John Arthur “Jack” Coates
By Garland Davis
I recently talked about a Subic Bay icon, Jack Coates. Jack was retired, I think he had been a Boatswain’s Mate and lived there somewhere. I ran into him from time to time in different bars. Every time I saw Jack he was drunk except for the last time.
There was the time I was at the Salakot Beach Resort(?) having a cold one when Jack, his daughter, her LTJG fiancé, and a couple others came in, pushed a couple of tables together and sat down to plan the wedding. The prospective bride announced that the wedding would be in the church at seven in the evening to be followed by a reception at the Marmont.
Jack, in classic Jack moment, said, “Now wait just a fucking minute. You know I’ll be drunk and probably passed out by seven. Why don’t we make it at seven in the morning? I am at my best then after a couple of beers.”
I left after everyone started talking and still don’t know the outcome or if they were able to keep Jack sober long enough to have him at an evening wedding.
I walked into a bar one afternoon and found Jack at the end of the bar talking with one of the hostesses. Jack’s shorts were around his ankles and like everyone in those days, he wasn’t wearing underwear. I said, “Jack, what the hell are you doing?”
Jack, standing there with his dick flopping in the wind, yelled, “Bartender, give the Stewburner a beer. Hey Stewburner, I’m just familiarizing this girl with the gear she is going to be working with later.”
A couple years later, I was in an FF. We were moored at the Shipyard piers in Subic Bay. The Shipyard had Security gates limiting access to the area. I was on the way out passing through the gate when the guard on duty said, “Hey, Stewburner, long time, no see.”
I was wondering who this was talking to me. Looking closer, I saw a sober, healthy-looking Jack. I asked, “Jack is that you? What happened to the Jack Coates that we all knew?”
Jack said, “Well this Joe broke into my house, so I went to the Exchange and bought me one of those hard plastic kid’s baseball bats to beat the fuck out of him if he tried again.”
“I’m having a hard time following Jack.”
“Wait, I got married to this nineteen-year-old girl and knocked her up. I went home drunk the day she found out she was pregnant. She told me about having the baby. Then she told me I was going to quit drinking and be a husband and father to the kid. I laughed at her. That is when she beat the fuck out of me with that Goddamned baseball bat. After that every time I started drinking, she would track me down and beat me with that fucking bat. So, I quit drinking and had so much time on my hands that I got this job.”
That was the last time I saw Jack Coates!