BM3 Boy Howdy
By Garland Davis
Boy “Howdy” Jenkins made Third Class Boatswain’s Mate.
After being assigned to run the Paint Locker and his excellent performance there, the CO decided that Boy Howdy should be a BM3. When he discovered that Boy refused to take the test because he was happy as the Leading Seaman and purveyor of paints and brushes, he called Boy to his cabin and asked why he didn’t want to be a Petty Officer. Boy explained that he was happier as a senior Seaman than he would be as a junior BM3.
The Captain said, “I could make you unhappy as a Seaman if you refuse to take the next test.”
“How could you do that, sir?” asked Boy
“Well I could move you from your sinecure in the paint locker or I could restrict your liberty. How would you feel if I restricted you until the test next month and if you weren’t selected for advancement curtail your liberty, so you could study for the next test in six months?” the Skipper replied. “You are a good man and you know deck operations as well or better than the Petty Officers you work for. I need you in a position to supervise and train the new men.”
“But Captain, you know I would get in trouble on liberty and you would probably bust me.”
“Seaman Jenkins, I admit that is a possibility and something we may have to face. Promise me you will take the test and try, and I won’t curtail your liberty. I need your knowledge and expertise as a leader and trainer not as just a doer. Think about it until tomorrow and let me know what you decide. You are dismissed.”
Boy went down and unlocked the paint locker, moved an empty bucket upside down on deck just outside the door and lit a smoke. The BMC came down the ladder and asked, “Boy, what did the Old Man want?”
“Ah, he wants me to take the test for Third next month. He said he might restrict me if I don’t take it and make BM3. Can he do that, Chief?”
“Yeah, he is the Captain. If you don’t make Third he can make life grim for you. He could send you Mess Crankin’ or since you are undesignated, he could move you to the Fireroom as a BT. If I was you, I would do my damndest to make Third. What are you gonna do?” the Chief asked.
“Well, I guess I’ll try to make Third. I don’t want to go Crankin’ and I damned sure don’t want anything to do with the snipes.” Boy said accepting that which must be.
The Chief said, “Good man. Well, time for coffee. Stop by the CPO Mess after dinner and I will give you some study materials that will help you,” the Chief said as he went forward.
Boy didn’t see the Chief give a thumb up to the Captain looking down from the starboard wing of the bridge.