Tuesday, February 28, 2012

‘Navy Big Eyed Peep’n Tom’

Before I retired from the Ol’ Canoe Club I saw a piece of crackerjack history disappear I thought would never find its way to the scrap heap along with other oxidized, radiated & over rotated pieces of Naval Paraphenalia…

You knew once the Navy ceased to teach Morse Code it was all over... With all the marvelous electronic techno gizmos like GPS, Super Far Out Frequency Satellite Comms and your everyday basic e’mail, I suppose the ol’ flashes and dashes just became ancient history!!!

And in another move to socially engineer this organization into the ‘PC’ world of the 21st Century our illustrious Canoe Club decided to get rid of the ol’ Skivvy Wavers and mix’m up with the Quartermasters… all in the name of efficiency… smart ship… work smarter not harder or any of the other cosmetic sigma lean kind’a Bull Shit they’ve been feed’n us!!! 

Just like when they decided to put the women on the ships expecting the Salty Horn Dogs not to be doing the fan room hanky-panky in the name of professionalism!?!? You know I never had a problem with women on ships… it’s just how the Big Brass went about it!!! Half those women didn’t even want to be there… and they expect the ‘Crackerjacks’ to behave like boyscout Leave it to Beaver types… it’s a big fantasy!!! Anyway, I regress…

You could always count on good conversation late at night on the Signal Bridge… the Skivvy Wavers were good for that! You could always count on the placid shudder of the Signal Lights in the calm wind of a warm night underway…

“What’s he say’n over there Sigs?”

“He wants to know the going rate of a good pair of soiled panties over here!” 

Yes this was your typical line of ship to ship long range bullshitt’n sessions between the float’n cans… those damned Skivvy Wavers were a bunch’a skates… but they say pick your rate pick your fate…

I remember nights sitt’n out on the Signal Bridge… a chance to air out the ol’ armpits and shoot the shit!! Always look’n forward to that cup of joe… bullshitt’n under the red light… leaning over the side observing the phosphorescent shimmer cascading off the bow… watch’n some silly Ensign reporting to observe a ‘Sea Bat’…  look’n through the Big Eyes… awwww yes, the ‘’‘Big Eyes’’’!!!

There was something about the ‘Big Eyes’ that brought the boy outta’ every man aboard ship… the girls too!!!

You couldn’t help but play with the damned things like you’re on top of the Grand Canyon taking a looksee!!!

And it was about this time in my young ‘Crackerjack’ career that I remember doing ‘Ops’ off the coast of ‘San Dog’!!!

Late at night about three or four thousand yards off the beach from Coronado… fresh coffee brewed… look’n through the Big Eyes!!!

While taking in the Salt air and perfumed scents of the lazy beach, your mind begins to go wily as you peer into the balconies and windows of the Coronado Shore Condos and hotels… ever so often you’d get a glimpse of some young gal doing the butt nekkitt fly’n Watusi… or a sexually rabid couple try’n a nudie version of Barnum & Bailey’s Flying Trapeze Act… or ever so often a couple a genuine skinny dippers outside the Hotel Del!!!

“Whattya see out there?”

“I’m a work’n two contacts… both three thousand yards at 280 degrees… both big and round and size Double Deeees!!!”

“Aww wait… message back… I intend to Ram you with my Yokohamas…sound the collision alarm!!!”

“Aww you Big Eyed Peep’n Tom… let me get a looksee!!!”

This was typical boy’s club type behavior… a real ‘Navy Tradition’!!! Since then we’ve discounted this type of ‘tomfoolery’ as indecent and less than honorable… A young man can lose his mojo over someth’n like this and end up with a less than honorable discharge… Hell they’re kick’n boys & girls out just for not being in the right rate and paygrade these days!!!

But hey, I’m trying to portray the nostalgia of the Ol’ Canoe Club… before all the ‘PC’ stuff!!! Maybe that’s why they did away with the ol’ Skivvy Wavers… there was too much skylarking and shoot’n the shit!!! They had to get rid of any gathering place for horseplay and silly stuff goin’ on!!! They’d better weld those fan rooms shut… plenty of hanky-panky going on there…

Things that were so much a normal part of our daily routine you could’a printed it in the Plan Of The Day… now it’s gone, a figment of history!!!

Everything is being replaced by some electronic whazzu intergalactic verbulator that makes it easy for everyone to understand… even the enemy!!!

The Navy used to pride itself on the ‘Adventures of a Girl at every Port’… beer… broads… and dames… and more beer… with exotic ports-o-call… ‘Let the Adventure Begin’… ‘Full Steam Ahead’!!!

Skivvy Wavers and Big Eyes… never would’a figured otherwise…


  1. Spy glass liberty.. Been there done that... as a OS with the SM's and QM's... LOL

  2. Love reading about our history. I really miss those days. The comraudery you built in those ports with everyone including the knuckle dragging snipes and the deck apes. Things were more lazed and the ship ran like a smooth well oiled machine. Everyone looked forward to going out to sea and even more hitting the ports and getting shitfaced and have to have shore patrol dump you at the brow. I remember hitting ports and watching the line to sick bay get longer as the time in port went on just because "we were the UNITED STATES NAVY" and we didn't take crap from no one. And the guy that got dropped off at the brow, nothing ever happen to him cause his chief was t far behind him with another SP. Damn I miss those days.

  3. Damn, Dennis! Your stories always take me back to some damn fine memories.... The "big eyes" we're also a great place for the port and starboard side lookouts to get a lil shut eye... Lol. Not that I ever did that..... Just sayin. Haha

  4. I remember a visit to Acapulco aboard the "ol Gridiron", sometime around 1981, anchored out in the bay... when stuck aboard on duty, the "Big Eyes" were the main attraction, with all the hotels and the anchored "Loveboats"!

  5. Your stories are entertaining, but as a visual artist, I really wish you'd at least give attribution to the artist whose work you're using. For example the image with this story is by the legendary pin up artist Gil Elvgre: http://www.gilelvgren.com/GE/

  6. Another gem Dennis!

  7. Was a signalman aboard the Raliegh lpd 1 at one time or the other everyone hung out up on sigs bridge. I miss those days of the sea mist and nothing but the horizon on my mind

  8. We were "visit ship" in '71 at the old pier at the foot of Broadway in Sandy Eggo....the Republicans were holding their convention there....on the midwatch we manned the Big Eyes to look at the various hotels along the waterfront....saw some pretty interesting action in some of the rooms and even in some of the glass front elevators....

  9. Great rendition of fond memories! As a 14-year SM, your description is spot on. Some good times on the Signal Bridge. We were pretty popular guys during unrep's, passing personal messages between ships, and when entering port. Everyone wanted a turn on the Big Eyes. Thanks for the post!

    Jeffery Jones