Steamin’ BT

Steamin’ BT

An embellishment of a story told by Jim ‘Hambone’ Hampton

He was from New Orleans. His name was S. E. Thompson. That’s all just the initials S. E. When you asked what they stood for he would tell you nothing, Just the letters.

Many years later and another ship he told me this, “My Mama was a Hippie who never grew up. She made a living by selling hand-painted greeting cards to the tourists on Bourbon Street. She didn’t work on Sundays, that was the Lord’s day. Me and my brothers and sister went to church every Sunday. My Mama had five kids, The last one, my sister was the only one born in a hospital. Pregnancy to my Mama was nothing and delivering a baby was just a little uncomfortable. Her Mama was staring at a vase of roses when she was born and named her Rose. Mama believed in tradition. She named my big brother Side Walk. She stopped to smoke a cigarette before she went into the hospital and had him right there on the sidewalk. She was on the way to the hospital with me but stopped at the Seven Eleven for a Slurpee. She delivered me right there in front of the Slurpee Machine. She named me Seven Eleven. As soon as I was old enough I went to the judge and changed it to S. E. She said if I had been a girl she woulda named me Slurpee Jane. The brother after me is named Bluebird Cab and the youngest brother is named Pinot Noir. She had him in the Liquor Store because she stopped for a bottle of wine for dinner. My sister is named Elizabeth Bob after the delivery room nurse and doctor.”

But to get back to the story. S. E. ended up in my fireroom. The recruiter had assured him the Navy had a shortage of Chaplain’s Assistants and he would let the Training Center know that he was a lay preacher in his church and highly qualified for the position. Although he decried the wrong perpetrated by the recruiter, he was game, shrugged it off as the Lord ’s will and turned to, working to be a good BT.

While the rest of the division was running the streets in Olongapo, He stayed aboard and studied his bible or went to volunteer for one task or another at the Chapel Center.

The other BT’s planned his downfall during the next Subic inport period. They took up a collection. The first-night inport, they worked out a deal with the Mama in their regular bar. The BT’s and Mama picked out the youngest, most innocent looking girl in the bar.

A couple of others came up with a story to lure him out the gate. They told him it was a BT party and he would disrespect them if he didn’t attend. Reluctantly he let them lead him to the slaughter.

When he arrived at the bar, all the BT’s were at a table, each with a girl. He refused a beer, by saying, “I don’t drink.”

BT1 said, “Of course, I forgot, Bring him a Mojo.” and to S.E., “It’s a kind of Philippine Kool-Ade.”

About the time he hit the bottom of his drink, the chosen girl walked up to him, took him by the hand and led him to the stairs. We were waiting for him to come running down the stairs and make a dash for the ship. But he was up there for over an hour. Then he came down, ordered a pitcher of that “Kool-Ade, talked with mama, Gave her some money, picked another girl and went back up. By the time to go back, he had been up there with three girls. Mama told me the next day that she had to give them the day off to rest up.

After that, you wouldn’t know him from any other steamin’ BT.

I asked him those many years later why he went with the girl and gave up his religious beliefs. He said, “Oh I still believe as strongly as I did then. But, I had an epiphany going up those stairs. ‘If the Lord didn’t mean for a man to get pussy, he wouldn’t have made them girls so damned pretty.