By Garland Davis
The young Fireman, right out of Machinists Mates’ “A” School, reported aboard a couple of days before the departure for six or more months in the Western Pacific. The Destroyer would participate in a Battle Group evolution with the carrier where the aviators qualified and requalified. The group would make a port visit to Pearl Harbor eight days after leaving San Diego.
The Fireman was busy helping get everything ready for the deployment. He loaded stores and cleaned areas in the Engineroom where the civilian shipyard workers had not cleaned well enough to meet the Chief’s standards. He learned that he would stand messenger watches once they were steaming. The Petty Officer assigned to train him walked him through his watch stander duties. He was assigned watches under the supervision of a qualified watchstander.
He was excited the morning they were to leave. He really wanted to go topside and watch the getting underway, but he was kept busy by the self-important FN assigned to train him to stand messenger.
The other guys in the Engineroom swore he turned green when the word was passed to “Single Up All Lines” and was at a full-blown puke by the time “Shift Colors” was passed. By the time they cleared the bay, he was sitting in the lower level, dry heaving into a bucket.
He received advice to eat crackers, which brought on a bout of heaving. Sailors being sailors, an MM3 showed up with a bacon sandwich he had purloined from the Messdecks and proceeded to eat it in front of him. More gagging and dry heaves. By the end of the watch, the MM1, becoming concerned, took him to sick bay.
The ”Doc” was an HM1 just beginning his first tour as an Independent Duty Corpsman. Doc listened to MM1 and prescribed Dramamine, ‘seasick pills’.” The problem was the kid couldn’t keep pills ad water down. Doc had been told that there was such a thing as chronic seasickness, but he had also been told that it was rare and sailors would use seasickness as an excuse to get out of duty. He issued a No Duty chit until the next morning and told the FN to hit his rack and see if he felt better the next morning
When FN didn’t show up for Sick Call the next morning, Doc went to MM1 and asked how the kid was doing. The First Class told him the boy was curled up on the deck, still dry heaving into a bucket. Doc became worried that the FN was becoming dehydrated and thought he might have to hydrate him intravenously. He dreaded telling the XO and CO that he thought there may be a chronic sea sick aboard. He was afraid they would think he was inexperienced and overly cautious.
Doc went to the snipes’ compartment to find the F sitting at the table with a bucket between his feet. He checked the Kid’s vital signs and asked if he had tried to eat. The FN shook his head as he was wracked by another bought of dry heaving.
Doc said, “You have to try to eat and drink something, or I will have to put in an IV.”
BT2, passing by, said, “Feed him ice cream Doc.”
Doc, thinking that here was an opportunity to learn from a sailor who had been around long enough to know many ‘Salty” solutions for sailor’s maladies, asked the BT, “Does ice cream help with seasickness?”
BT2 replied, “Hell, I don’t know, but it will taste better when he pukes it up!”