Monday, March 27, 2006

You know you're getting old when...

We just finished up a bit of shiftwork on the retired/no longer on active duty fellas remember the joys of shiftwork, don't ya? (Well, the nukes...did the coners forward personnel ever do shiftwork?)


Seriously, shiftwork has it's funny moments. Seems to me a pattern has developed over the years:

First shift (days)...doesn't do squat. Causes problems, writes up DLs/DRs, runs into problems with the procedures, calls the JTG, has test interruptions, plays a lot of cards.

Second shift (swings, or simply "the other 12 hours" when in 2 section shiftwork)...fixes the problems.

Third shift (mids)...does the work. :) So much more gets done when the "powers that be" get off the friggin' boat and we can just "get 'er done".

(I'm going to get beaten by all those guys who spent their time on "days" for this...and the guys who were "the powers that be"...any former NRRO guys around?)

And some other shiftwork observations:

-You're doing 12 on/12 off (and as we all know, that's actually more like 14 on/10 off), yet someone (usually a weaponeer, sorry in advance to all the STS/TM/FT types out there) comments "man, they get out of field day". This actually happened to my chief and I last week, as we headed off the barge after our pre-shift brief. The barge watch (a forward ET) actually (seriously, I might add) said "that's f**ked up, you guys don't have to come in for field day?" His section leader (a TM1) was standing there, and he smacked him upside the head for that one...

-No matter how good your brief is, some &*$*&$# NRRO guy always finds a question to ask that no one know the answer to, but that we all should know.

-There's always this guy who is obsessed with when we're going to roll out of shiftwork. We had one on my shift...near the end, he was sure we were going to roll out by coming in for swings (which ended each night at 2330) and then having to return at 0730 for a normal workday on Monday. How did I defuse his fears? "No, we're going to roll out on Thursday, get off at 2330 and come back in at 0600 for field day". Ain't I a stinker? (We actually came out Sunday on days, the day shift took the duty and swings/mids got Sunday off, Monday was a normal but very short day for non-duty guys).

-There's always one guy who just doesn't "get it" about shiftwork at first...until he realizes that yes, indeed, we are coming in on Saturday and Sunday. You'd think standing duty would have answered that one for him...

-And then there are those who have plans that get hosed by shiftwork going long. Ours did...right through a concert that several guys on swings/mids had tickets to (311 was the band in question). This is where the "you know you're getting old when..." part comes in...not only had I never heard of 311, but what our "Bull Nuke" did was something that just never happened in the "old days".

Our "Bull" is an old-school MMCM (former ELT). He had a reputation for being a stickler, for being "by the book", before he even reported aboard. So when he came up to our pre-shift brief on swings and announced that the command was working on a plan to get the guys off for the concert, all of us "old timers" were floored. That had just never, ever happened in the times I'd been in shiftwork on usetaboat's #1 and #2...I lost a good set of Garth Brooks tickets on my first boat due to shiftwork that went long (and I was an extra on the watchbill...I could have been cut loose and the shift wouldn't have been missed). And true to his word, every sailor who had tickets got to go to the show. One had to (because of qualifications and watchbill requirements) swap shifts and short cycle, but the command went out of it's way to accomodate them. Color me impressed...and the "Bull" has a group of sailors who would cheerfully walk through downtown Fallujah for him after that one!

Some other shipyard observations:

-You know that smell...the freshly drained drydock smell? It usually goes away after a few weeks, but if you can avoid it don't dock in Hawaii during the worst rainy season in 30 years. Our drydock hasn't been too "dry", and it stinks like day #1 in the basin a full two months after hitting the blocks.

-Who knew that shipyards have a spec for the tint on safety glasses? They do...which we found out about after a lot of guys bought tinted glasses. For the record, they can be no more than 45% tinted, and most guys bought the ones at the exchange that were about 10% too dark.

-Move a crew off a submarine onto a barge and you'd think we'd say "wow, look at all the space". Reality...we've got everything packed in like a sardine can, gear stuffed outboard the benches, and we are squeezed into a barge made for a destroyer crew like we are aboard the boat. And there is enough empty space to play football...two games at once.

-Shipyarders get reserved parking...every one of 'em and their dogs, it seems. And they get really annoyed when you park in their spot. I came in at 1830 for backshift (when we were on 12/12s) and parked in a spot that in the dark and pouring rain didn't look reserved (the marking on the ground was very worn, and partially covered with gravel washed over by the rain). Next morning the normal "owner" of the stall had flattened my tires. Creatively, I might add...he didn't puncture them, he backed out the valves just enough that the air leaked out. Buddy is still half a word, it seems...

That's all for now...I would say (like Bubblehead) "staying at PD", but I figure "landlocked and drydocked" is probably a more fitting sign-off :)


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Spike said...

As a charter member of Overhaulics Anonymous, now retired after after a JO, Engineer, and XO tour in the yards overhauling old subs (and by old, I mean 593 class, not first flight 688 - I do mean 593 class - my first ovrhaul of the 603 included installing an emergency blow system on a 20 year old boat) I had to comment on behalf of the swing shifters. Swing moved the overhauls forward more, because WE always turned over with the test program in progress, all the day shift "problems" solved, and moving down the track. Plus Every CO I had was a geographic bachelor who seemed to never leave the boat till midnight, so we accomplished this with the bigwigs always looking over our shoulder.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger Rob said...

:) But you do back up my point in one respect...days never gets a dang thing done!

I've always been on swings/mids, so I'm biased!


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