A Story of The legend that was Tomjack
By Jim Hampton
I met him in 68 although he was there in the late 50s on the Cruiser St Paul.
He Went to a Tender, Jason I think for about six months in Long Beach and Retired in 71 and got a divorce shortly after.
He married an English lady in San Diego.
When I transferred back to Sea Duty in 73, my family stayed with him and his wife until we found a place to live in Imperial Beach.
I was being transferred to New Zealand in 74.
We stayed with him so I could get my Household Goods shipped early.
I got a letter from his wife while in New Zealand telling us he got hooked up with an oil Drilling Company in the Sand Pit in Saudia Arabia. Big bucks as a Rigger.
I retired and got a computer.
I found him in Las Vegas.
The last time I spoke to him he was living fat dumb and Happy fully Retired.
He was 12 years older than me. The last time he made BM1 (his 3rd) I was senior to him. That was on the Sterett DLG-31.
He was a Legend.
On St Paul, he was piping the side in Kaohsiung.
He had all the side boys lined up and ready. He was a BM2 then.
The Chief of Staff for the Admiral came down and ask Tomjack if he knew what he was doing.
Tomjack was using the Fleet Commanders Direction on what to do for the Mayor of a Small Port City like Kaohsiung.
The COS said this is wrong Bla bla bla.
Yes, sir said Tomjack.
He then ripped the page out of the manual and threw it over the side.
That Was Tomjack.
l miss him
More Tomjack stories to come.
Rest in Peace Shipmate
2 thoughts on “A Story of the Legend That Was Tomjack”
Sounds like a great boatswains mate. 20 years only got to bm1. But i had my fun. Piping can go along way. But just that don’t make a boatswains mate. It’s about knowing your shit and what people are capable of and putting them in the right place and standing behind them to their success. Sometimes you get the ass chewing but as a first class you are the go between but when the job is done you can party with them.
Had two BM’s on my 1st ship in 1970. One was a BMSN with 4 gold hashmarks, he never wanted rank, just to work and steam with his mates. Knew his shit!! He finally retired just before we deployed to Viet Nam. The BM1 had like 6 gold hash marks. Stateside whenever we pulled back into Dago and Liberty Call was piped, he’d be the first down the after brow then a huge red Caddy would pull up on the brow filled with a shitload of good looking honny’s and he’d be off until the liberty expired. Word was he was a former pimp from Naw Orleens, looisianna and had to enlist to avoid Angola State Prison, but never gave up his primary NEC of PIMP 1st Class. He was a hell of of a bosun. Nothing he didnt know. Now he was a legend. Couple of real sea dogs.