Working in the admin office, on the destroyer, was easy and fun. Some of my jobs, were, typing up officer and enlisted evaluations, typing up travel orders and documents for travel, and mostly typing for the CO and XO, all the paper work, they can generate. They generate a ton of paperwork for signature all the time.
When I first got aboard my ship, the chief in charge, liked to drink a lot, and he had some three wheel motorcycles, he liked to take out to the desert, and ride. He took some of us, from the office, with him. He was with a girl, that I had met before, such a small world San Diego already was, I was out in the middle of the desert, and here is this lady, that I had already met before, riding motorcycles with us, and it was a lot of fun.
Most of the time, we worked in the office from 7:00 a.m., until around 3:30 p.m., even thou, threw out most of the day, we would go where we wanted to. Most all of us, smoked cigarettes, it seemed, and we would spend a lot of time, out on the fantail, bull shitting with other people, and watching the ocean go by.
When you are out in the middle of the ocean, and it’s totally a bright exotic color, like a bright green or light blue, and its just beautiful, and you could toss your cigarette butt in the water, and watch the ripple effect, it was so calm, the ocean was very nice when it was calm, and harmless looking.
One time, when we took our ship to Hong Kong, we would have to travel, through the South China Sea, which is a crazy part of the ocean. This part of the ocean, to me, seemed like the Bermuda triangle, or the Lock Ness monster coming to eat you up. We took a battle group of various ships, and you could see the terrible seas outside, we were going threw.
The swells must of been 20 to 30 feet high. The ship was going up and down, and you would hear smashing, and you would think, this is it, we are all going to die. The ship is just going to flip over, and we are all going to go under. You could look outside, and see a fast frigate, which is smaller than a destroyer, and see it going up and down, and everyone was watching, actually waiting for it, to go all the way under water, and we would of tried to help, but it would of been almost impossible.
This was as bad as the sea gets. Usually, the metal desks, metal file cabinets, copy machines, and things of that nature, are already bolted, or welded, down to the deck, in all the compartments, all over the ship, for safety reasons. Well, for rough seas like this, your bunk actually has a seat belt. That seat belt, will strap you in your bunk, so you don’t fall out of your bunk. We never saw anyone use those safety straps before.
Well, I tell you what, when the time comes when you need to wear that seat belt, who the hell will be able to sleep, at a time like that. On the 1MC, they tell you, all decks are closed, no one is allowed outside, on any deck, so that they don’t get swept overboard. As long as I was on board ships, I only ever saw one person fall overboard, and he had to jump. He was a deck hand, and it was a beautiful day outside, and he was painting, or doing something or another, around one of the smaller boats we take with us. A chain that was not fastened down, had come smashing down, and he jumped overboard to get away from being hit.
Now he was very lucky, because it was in the middle of the day, and there were no swells to speak of, and other people had seen him go over board. If he would of did 新蒲崗辦公室 that at night time, or off of an aircraft carrier, he would of just been gone, and disappear forever, I think. Well, we could see out the port windows, and the sea was going so high, we could feel the ship go right up in the air, like a carnival ride, and if a cruise ship ever went through that, I’m sure all the customers would of asked for a refund.
By the time we got through the worst of the sea, and things started to turn back to normal, we all went down to the office to check it out. It was totally upside down, all the welds holding metal file cabinets, copy machines, safes, all broke apart, and just started slamming into each other, for hours, and it was just like a bomb went off in there.
One of our jobs, as a yeoman, is typing up the routine for the next day, which tells people what is going on, what is for lunch, and things like that. It is basically like your junior high school newspaper, or hometown flyer, on what is going on in town. The one in the Navy, is called “the Plan of the Day” or POD, as they all called it. Most of the guys are waiting for you to pass them out, as it is just like a newspaper to them, as they don’t have new items to read, when you are out to sea, so they wait for the POD to come out, after we type it all up, and make many copies to pass out.
One day, the XO was really getting to be a drag, he was starting to many inspections, and making people stow dirty clothes inside their lockers, to make the berthing’s look cleaner. He had a state room, with closets, and he did not know the crew hated some of his new rules.
One day, I decided to make up a fake POD, as we called them, and I typed up, all kinds of things, that the crew kinda hated about the ship. I knew the XO had no knowledge the crew hated some of these things. I put some odd things on it, and typed up what some of the crew hated. The last thing I did, so I hoped I would not get sent to the brig, or worse, I said, “If you have a sense of humor, you will disregard this POD.” I took it up to the XO’s state room, and put it in his in box, for signature.
About an hour later, the XO calls down to the office threw the “squak box”, which we all can hear, and asks one of the higher guys in the office, he said, “Petty Officer Black, is Petty Officer Stead there?” He said I was, and I could hear this all the time. He said, “You give him the rest of the day off.” And that was all he ever said about it, and after that, he was really cool to me.
He asked me to come along on his inspections, to write things up he found wrong, and I told him, he was being way to picky, after his inspection. The other XO, never went this far, we cleaned before we pulled into port most of the time, and that was it. This new XO, was having us clean all the time. He slowed down a bit, on all the ship cleaning after that.