A Sailor’s Thoughts, part 2…

A continuation from yesterday…

The guys who seemed to get away with doing the least, always seemed to be first in the pay line and the chow line.

General Quarters drills and the need to evacuate one’s bowels often seem to coincide.

Speaking of which, when the need arises, the nearest head is always the one which is secured for cleaning.

Three people you never screw with: the doc, the paymaster and the ship’s barber.

In the summer, all deck seamen wanted to be signalmen. In the winter they wanted to be radarmen.

Do snipes ever get the grease and oil off their hands?

Never play a drinking game which involves the loser paying for all the drinks.

There are only two good ships: the one you came from and the one you’re going to.

Whites, coming from the cleaners, clean, pressed and starched, last that way about 30 microseconds after donning them. The Navy dress white uniform is a natural dirt magnet.

Sweat pumps operate in direct proportion to the seniority of the official visiting.

Skill, daring and science will always win out over horseshit, superstition and luck.

We train in peace so that in time of war the greater damage will be upon our enemies and not upon ourselves.

“Pride and professionalism” trumps “Fun and zest” any day.

The shrill call of a bosun’s pipe still puts a chill down my spine.

Three biggest lies in the Navy: We’re happy to be here; this is not an inspection; we’re here to help.

Everything goes in the log.

Rule 1: The Captain is always right. Rule 2: When in doubt refer to Rule 1.

A wet napkin under your tray keeps the tray from sliding on the mess deck table in rough seas, keeping at least one hand free to hold on to your beverage.

Never walk between the projector and the movie screen after the flick has started.

A guy who doesn’t share a care package from home is no shipmate.

When transiting the ocean, the ship’s chronometer is always advanced at 0200 which makes for a short night. When going in the opposite direction, the chronometer is retarded at 1400 which extends the work day.

If I had to do it all over again, I would. Twice.

When I sleep, I often dream I am back at sea.

Good shipmates are friends forever. (this one is so damn true)…

I’m sure some of these sentiments cross over to other services, as shared times in small spaces tend to bring out both the best AND worst in folks…  You remember the good folks, good times, and the bad tends to fade over the years…

Thanks for reading!

h/t JP and a bunch of others


A Sailor’s Thoughts, part 2… — 24 Comments

  1. USS Forrestal, my second med cruise,1975. I went up to the engineering office after mail call and found, Ta Da, a care package from my parents. I was going on watch so I took it down to the hole (One Auxiliary Machinery Room) and with great fanfare, opened the box. After sorting through the popcorn, yes real popcorn, I don’t mean plastic packing popcorn, I found one, and I repeat, one chocolate chip cookie. We will now observe a moment of stunned silence while I think my parents have lost it. Or SOMEONE STOLE MY COOKIES, or just WTFO. A couple of days later another box from my parents shows up and it is filled with chocolate chip cookies and popcorn. The enclosed letter said they had made way too much popcorn, and had made up two boxes before hand. They decided to mail both boxes even though the second box was only popcorn, and the before mentioned cookie. Of course, and even though they mailed them at the same time, the solitary cookie got there first.

    The first time I heard, “This is not a drill” during the general quarters alarm was quite the eyeopener.

    John in Philly

  2. As I remember, most of the care packages were shared-especially if the person who got the box objected to the sharing. 😉

  3. John- ROTF, that must have been a surprise! I got one once that was four months old, and full of crumbs, with the corner of the box ‘nibbled’ off… sigh

    Grog- That too! 🙂

    ADM- Oh yeah! 😀

  4. “Speaking of which, when the need arises, the nearest head is always the one which is secured for cleaning.”

    A metaphor for life.

  5. My first go round in the Sandbox, I was lucky to be on the recieving end of care packages from my then girlfriend and her sorority, Mom, Big Sister and her sorority, little sister and her high school home room. Of cpursr, assortrd Fraternity brothers sent things as well. Mohhs brownies a issu red us tbe fin est interservice cooperation. My Big Sister was always able to fey one of her sisters to write a letter to a lonely Trooper.

  6. Yeah, well, it’s hell to get grease and oil out of the crevices of one’s hands. Especially if Water Hours are in effect. Unless you go to the secret spot in the engine room and use one of the taps from the evaps.

    As for sharing care packages, one time I got a few packages of brownies from my sister-in-law. She had quadtruple wrapped them in saran wrap and then double-wrapped them in tinfoil. They were still fresh. I shared a package of them with the Engineering midwatch. Not a single one of those fuckers said anything. (Or the Engineroom Messenger stole them all.) Either way, I was kind of torqued off.

  7. Speaking of secured heads … the fresh-water rationing always begins the first time you get really hot & sweaty. Or the day of the admiral’s inspection, whichever comes first.

  8. The other guys got cookies and such. Mom sent me dried fruit. At first the guys all laughed, but when we were out to sea for 4 months without hitting port, my care packages were eagerly awaited by all.

  9. LL- Ain’t THAT the damn truth…

    SPE- At least you were getting more than ONE a deployment 🙂

    Robert- Yeah, Ships/Captain/Crew ‘could’ get dangerous…

    CM- Yeah, that happened too… sigh…

    Rev- Or as soon as the ship pulled away from the pier (USS Coral Sea)

    Tweel- Nice! And I’m sure they were a hit!

  10. I never could understand the attraction of spending months floating around with a bunch of other guys with no women or beer. However, I’m very grateful for all of you who did. Thank you.

  11. The specifics are different but the generalities are the same for the Army. Throw in something about footsore slobs and we’re there!

  12. Tim/WSF- I did it cause I didn’t want to walk to work… e.g. Army/Marines… 🙂

    CP- LOL

    Six- Heh, see above… 🙂

  13. John in Philly…I was onboard FID for that deployment. Remember all the young Swedish women on holiday in Palma? And, we went there twice!!!! Their boyfriends just wanted to drink and stay drunk…we wanted to show the the young ladies a good time…so…we did.

    Once had a girlfriend who sent me a huge box of cookies. In the box were rum balls…that you couldn’t smoke near for fear of lighting one off. (I think she used 100 proof Bicardi and under cooked them on purpose) The ready room and Maint. Control ate real well for a few days.


    • MikeyB,

      I remember during a liberty in Palma, I wanted an ice cream cone. So I mustered up all of my high school Spanish and asked the little Spanish woman dressed in black and running the ice cream machine, for “un helado chocolate por favor,” I wanted vanilla but I could not think of the word for vanilla. After completing our business, (pesatas (sp), not euros) she looked at me and in faintly British accented English said, “not a bad accent for a yank.” I wish now I had talked to her instead of just mumbling thank you and leaving.

      If I remember right, this was the cruise where the Turks and Greeks got into a dust up on Cypress. The last half of the cruise was a lot of time spent at sea, I think we did a month at sea, a couple of days in port, then another month, a couple of days in port, and then a month at sea and homeward bound. That was an unheard of amount of time at sea for an east coast carrier in those days.

      A story for another time would be the building of a washing machine in 1AMR, and where the hidden shower head with warm water was located.

      Another story would be why one never smells anything presented to you by a shipmate.

      John in Philly

  14. Ed- It’s ‘not’ for everybody…

    Mikey- Yeah, the Palma stories are legend for USN folks… We got 5 days there on R&R (I&I)… I ‘think’ I remember three of those days… ;-D

  15. Corollary to the one about drinking games: don’t play poker with the Warrants.

    From part 1: re embarrassing diseases; I was once astounded to discover that there is such a thing as optical gonorrhea and both amazed and bewildered about the mechanism of transmission, it was a truly weird mast proceedings.

  16. “When transiting the ocean, the ship’s chronometer is always advanced at 0200 which makes for a short night. When going in the opposite direction, the chronometer is retarded at 1400 which extends the work day.”

    which is why I didn’t mind working nights. 😉

    My Forrestal time was from 86 to 90, nice to see a few FID squids around.