By Martin Zdolsek (LCDR, USN RET)
My first impressions upon reporting aboard were not bad. The first experience was seeing the fellow I was relieving, passing out in front to the XO at Officers Call. In the morning, WOW! He liked to party and the night before was evidently quite a party. Things were going pretty smooth.
Shortly thereafter we had a change of command, and now there was a waiting period to see what the new CO was going to be like. Now what you read are just my experiences and observations, but some of you may remember some of these incidences. To me it brought to mind some of the thing’s that happened in the story, The Cain Mutiny, but nothing like the strawberry incident.
Chief Engineer report to the bridge immediately! So on the way up I asked my various division officers “What’s up?” So that I might have an answer for the CO.
Upon arrival to the open bridge, I was ordered to stand at attention and smell some of my own smoke stack gasses, and smoke.
“Engineering Officer report to the CO’s cabin!” Again asked the various Div. Off’s “What’s up?” Ans; “Don’t know” Turned out that the fan in his cabin had stopped. A fuse had blown. “But Capt. I have no control over the fuse”. CO comment: “Don’t you stand there and castigate me!” Keep in mind that I always had the last word, “YES SIR!”
“Eng. Off. Report to the CO’s cabin on the double.” Again asked Div. Off’s “What’ up?” Ans. “Don’t know”. The Ward Room Steward had lost grip on store room door, it swung and hit the bulkhead. Capt’s bunk was on the other side, and he was in it.
Orders: “Remove that door immediately.” “YES SIR!” The XO confronts me and wants to know what happened? After explaining to him, he shakes his head, makes a few remarks and stalks off to his room.
En-route to Cuba required fueling destroyers. Never having done this task before, we had to come up with an estimate of how long it would take us. Based on the pumping capacity, we came up with an estimated time. It turned out that being in tropical waters, the fuel being warmer, it was possible to pump fuel faster. We finished ahead of schedule. The crew did a great job, but never to a ‘well done’. I got a good chewing out, because the entire convoy had to re-adjust their schedule and the CO was embarrassed.
On the same trip our Starboard Main Condenser salted up. We had to slow down speed, which required re-positioning in the convoy. Repairs were made in good record time, and we were able to get back into positron. Again the CO was embarrassed, the quick repairs did the CO no good.
It just so happened that this CO had a habit of coming into the Wardroom, while in port, and during the evening relaxing time for the junior officers, taking over the TV remote control. Never did find out who threw the remote control over the side.
During one of our stays in an island bay, a native boat came alongside on the starboard quarter. There was an exchange of brass for personal favors, as some of the crew lowered down the side with the brass, made their deal and then climbed back up. Our crew was fortunate that we learned from the mistakes of our sister ships. On one of the incidents we had to send over an investigating team to determine the cause. Upon completion of the investigation we were to be hi-lined back to the Stone. Having a spanking new Ensign with me, I told him to go over first, and if it were safe, then I would follow. He couldn’t believe what he heard, but he went first, and survived.
Each year when in port we always got hit with the Red Feather or Community Fund. Each ship is assigned a quota, and so on payday the sailors are hit up for threat donation. This just didn’t go over too well. So we established or set up a Charity Fund, which was funded by Bingo (50% for the fund and 50% in prize money).
Yosemite Sam© Warner Brothers
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