Monday, December 21, 2020


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.


Coffee Man said...

NEVER EVER EVER HAPPEN THESE DAYS! My neighbor is a PO1 about ready to get out. The Navy has this deal where you can get an apprenticeship and they will continue to pay you for 6 months while you get experience in the new career. Great program, but the ships will not let go of their bodies. His replacement has been on board for over 6 months, yet even though his CO has signed the paperwork, he is still in the running for an upcoming deployment.

Another young man I know joined the Navy after I told him he needed guidance in his life (he came by to see me after he got back from A school). His first assignment? A carrier that was 6 months into a refueling. He is an ABH...what the hell kind of assignment is that? A young man joins to see the world and he gets stuck in Newport News 25 miles from where he grew up. Totally sucks. He came by the other day and told me he is through. Not only has he not deployed, but all he is doing is formations cause his Chiefs are complete control freaks.

And the Navy wonders why they are having a manning problem.

HMS Defiant said...

I would say I know the feeling but obviously that would be a lie. My first ship? no way. with attitude from the chiefs and me. My second ship, in the shipyard Seattle for 9 months pulled the same stunt. Result? 100% of the Fire Control Division simply left at the end of the enlistment. At month 10 we got a new XO. Night and Day. I've written about him before but still. He went on to command a battle group that steamed in NAVCENT. I was walking down the hall after shilling my boss for something and this little 1 star admiral walking up the hall towards me said, "Hi Curt" and kept on so I met that man for a brief if memorable time 10 years earlier and he still knew my name on sight. I met him again a few times later when he commanded 3rd Fleet. He was a little disgruntled. He wanted 5th or 6th or 7th.
I felt better knowing that he and Fred Cole were actually running the thing and not Spaz's nephew who failed out of Harvard.

HMS Defiant said...

Probably the only thing that kept me glued to the Navy was I never served a carrier and especially not one that went into the yards for 2 to 5 years for refueling or overhaul. I honestly don't know how you keep the good ones from leaving if that is done to them. I spent 9 months in the yards in Seattle and all of my petty officers were in revolt. I was in full revolt. It no shit savage and I was out for blood not from mine but from the yard and SUPSHIP. I don't think they ever understood the pure hatred they engendered.