Thursday, June 02, 2005

Halfway night 2003

This is a real no-shitter...

(obligatory, real sea stories must begin with that...)

October 2003, somewhere in the far western reaches of the Pacific (if I told ya, I'd have to kill ya). Halfway night on WestPac 2003 aboard USS CHEYENNE (SSN-773)...or so we thought (more on that in a bit). Now keep in mind that although I'm into my second year on my second boat (with over 5 years on the first) this is only my second deployment. First boat (Mighty TUCSON) was a new construction fish, and I rode her long enough to come to Pearl Harbor and do a single Pac, being as I'm a nuke and was in new con from the very beginning.

But I digress...

It had been a fairly routine 'Pac. A couple of long (40-60 day) ops, a port call or two (lovely Guam, rainy Yokosuka), only one "incident" to speak of (20 year old RM3 came back on base and got nailed by the gate guard in Yoko because he'd had a few beers out in town...Yoko drinking age is 20, but on base is 21...skipper let the whole thing die once we shoved off.) We had all the standard halfway night stuff planned...ENG and E-Div LCPO smashing trash and washing dishes, XO cranking, nub MSSN and a gaggle of other blueshirts taking over the wardroom, all that general silliness.

Our skipper, great guy by the name of CDR Charles "Chaz" Doty, had a very distinctive that just begged to be mimicked. Trust me, we did it a lot (I once was giving RC Div training in the wardroom, had the RCA in stitches with my own take on it, when in walked the old man...can you say "oops"?) Well, he was somewhat sensitive about it...OK, it was one of the few things that set him off (he was normally very calm, but there's always something...).

So we raffle off CO/XO/Department Head/COB for the day for Halfway Night. I was gunning for one of 'em, but didn't get the winning ticket. But one of the legendary boat pranksters, MM2(SS) White (an know how they are) won the raffle for CO. We did the drawing itself the evening before, so the winners could enjoy a full day as their "other self" (and oh, by the way, the person they replaced got to do their job as well...the ENG, when not cranking, got to be a junior nuke MM standing ERLL).

White comes back to Maneuvering shortly after the winning tickets were announced, mainly to gloat a little and get ideas for his day "in command". Of course us fine nukes had plenty of ideas for him (the goat locker got really good at rigging fire hoses and donning EAB's the next day).

Then it got fun. See, White's "command tour" didn't begin until the next morning after breakfast. It was now somewhat early on the 18-24 the night before...and Maneuvering has a 1MC mic.

What could possibly go wrong?

White picks up the 1MC, all the while with the EOOW watching (I don't think the ensign thought he'd actually key it), and proceeds to announce, in a perfect imitation of the Skipper's voice, what the "plan" for the next day was.

At this point, all of us in Maneuvering are speechless...he actually keyed the mic. Took us all a minute to realize it, and I think we were still in a state of shock when a few seconds later the 1MC fired up again...this time it was the CO (the real CO), and the message was short; "MM3 White, Chief Jones, lay to my stateroom!". MMC(SS) Jones was the A-Gang chief, by the way. And that wasn't a typo...the old man actually said "MM3 Jones".

Halfway night was looking like a bust before it even started. Thankfully the skipper had a good sense of humor, and did little more than half-heartedly chew a little A-gang ass. White came back a while later (still safely an MM2), and let's just say that the CO's head was a little bit cleaner that evening thanks to his efforts :)

Oh, remember I said that "Halfway Night" wasn't really half-way? Yeah, that deployment got stretched a bit...3 months, to be it was really 1/3 night. But we did "cross the line" a whopping 6 times, so that somewhat made up for it.


At 11:54 AM, Blogger ETC1966 said...

When you said the CO said "MM3 Jones", I think you meant to say, "MM3 White".


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