By Garland Davis
He was within three months of retirement. His ship was deploying to the Indian Ocean for a protracted period. They sent him TAD to the FF I was serving in. He was a BT2, but the XO decided the best place for him was Mess Deck Master at Arms.
That’s how he came to work for me. Let me describe BT2. He was about 5’6” and probably about the same around the waist. His standard 39” Navy belt had at least an 18” extension sewn onto it. He constantly walked around pulling his pants up. He was so close to retiring that he ignored all references to the weight control or PT programs. He lived in the snipes’ compartment, just aft of the Mess Decks. The MMC told me that they had to remove a middle rack so he could get into the bottom bunk. No one wanted him climbing into a top rack above them.
He was a surprisingly good MDMAA. He supervised and followed up on the messcooks and maintained control in the mess line. His biggest fault was his proximity to the abundance of food available to him. He constantly walked around with a sandwich (I saw him eat a pork & bean sandwich once) or a piece of leftover cake. He probably added a couple of inches during the sixty some days he worked for me.
There was a ladder to Engineering berthing accessed through a standard Navy hatch. The hatch had a standard scuttle for use during GQ or other evolutions when the hatch had to be closed.
We were at sea and the hatch was closed for some reason and the scuttle was being used to access the berthing space.
Everyone laughed so hard we could hardly breathe… when the ETC came into the CPO Mess and said, “I just watched the MDMAA coming through the scuttle from Engineer Berthing. It was like the fucking hatch was giving birth to him,”
Some of us were, literally, rolling on the floor,