THE END I'm good with time. When I think back to those mad hours holding the throttle of the zodiac in order to blow 500 gallons of spilled fuel away from my hull so the natives would look in vain for the source, I know the meaning of time. By my early training (USN) time had no meaning. To finish would take time but I didn't care about the cost. I hadn't married and hadn't had children at that point. My Chiefs were geo-bachelors or divorced and my time was their time. I knew about it but regarded it as my time.
The son-in-law of the best petty officer I ever knew in the navy needed some time off. At that point the ship was at about 33% manning. But we were inport because all of our crew was in Bahrain. I let him go without question. His first child, a girl, was born with spina bifada and I made all the time possible to him to be with his family and we simply ignored leave. He was a valuable man and we made allowances the NAVY never would. We didn't care about that stuff. We needed him.
crazy enough the powers that be (THIRDFLT) had made us a test ship for a thing and we had to get underway about 5 days later. Why our lords and masters thought they could still detail a ship to an impossible schedule was not on the reading list. They ordered it, our Group Commander bowed to it and we carried it out.
That ship, nominal crew of hundred, never more than 50 in my years still got underway on task with 19 men. They reached the end when 3rd Fleet said get underway and they were down to 9.
I could sail that ship anywhere by myself but sleep would be required. It was a sign of the times when I told the CO that we could get underway and yes even steam for 4 days with just one EOOW and I would need to sleep on watch in the wheel room above Main Control he just nodded. I really don't know how many EOOWS were allowed to sleep on watch.
Diesels are wonderful things. They can run forever if properly maintained and with fuel. As I recall, my final two orders at EOC were, strike down the water to the fresh water tanks and refill the day tanks on the mains and generators.
there were thousands of us but I have never seen another online in 20 years save for the guys that took those ships to Vietnam and Market Time.