Friday, March 30, 2018


My mother's grandmother came over when she was sixteen. A long time ago. They got lucky in many ways, They came over almost a half decade before the Titanic set sail. We crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2 and one of the speakers who entertained us had a real animus against the White Star Line. He was Executive Vice Director in Charge of the Cunard in charge of blacking the name of White Star (currently owned by another firm) and he despised White Star. You should too.

The funny thing for me was that there was a cute young lass (two to be honest) on the DC deck as we left the ship in Southampton and I talked to her. We both did. The little placard in front of her identified her as the representative of the White Star Line who, handles luggage and baggage for passengers on the ships of the 'not' White Star Line. I really could not walk at the time and I was a little worried at outrunning Southampton's overpopulation of rats on the way to dinner.

One of the other amusing things about the ship was the captain. I would gad about and every place I went, there he was, in the spa, in the lounge, in the office the bookstore, the library, every where I went. The grace of my life met him for the first time at the Captain's dinner.

She has a blog post of a pencil that appears to be rolling back and forth in the gale force winds we enjoyed the entire trip. 80 knot winds. It's on her blog. I was maladroit and pointed out that the pencil wasn't actually moving. 90,000 tons of ship with giant underwater wings was actually moving under the pencil.

A long time ago, the people the navy used to call OS (God only knows what they're called today) thought they'd amuse themselves at my expense as we sailed to Diego Garcia with massive storms off the coast of India. Their clever plan was to dangle a tennis ball on a string from one of the pipes in the overhead in combat and point out the same relative motion thing to me.

I sail. Boats and motion are part of me since I was 10. I nudged the Chief as I came into CIC and bummed a cigar off him and told him I was tired of the the damage they kept doing to the Countermeasures Washdown Piping in CIC. They were a big part of the people that tried to make my life miserable by saying there wasn't enough air conditioning or blaming the DCA's pipes for leaking on them. In February all 18 AC machines were fully functional. The OS had "cut down" on their 'maintenace' requirements by pulling the inline steam heaters from the air conditioning vents and throwing them overboard. They threw them overboard so they would no longer have to clean them.

I ran all 18 AC units......and it is still, the Persian Gulf. I had the temperature in there down to 42 degrees. I was utterly deaf to complainst from anyone. I also created the hole in the Ozone layer but you're supposed to forget that. We're talking about an awful lot of freon.


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...

My sources tell me they're still OS.
Way back we were RD (radarman).
The only AC we came into contact with on the can I was on was in the mess decks, where there wasn't much, the radar transmitter room, where it got hot even though the air search radar was water cooled, and CIC, where we wore foul weather jackets so we could remain warm, even in the tropics.

Anonymous said...


In the 1990's, you would have been listed as an RM. I was a CTO3 (Crypto Tech (Operator) Third Class.


Even though we weren't ships company, but permanently attached NSGA (Naval Security Group Activity), we had one AC unit to maintain located directly outside our SCIF. It leaked all the time and was a real bast*** for us. As skip referenced, we were in the Persian Gulf with temps over 100 degrees but it was about 50 degrees in our working spaces. My Chief always said that the AC wasn't for us, just to keep the equipment cool. If the equipment wouldn't have thrown off heat, we would never have had AC. We wore foul weather jackets year-round while working.

Blue Tile Spook, CTO3, 1989-1994
USS Carl Vinson CVN-70
USS Nimitz CVN-68
USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72

HMS Defiant said...

You well know the funny bit. Knock knock I need to get in. FOAD
Knock knock, I'm here to fix the air conditioning, "why come in, look around, have a drink."

John in Philly said...

The supply department didn't seem very motivated to get the parts for the crew's AC in snipe berthing.
It was amazing how fast that attitude changed when the AC "broke" in officers country.

Larry said...

Heh. USAF site I worked at while stationed at Clark AB, PI, had two AC units that ran full blast all the time, with another one as backup. Thermostats? Never heard of 'em. At night, it could get into the low 60s inside, and once when the Philippines had an unusually cool spell that had the local nationals in long pants, jackets, and hats, it got down to 59. I was glad I had my field jacket and liner, gloves, and knit hat. I'd been tipped off by an instructor at Keesler AFB who'd worked at the site just prior. The people in the Operations room (and Crypto Vault) brought in issue wool blankets to wrap themselves in. The long hallway to the equipment room could be hellish at night. The return air ducts were at the end of a long hallway separating Maintenance and Ops leading to the (large) equipment room. The blowers went into the bottom of 5 rows of racks in the equipment room, so there was a /strong/ breeze as one walked up the hallway from maintenance to equipment. After acclimating to offbase housing, I damned near froze to death just going to do PMIs! I'm not kidding!
The one good thing was typhoon duty. We had generators on-site, a good thing during the monsoon season when Philippine electricity (that Clark was forced to buy since Carter [spit!] made /amends/ in 1979) went out on a several-times-a-day basis. And when one AC unit quit during a typhoon, and the backup refused to work, AND SAC was running a global exercise, my co-worker informed the COL on duty at The Hole at Omaha that we would shut down in < 30 minutes (and endured something just short of screaming, according to him). The shutdown time was based on how fast temps were rising and at what temp the receiver's and computer's self-protection circuits would automatically shut down every radio level we had. It was amazing how fast Civil Engineering got a truck-trailer mounted backup AC unit in place and running during a Cat-5 event. I hadn't even known they'd had that capability until then. They earned my respect that night (I always volunteered for 'typhoon duty' and holidays since I was single back then). Fun times! Though typhoon cleanup was NOT fun!

Anonymous said...

On my first ship (CV 67), we had an AX1 who was very susceptible to motion. Poor guy had spent most of his career in P-3s, & his last billet was ship's company in the VAST shop. We had a length of twine with some washers on it (several, actually), & we'd stick one up someplace when we went to sea. Even the gentle swing from a CV's motion would start him going greenish.
The AC was excellent in 65P/65Q, too.
--Tennessee Budd
USN 1988-92, CV 67 ship's company, CV 59 airwing

Thomas said...

Heh, I remember how certain places/ratings wanted their Chill Water. The NavETs (old boomer FBM) would call back to Maneuvering wanting to know why it wasn't colder (their space was all field jackets all the times for the same reasons).
Best response from Maneuvering that I heard was the reactor operator telling them on the phones to try removing one layer of panties and bra if the chill water wasn't cold enough.

HMS Defiant said...

Ah the good ole days when nobody but nobody was allowed into SSES on the ship....except the AC&R techs to fix their 5 ton AC units when they went down in the Persian Gulf.