Boy Howdy, Mess Crank Extraordinaire

Boy Howdy, Mess Crank Extraordinaire

By Garland Davis

BM1 Halberstam was the Mess Deck Master at Arms. This did not make him happy. He had been Deck Division Leading Petty Officer until BM1 (Pappy) Jones reported aboard. Pappy was older than dirt and senior to every BM1 in the whole Navy. It was Deck Department’s turn to provide the MDMAA. He ran the mess cooks and the Mess Decks with an iron fist. He was known to take a sailor jacking his jaws in the chow line, slowing it down and bounce him off a bulkhead a couple of times or grabbing a sailor by the ass of his pants and the collar of his shirt and scrub the deck with him for walking on his wet deck when the Mess Decks were secured.

Boy Jenkins went to his station in the Mess Decks. That was his name. His Mama passed away shortly after he and his twin sister were born. She hadn’t named them, and a county clerk entered “Boy” and “Girl” on their birth certificates. His Company Commander had started calling him Boy Howdy and it just stuck.

“Hey Boy, what did BM1 Halberstam have to say about you not emptying the Garbage cans last night. He was really pissed when he found out you went on the beach without doing it.” From his fellow mess cook.

Boy replied, “Yeah tell me about it. I tried to explain that the garbage barge hadn’t come, and the liberty boat was getting ready to leave. I told him I intended to dump the cans at midnight after liberty but when I went to do it somebody had already emptied them.”

“So, what did he do?”

“Chewed my ass out and ate my fuckin’ liberty card.” Boy said.

The other mess cook asked, “What, ate your liberty card?”

“He pulled my liberty card out of his pocket and asked if I knew what it was. I told him yes, it’s my liberty card. Then he fuckin’ ate it and told me if I wanted liberty for the next week, I could dig through his shit for the card.

BM1 came around the corner and said, “Knock off shootin’ the shit. Let’s get that mess gear put away and those pans back to the galley.”

Boy asked. “BM1, what time is sick call? I think I got the crabs.”

“You been using that after head? The snipes head?” Halberstam asked.

“Yeah, it’s the closest and half the time that passageway forward is secured.” Boy replied.

“Probably where you caught ‘em. The snipes on this ship either have the crabs, are getting over the crabs, or catching the fuckin crabs. I won’t even walk through their compartment let alone use their head. You either caught them from the snipes or some crabbed up skank on the beach. Well, you got a week to get over them before you get a chance to spread them around the Honch. Get that shit put away and back to the galley then go see the Dick Smith, go down and get creamed up, an’ be back here in an hour, I’ve got some shitcans that need scrubbing and they got your name on ‘em.”

Boy went up to sickbay and fell into the line waiting to see the Doc. From the talk of the others, it seemed they were here either for the clap or the crabs. The BM2 Hanson who slept in the rack above Boy came by and said, “You turned Sick Bay Commando since you went crankin’ Boy? Got the clap, huh?”

“No, I got the fuckin’ crabs.” Boy sheepishly replied.

“You been using the snipes head?”

Why hasn’t anyone ever told me this shit?”

The Corpsman checked Boy and verified that he was crabbed up, gave him a tube of Kwell Kream and instructed him in its use. Doc said, “You have a light case of the bugs. I had a Fireman in here that had one hanging on every hair.”

As he was leaving Sickbay the Doc said, “And watch that snipe’s head.”

“Why do I not know this shit?” Boy exclaimed.

Boy went to his berthing and lotioned his privates like Doc had instructed and headed back to scrub BM1’s shitcans. As he passed the entrance to the galley, BM2 Hanson was coming out carrying some of the metal disks that were cut from the ends of the large cans used by the cooks.

BM1 kept Boy busy all afternoon and made sure he emptied and cleaned out the shitcans after supper. He finally knocked Boy off about an hour later than usual. Boy was paying for not doing his job yesterday. Boy dropped down into berthing. He was going to shower, put some more of that Crab-Off cream on and hit his rack.

When he reached his rack, he saw something new. It looked as if someone had made miniature rat guards and put them on his bunk chains. “What’s this shit.” He asked to the compartment in general.

BM2 Hanson leaned out of his rack and said they are Crab Guards. “I made them from can lids. Since you are crabbed up, I don’t want to take any chances.”

Boy went off to the showers shaking his head.


Boy Howdy and “Special Bug Juice”

Boy Howdy and “Special Bug Juice”

By Garland Davis

Seaman Boy Jenkins was hanging around the door of the Bake Shop about 1900, shooting the shit with CSSN Davy and CS3 Ike hoping to purloin some sweet rolls before going on watch at 2000. Yeah, Boy Jenkins was his name. His Mama neglected to name him and his twin sister before she died a few days after their birth. The county clerk had just entered “Boy” and “Girl” on their birth certificates.

Davy was busy getting some pans of pies out of the oven while Boy and Ike were discussing the merits of Japanese and Philippine beer. Their consensus was the best beer was the one in your hand.

Ike asked Boy, “Boy Howdy you’re from the South. Do you know anything about making wine?”

Boy replied, “My brother, who I lived with growing up used to make moonshine. I know about making the mash. I guess you could drink that, it has alcohol in it.”

Ike asked, “Did you ever make any Apple Jack. I heard you mix apple juice and raisins with sugar and yeast and let it ferment a few days then strain it. It is supposed to be pretty good. This old First Class told me all about it, but I never have seen it made. Me ‘n’ Davy can get all the stuff. We should give it a try. Hey, Davy, you want to make some hooch?”

Davy said, ‘I don’t know. How do you do it?”

Ike laid out the procedures. “We get one of them stainless five-gallon milk cans they use to mix powdered milk in, fill it almost full of Apple juice and Grape Juice, dump in a number ten can of raisins, a couple pounds of sugar, and a handful of yeast. We hide it someplace where it is warm and let it work ‘til, I guess, it stops bubbling, then we strain it out and drink it. I think behind your ovens would be a good place. That should be warm enough.

Davy and Ike decided to get all the ingredients and after Boy got off watch, they would mix it and put it to work. Davy cleaned out the corner behind the ovens, got one of the milk cans and had the midrats mess cooks run it through the scullery and took it to the Bakeshop. He opened a can of raisins and set them to soak in warm water, otherwise, they would be a big clump. He had also dissolved two pounds of sugar in a half gallon of hot water and left it to cool.

As Night Baker, Davy also served midrats. He was secured from that by 0030 and went to the Bakery to find Boy and Ike waiting. Ike pulled a Church Key from his pocket and started opening cans of apple and grape juice. They poured the juice and the sugar water into the milk can along with the raisins. Davy put a cup of warm water into a pitcher and threw a hand full of yeast in it to bloom. In the meantime, Ike was looking in cans to see if there was more stuff that could go in the brew. He came up with a number-ten can of prunes, almost full.

Ike said, “these will work” and scooped them into the concoction. Boy dumped the yeast in and stirred it with a long handles spoon. Davy covered it with the lid that he had punched a couple of holes in. That way the gas from fermentation could escape.

The milk can was ensconced behind the ovens and the wait began.

The next day the three culprits came together in the Bake Shop to check the concoction. Davy, being the only one small enough to fit behind the ovens, slid back there and opened the can. The surface of the Applejack was covered with bubbles and smelled something like yeast dough fermenting.

By the second day, the smell was strong in the Bake Shop and Davy was forced to keep a yeast dough working to blame for the strong smell.

They checked it each day and by the sixth day, the fermentation seemed to be about finished. That night they mustered in the Bake Shop at 0030 and strained the liquid through a strainer and cheesecloth into a fresh can. Davy made room in the Bake Shop reefer for the can. Plans were made to do some drinking the following night.

Boy Howdy got off watch at 2000 and they met in the shop at 2030. Three Mess Deck cups were filled with the glorious elixir and it was sampled and pronounced good. After the second and third cups, Boy Howdy said, “Damn, guys we make some pretty good stuff, better than fuckin’ bug juice.” And thus, it came to be called “Special Bug Juice.”

After Midrats, they laughingly broke up the party and set a time for the next night and went off to their racks.

About 0300, Boy came wide awake with an overwhelming urge to take a crap. He bailed out of his rack and rushed into the head to find Ike and Davy taking up two of the shitters. Davy said to Ike, “And you had to put them mother fuckin’ prunes in the Special Bug Juice.

That didn’t stop them drinking it and they eventually became immune to the laxative effect of Special Bug Juice just as one does with that same aspect of San Miguel Beer.

They never made Special Bug Juice again but Boy Howdy would occasionally bum cans of juice from the cooks and frequently the Jack of the Dust would come up short a case or two of apple and grape juice during stores onloads.

A motley crew of Deck Apes was often found hanging around the paint Locker drinking coffee during the second Dog Watch.


Boy Howdy and Little Sister

Boy Howdy and Little Sister

By Garland Davis

♪♫I used to pull down on your pigtails
Hey girl, and pinch your turned up nose
Oh, but baby you been growin’
And lately it’s been showin’
From your head down to your toes

Little sister don’t you, little sister don’t you
Little sister don’t you kiss me once or twice
Tell me that it’s nice and then you run
Yeah, little sister don’t do what your big sister done♪♫

Two years ago, the asshole detailer had shanghaied Boy’s ass to Charleston, South Carolina. Boy had offered everything short of performing indecent sex to stay on the West Coast or even better, a tour in Subic or Yokosuka. But South Carolina it was. The detailer acted as if he was doing Boy a favor stationing him near his home in Arkansas or Alabama (I can never remember which, I know it was one of the states with only A’s as vowels.) His Mama had died six days after his twin sister and he were born. She never named them, and some county clerk had entered Boy Jenkins and Girl Jenkins on their birth certificates. Two of their older brothers had taken them to raise.

Boy went to the Navy after graduating high school and Girl was the bride at a “shotgun wedding” shortly after her sixteenth birthday. He really didn’t know them and had no desire to visit. He worked his way through two years running line handling parties and the Boatswains Locker at the Charleston Naval Station. Boy had advanced to BM2 shortly after arriving in South Carolina.

A new detailer was more sympathetic. He didn’t have anything available homeported in Japan but offered the USS Chicago, a Light Guided Missile Cruiser. The Chicago was making a WestPac soon. Boy left Charleston for San Diego to catch the Cruiser. It took three days on the train. Boy was hoping he reached the ship before it left for WestPac.

Boy called an old shipmate who was stationed in San Diego from L.A. and asked him to pick Boy up at the station and take him to the Thirty-Second Street Naval station. It was about 2000 when the train got into San Diego His friend was waiting at the station. After shaking hands and saying their hellos. Boy told him that he had orders to Chicago at 32nd Street.

His old shipmate said, “The fucking Chicago is at the foot of Broadway. She was there for the open house yesterday. I can drop you there and save the trip to 32nd St,”

“These fucking orders say, ‘Report to Naval Station, San Diego for further transfer to USS Chicago.’ I guess I better do that or the assholes at 32nd St will have me U.A.”

They drove around the block and passed the Chicago sitting at the Broadway Pier and headed out to the Naval Station.

It was almost 2100 when they arrived at the gate. The Marine sentry directed them to the personnel building, telling him to check in there. After searching, they finally found the building. They figured that after the Naval Station stamped his orders, they would hit a couple of beer joints and he could check aboard shortly before midnight.

They entered the building and went to the lighted area where a PNSN was sitting at a desk reading a comic book. Boy presented his orders and said, how about stamp my orders so I can go report aboard.”

The SN read the orders, opened a drawer, pulled a sheath of messages from it and proceeded to thumb through them. He finally replaced them in the drawer and said, “Boatswains Mate, the Chicago left for WestPac this morning. You’ll have to check in to the transient barracks and come back tomorrow and we will arrange for transportation to their next port.”

Boy, incredulously said, “The Chicago is moored at the foot of Broadway. We just drove past there.”

“You are wrong Boatswain’s Mate. I’ve got a message that says she left this morning for WestPac.’ The PN said in a loud irritated voice as if he were speaking to an infant.

Boy said, as loudly, “Look, there is a fuckin’ Cruiser at Broadway with a big ass eleven painted on the bow. If that ain’t the Chicago, I’ll kiss your ass.”

A Master Chief PN came from an inner office and asked, “What’s all the commotion about?”

The SN said. “He has orders to the Chicago,” as he pulled the messages from the drawer to show the Chief.

The Chief looked over the orders and the message turned to Boy and said, “Petty Officer Jenkins. The Chicago left this morning.”

“Bullshit,” said Boy, “We just drove past the mother fucker.”

The Master Chief said, “God Damnit Boatswains Mate the subject is closed. One more word out of you and I’ll have you on the next flight out of the states for Subic Bay. You can sit on your ass there at the Transient Barracks and wait for the Chicago.”

Boy looked at him and said, “Throw me in that fuckin briar patch, Master Chief.”

The PNCM says, Oh, you think I am joking?”

He told the SN cut a set of orders and get the travel vouchers for the Boatswain’s Mate for an early flight to San Francisco, a bus to Travis and a flight to Clark in the Philippines.

Four days later Boy arrived at Cubi Point Naval Air Station. He had hitched a helicopter ride from Clark to Cubi. He reported to the base to learn that the Chicago was in Pearl and it would be at least thirty days before she arrived in Subic. They directed him to the Transient Barracks.

Boy checked in to Transient. As the PO3 was getting him checked in and assigning a bunk, Boy’s old Chief from his last destroyer walked in. He looked at Boy and said, “Well fuck me, BM2 Boy Howdy. The Boatswain’s Mate rate is going to hell. It’s almost time for knock-off, let me change clothes and we’ll go out to Magsaysay and have a couple of beers and shoot the shit.”

As it turned out, the Chief oversaw the Transient Barracks. He told Boy to check in every third day and to enjoy his return to Subic. They had a couple and the Chief left for home. His Filipino wife got pissed if the Bamboo Telegraph reported he was out in the bars without her.

After Chief left, Boy decided to go down to The Bar. It didn’t have a name that he knew. The sign just said The Bar. Perhaps his old girlfriend Mila still worked there. He had one more beer and then started down Magsaysay. The girls at the door to the bars called for him to come in. “I’m so lonely.” “I’m so horny.” “Come in, I love you long time.” Boy laughed, it was so fuckin’ good to be back in Subic and he had thirty days to enjoy it before Chicago arrived.

He turned left down the small dirt side street and saw The Bar on the left. He paused for a minute, lit a cigarette and pulled the door open. He was blind going from the bright sunlight to the dimly lighted bar. He stopped for a minute for his eyes to adjust. Someone took him by the arm and led him to a table. She asked, “You wan San Miguel, Boy Howdy?

“Yeah, do I know you?”

She walked to the bar for his beer. Pretty. Well, he wouldn’t be too disappointed if Mila wasn’t here. But why did she know his name? She walked back with his beer as he looked around the joint.

“You are looking for Mila, Boy Howdy?”

“Yeah, does she still work here?”

“Mila is in San Diego. She married Gunners Mate two years ago. Why? You no like me?”

“Why do you know my name? I don’t remember you.

“I am Mila’s little sister Maria. You remember. You used to buy me and my brother ice cream. I am growing up now. Can I be your girlfriend.?

For some reason, the lyrics of the Elvis song, “Little Sister” were running through Boy’s head.

He was back in WestPac, life was good and little Sister was going to make it an enjoyable wait for the Chicago!


Two Cultures Collide and Heroes Emerge from the Sea


The United States in 1941 was tense and filled with anticipation about the war in Europe. But nothing could prepare the nation for the events that were about to transpire. The nation and the Japanese had long been on a collision course because of the nature of their two cultures. But the population at large had no sense of the grotesque nature of that clash that would occur in the coming days. Or the cost for both nations over the next four years.


Washington Evening star. December 06, 1941,

“Silent Prayer Banned At Japanese Shrines

Silent prayers for the dead, which have been said at shrines and temples in Japan ever since the great earthquake of 1924, have been banned.

The Shrine Board in Tokio has ruled that praying silently is a “Christian custom alien to traditions” and requests that, instead, people give two deep bows and two handclaps.”


View original post 1,814 more words


The Vietnam War Defined Us

The Vietnam War Defined Us

By Garland Davis

No event in American history is more misunderstood than the Vietnam War. … When the sailors and soldiers came home from Vietnam, there were no parades, no celebrations. …

Quotes from some who were there:

“Fifty years since my first footprint in Danang. A sound, smell, a song and I’m back there. Fuck 50 years…

“When I left the ship, I just thought, Gosh, I can’t stand being in the military. Blah blah blah. I remember the older enlisted guys and Chiefs saying, ‘Son, when you get out, you’re going to miss it, miss your shipmates.’ I was like, ‘No way.’ But sure enough. I missed the responsibility. I want people to take responsibility for what they’ve done. In the civilian world, you don’t see that.”

“Pot is better than Peanut Butter.”

“You know what was really amazing? The people who said, ‘Son, you know, I don’t support the cause, but no matter what the cause, I’m always going to support the troops.’ I was just dumbfounded by that. I asked this one guy why you don’t support the cause. He said, ‘I’ve been watching the news.’ “Well,” I said, “that’s your problem.”

“The only good things about this war are beer, pot, and pussy.”

“Fuck ’em, what can they do? Take away my birthday and send me to Nam?”

“Gosh, there are so many people here who don’t know what it is like to wear the uniform and serve your country overseas. I’m really grateful.”

“When they came back, a lot of people said they got PTSD. Yeah, right. Get over it. I saw more and done more than half of them anyway, and I’m not bothered. So what’s the problem?”

“Some people didn’t say anything, and it just grew and grew inside of them. I wanted to let it out. Even now that I’m back home, and I sometimes look at the pictures of the ship and the guys, and sometimes I cry.”

“It was tough being home and watching the news, knowing that those guys I went with were going back. Seeing Marines every day dying on TV made me want to go back. I got out and took a job working security for 13 bucks an hour, and it didn’t mean anything. Luckily, I got a job at the fire department, got the therapy — even if I have nightmares or flashbacks, now it’s just an experience I had. Some guys got out, and they hung themselves.”

Everybody respects the Vietnam Veterans of America. — R. Lee Ermey

“Guns don’t kill people, I DO”

“Going home tomorrow.” Written on a helmet resting on a body bag.

“Shoot all night, load ammunition and fuel all day, they feed us fucking powdered eggs and tough ass roast beef, six on and six off watches, no fucking sleep, and we gotta stay out here because some fucking broke dick state sider is stuck in Subic for repairs. I hope they are paying my girl for the pussy I ain’t getting.”

Seen on a shithouse wall in Danang: “These fucking Zipper heads either have the Clap or TB.”

Written underneath: Then just fuck the ones that cough you stupid shit.”

“The only thing the French taught the Viet’s was how to make good French Bread and suck dicks.”

“I went ashore in Vung Tau to get a haircut. The barber but this sheet around my neck and a girl crawled underneath it and gave me a blowjob while he cut my hair. I got two more haircuts and my mustache trimmed that day.”

[I]t seems now more certain than ever that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate… [I]t is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could. — “This is Walter Cronkite. Good night.”

“If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

“What is astonishing about the social history of the Vietnam war is not how many people avoided it, but how many could not and did not.”

“There was a time when liberalism was identified with anti-Communism. But the Vietnam War led liberals into the arms of the Left, which had been morally confused about Communism since its inception and had become essentially pacifist following the carnage of World War I.”

“Hollywood never knew there was a Vietnam War until they made the movie.”

“I was listening to the free radio stations and I noticed that during their war coverage they were playing these songs born out of the Vietnam War that were all critical of the soldiers.”

From a Desert Storm vet: “The first week back, I was the best man in a wedding, and I had a Vietnam War veteran come up to me, and he handed me $50 and said, ‘Take your wife out to dinner. I appreciate what you did. We didn’t get the welcome we deserved when we got back, and I don’t want that to happen to you; I want you to go out and enjoy yourself.'” — A Navy Corpsman