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"Twas the Night Before Christmas" (Shipboard Version)
(Submitted by Jim Dunn)

'Twas the night before Christmas, compartments were still,
The sailors were sleeping, as most sailors will.
The ditty bags hung by the lockers with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The Sailors were all peacefully dreaming in bed
As visions of liberty danced in each head.
The Chief was in skivvies and hopped into the rack,
Having just come up from a midnight snack.

When out on the deck there arose such a roar,
I ran to the porthole to find out the score.
I stuck out my head and started to shout,
"Just what in the world is this noise all about?"

A moon made for boon docking showed with a glow,
It was downright cold out, 'bout seven below.
What I saw out there looked like those Mardi Gras floats,
Twas a Captain's gig drawn by four white Navy goats. 

    In the boat was a man who seemed quiet and moody,
I knew in an instant St. Nick had the duty.
As quickly as Monday his Billy goats came,
He whistled and shouted and called them by name.
"Now Perry, now Farragut, Dewey and Jones,
What's the matter John Paul, got lead in your bones?

A little to Starboard, now hold it up short,
No fluffing off now or you'll go on report!"
He was wearing dress "Reds" that fit like a charm,
His hash marks covered the length of his arm. 

    The gifts to be issued were all in his pack,
The gedunk was ready to leave on each rack.
His eyes they were watering, his nose caked with ice,
He wiped it with canvass, then sneezed once or twice. 

    He opened his mouth and started to yawn,
It looked like the Sun coming up with the dawn.
With the stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
He took a small nip from a bottle beneath. 

    He wasn't so big, but seemed quite able,
"A Bosun Mate" I figured - flossed his teeth with steel cable .
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old Tar,
Who said Evenin' Matey, here have a cigar."

(Continued on page 7)

Dear John:  Here are a few things I recall from my service aboard the Whetstone. You may use them as you please.

      When I graduated from high school in June, 1945, the war was still on. I tried to enlist in the Naval Air Corps but flunked the physical. When I tried to enlist in the regular Navy, I was two pounds underweight. They told me to come back, and on the morning of the second physical I ate four bananas and drank a quart of milk. I passed and awaited the call. By the time I was sworn in, the A-bomb had ended the war. After boot camp and radar school I was assigned to the Whetstone. From Norfolk I and two other sailors were taxied out to the berth in Chesapeake Bay in a Higgins boat.

     Because of discharges the crew lacked a quartermaster and a signalman. In spite of my radar training I was chosen to act as assistant to Chief Reams. In a short time I acquired most of the required knowledge and skills and enjoyed the job. It kept me topside most of the time and when on the bridge I had contact with Captain Keating and the Exec., Lt. Commander Zimmerman. After the navigation officer, Lt. Mancuso, was discharged, Chief Reams took on most of his responsibilities.

     Others may not remember the night on Chesapeake Bay when the ship dragged one anchor, causing us to start a wide swing with the tide. We were headed for a nearby battleship or cruiser and would have collided but for the engineers, who managed to get up steam from cold iron in the nick of time. This happened on my watch at around 2 a.m. When the alidade readings indicated a drastic

(Continued on Page 9)

Text Box: December 2005


Text Box: 33rd Edition


























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