By Garland Davis
This story was told to me by a Shipmate one evening over drinks. I may have some of the details wrong, but the gist of the story is here.
I was a brand new Fireman on my first ship, an old WWII can. I skated out of mess cooking by landing the job of cleaning the Snipes berthing and head. The compartment PO was an MM2 who gave me a worklist each morning and checked on me a few times per day. The job was relatively easy, sweep, swab and do the other tasks MM2 gave me.
It was a pretty busy morning until after the XO’s messing and berthing inspection and then MM2 kinda let me skate. The XO started at 1000 and usually didn’t make it to Snipes berthing until 1045. The biggest problem was the head. He checked the sinks for shavings from razors, for shit splashed under the lip of the toilets, and piss spots on the outside of the urinals. After I learned what he looked for, I could concentrate on that and waste less effort on the other stuff.
And there lies the problem. I had a training lecture that morning and got started on cleaning about a half-hour later than usual. I dumped the trash and gave the compartment a quick sweep down and swab and went into the head. All the sinks, pissers, and shitters were stainless steel and easy to clean. I did the sinks first and gave each pisser a quick flush and brushed them out with a soapy water solution and wiped down the outside. I refilled my bucket with hot soapy water and went to do the shitters. I scrubbed the first two, flushed them and wiped them down.
I went to do the third one and there it was. The largest and longest turd I had ever seen. It was at least a foot long and must have been at least two inches in diameter. That must have wrecked some dude’s asshole. Had to be a fuckin’ BT. One end of the thing was up on the back of the toilet, the middle of it floated in the water and the other end of it was on the front above the water. I hit the flush and the water flushed, the middle of the turd sunk a bit and then floated back into position.
About that time, the word to commence XO’s Messing and Berthing Inspection was passed. MM2 came in and asked if I was ready. I showed him the gigantic Mud Monkey in the shitter. He flushed it and, again, nothing happened. He said, “I better call R Division and get Turd Chaser down here.”
A few minutes later a fireman known as “Turd Chaser” or “TC” showed up. Now TC was the biggest, dumbest, most unkempt career Fireman to ever unplug a shitter. The heels on his shoes were the only reason his knuckles didn’t drag the deck when he walked. He came through the hatch and hit his head. Maybe someday he would learn to duck. He was carrying his badge of office, a toilet plunger with strips of dried toilet paper clinging to it, over his shoulder.
“You got a shitter plugged up?”
“Not exactly, look,” I said as I showed him the massive turd. He looked and reached out and flushed it. Again, it hung there while the water flushed.
I asked, “What do we do about it?”
He said, “It’s only shit,” and reached down with his hands and broke it into smaller pieces and flushed it away. You got any other problems?”
“No,” I said not believing what I had just seen.
He walked over to the sink rinsed his hands, wiped them on his dungaree pants and said, “It’s almost time for chow. The cooks got hamburgers and French fries today. I want to get in line.”
I like hamburgers and French fries, but I skipped chow that day. I didn’t eat hamburgers for years until I got past the nauseating thought of TC breaking up that turd with his hands and then holding a hamburger and eating it.
3 thoughts on “Turd Chaser”
Garland, that is one of your best. I thoroughly enjoy reading your stories as I can always relate to them. Thanks for all you do.
Going home from westpac on Denver in 78 I was the HTC onboard one day the word was passed for HTC, DCA, CHENG lay to XO’s stateroom turns out my guys were blowing a drain line that happened to be on the same line as the XO’s head so when the XO flushed his shitter all the water backed up through the line and flooded his stateroom with salt water and turds and to top it off all his Hong Kong goodies were stored on deck needless to say my guys got the importance of spreading the word in the future,and to make things worse the same thing happened a couple of days later.
I was R Division LCPO on USS Midway (CV-41) when several turd chasers, with about the same intelligence as the one in your story, had to clean out a 10 inch CHT line in the overhead on the hangar bay. It required them to remove a spool of pipe about 6 feet long to get at the clog. Additionally, right below them was an F-4 Phantom under maintenance with an open canopy. You guessed it ! When they removed the pipe spool, they just about filled that F-4 with shit. Over the 1MC you heard “Chief Engineer (a full bird) and all Repair division khaki personnel to the Hangar Deck on the double”. Had to call away the flying squad to hose down the hangar deck and ventilate the area. Long story short, that plane was craned off the ship and never seen again. By the way, that CHT line drained down from the senior officers quarters, and let me tell you, their shit does stink……