Monkey on a stick

Monkey On a Stick

By Robert “Okie Bob” Layton

After watching a YouTube clip, about a woman visiting a zoo, and a monkey throwing poo on her. It got me thinking about all the monkeys I have seen around the world.

I saw my first monkeys growing up here in rural Oklahoma; believe it or not, my next door neighbor had a little rhesus monkey he had rigged up with a collar and a little chain, attached to a clothes line. That the little monkey would run up and down on that clothesline.

My Friend Dennis Crawford and myself would go over and throw things at it and get it to screaming, then haul ass.

Old man Roskey would come out yelling at us kids and we would get our kicks in for the day.

Seems as I grow older monkeys have always occurred some place in my life.

In college before joining the Navy we had some Monkeys in the town Zoo.

My first liberty in Boot camp was spent going to the San Diego Zoo and looking at the Monkeys!

I have seen Monkeys from Japan, Hawaii [Pearl City Tavern], Hong Kong, Egypt, Kenya, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Guam, Okinawa, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Australia, and the Philippines.

Even the language of monkey has permeated my speech think about it?

Things like, Fine Monkey shit, Monkey meat, Monkeys Fist, Monkeys Paw, Monkey around, Monkey Business, Barrel of Monkeys, Brass Monkey, Monkey on your back, Monkey fu%#*ng a football, Monkey Bar, Monkey Bite, Monkey Shine, Hell here in Oklahoma we call a person who sits on the porch and watches the neighbors a “Porch Monkey!”

My chosen occupation in the Navy was to be a “Grease Monkey”.

My favorite TV show is “Gas Monkey”.

My best dance is the “Monkey”, I even like the 60’s Band “The Monkees”

My wife says monkeys make her happy!

I’m just one contented “Monkey’s butt!”

What does all that have to do about a sea story you ask?

Well this here no shit sea story was passed on to me from one Charles “Chuck” Moulzolf AFCM retired.

Moe was on the Oriskany [VAQ-130 Det-3] with me [VF-194] in 1971 and later on as CPO’s in 1982-85 VT-26 Beeville where he related this story to me at, It goes like this:

Time 1971

Place NAS Cubi Point Philippines

VAQ-130 Det-3 USS Oriskany in port Cubi pier

We were getting near the end of the cruise. It was Time for the old corrosion control inspection for the Air wing “CAG-19.” We had our EKA3B Whale sitting on the ramp while the Det pored over it, cleaning and shining her up.

Over by the edge of the ramp sat the AT’s AQ’s and AE’s “Twidgets” just a sitting with their little black boxes, removed from the aircraft and with tooth brushes and acid brushes in hand, cleaning the faces, knobs, and lettering.

When— out of the nearby jungle, emerged the local tribe of long-tailed macaque monkeys.

Everyone was pretty well hung over and didn’t feel like messing with them and since the Twidgets had squatted down in the shade they were not about to move.

One young monkey was really acting up, just a running around, in and out, jumping onto things, and just plain making a monkey’s ass out of himself!

Well he grabbed one of the little black boxes that the AT’s had been working with and sped off——the chase was on.

The Det was on their feet like a competing Tribe of monkeys, and the standoff began, just like the one in 2001 space odyssey.

Sailors on one side waving their tooth brushes and acid brushes in the air, the macaques on the other side screaming, jumping up and down, and bearing their teeth. Both sides just making one hell of a noise.

The sailors started chasing the monkey with the little black box.

The little monkey immediately scrambled up a metal light pole and was perched on the top the light pole a good 40 ft. up from the sailors.

“Now what are we going to do?” the Twidgets were thinking!

The sailors tried throwing things at it, but that was no good. The monkeys were used to rocks being thrown at them and it didn’t seem to bother them any.

One of the sailors ran down the ramp a ways to the “roach coach” and purchased a banana he came running back with it hoping to entice the monkey down with a “snack”. No go, man that little monkey was just absolutely happy sitting on top of that light pole with his new “Bling”.

The Twidgets amassed all their brain power on the little monkey problem searching for a solution.

One old Nose Picker [Mechanic] over by the Plane hollers out, “I got this!”

He goes over to the Aircraft, removes the steel wheel chock, the kind that is adjustable, holds one end up vertically, hits the other end down on the concrete deck making the chock into one giant sledge hammer.

He walks over to the base of the light pole puts the Chock/sledge hammer on his shoulder and takes one giant swing at the light pole. “Twaaaaaaaang” goes the pole.

The little monkey up on top immediately lets go of the black box and grabs hold of the pole hanging on for dear life.

The sailor under him catches the box before it can hit the concrete, the stars and planets line up— and everything returns to normal. It could not have been rehearsed as well as it went down.

Got to hand it to that Old Grease Monkey with the hammer——– he got the job done!

Well I hear my wife a calling, guess I’ll get into my monkey suit and make her happy!

Okie Bob


Fifty-Three Years (August 31, 2018)

Fifty-Three Years (August 31, 2018)

By: Garland Davis

Two years after the first date and over a year since our marriage

When we were children and watching a western movie and the girl came charging by in a runaway buckboard and our hero took after her on his trusty steed and rescued the girl just before the buckboard plunged over the cliff that happened to be there in the middle of a flat prairie and she batted her big eyes at him, you knew the mushy crap was about to start. You wondered what was wrong with cowboy heroes. Why did they always get sidetracked from chasing the bad guys by girls and mushy stuff?

This one will be mushy stuff. I have permission.

All stories of young love begin when two people meet. There are fireworks. Possibly angels singing. Bluebirds singing and that kind of movie crap. I met her in the Billet Office for Bayside Courts in Yokohama Japan. The Navy Housing Activity at Yokohama was comprised of four officers, fifty-six enlisted and a contingent of Japanese civilians that maintained and administered the more than three thousand Navy Housing units that provided quarters for Naval Personnel in the Kanto Area of Japan.

There were no barracks for enlisted. One building of an old Army BOQ complex was devoted to housing single enlisted sailors. She worked in the Billet Office and assigned me to a room. Room? WTF! Officers lived in rooms. Sailors lived in open bay barracks. But there it was a room. She explained to me that maid service was available for ten dollars a payday. The maids would clean your room and do your laundry. When I got to the room, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The maid assigned to me helped me unpack and placed everything in the closets. Where she wanted them.

I quickly fell into a routine of awakening, dressing, going to the NEX cafeteria for breakfast (There was no enlisted galley), and then to work at the Commissary Store. We worked Tuesday thru Saturday and were not required to stand any duty days. At approximately 1630 my shipmates and I would stroll across the street to the Yokohama Seaside Club and take advantage of the ten cents Happy Hour. About 1900 or so we would take a cab to Bayside Courts shift into civilian clothes and head for the Zebra Club downtown for a couple and then on to Chinatown for an evening comprised of drinks and mushy stuff.

From the day in July when I arrived there until shortly before the Navy day celebration in October, I lived this idyllic sailor’s life. The command announced a date for the Navy Day Ball at the Seaside Club. Each member was permitted to bring a guest. A group of us were in a room at Bayside drinking beer when the subject of dates for the Navy Day Ball arose. Different bar girls were suggested.

I told them, “I am going to ask the girl who works at the Billet Office.”

“Not a chance Stewburner. She won’t date sailors. Believe me many have tried and no one has been successful.” Was the consensus.

I had just enough beer, so I said, “I’ll show you just wait and see.” And off to the billeting office, I went.

I walked in, she came to the counter and asked how she could help me. I told her, “I came to invite you to the Navy Day Ball as my guest.”

She said, “Okay.” She gave me directions where I could meet her.

I went back to the room with a shit eating grin on my face, opened a cold one, and sat down.

“Struck out, huh? I knew you would. She won’t go out with sailors.”

I said, “I have to pick her up at six thirty Friday evening.”

Of course, I got the, “What did you do, lick your eyebrows? What do you have that nobody else does?”

I picked her up for our date. We had a good time. Over the next few weeks, we became inseparable.

Fifty-three years ago today that young Japanese girl and I, both of us barely out of our teens, caught the train at Yokohama Central Station for Tokyo. It was to be our wedding day. There was no preacher or organist, no best man or bridesmaid. There was just a busy office in the American Embassy Annex and a Japanese government office.

I was carrying an envelope of papers that had begun six months before as a single sheet of paper asking the U.S. Navy for permission to marry a Japanese National. The envelope contained the results of physical examinations and background investigations. Also included were interviews with a Legal Officer, counseling interviews with Chaplains and English translations of my fiancé’s birth records and copies of the investigations of her family and background. And finally a letter from Commander Naval Forces, Japan granting approval of my request.

A clerk at the counter took the papers separated those he needed and returned the remainder to me. After a time, we were given forms in Japanese and directed to take them to a Japanese government office to register our marriage and then return to the embassy. This took some time because Japanese bureaucrats love properly completed forms and placing numerous rubber stamps on them. By mid-afternoon, we were back at the embassy annex and returned the properly stamped and annotated forms to the clerk.

We waited for a time with another couple and finally were called to the counter. The other serviceman and I were directed to stand at the counter with our brides behind us. A number of forms were placed on the counter and we were instructed to sign them. A gentleman came from an inner office and introduced himself as a U.S. Consulate Officer. He instructed us prospective husbands to raise our right hands and said, “Do you swear that everything you have signed is the truth to the best of your knowledge, so help you, God?” We both replied, “Yes.” He said, “Congratulations,” shook our hands and left. The clerk gave us our marriage certificates and congratulated us.

There were no vows, no “I do’s.” Just simply completing paperwork and registering the fact with the Japanese government. I often joke that I dropped my pen, bent over to pick it up and when I stood up, the gentleman shook my hand and said, “Congratulations.”

It has been a tumultuous fifty-three years. There was the Vietnam War, twenty-six more years of the Navy, lengthy separations and, not a lot of money during the early years. Like most couples, we had to adjust to each other. Now we are aging and dealing with my Parkinson’s disease. I guess you can say that after fifty-three years, we have succeeded.

Looking back, I wouldn’t have it any differently. She is my best friend, and I love her with all my being. As the poets say, “She completes me.”

Today is our fifty-third anniversary.



RMCM Doyle Lester Brazwell

1940 -2018

Hold us a seat at Fiddler’s Green Braz



Bon Voyage to those who’ve set sail ~

We bid them farewell as we man the rail.

Let us be Joyous and let us not weep ~

For those who have now crossed over the deep.

When a Sailor’s last roll call is made ~

His final embarking shant be delayed.

So lower the Colors, let them be furled ~

Each time a Sailor disembarks this world.

The crew onboard in Heaven awaits ~

The Eternal reunion of their shipmates.

They’ll be welcomed home by those onboard ~

Moored in peaceful waters with the Lord.

As he approaches, he’ll call “Ahoy! The ship!” ~

Now in safe harbor, an Eternal trip.

Then he’ll hear “Sailor on deck! Hoist the flag!,” ~

“Help him get settled! Help stow his seabag!”

Be it known that it’s a Divine remand ~

To ship in Heaven, ye Seafaring Man.

On permanent station forevermore ~

Peaceful duty for Veterans of war.

And when he’s weighed anchor for the last time ~

We’ll Honor his memory so sublime.

We’ll all reminisce and hoist a brew ~

In a Toast of Honor to the crew.




By John Petersen

The history of Coffee: The coffee plant, which was discovered in Ethiopia in the 11th Century, has a white blossom that smells like jasmine and a red, cherry-like fruit. Back then, the leaves of the so-called “magical fruit” were boiled in water and the resulting concoction was thought to have medicinal properties.

Pops was a truck driver, his career started during his tenure in the Air Force building runways at Travis AFB in the very early 60’s. Throughout his 40 some years jamming gears across the highways and byways of this country, his savior was the the black elixir, that liquid starter fluid for the human soul, coffee. I spent my summers as a teenager not hanging around with others my age being bored and finding ways (some not entirely acceptable) to pass the time, but on the road with Dad. Learned to drive a 72 two-axle Freightliner (short sleeper) COE at the age of 14, those 13 gears attached to a 400 Cummins were worth the respect for power that I carried with me into my Navy days as an MM. Dads love for a strong thermos of coffee (sometimes accentuated with a shot of JD #7) carried into my DNA. I swear to this day coffee was the breastmilk that nurtured me.

Reporting for Basic Training at RTC San Diego in February 82. My first Navy breakfast (scrambled egg soup, rubber bacon strips, and taffy toast, all to be consumed in less than 10 minutes), introduced me to what would become a virtual transfusion of the beet-red stuff that flowed through my veins to the dark, near acidic, somewhat pungent yet life inhibiting swill labeled Navy Coffee. Not just coffee, but Navy coffee. For the uninitiated, trust me, there IS a difference.

Aboard ship, coffee is King. No matter where one can grab a cup, it is welcome, it is reveille in a tan plastic or decorated porcelain container. It is a re-awakening upon staggering into the mess decks once you’ve found your way back from the bright lights, loud music, and the fulfilling outcome of the well spent currency laid out for that irresistible cutie at the Tigers Den on Rizal, along with the six sticks of BBQ consumed on your return journey. Rejuvenation mis-spelled COFFEE.

In any fireroom or engine room (or any other space aboard ship, I would imagine), there is a small but revered space reserved for the, for want of a better term, wake up first aid kit. This kit would normally consist of the following; One 10 or 12 cup battered stainless steel coffee pot, at least 12 mugs, all unwashed of course, of various sizes (each touched only by those who owned them, and all knew which one belonged to whom), and possibly (for the booters), some sugar and creamer (gag). It was the off-going messengers duty to ensure that that battered pot was churning out a freshly brewed tank of 2190-tainted grog for the incoming watch. This small but glowing little shelf held more power than any CHENG I have ever known.

This little shelf, my friends, is a shrine. The Mud Rack.


NOTE:  During the first century of our Navy, the galley fires were extinguished when a ship “cleared for action” (went to General Quarters).  At the Battle of Manila Bay, Admiral Dewey ordered that the galley fires stay lit and coffee be provided to stations at all times.  This precedent grew into coffee being available to sailors twenty-four hours a day.


John Sidney McCain III

John Sidney McCain III

August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018

By Garland Davis

I didn’t know John McCain, I never served with him, although he was flying A-4 attack aircraft from NAS Lemoore while I was there in 1961-62. I may have saluted passing him on the street.

There are numerous stories about him on social media and at the scuttlebutt. Many of them are Fake News. The purveyors of these stories would have one believe that he started the USS Forrestal fire single handedly or that he ran away leaving hundreds of sailors to die. They also push the narrative that he somehow colluded with his captors in Vietnam and his voting record in Congress was responsible for hundreds of POW’s not being returned to the United States. They report that the only reason he was admitted to the Naval Academy, flight training, and his advancement to the rank of Captain was because his father and grandfather were Admirals.

I don’t know where the grains of truth in all the stories about the late Senator lie. I didn’t agree with many of his political positions, especially as they related to our current president’s policies. I detected a hint of acrimony and resentment in positions he took opposing the president. But Captain John McCain was a fellow sailor who served honorably under conditions that would break any man and for that I salute him.

Senator and Shipmate… I 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.


Seagoing Superstitions

Seagoing Superstitions

By Garland Davis

Sailor superstitions at the time of the war of 1812:

When coming on deck, a sailor stepped with his left foot first.

When his ship was becalmed, he whistled for the wind.

When pointing to the horizon, he used his whole hand, all fingers extended, because a single pointed finger could act as a lightning rod for evil spirits.

The appearance of a petrel normally foretold a gale, unless the petrel was first seen during a gale, in which case the gale was on the verge of coming to an end.

Cats held significant powers—black cats, especially. It was good luck to have a single black cat on board, but two black cats on the same ship were considered bad luck (one should be thrown into the sea).

Every seabird was believed to carry the soul of a dead sailor. It was considered bad luck to kill one. To have one fly alongside the ship was generally lucky (except in the case of the aforementioned petrel prior to a gale). Above all, there was no creature luckier than an albatross and no ship luckier than one with an albatross flying alongside.

Some superstitions had the potential to cause harm:

Sailors believed that bathing caused the water to wash away one’s good luck. (I had a number of those work for me during my thirty year career.)

Blood spilled into the sea would cause a storm to abate.

Tattoos protected a man against venereal diseases. (How did that work out for you?)


Fort Blunder

Fort Blunder

During the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, America began building a fort near the New York – Quebec border to defend against invasions from British Canada. After two years of construction, they realized the fort was actually on the Canadian side. They abandoned it and nicknamed it Fort Blunder.

Found on Wikipedia.





Question: Have you ever heard of Leland Diamond?!

Leland Diamond joined the Marines in 1917 at the age of 27 to fight World War I. Diamond made a name for himself during that war as a Marine’s Marine. He was known for walking around without his cover, wearing his uniform most places he went, and for having a loud and dirty mouth. His uniform violations and occasional lack of courtesy were overlooked because of his conduct on the battlefield.

He shipped to France as a corporal and fought at famous World War I battles like Belleau Wood and St. Mihiel. He earned his sergeant stripes and took part in the occupation of Germany before returning to the states and getting out.

He spent just over two years as a civilian, but the lifestyle didn’t suit him, so he returned to the Corps in 1921.A few years later, he was sent to Shanghai, China to help guard US ships from attacks by Chinese criminals. He returned from China in 1933 but was sent back with the 4th Marines from 1934 to 1937.

When World War II kicked off, he was Master Gunnery Sgt. Diamond and the senior noncommissioned officer and an expert in firing mortars. He was especially well-known for his accuracy with small and medium mortar tubes.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Diamond and his unit were sent to Guadalcanal to help in the fight against the Japanese and the then-52-year-old proved his reputation. When a Japanese cruiser was spotted in the waters around the island, Master Gunnery Sgt. Diamond decided to engage it. While a lot of legends surround the event, including the possibility that Master Gunnery Sgt. Diamond attacked it on a bet or that he landed at least one round straight down the enemy smokestack.

Japanese cruisers in World War II displaced between 7,000 and 9,000 tons and packed dozens of guns. Master Gunnery Sgt. Diamond was armed with a mortar tube and decades of combat experience.Master Gunnery Sgt. Diamond engaged the ship with harassing fire from his mortar. The ferocity and accuracy of his assault spooked the Japanese who withdrew despite the fact that it sported armor, cannons, and a large crew to counterattack with.

The old master gunnery sergeant was lauded for his actions but was still withdrawn from the fight a short time later. “Physical disabilities” resulted in the Marine being evacuated. After a short recovery in New Zealand,Master Gunnery Sgt. Diamond attempted to get back to his unit by getting orders on a supply ship to Guadalcanal. By the time he arrived, the unit had left and he had to hitchhike his way to Australia.

The Corps transferred him home soon after and assigned him to the training of new Marines, first at Parris Island and later at Camp Lejeune.Master Gunnery Sgt. Diamond retired in 1945 and died 6 years later.


Pearl Harbor, God and 3 Mistakes

Pearl Harbor, God and 3 Mistakes

What God did at Pearl Harbor that day is interesting and I never knew

this little bit of history.Tour boats ferry people out to the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii

every thirty minutes. We just missed a ferry and had to wait thirty minutes. I went into a small gift shop to kill time. In the gift shop, I purchased a small book entitled, “Reflections on Pearl Harbor” by Admiral Chester Nimitz. Sunday, December 7th, 1941– Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington , DC. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered the phone, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet. Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941.

There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat–you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war. On Christmas Day,1941, Adm. Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked. As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, “Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?”

Admiral Nimitz’s reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice. Admiral Nimitz said, “The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America . Which do you think it was?”

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, “What do mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?”

Nimitz explained: Mistake number one: The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning. Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave. If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk–we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two: When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships. If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired. As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised. One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America. And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three: Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill. One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply,

That’s why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make or, God was taking care of America .

I’ve never forgotten what I read in that little book. It is still an inspiration as I reflect upon it. In jest, I might suggest that because Admiral Nimitz was a Texan, born and raised in Fredericksburg, Texas — he was a born optimist. But any way you look at it–Admiral Nimitz was able to see a silver lining in a situation and circumstance where everyone else saw only despair and defeatism.

President Roosevelt had chosen the right man for the right job. We desperately needed a leader that could see silver linings in the midst of the clouds of dejection, despair and defeat.

There is a reason that our national motto is, IN GOD WE TRUST.


Project Sageburner

Project Sageburner

On August 28, 1961,a Navy F-4 Phantom BuNo 145307 set a new low-altitude speed record at an average speed of 902.760 mph over a 3 km course at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The maximum height reached during this record was 125 feet, hence the name “Project Sageburner”. The record setting airframe, 145307 is currently in storage at the National Air and Space Museum’s Paul Garber facility in Maryland.