Sunday, September 18, 2016


I had missed ship's movement in wartime. Me and the other 3 bridge watch officers had been left behind washing our laundry at this amazing bar/laundry in Esquimault. Our ship proceeded to Tacoma without us. The excellent CO had Kim, one ball and Larry to navigate his ship down the passage from Esquimault to Tacoma. The ones who knew how to drive were left sipping beer on the pier washing their laundry.

We were reunited with our ship in Tacoma courtesy of Mine Group ONE. We headed back to San Diego once able drivers reported back aboard. I popped up to take the Deck just south of Elliot Bay and the guy I was relieving had no idea where we were. I refused to take the Deck. One of the rights we have is to not step into a toxic situation. Announcing that one has the deck is like a get out of jail card for the idiot that put the ship in extremis.

On the other hand, would you let a 4 year old stay in control and die or would you simply hope you could work your way out of trouble? I always opted for trouble.

The XO banged on my stateroom door one night and told me that my OOD board would be tomorrow at 2000 in the Captain's Cabin. I pointed out that I hadn't got my PQS signed off and had some remaining items. He suggested I visit each Department Head and ask them what they would ask me at my Board. I'm not a total idiot. I did what he told me. I even asked the Department Head who wrote me up 5 times what he was going to ask me. I always thought it was interesting that on the bridge we were two professionals. A junior who learned from the senior and that was how it worked. The microsecond we were off watch we were back to bitter bitter warfare.

One night, at 8 O'clocks my boat report said all of them worked except one that had a dead battery. His report to the Captain said none of the 8 boats worked. The XO took him up on his report and we had a trial where it was my word or his. After 8 O'clocks we repaired to the boat deck where my chief and I demonstrated that both LCVM and both LCPL started and worked just fine. We had to cross deck a battery. We then repaired down to the well deck and started both LCM8. We then went to the Admiral's Barge and the motor whale boat and started them. That guy and his Bosun wrote me up 5 times. Over the last 10 years, if you got written up for Captain's Mast, you could kiss your career goodby. On my first ship, I worked for some really remarkable people. The Destroyer sucked but I really enjoyed working for Rick Hall and Sid Vicious Johnsten.

It turns out, when the Captain of the ship has trust in you, you get to become an OOD. If he doesn't, no amount of PQS will ever see you appear before him for a rating as OOD. I really enjoyed working for CAPT Franklin D. Julian. He was a pip.

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