Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Sell'n Ice Cubes To Eskimos"

Prior to head'n out to Tulsa, Oklahoma to impress the Sooner state with the idears and sells pitches of the world’s finest Navy I was a 4.0 squared away Crackerjack coming off five illustrious years of Sea Duty onboard this ol' canoe clubs finest ship, the USS Rainier. Being challenged with the choice of Bootcamp Company Commander or Navy Recruiter I thought Recruiting as the lesser of the two evils since I had no one to mentor me otherwise with any real clear-cut knowledge of either field.

So there I was after six months “on the bag” try'n to sell America's Admiralty like a cheap whore collecting as much clientele as I could possibly muster. No, this was no walk in the park. This was Navy Recruiting at its best, or worst depending on how you look at it. I came to Tulsa with an up beat demeanor believing all that brainwashing bullshit they programmed into me while in Pensacola learning to be a five minute salesman. It took me somewhere's about six months to deprogram that peanut in my 'noggin' and come to the realization I must've had "BOHICA" tattooed to my forehead. Yes they can teach you how to sell ice cubes to Eskimos but can they teach you how to live with yourself afterwords. I saw a side of things I was naive enough to think never existed. It was a shady way of business and though legally acceptable it was undoubtedly morally questionable.

Yes this branch of the ol' canoe club was built on the ideology of the “Good Ol’ Boy Network” and the premises of not necessarily lying but just not telling the whole truth. Let’s just say we relied on the auspices of selective hearing by prospective recruits. But you’re never gonna believe the shit you learn about people when your out there look’n for that golden nugget to keep you from roll’n a nut at the end of the month.

Hell, the first bone I ever rolled out to boot camp was a G.E.D. graduate or 'HP3' as we use to call'em. This guy was a real keeper. When we sat down to do his paperwork he kept making this tick'n noise in the  back of his throat that sounded somewhat condescending. I just thought he was being your typical smart ass off the street. Little did I know he would be coming back home diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. I never would'a figured on that one coming. Hell, til that point I did'nt even know what Tourett Syndrome was...  It wasn't like he had one of those severe cases yelling out the "F" Bomb every five seconds!! His Bootcamp Commander finally sent him to medical after relentless push-up sessions to set him straight. What a way to start off your recruiting career.

Then there was the fella I pulled outta class with a 99 ASVAB that I was sure would be a true winner. This guy was a walking shit sandwich. He was in some fantasy gamer club as a zillionth level dungeon master with chocolate cake smeared all over his guadamned face. But was he qualified? Yes he was... and I put his nerdy ass in the Navy. But rest assured he showed up to his first Delayed Entry Program (DEP) meeting with dog shit on the backside of his shoes smearing it all over the frick’n gaudamned carpet in front of the station. This was my problem child for four months before he finally shipped off.

After six months of putting in the long hours making at least a hundred cold calls a night with a guy who likes to smoke the herb a little too much... another who needs to lose 1% or 2% body fat... another who can’t get his speeding tickets paid off... and a near miss divorce with my wife, I was at wits end. While closing in on the end of the month and about to role a big fat doughnut, my wife needed me home to watch the kids on a Saturday afternoon...  my RINC wasn’t having any of it. I tell him my situation and how I really needed to be home with my kids and he says,

“Your wife and kids didn’t come in your Seabag so I don’t wanna fuck’n hear it!”

I mean “WTF”….over!! I reached across his desk and grabbed a hold of his collar before the Chief grabbed me from behind and restrained me from ending my Naval Career. I was just about to put an end to that ever loving bastard’s life if the Chief wouldn’t have stopped me. I’m sure the rest of the guys in the station wouldn’t have minded a good strangle hold on that asshole.

I ended up tak'n a trip to the District office and spending a session with a shrink! The Doc ordered me to go to marriage counseling though my wife declined since she wasn’t in the Navy and said the Navy couldn’t order her to do shit! Somehow through a miracle we weathered that storm as well as recruiting as I managed to get selected for Chief that same year and get selected as NRD Kansas City Nuclear Recruiter of the Year!

“Damn the Luck!”

But it was just the way the recruiting game was played... a numbers game, pure and simple. It doesn’t matter what a good sailor you are but how many bones you can role each month. You make the numbers and you’re a star recruiter. If you fail mission then your career's at a screaching holt!!! What a scary proposition and one that pressures good guys to make bad decisions doing unethical things.

In the end I was glad to be done with the game never to return. Do I regret it??? No... I lived and learned and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But I remember making that untimely decision back on the Rainier as to go Recruiting or Bootcamp Company Commander. If anyone were to ask me that question today, take my advice, go back to Bootcamp... It’s far less agitating and probably more rewarding for most.

Thanks to all that telemarketing “Phone Power” I still can’t stand talking on the gaudamned phone! Besides... I’m just glad to get rid of that Super Salesman mentality and be a normal human being again. Recruiting aged me at least ten to twenty years and helped me pack on about forty pounds in the process. SHEWWWW…….all that down home BBQ!!!

Oh……..and one more thing!!!!

There is a reason people live way out in the country... far from the ocean...
They hate the frick’n water and they don’t like being bothered!!
Go Figure!!!

“Aviator Call Sign – Party Animal”

Checking onboard the Pre-commission ship USS MOMSEN I had many expectations on my first sea duty as a Navy Chief. I was looking forward to this tour as a newly bound Tomahawk Supervisor who had never set foot on a ship that even carried Tomahawks before. Coming to this ship I was the senior Tomahawk Tech with less experience than any of the guys who worked for me. I relied heavily on their expertise and 99.9% of the time these guys really pulled through.

But my first line of defense in the wardroom chain-of-command was a washed up aviator who had already spent eight years in the Navy as an officer and was a good four years behind his peers in the Surface Navy. Usually a first time Division Officer on a ship is fresh out of OCS or the Academy. But this guy was a second tour Divo who’s motto seemed to be “Wild, Crazy & Outta Control!” I’ll leave names out of this adventure as to keep the anonymous from hunting me down but most everyone who spent time on the ol’ MOMSEN way back when know exactly who this exploit is all about.

The first time I met this guy was in San Diego with a five o’clock shadow and a wrinkled piss cutter on his head. His uniform looked like he slept in it with wrinkles and stains and his breath reeked of hard liquor. I asked myself,

“What gutter did this guy crawl out of!”

We started off business as usual but all he really wanted to know was the best place to party and brag about all the babes he met last night in Pacific Beach. Yeah……I had some concerns. I’ve been there and done that, but at this point in my career I was a little afraid of how this guy was going to represent my boys in the Wardroom.

When ship’s company had made it to Maine where the ship was built, our illustrious Divo would boast of his many women and lewd soirees at his penthouse high above Portland, Maine. Not that there was any less senseless debauchery going on at the Atrium and Holiday Inn where ship’s company resided. But you can expect a few libations and some drunken carousal going on with the enlisted sorts.

After move aboard and an exemplary inspection by Supervisory of Ships on our turnover of equipment and operations the Divo invited our little group out to his upscale pad in the sky for a night of boozing and a baseball game downtown with the minor league Portland Seadogs! When we entered his place the lobby resembled a five star hotel. We traveled to the top floor where it was obvious he had the best suite in the building. He roomed with the ship’s Navigator who made himself scarce on this particular night.

For such nice accommodations the place had an odd mixture of sweaty feet, bad body odor and stale beer. But I had experienced worse funk in my past and delved in greater incontinence in my time so this was nothing new to me. But the stories the Navigator would tell of the ponderous women he would lure from bars and the obscene sexual feats he would partake in on the balcony at night. On diverse occasions the neighbors had lodged complaints of the noise and lewd behavior that emanated from the premises.

As if things couldn’t get any worse for the ol’ Navigator, my endearing Divo made an inane attempt at topping his own achievements on one particular night. While coming back plastered shit-faced drunk he decided to use the decor in the lobby as a urinal for his convenience. Unfortunately for him the proprietor of said residence had this all on video tape and took great pleasure in mailing the documented event first class to our Commanding Officer. Needless to say our brilliant Divo and the Navigator were both evicted from their “humble” abode for such insipid acts of barbaric proportions. I really felt sorry for the ol’ Nav! This was ol’ boy’s first account of tenancy abd this could make it quite difficult to establish a good rental history in the future.

On a personal note I’ve just got to say, this guy, our Divo, really wasn’t a bad guy! But for a senior Division Officer who carried the rank of an O-3 he was far off the mark from what the Navy’s expectations are of an Officer and a Gentleman. Needless to say, as the Divisional Chief I had to jump through my ass and claim ignorance on many occasions as this “Party Animal” of a lieutenant acted like a Frat House Party gone wrong! I guess someone forgot to tell him about Tailhook 91’

“I Don’t Need No Stink’n Liberty Plan!”

On my latest deployment I had been faced with a relatively new phenomenon. In the 7th Fleet our sailors are now required to submit detailed liberty plans specifying their off duty activities. There’s a variety of questions that deal with drinking such as who they will be drinking with, how much and for how long. Once finished, it has to be reviewed and then approved by the Chain-of-Command (COC). If the sailor deviates from said plan, he must get written authorization to do so. Furthermore, a copy of the plan must be with them at all times and revealed to any COC who asks for it.

From Guam to Japan and as far west as Singapore this has been directed as the result of a young Japanese girl who had been raped by one of our very own. So as it goes, the whole entire 7th Fleet is to pay the price. Please don’t misinterpret my assessment as indifferent or to think these atrocities as acceptable. But why not hold these jackasses solely accountable instead of the whole damn fleet. Better yet, why not turn them over to the Japanese authorities and let them have their way with these assholes.

For the first time in my Navy career I had witnessed one of my own sailors go to Captain’s Mast for numerous trumped up charges related to the liberty plans. Fortunately for him all but “Disobeying a Direct Order” were dropped. But had it not been for the existence of this liberty plan, my sailor’s actions would never have been in doubt. His misgivings didn’t even fit the spirit of the damn liberty plan in the first place. Just some bitter asshole out to rack up as many charges on this cat as he could finagle. This same asshole thought it was such a grand idea he suggested we utilize liberty plans every time we leave our homeport. Can you imagine filling out liberty plans for San Diego? Thank goodness the Skipper shot that idea down.

Restricting the liberty of sailors after weeks sometimes even months at sea will only cause them to become more audacious and unrestrained as they revel in their abandonment. They’re not simply robots you can preprogram or dogs you can put on a leash. It’s called liberty for a reason damn it! I’ve seen officers piss on furniture in hotel lobbies and commandeer foreign liberty boats causing international incidents. These aren’t junior sailors mind you which only goes to prove that even the educated minds of our illustrious COC can partake in the scandalous behaviors of real idiots when cooped up for too long. You treat your people like shit and you see what happens? Somewhere it has been stated,

“It’s the same reason the preachers’ daughters are freaks in my opinion. You keep them cooped up in the house, don’t let them out and experience the real world. Once they get that chance they don’t know what to do except go crazy.”

I don’t regret a minute of my service, and I don’t feel like I have “wasted time”, like so many say they have. It’s merely the Mickey Mouse leadership we have come to deal with that can drive a man insane. Is it a wonder that we have had over 133 Commanding Officers fired in the last ten years? Or that countless Chiefs and Officers are caught in the sticky web of fraternization and inappropriate behavior. We didn’t have these problems prior to the 1990s. Was the Navy that much better than now or were we just so screwed up beyond belief that no one wanted to deal with it?

And what about this asinine fuckulous of an idea they call intrusive leadership? We can’t fraternize with the troops and we surely can’t be hanging around with them twenty-four seven! But damned the Chief who can’t keep a tight lid on his people and prevent them from getting a DUI after weekly doses of alcohol deglamorization brainwashing or from going out raping some young girl in Japan! The little asshole knows this is wrong already, so how is my intrusive invasion of his privacy going to prevent his testosterone levels from overrunning his damn brain! When I was a young seaman it wasn’t entirely culpable for a Chief or First Class to put his size 12 boot up my ass with a little ol’ fashioned wall to wall counseling! But now that would be grounds for Courtmartial due to assaulting a junior sailor. My how times have changed.

The best years of my life were served in the United States Navy. But this so called political correctness has gone haywire! I once read a quote in a blog somewhere that went like this,

“I dearly love Japan and the Japanese people are absolutely wonderful, but do you really think that we would have “liberty plans” if Nimitz was in charge? How about MacArthur? Yep, they used to win wars!”

I sure the hell don't send my kids out with a liberty plan before they spend the night at a friends house or go hang out at the mall. So does it make me a bad guy to jump ship before it sinks? Retirement is the ultimate solution for an ol' salt and I am glad I’m reaching my tenure. All that can be asked is that adults be treated like adults and held accountable to their own merit!

“Boondocks and Yardarms”

An ol’ shipmate, Brett Mullins brought this story up from days gone past. A very good one indeed and I probably would have forgotten about it had he not shed new light on some of the details. I figure some of you who were on the ol’ Rainier back in the day might enjoy this one.

Traditionally in the Navy a "clean sweep" for a vessel referred to having "swept the enemy from the seas," a completely successful mission. It is traditionally indicated by hanging a broom from a mast or yard arm but in the days of submarines where it got its start it was lashed to the periscope.

Today in the Navy a “clean sweep” has been translated into several meanings. One being the successful completion of its mission on deployment. When a vessel comes back from deployment the broom is to be hung from the highest visible yardarm and is to stay there until hauled down once the ship has passed through the jetties on its way in from sea. It has also been used to signify the successful award of the Battle “E” as well as the achievement of the minimum percentage-based retention goal set forth for the fiscal-year.

Whatever the case may be, a similar situation was used by our ingenious Skipper to promptly explain a situation that happened on our 1996-97 Westpac Cruise. As the story goes, Deck Department had recently acquired a new hand in 2nd Division who thought of himself as one of them “gangsta’s from the hood!” His calling in life seemed to be the act of intimidation to everyone in his presence though he rarely achieved this goal. Usually the design of such schemes backfired on him as some of the roughest sailors onboard were berthed in 2nd Division. Though his ambition was fruitless he gave it a whirl, as I’ll demonstrate with this particular illustration of just how absurd this jackass could be.

One evening underway Seaman Kmecheck was out on the smoke deck sitting on a bit when “Mr. Gangsta Flava” came up and shoved him off as he decided this was going to be his seat. Well ol’ Kmecheck wasn’t having any of that shit so he returned the favor after “Gangsta Flava” sat down. Everyone thought this was going to end in a brawl as “Gangsta Flava” decided to try and put his lit cigarette out on Kmecheck’s nose. But Kmecheck just flinched and laughed as he proceeded to bite the end of the cigarette off from “Gangsta’s” hand. “Gangsta Flava” ran like hell after that and never messed with ol’ Kmecheck again. Though Kmecheck later admitted that cigarette made him sicker than shit.

But as the story goes, “Gangsta Flava” proceeded to annoy the living shit out of everyone around him nonstop, always trying to be the idiot wannabe bad ass out to prove a point. So late one evening while pulling the balls to 0600 watch in Engineering, Mullins decided to sneak on down to 2nd Division Berthing and steal “Mr Gangsta’s” boondockers. That would be work boots to all you land lubbers out there. I must emphasize the word “SNEAK” as Mullins was a part of Engineering and not Deck therefore going down into 2nd Division berthing in the wee hours of the evening was a cardinal sin! Once his mission had been achieved he proceeded to the aft mast of the ship where it was nice and dark out. Not aware of anyone around, Mullins ensued in haste as he hoisted said boondockers up the yard arm! I guess this would be symbolic of the sneakers you see on the telephone wires in “The Hood!”

The next day was full of underway replenishment with ship after ship pulling along side to get their bounty of fuel from our belly. The last ship of the day just so happened to be the Carrier which housed the Battle Group Commander. About half way through that unrep Mullins said he heard something over the intercom that made him want to shit himself and hide. The Admiral on the carrier says across the intercom system,

"Captain Cummings, this is admiral so and so, why do you have a pair of boondockers hanging from your aft mast?"

Mullins said he could have died at that moment he was so stunned. Frozen in his foot steps, with stomach in throat, heart skipping beats, and the thought of being keel hauled later, the next thing we all heard from our charmingly astute Skipper was,

"Because we are kicking ass admiral! That is why the boondockers hang from the aft mast!"

The boondockers were later fetched from the mast and sent to the carrier as the Admiral was so amused by such a gesture. Everyone assumed that it was a practical joke from the airdet unit, because it was their last day on board. Ol’ “Gangsta Flava” got ganged up on by everyone after that. He had broken his arm and someone wrote "I f@#ked your dog" on his cast. He didn't last long, shortly there after he was caught stealing something from the Navy Exchange and discharged.

But Mr Mullins would like to thank Tim Costons wherever he may be. For he witnessed the said event of hoisting the boondockers up the yard arm on that fateful night and kept that secret until Mullins left the ship. Brett, I guess you’ll forever be in Tim’s debt. And so the story goes, as we drink to the foam of these ol’ sea stories and remember the good times we had. Captain Cummings, where ever you may be, that was one hell of a come back and just another reason why the ol’ Rainier remains the best ship in this ol’ salt’s memories.

“An Unscrupulous Game at Heart”

Sometimes taking care of your shipmates as a Chief is like being a father to an extra group of kids besides your own. Or being a big brother trying to keep them out of trouble so Mom & Dad don’t find out “WTF” they’ve been up too. Other times you feel like a ball coach trying to teach them how to play the game! What ever the case may be, there is always the one or two that really give you a nervous breakdown at times.

I think anyone who’s been in charge of a group of people knows where I’m coming from, but there was a certain set of instances with one particular sailor I had when I was onboard the ol’ MOMSEN! Nate was his name and he really wasn’t too bad for the most part of his stint onboard but most of my guys in the Tomahawk Division had served together before on the USS FOSTER. They had some sort of kinship going that made my job a bit easier to manage. One of my senior guys had already earned me a sit down with the Skipper trying to explain one of my First Class Sailors sticker on his car that used the word F@#K! My ass was in high gear to get the sonuvabitch to scrape that shit off his window.

But it wasn’t that a prick like me couldn’t understand the humor in it all. I’d always heard that being a chief was like being a cannibal; you come back to the fleet wearing khakis to make meals out of your own kind! Some would have you believe they remove all the hell raising from your bones before they make you a Chief! But really it’s just muffled behind a few years and some closed doors. You gotta give the appearance fo being a sonuvabitch! I’ve probably pulled more Silly pranks, been involved in more unscrupulous schemes and diabolical plots and came up with more stupid drunk ideas than the imagination can fathom.

But this particular story involved a real life health condition with a mixture of bullshit in between. You see Nate had an affection where the lining of his heart had hardened restricting the heartbeat which caused him to get light headed to the point he would almost pass out. I think it was called “Constrictive Pericarditis” or something of the sort. Any how, he ended up on limited duty for quite a while because of the ailment. After several visits with a specialist they decided to do open heart surgery on him to completely remove the lining that was causing his predicament. This left little shit on convalescent for two to three weeks away from the ship and would eventually take him off of sea duty for good.

But what happened next left me completely stupified. Nate incorporated every clever, unorthodox, devious, weird, and stupid stunt ever pulled off in this Chief’s history of bullshit stunts! Shortly after going on convalescent leave the little sonuvabitch asked me if there was anyway that he could fly to Seattle from Maine where the ship was at the time to be with his fiancé while he recovered. Considering the fact he just had heart surgery I consorted with our Chief Corpsman onboard only to deliver a resounding NOOOO… to Nate upon his request. The pressure from a high altitude flight could possibly cause complications on his heart after cardio pulmonary surgery and a flight across country was simply out of the question. He even ran a chit up the Chain-of-Command (COC) to see if it would get approved but of course it got denied.

Well, he managed to get hooked up with some church friends that took him in and gave him a place to rest while he was to recuperate from his wounds. After about two weeks the Weapons Officer called me to his state room to let me know the Captain wanted to see Nate and find out how he was doing. So I was to call him into the ship so the Skipper could see him before he went home for the night. I called Nate and to my surprise he explains to me,

“Chief, I’m somewhere in the middle of no where without transportation and I don’t know how to get to the ship or how to explain directions to get someone here. And the family that took me in are on vacation.”

WTF!!! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and knew something was up. I told him to get a hold of this family and find out from them how to get directions and I would pick him up personally if I had too. I told him he had 30 minutes to call me back. Within 10 minutes one of my first classes gets a hold of me and says,

“Chief we got a problem, Nate just called me on the phone scared to death cause you want him on the ship to talk to the Skipper but he’s in Seattle!”

Again, WTF!!! He’s not supposed to be in Seattle! What kinda shit is he pulling anyway, I told the First Class to tell him he had exactly until noon tomorrow to find a way to get his ass back here or there would be hell to pay! In the meantime I had to come up with some bullshit story to keep WEPS and the Skipper at bay! I don’t remember what I told them but it worked and between the Strike “O” and I we managed to keep this shit under raps until the little sonuvabitch showed up on time the next day.

OOOH, was he in deep shit with me. After his conversation with the Skipper and the translucent air-tight bullshit we passed up the COC it was amazing we never got caught. I tell you this was some Hogan’s Heroes clandestine type engineered bullshit we got away with!! I ended up giving Nate one of the biggest emotionally charged tongue lashings I’ve ever given anyone that ever worked for me!! I made sure he understood what was on the line and how Strike “O” and I stuck our necks out on his behalf. As a way to punish him as if he was one of my own, I took one of his prized possessions in the workcenter from him and told him when I felt he was trustworthy enough he could have it back! Kinda like grounding your kids from their favorite toy! I’m pretty sure that wasn’t legal either, but hey, we could’ve let this guy go to Captain’s Mast and he knew this. But I was the asshole!

Needless to say he left the ship shortly there after. BUMED came back and said after his surgery he couldn’t serve onboard ship for another two years. So he was off to shore duty in Seattle. But we all figured it was probably for the best. He never really was firmly anchored to the ship anyway.

Just Another Rant..

So I got a few comments on my blogspot this morning... particularly on the story 'Stink'n Snipes'... I just wanna say the stories I right are intended for humor and the light hearted side of the Navy... If anyone takes offense well... maybe you need to lighten up... Part of our way of show'n our brotherly love was to give eachother a bit of banter... so grow some thick skin or don't bother read'n!!!

"Banters & Jaunts"

Back in the day there was no subject out of bounds when it came to razzing each other up and giving each other a load of crap. Nothing was sacred among a group of guys in a closed compartment. We wouldn't hesitate to tell you your momma was fat, dumb, and ugly and how she dressed you funny. Or some crazy shit about your hometown, religion, or how dumb and ugly you were. One of my favorites was,

“Right now I'm sitting here looking at you trying to see things from your point of view but I can't get my head that far up my ass.”


“When you were born you were so ugly the Doctor punched your Momma in the mouth!”

Life could get a bit dull underway and sometimes we just had to find ways to keep ourselves amused. Pissing up each other's rope sometimes could be the best form of entertainment. Living life as a sailor made it quite evident that this form of verbal hazing was not meant for those who get bitterly enraged. Before the PC Navy you had to have a set of balls made of cast iron steel to walk in an enclosed room with a bunch of Sailors.

My CIWS cohort, Neil "The Sauce Man" Saucier was the best at the game. He was quick witted and a mile ahead of anyone when it came to insults and comebacks. He was a real smart ass connoisseur! Yeah, Neil was beyond salvation when it came to the personal insult. Neil when you die, sorry man, but you are going straight to Hell on the inferno express.

One evening underway while performing a gun tear down we had run into a few snags thanks to the big FC3 Hurt Locker. Neil starts heckling him about his fat ass and how he couldn’t get anything right. Never mind the fact Hurt Locker was about six foot five and close to three hundred pounds. But Neil didn’t care, he just wanted to give this ol’ boy an ear full and see how far he could push his luck. You could see the rage build in Hurt as he considered the options of ending Neil’s life.

Next thing I knew the big Hurt lunged at Neil and tried to pulverize his skinny ass while myself and one of our other cohorts jumped on his back and tried to wrestle him back. I had always been known to be able to handle myself pretty well but this was like trying to wrestle a rodeo bull. I was getting thrown around like a ragdoll. But we finally got his ass to settle down while Neil skirted off laughing.

Yeah, common decency stopped at the door and was usually not welcomed inboard of a compartment full of sailors back in the day. It was like chumming sharks in a feeding frenzy. But that kind of crap can get you in trouble these days. In the PC Navy they won’t stand for that kind of harassment. I mean after all we’re suppose to be warriors! If you can’t handle a bit of banter then how the hell are you going to handle the spoils of War!

“Shark Bait’n Tomfoolery”

Life on an 800 foot, grey hulk of metal circling around in the ocean was rarely exciting. You created your fun when you could. Stupid stunts, mischief-making and collaborated razz were an important part of keeping the monotony from coming to a boiling point around the bend. You had to have been there to fully appreciate the life we lived.

Vast periods underway could present itself with long stretches of near catatonic boredom. At such times you could actually hear the hair follicles grow & spider web construction racket. On Rainier, the unkempt castaways filled these relatively inactive times with correspondence letter writing, pornographic literature, skylark’n and plotting complicated shenanigans. Some of the hoax & hijinx aboard the ol’ No 7 took days to brood & nurture.

Of all the ambassadors of wisecracks and witticisms racked in the berthings and smoke deck, the Grand Wizard of Tomfoolery, Brett Mullins, was the resident prime minister and deceptive fabricator of flim-flam, fraud and cock-&-bull story tell’n.

He would reel off more about his involvement in this adolescent bullshit but his memories are worn from all the fool’s errand pranks and cheats he had been accustomed to over the years.

You see in Deck Department there was this Seaman Recruit fresh out of the belly of “Great Mistakes,” that would be boot camp to you landlubbers, just checked onboard and asking for some special attention in the area of hoodwink’n horseplay! He wasn’t the brightest of the bunch and so the story goes with a newbie, in the likes of 100 yards of gigline, the BT punch, Bearing grease for the TACAN, batteries for the sound powered phones or my personal favorite of blowing the MPA and countless others I’m sure you fool hardy enough to thunkem up!

You see Mr Mullins found it quite important to send this young lad looking for a double edged boot knife so that he could properly conduct a “shark watch” off the port bow and that he needed to be sure to deliver a lethal blow if one attacked the ship. This young lad surely wasn’t dealing with a full deck! Needless to say, Mullins went back to the mess decks never to think of it again and finish his winning game of spades as our young underling was wearily headed to the bridge for further instruction from the Boatswains Mate of The Watch. This so happened to be Brad Wilson who further agitated the situation I am sure with a few more tugs and quips at the young feller to make him feel welcomed on deck.

Once again as you could only imagine, Mullins woke up the next morning only to hear the Chief Hoot’n & Holler’n about his antics as thoughts of being keelhauled ran through his melon over and over again. I think each time I hear another story about you Brett, “Keelhaulin” seems to become a Colloquialism.

So once again another Navy Snipe Hunt, Goose Chase, practical joke in the likes of M.A.S.H., McHale’s Navy and many other sitcoms on television we got to experience in the real life Navy. What a life we lived…I’ll be sure to miss it in the next few months when I grow some hair so I can let it down and bask in my retirement!!

“Sea Stories with Family & Friends”

Have you ever heard a name so damn recognizable yet so off the charts peculiar there’s no denying its familiarity? A year or so ago a short little Hawaiian feller checked onboard the Bangor Brig with a mighty bizarre last name. DC2 Bokuku!! How the hell can you forget a name like that? I asked him,

“You got family in the Navy ‘cause I sure in the hell recognize that name?”

I’ll be damned if his Sea Daddy and I didn’t serve together about ten to fifteen years back. We were shipmates who rode on the RAINIER from 1994-99, in the beginnings of that ship's career. She was a sweetheart and those of us who were fortunate enough to be a part of her knew she was a very special naval vessel with exceptional sailors in every since of the term. It was a hell of a good feeling to know we had that kind of crew on that kind of ship!

And I’ve gotta hand it to the young Bo! He doesn’t know it yet but he’s building quite a library of young sea stories himself. He hasn’t figured out how to spin those yarns into writing but he’ll reckon with it eventually and maybe one day he’ll write his own damn book! He’s always sit’n his happy little ass down and tell’n me some of his misdeeds as I interrupt him;

"Hell kid, I've wrung more sea water out of my skivvies than you've even seen!"

But I’m mighty impressed with some of his no shitters! His young brother serves on my last ship, the hapless USS MOMSEN! In contrast to the RAINIER, that was the worst ship I’d ever sailed upon. His poor little bro’ tells him all the time,

“Dad tells his stories and you tell yours from all the great times you had on great ships! I sit on my ship and ask myself. What the hell can be said about this place?”

I see things haven’t changed on the ol’ MOMSEN! Feel sorry for the younger Bo! Once a ship starts off bad it tends to live out the rest of its life that way!

The young Bokuku was tell’n me the other day about the family sitt’n round tell’n stories about Deployment and liberty ports like Thailand! His Pops tells him to keep his mouth closed when his Momma’s in the room. He-He!! Alas! Nothing like a temporary tryst within the arms of a Thailand bar girl. The sweet smell of iniquity in the city of knaves and harlots only known as Bangkok! But that is another story to acquaint you with at a later time.

You see, the skill of tell’n sea stories by no means suggests outright bullshitting! It would be more like 'truth manipulation'. Something I picked up in recruiting along the way. Just blame it on Zig Ziglar! Yep, the truth is supple. I once heard from an ol’ goat,

“God makes a pliable truth so that his sailors can fashion tales that entertain those who spend a lot of time broke, drinking beer and sniffing barmaid perfume.”

Those were some mighty fine words and the truth was never better spoken. You don’t get to take college courses on bullshit 101! You’ve got to spend your apprenticeship out to sea to earn your seagoing bullshit license! That’s just the way it is!

As far as Bokuku and his Pops go? It’s a small world and a close knit family in this here Navy! Beyond that fact this place has changed so guadang fast it’ll peel your eyelids back. I can only cherish the time I’ve served. Five years from now I will have to say the National Security Advisory Committee would be safe, cause for the exception of a few dogging wrenches, hatch hinges, and watertight doors, a tour on each new ship is like a strange walk through Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory! Out with the old and in with the new! With stealth, where’s the pointy end we use to call the forecastle? I can’t keep up anymore!

Yep, It’s a kindler gentler Navy now! No more are the sleazy strip bars, beer joints, tattoo parlors and pawn shops right outside the gate. They’ve all but dried up. Kinda like Vegas, they’ve all went corporate on our crackerjack asses! No more late nights til 3AM eating breakfast a Denny’s or sleeping with some strange sweetheart! No more showing up to Quarters smell’n like a brew house refinery! Those days are all but gone. But I got mine! Oh yeah, I got mine!!


“Berthing Capers”

In the many years gone past in this ol’ salts Navy, the berthing compartments have been the sole bearers of the best recollections and ol’ time memories thwarted by a ménage of bunks encapsulating the nastiest group of smelly snoring sailors a fellow shipmate could ever ask for.

The place was usually a pig pen smell’n like a gerbil cage in the heat of summer. There was always the unique tang of dirty laundry and fermenting towels from several weeks of reuse without seeing any hotel services. The distinct aroma of toe jam was an exceptional occasion when the A/C units were down for repairs. The extreme suffocating smell of foot rot and the rancid stench of body odor masked by ol’ spice & Brut 33 made this place a funk smell all its own that no gaudamn high school locker room could even come close to. Yes, I guess that’s why the wardroom often called it the zoo. The air was either colder than a cast iron bra on a pair of witches titties or so gaudamn hot the two rats couldn’t handle the wool sock (if ya know what I mean)!

It was usually so gaudamn small you had to Vaseline your butt and shoulders just to squeeze through the passeges. If Human Social Services ever inspected the likings of an ol’ time Navy ship they’d condemn it as unfit for human habitation. Where else could you room eighty of the lowest forms of sea life in a compartment the size of your garage. After long days underway it was a great little place to think up stupid stuff to do. These were the confines for telling sea stories, lies, and outlandish tales while play’n poker and trad’n the latest sex books in circulation. These were the most worthless bunch of sons-a-bitches gathered in one place.

That’s what made this lair the breeding ground for every hair brained caper, unscrupulous conspiracy, and fiendish plan ever devised. Yes, the most malevolent society of scallywags and scurvy dogs ever put on this Earth. And God knows it was the best place to learn the essentials of camaraderie. It was here we parleyed over Johnny’s involvement with Suzie Rotten Crotch and anything involving fat girls with big tits.

Nowhere was it more accepted among a group of males to give the proverbial ‘good game’ swat on the arse. The act of arse slapping another man, but illuding from the idea of gayness with a ‘good game’ to negate any homosexual implications. Or play a little game of Rochambeau in the likes of Cartman on South Park. You know the one,

"How about we all throw some money into a pile and see who can win it... Rochambeau Style!"

It’s always played with a swift blow to the crotch!! It’s a supreme test of wills. The challenge of challenges where only real men need apply!

“Have you ever seen a pair of ‘Cat Brains?’ Some of you know where that's going!”

Then, while prepping and primping for liberty, towel fights in the buff were often a common sight. I’m not talking about the high school locker room type either. I'm talking grown men style, take a chunk of meat outta your backside! This could really leave a mark!

Then there was the incident on the good ol’ MOMSEN, a sign of the times. In this PC’ Navy about a dozen Sonar Tekkies all went to Skippy’s Mast for playing a little ‘Floss the Towel between the Legs’ in berthing and a bit of ‘Good Game!’ What’s a dirty joke between friends in a secluded space 12 months ago? It could mean the loss of a chevron or crow and half a months pay times two. Tack on about 45 days of restriction to the boat with extra duty. No this ain’t the Navy I joined 22 plus years ago.

Who remembers the wrestling matches in berthing or the time the Skipper walked in with the Captain off the Merrill as Todd Doris was hog tied and shoved head first into the shitcan? What about the time the XO walked in on us while making our best orgasm faces around the table, waiting for berthing inspection? Anyone remember rousting Jose Rayos up in a laundry bag and toss’n him into the laundry bin. These were just some of the silly shenanigans we would pull back in the day. There was no Captains Mast for hazing or Court Martial for inappropriate behavior!

Yes the camaraderie. That was the closest we ever got to saying, "I love you man!”

“Running Mates & Partners in Crime”

Back in the day shipmates would always team up like a group of hooligans in an ol’ Westside Story tale. I'm sure some Dr Phil psycho analyst has some aberrant crazed, mind boggling, psycho babble explanation but when you cut through the bullshit, everything you did took a hell of a lot of teamwork! Rather it was down’n a few pitchers of cheap beer at the local watering hole or chipping, grinding and lay’n down some haze grey on the ship’s hull, they were there to keep you from doing stupid shit or back your ass up while doing stupid shit! Whatever the case there was always a few partners in crime!

One of my most favorite compadres over the years was my ol’ buddy Shawn Mitchell. He was my running mate and sole proprietor of handling any evidence or lack there of when we were gett’n tangled up in any real Gordian Knots!! Shawn was from Mesa, Arizona and the Ol’ Man up above must’ve broken the mold when he made him cause that handsome son-of-a-bitch could get away with just about anything and had all the hook ups. If you needed Tickets to a Rock Concert he’d get ya front row seats. If ya wanted a date with a super model he’d deliver Cindy Crawford! This guy had all the moxy, all the dames, and the ugliest pair of gaudamn purple pants that got my dumb ass in more dilemmas!? And if anyone’s shit didn’t stink, it must’ve have been my ol’ buddy good ol’ pal, Shawn’s.

There was the time I was working at El Caminos. Shawn, being the debonair macho stud he was came in to the club one night drinking and carousing the scene just like many nights before. The difference being I was on the other side of the floor keeping the piece sober while he was half lit to the moon. Apparently some son-of-a-bitch decided they didn’t like his stylish appearance and knew he was in the Navy. Maybe he stole the guy’s dame or perhaps it was his gaudamn purple pants. Whatever the case may have been Shawn had managed to get away with growing a Mohawk on his head almost a foot long. Some pissed off fella called shore patrol into the club and pointed him out. Little did I know at the time what exactly was going down but they called him outside and demanded he show his military ID. Like a dumbass he did just that and they hauled his butt back to the ship. Then they commenced to shave that melon into a genuine military style flat top. Hell you coulda’ landed a doggone jet airplane on that thing when they were done with it. The next morning we went to Quarters and our Divo pulled out a profile of his mug for everyone to see and muttered with a giggle,

“If anyone has seen a six foot cockatoo wondering around the ship please notify the Operations office immediately!”

I’m pretty sure the Divo got a ribbing from the Wardroom about this mess regarding how he could’ve gotten away with his hair being like that for so damn long but he was pretty damn well humored about the whole subject as Shawn somehow escaped Skippy’s Mast. Besides, on a day to day basis, our heads were hidden under a hard hat and plenty of yard bird gear to boot. Needless to say we were subjected to countless personnel inspections for the coming weeks after that debacle.

Then there was the CIWS Lifelines fiasco! You’re not gonna believe this shit! Shawn and I ran the two forward CIWS mounts, practically lived in them, and shared enough pitchers of Cheap Beer we could’a filled the Georgia Aquarium twice. He was one of the best damn buddies I ever had! But man o’ man, I have no idea how he got away with this disaster!

While the ship drifted south to it’s homeport of Alameda, I took a two week hiatus spend’n time with my new born family. I’d been gone a total of two or three days and my boss gave me a call on the ol’ telephone.

“Hey man, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I thought I’d give you a heads up to what your com’n into when you get back!”

You ever get that feeling in your gut that things just aren’t going right? Well, he proceeded to tell me how Shawn forgot to lower the gaudamn handrails to the CIWS Mount before operat’n the damn whizbang unit! For those unfamiliar with a Navy CIWS Mount, it looks like a giant white R2D2 unit with a five foot long Gatling gun hard-on sticking out the front end. It can pop off about 4500 rounds in a minute and sounds like a gaudang chainsaw going off!

This ol’ mechanism weighs in at a couple of tons and there ain’t now stopping it when it’s on the move. When Shawn forgot to take down the handrails, well let’s just say it made quite a mess of things. You ever here about the $100 hammer or $500 toilet seat in the Navy? Well imagine what a radar search antenna, an egg-shell radome, and a couple of fiberglass handrails probably cost to replace. It was well over a Quarter Mill. It took over a month to get it all QA’d and replaced. Funny thing about that, there was no investigation, no questions asked, and nobody went to Skippy’s Mast and nobody got in trouble. How the hell that ever happened, I couldn’t tell ya.

Maybe it was his gaudang purple pants that he adored so damn much. Though I couldn’t figure that one out. He wore those sons-a-bitches everywhere he went. Hell I remember gett’n in several scuffles over those damn pants. Some fella tried pick’n a fight at Denim & Diamonds one night just because of those damn pants. Then there was the time I got jacked in the nose because of those Purple Barney look’n things! Where would it end….

Well I suppose there's an evolution to everything. Over time, things improve and we all moved on and matured. Can you believe that son-of-a-bitch is a gaudamn officer now? He coordinated every cunning, crackerjack, hair brained stunt ever pulled off by a young salt and got away with it every gaudamn time! Never in a million years did I ever think he’d cross over to the dark side and wear gold! Guess his good looks and amazing ability to pull the bullshit over their eyes was too irresistible.

Well, I haven’t seen him in a few years but I wish him luck where ever he may be! I’m sure our paths will meet again someday! He was my drink’n buddy and good ol’ pal, running mate & partner in crime….Shawn Mitchell!

Friday, July 29, 2011

“To Damn PC For Me”

Team work and camaraderie are some of the most essential elements that made this Navy the finest the World had ever seen. The esprit de corps of ship’s company is the symbiosis of the finest group of lads you’d ever laid eyes on. But it’s also one of the most misunderstood dying arts the likes of this good ol’ boys club has ever had.

People often forget we are in the business of War. In today’s military it seems that “Political Correctness” (PC) rules the day. I read a story recently about a group of Marines who were put on trial for killing over twenty civilians in the line of duty in Iraq. It seems the upper echelon felt these sorry bastards didn’t follow the rules of engagement and were appalled in their reports that suggested the presents of civilian Iraqis were not as important as the lives of our soldiers fighting in far away lands. There was also the story about a few good Navy Seals who were put on trial for abusing a few terrorists already known to kill some of our Black Water brethren. In this business of war the chain of command damn well better consider soldiers’ lives more important than Iraqi or Afghani civilian lives or we will lose this war and the U.S. will forever be threatened by the terrorist mentality for future generations to come! Some of those whiney ass liberals would have you believe that we have no business hiring Black Water to do our bidding but their sorry ass butts are too gaudamn sissy to join the military and do there part so what else is our country to do but hire mercenary types to help fill in the ranks.

If those post Vietnam Era Hippies don’t want the Draft to come back upon us then why are they ever so insistent to balk at every endeavor we make to do our jobs as servicemen and let us fight our battles to the best of our gaudamn abilities. It calls into question our ability to fight these wars. It also calls into question our continuity with our forbearers who fought in the wars of days gone past. No one questioned who, what, how or when we killed the enemy during the Great World Wars. If you think there was nothing political to gain during the Civil War then do you question its purpose? Give us the guns, ammo and gaudamn troops to get the job done so the poor bastards that lost an arm, leg, or their lives didn’t do it in vein. As a leader among troops in this Navy I’ve learned one thing,

“You might not agree with how the mission is handled but once we’ve accepted our orders and walked out that door to carry them out we better gaudamn well support them 100%!!”

Sometimes I get so gaudamn fed up with all these crying liberals about how we should or shouldn’t fight our battles. Yet these same arm chair whiners sit at home and don’t contribute to the effort but instead criticize how we do business. If they ever got their asses shot at in sub standard conditions not knowing who the enemy really was maybe they would see things differently. Imagine walking out in the crisp morning dew in your robe to get the paper at the end of the drive way and your neighbor who you thought was a trustworthy kind of guy took a shot at you with his shotgun as you bent over just because he didn’t like the fact you parked your car so damn close to his fence. That would get your gaudamn attention. I had a buddy who was shot and killed in Iraq while passing out candy to the local children. The sniper bastard didn’t even have the courtesy to take his cowardly shot when children weren’t present. He fell dead right there in a crowd of kids. You see... those bastards don’t fight by our rules.

But it doesn’t stop there. The Army Officer in Fort Hood was reported to have a radical fundamentalist Muslim ideology but the PC police were out to muffle those reports because we didn’t want to come off too gaudamn callus and hurt any ones feelings. So the bastard was given the opportunity to waste the lives of thirteen unarmed soldiers who had no warning of his actions. Why aren’t the son-of-a-bitches who failed to act on these reports up on charges? Is it because they’re untouchable, or was there no way they could have known that shit was gonna happen.

In recent years I’ve seen young men undergo Article 15 hearings for having a bit of underage liquor on their time off to a little pat on the ass from a fellow shipmate with the proverbial good game. I’ve seen witch hunts go down that have brought down the morale of an entire command. I’ve seen young men pay for an old joke they once told two years ago. All of this in the name of Political Correctness. When will this mayhem stop? No wonder the battlefields are torn apart more by political nonsense than enemy fire.

Aaah, but it’s the rules of the game. Don’t make waves and be PC to a fault while we make sure we keep Preparation H on our noses to prevent inflaming the superior brown pucker spot of the liberal assholes lobbying Capital Hill. I guess the sense has gone out of sensitivity. Stuff that used to result in knock that shit off now leads to Court Martial and possibly a Dishonorable Discharge.

It’s this kind of horse shit that convolutes the team work and camaraderie we have relied on in the military over the past generations. We need to learn to keep the PC out of it. We’re warriors not panty wastes. If we can’t handle a bit of foul language and some bantering every once in a while then how can we handle the blood & guts of war? If we can’t drink a beer during liberty then how can we be expected to carry a gun? If we have to go through a series of fine print lawyer jargon before we can fire on the enemy then how can we expect to win a war? It’s a different military these days and I’m glad I haven't fallen prey to it before I retire!

"Passing Time Port & Report-A CIC Story"

Ever fall asleep standing up? It's possible! At times, there is no job in the entire Navy better suited for a caffeine addiction than Port & Starboard in front of a radar scope in CIC more commonly known as Port & Report. Well, maybe it's number two right behind the quarterdeck midwatch in the dead of winter! I'd rather be a professional slacker marooned on some island paradise where the female natives all have perky nipples and run around butt naked. Unfortunately the latter never showed up on the Watch Quarter and Station Bill.

The watches are a compound of monotony, fatigue and boredom that will suck the gaudamn life out of ya! Yes life could be unacceptably boring. There were times life was so drudgingly mundane you could actually hear your hair grow! When watch was over you'd give up your headphones to the poor half asleep son-of-a-bitch who relieved you, and you'd turn over your visual contacts, blips, & standing orders while collecting coffee cups and head'n to the only gaudamn thing that gave solace in all this dreariness, the beloved rack, bunk or pit....what ever the hell ya wanna call it, it was Utopia underway.

That being said, you notice things while lurking through the boredom. There are certain idiosyncrasies about people you'd never realize outside this lil' world. There is the genetic experiment gone wrong sitt'n next to you with his underwear inside out and backwards on his fourth day of wear with a waft of budissy. And of course that repugnant lil' sap across the way who's always good for a laugh on every watch. Then there are those you never gave a gaudamn thought about until this long affliction we call underway. Here you happen to notice that fella in the corner picking his nose something fierce. Not the casual itch but the ever infamous search for the Holy Grail.

This was also a good place for a bunch a good-fer-noth'n sons-a-bitches to sit around and spend there non-productive time creating more fracas and mayhem than a band of hookers in church. We spent hours scribbling in "Bitch Logs" like the outside observer and critiquing each others little quips and jaunts while taping "kick me in the jewels" to the back of the CIC Watch Supervisor's back! Or the little caricatures of our favorite crew members for all to see! Does anyone remember "Goffinet & the Sheep?" You know the one with Henry and Needham in the background arguing over who's next? Or the Goof Troop falling asleep on watch & hang'n out at Club Venus with his pants down! How 'bout messing with the TAO while he was nodd'n off just to watch him abruptly jump up and tell everyone else to stay awake!!

"OK ladies, a quick coke & smoke is called for. One at a time, no screwin' around. Time to get your minds outta the gutter!"

Most heavy duty sky larking, plotting, and lollygagging was done in the wee hours of watch in CIC. We made entirely non-productive bitching a fine art. The architecture to ninety percent of the funny business and grab-ass that went on underway were invoked inside this secret cave.

Yeah, those were good times!!!

We figured if bullshit ever had any monetary value, we were going to cash in on every stupid shenanigan ever pulled under the blue lights. It's a damn wonder we didn't hit something underway..... Noth'n like sleep deprivation & boredom to pass the time....he-he!!

"Illicit Rendezvous"

Okay..This one is not my doing, but it was so well written I just had to post it for all you ol' OILER Coots that worked on the UNREP detail!!!! I believe the author's name is Lary Harris, an ex sailor from many moons agoooooo!!!

OK, OK, I'm really ashamed of this, but I came across it in an old file, and it seemed just too good to pass up - hence I'm passing it along.
Oh, those were the days.

To the foreplay of signal lights across the horizon, the innocent virginal destroyer caught the glance of the decrepit, lecherous oiler, his sensuous red deck lights glimmering passionately as she waited, quivering with anticipation, for him to dip his ROMEO, so she might hastily rush alongside his virile, erect king posts with their enormous, black, well hung hoses.

His black boot topping gleamed brazenly as he lashed out with his shot lines, the silent messengers of sadistic pleasures yet to come. With saddle whips whistling, chains jangling, wires whining, he spanned the distance and bound her fast as she felt the pulsations of his ram being tensioned.

She quivered with anticipation, her receiver anxiously desiring his ever extending hose, its well used, wrinkled, leathery, foreskin like surface rising and falling with the eternally undulating undercurrents as his ecstatically squealing trolleys brought his JP-5 engorged probehead ever nearer to her well lubricated, anticipating receiver.

With a final, powerful, lunging thrust, he penetrated and skillfully lodged his enormous probehead firmly betwixt her slippery, squirming opening, as she cried, "Pump, Pump, Pump!", writhing in bondage beside him.

As his turbines whined, he felt the ever increasing pressure pound within his bowels. The enormous swaying hose stiffened with a resounding snap.

"It's coming, It's Coming!" she cried, as she sensed his vile, odoriferous juices pouring faster and faster, forcing their way through her too tight constrictions, overflowing, dribbling enticingly from her snatch blocks.

"How about a blow down?" he crooned, "Or maybe a back suction?"

"Oh no!" she cried distraughtly, "I never dreamt of such lurid things!"

"But I must," he responded lustfully, "Or I'll drip when I pull out!"

Only a gaudamn sailor could write such a thing! Only a sailor!!!

"Wog Days"

I don't know if this was typical over a millennium or where the Navy got too PC' to carry on the ol' tradition but there was no subject out of bounds when we crossed the Equator for the first time!

Originally the tradition of crossing the line was created as a test for greenhorned sailors to prove their worthiness of handling long rough times at sea. This was the Ol' School Navy "Crossing The Line Ceremony" quite unlike that of today's "kinder, gentler Navy". It was here the slimy 'polywogs' were witnessed crossing the equator for the first time & gett'n duly initiated into the 'Solemn Mysteries Of The Ancient Order Of Shellbacks!' Ol' Salts who'd already crossed the line be known as 'Trusty Shellbacks,' & often referred to as Sons of Neptune! It involved the most grueling & often sordid tests & challenges not intended for the most weak & squeamish sons-a-bitches on deck. When the ceremony was over & a sailor had completed his initiation he was known to be deserving of his trusty shellback. There was nothing like wearing underwear inside out & backwards, gett'n rotten eggs broken over the head, & drink'n the all mighty 'truth serum!'

On the Bagley the event started the day before with the Contest of contests among nominated Wog Queens. The favorites of the slimy pollywogs were sequestered to play the part. I was honored with the privilege to play along in the game, or maybe some of those homophile bastards just wanted to see me dressed in drag. I did have sexy legs! Whatever the reason, I was a real sport & took it like a champ. I made the best of the situation pranc'n around on the flight deck like a ferry while winking & making sexually evocative gestures at King Neptune & the Skipper too. Sailors would hoot-n-holler their vigorous approvals as we paraded the flight deck, making our way like a band of hookers. The name of the game was humor & using our wits to put together a very seductive costume.

I'll bet your wonder'n how we managed to cruise around for months with brassieres, fishnet & stiletto heels stowed away in the little space available to a Sailor at sea while wait'n for this day? Well it's simple actually. I had an extra large navy sweater we managed to mutilate into four pieces using the arms for leg warmers & the lower half, a skirt. We conjured up enough DC chalk for make-up & an ol' poka-dotted rag for a head scarf. I managed to take third place next to the Puerto Rican cook doin the Carmen Miranda act. He was a flamboyant type with all the advantages of making a good drag queen. He even knew how to dance the samba & the tango so he'd surely be a shoe in.

The next morning around 0500 hours we were awaken to the sound of Davey Jones greeted by the Skipper on the bridge. All us slimy wog sons-a-bitches were drug out of our pits & forced to wear our dungarees inside out & backwards with our skivvies on the outside marked with a P on our backside to show our true colors as wogs. No kneepads? To bad so sad as the nonskid would just chew up the knees if left unprotected. From berthing to topside we were forced to crawl in single file lines to the forecastle while whipped with shalalees & hav'n every fluid, grease, or smelly sauce found under the sun applied to our backsides. We'd be lined ‘nut to butt’ & forced to simulate sodomy on one another as we slowly made our way to the gaudamn 'Wog Breakfast!'

Once on the forecastle we were introduced to a nasty concoction of macaroni noodles & bug juice or 'navy kool aid to all you landlubbers' as we were forced to roll around & stuff it in our mouth while everyone in tarnations crawled through it. When nice & grubby the shellbacks sprayed us down with 150 psi of fire hose to clean all the macaroni grit off our slimy asses. Now, it gets pretty gaudamn warm at the equator but when it’s that early in the morn'n & the sun hasn’t come up that fire main can do a real number on ya!!

From there we scurried across the deck on our hands & knees shivering & drenched in salt water up to the garbage chute full of the foulest most wretched creation of vile garbage you could imagine. It was only worsened by the course of the morning hours as the heat putrefied the rubbish & a few unlucky sailors managed to spill their guts for the next group to crawl through. Yes it was quite despicable. Once through the garbage chutes it was on to the flight deck which came into view as a carnival of mayhem where the shellbacks would continue the onslaught of brutality & force each pollywog to take on such impossible tasks as pushing raw eggs across the nonskid from point to point without breaking them using only their nose & their dick skinners hog-tied behind their backs, or blowing pad eyes clean of mucky water which was an impractical undertaking.

At this point each of our sorry asses would be called upon to smother our faces in the Royal Baby’s fat ass gut all smeared in peanut butter & whip cream while trying to retrieve the cherry buried deep inside his royal belly button: no homoerotic undertones there! Once retrieved we'd be forced into a stockade & the Shellback's interrogated us for our worthy pleas to go before His Royal Majesty, King Neptune & his Royal Court. Here we'd be asked if we’d be 'Courageous Shellbacks' or 'Repulsive Pollywogs.' If the answer wasn't what they'd be look'n for, to the beginning we'd be sent to repeat the onslaught once again.

I never really knew what the right answer was. I suppose it was agreed upon rather they liked you or not. I only had to go through once. From that point I was directed to the fan tail where I'd be stripped of all my clothes & threw them overboard. Imagine a bunch of naked ass squids scampering through the ship nasty & wet with garbage to the nearest shower only to wait in line so we could clean our slimy asses off. You’ll never see that in today’s Navy. Not with all the ladies onboard. Besides, this has become a Navy that is largely devoid of any formidable challenges to test our endurance to the worst that life has to offer. One thing I know for sure, my wife is still disturbed by those Wog Queen pictures!

I've been a shell back for some years now watching as the ceremonies become watered down & void of any real fun!! Gone is the puke ridden stench & the Wog Queens & the cherries in whip cream in the fat, lint-filled belly of the Royal Baby! And away with the naked men scampering across the deck to shower away the mess. Maybe the CNO is homophobic... hell I'm just glad I got the experience prior to the kinder & gentler Navy.

“Sweepers, Field Day, Clampdown, Happy Hour… WTF”

This one goes out to my ol’ pal ‘Mark Smithee.’ Any of you ol’ Coots out there remember hearing a resemblance of this over the 1MC?

“Sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms, give the ship a clean sweep down fore and aft. Sweep down all lower decks, ladder wells and passageways. Empty all trash clear of the stern. Now Sweepers.”

If it weren’t Sweepers then it was clampdown, field day, zone inspections, and later on in life came this lovely embellishment called the XO’s Happy Hour. Hell, I always thought that had someth’n to do with half price drinks at the local water’n hole. Guess that’s how they suckered us young crackerjacks on the receiving end of all decisions made in regard to boat operations into good moral acceptance. You know the ol’ saying about brow beating,

“The beatings will continue until morale improves!”

Well, I didn't sign on to clean shitters, but little did I know those sons-a-bitches would have me enjoying waxing decks, searching for dust bunnies & ghost turds, chipp’n & sand’n for rust as well as (oh yeah) cleaning the shitters. As a young lad onboard you end up with every gaudamn mindless job the Navy’s got to offer.

But after being in this Canoe Club for over 22 years I understand why we gotta keep a ship clean. When search’n for them dust bunnies & ghost turds, crap you hadn't seen in months came out of the woodwork, overhead & angle irons…like geedunk wrappers, soda cans, an ol’ cigarette lighter, a good nudey magazine, maybe an ol’ used up prophylactic. Hell, I think we found a brick of dried up ol’ hashish once on the Bagley back in the day. Who the hell knew how long that’d been there?

Field days usually consisted of about an hour’s worth of real work and three or four hours of screw’n around look’n busy with a fox tail in one hand and some GP cleaner in the other. Moving fore and aft during these evolutions required athletic agility of Olympic size proportions! The maze of passageways and ladder wells aboard ship was like a gaudamn jigsaw puzzle to get from port to starboard. Imagine walking into your kitchen but having to walk upstairs, climb over the banister into the living room, through the hallway, out the window of the master bedroom into the backdoor of the house just to get to the gaudamn stove, only to find out some son-of-a-bitch secured it for maintenance purposes. Yep, that’s how using the shitter at 0930 hours in the morning can be onboard ship.

It was especially a treat when the boat was gyrating like a mechanical bull underway. There’s nothing like start’n up a ladder well on an up swing, then the bottom would drop out shoot’n you upward like a cannon ball. Now imagine trying to climb over make-do police tape in every direction with every other gaudamn hatch, scuttle & whizbang secured so’s you’d have to hand over hand across the water main pipe in the overhead like a damn tree monkey to sneak across a freshly swabbed deck…good times!!

I’d been in the Navy for over fifteen years when I was finally introduced to this new PC’ thing called ‘Happy Hour.’ How do ya like them apples!! The Navy takes away our ‘E-Clubs’ in the name of alcohol deglamorization and uses its ol’ school jargon for cleaning stations!!

I remember going into the shitter and found a scribbl’n on the wall that said,

“Yeah for Happy Hour! Screw the mission, clean the position! Break out the swab and shine the XO’s knob!”

Yep, no matter how many times they give it the ol’ greenie wienie wipe down, you could always count on the graffiti in shitter stalls. Some things never change! Go ahead, right down to the third stall shitter in the Second Division Head….it’s there! Go ahead and read it… funny stuff ain’t it? Forty years from now I’ll return to one of them ol’ museum boats and walk right into one of them stalls and find a carving…

"They paint the walls to cover my pen, but the shit-house poet strikes again!"

The last thing we’d be waiting to hear before we could resume our daily bad habits was…………the bos’n whistle over the 1MC, “Secure from Happy Hour!”

Wait, was that a crowd cheering in the background???

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Customer Service???"

So here I am about to retire and I'm still dumbfounded by all the cockamamie brainless ideas the Navy comes up with in the event of change. I've got lots of silly stories about people being stupid in the name of professionalism but I swear I'd get better customer service from a bunch a gaudamn high school stoners in a Jack in the Box Drive thru than at Navy PSD!

Someday, some enlightened M.I.T. graduate will figure out how to modernize our Naval Institution without paying civilians to do in a week what a gaudamn seaman can do in fifteen minutes. With so many of them sons-a-bitches roaming our hallways the white hat will soon become extinct and end up transferred to the big lucky bag in the sky.

The Navy I knew is slowly being removed and replaced with ridiculous ideas that have no sense of tradition or reason... even if it is to save a few bucks. How the hell can you justify saving money to contract millions of dead presidents out to civilians when we've got the know how to do it ourselves!!!

Kids today must look at their rating badges and wonder why the damn thing doesn't say civilian subservient! Same Navy, same location, but like everything else in the government, the idiot bastards filled it full of bureaucracy for some dumb reason known only to God and some rich retired fat ass admiral with a made up billet so he can sit around gett'n his coffee cup filled by an E-3 yeoman!!

It's depressing, boys and girls… No, it's worse than that. It's the legacy we are leaving future generations. They will never know the pride we had in what once was.

I'd already seen the senseless debauchery at work while on shore duty with all the gaudamn Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC)!! With the transfer of authority from one hand to the other our facility was placed under the control of someone three states away with no gaudamn concern for our welfare. All our support was pulled from the local base in the name of the all mighty dollar!! That retired Admiral sitt'n on his ass drinking coffee & bullshitt'n about noth'n use to audit our records once a month. But now he doesn't have to because we don't fall under his cognizance... I mean what gaudamn difference does it make? We're all gett'n paid by big Navy what sense does it make to fly someone up from San Dog to audit our records once a month...Do you follow what I'm say'n???

So three weeks ago I tried call'n five different numbers to set up a simple appointment to finish my paperwork for retirement!! Not asking a lot in the large scale of things you wouldn't think! But I couldn't get the answers I was look'n for over the phone so I walked my happy ass over yonder to accomplish a littany of deeds prior to hang'n my hat!!! Wouldn't it figure the most junior E-1 straight outta bootcamp is at the front desk running things! Not a gaudamn Chief in sight! Maybe anchor to anchor I might have gotten some real service... To every question I threw at her she had to take a trip to the back of the office to ask someone else. Finally I got an appointment for 1330 on a Thursday the following week.

Well I shit you not...the following week I show up at 1245 and they don't have me scheduled for an appointment. The young man at the front desk walks me back to talk to some gaudamn civilian who gave me the airman salute and told me I'd have to call Petty Officer "Who Gives A Shit" in the morning to reschedule! No apologies, explanations, not even a reasonable excuse... just a proverbial screw you and try again later kinda thing!!

So I call Petty Officer "Who Gives A Shit" at 0800 the next morning and he gives me a laundry list of things to bring with an appointment date a week out in advance, so I thought to myself,

"I'd better not show up with another proverbial screw you or I'll be stick'n my foot up someone's proverbial ass!!"

So the day comes and I show up with a stack of papers in hand accompanied with my medical & dental records ready to rock-n-roll!! Petty Officer "Who Gives A Shit" verifies my paperwork and says,

"Chief, We'll schedule you for another appointment at 1300 on Thursday, three days from now." he's doing me a gaudamn favor!!! So I ask him,

"What the hell was this appointment?? An appointment to make an appointment???"

He told me he guess's so if I want to look at it that way!! I mean does anyone besides me see a gaudamn problem with this? 22 Years in this gaudamn canoe club and this is the service I get??

Another fella I work with went to PSD to get his kiddos signed up for the New "911 GI Bill"... They tell his sorry ass he had to re-enlist for two years to be eligible. So he does what he's told. Then they tell him,
"Oh, you have to extend for six more months in order to qualify!"

That's two years and six months now, so he does what he's told!!! Then they tell him,

"Oh we're sorry, but your rate is overmanned so you have to get a waiver to extend!"

He's got two weeks to do this before his extension will be no good! So our Senior Enlisted Advisor had to call some "Great Master Chief in the Sky" up at personnel headquarters in Millington, Tennessee to get the job done!! Talk about jump'n through hoops!!! So this fella goes into PSD with all his paperwork in a row jump'n through every hoop they've put out and PN1 says,

"I can't grant your extension or the waiver because BUPERSINSTRUCTION umpty squat says something or rather about you not being able to do that."

Really??? I mean "WTF" Over' !!!

Finally some civilian "from somewhere in the back" told PN1 to enter his waiver into his record because that's what it's for!!! So PN1 reluctantly sat down smashing his fingers into the keyboard obviously pissed off because he had to do his gaudamn job!!! Is this a sign of what our young sailors are looking forward too?

US Navy Manual for Customer Service NavedTra 14056 states:

no matter how simple or unimportant you consider a request, the customer depends upon you to provide a service. Answering a question or looking up information may require a little effort on your part, but the extra effort is a mark of good service. As stated earlier in this manual, customers usually have only one place they can go for a particular service.

But that's not what I'm seeing!

Another fella told me the first person on the base he talked to was a civilian at PSD. He sat down at his desk and was handed a pile of papers & pen and pointed to a table across the room to sit and fill it out. Not a "Hello" or "Welcome Aboard", just a stack of papers & pen, and a finger extended across the room. While he filled out the papers he came across a voluntary extension of service. He didn't fill this out but put it aside while he finished the others. Upon turning in the paperwork the civilian thumbed through the papers and noticed he didn't sign the extension papers.

He put the voluntary extension in front of the sailor and told him he needed to fill it out. Those were the first words that he spoke. The sailor refused. The civilian said he couldn't refuse because he had accepted orders that required a 24 month commitment. The sailor said he wouldn't do it. He said it was a voluntary extension and that if he had to fill it out, it was "INVOLUNTARY."

Next, the civilian threatened to send the sailor back to his previous command. He told the civilian to go ahead and do that if he wanted to. Of course, he had been one the last people to leave his last boat after it was decommissioned. In the end, the sailor was assigned to his appointed place of duty and the civilian lost out. Needless to say the sailor decided to reenlist a year was all based on principle!

US Navy Manual for Customer Service NavedTra 14056 also states:

“Speaking down” implies that you consider the customer to be less than your equal. That attitude may make the customer feel that the service you provide is less than your best.

So I ask..."Why can't we follow our own Gaudamn Rules in customer service?? I suppose we as the customer are there to serve them!!!