determine if they met Navy height-weight standards. The corpsman lugged the scale up from Sickbay and set it up on the starboard side of the aft mess decks. The designated sailors lined up and their weight recorded. Those determined to be “overweight” would be subjected to weekly weigh-ins to document their progress.
MS2 Bob was a portly…portly hell…if he wasn’t obese, he was knocking the door down. Placing him on the list to be weighed was a no-brainer. I have always had problems with maintaining weight standards and since I found it almost impossible to run on the carrier, I placed my own name on the list out of a sense of fairness. I barely met the standards.
MS2 Bob was categorized as morbidly obese. People in this group also had to attend weekly lectures on proper foods and nutrition. I attended the first lecture because food was my business and I was interested in what the doctor had to say.The gist of his first lecture was that wild animals take a crap after eating while humans have taught themselves to retain bodily wastes, sometimes for days before eliminating. In other words, the lecture boiled down to “Eat less and shit more.”
A month passed and I received notification that MS2 had made satisfactory progress by losing five pounds. I thought this was miraculous because he was a Watch Captain in the Forward Bake Shop where all the pastries and desserts were baked. During my rounds, I stopped by and complemented MS2 on losing the weight.
He said, “I got to tell you Chief, I cheated.”
“How’s that?” I asked.
“Well, the first weigh-in, I put sixteen pounds of scale weights in my pockets and each weigh-in I have removed a pound or two.”
I laughed and told him, “You know, I wouldn’t really worry about it. This program will fall through the cracks and be dead by the time the IO is over and we get back to Subic and Yokosuka.”
I was right. MS2 Bob still had about eight to ten pounds of scale weights to lose before he got to the point or really having to lose weight.