Page 29 started April 21, 2004

Letters, Random Memories and Assorted Sea Stories (Cont.)

Six Factor Formula ....

KP ...

saw the hippo's crib notes and dug mine out. the cover [not shown] shows where the button used to be sewed on ... fit right in the dungaree shirt pocket and when buttoned wouldn't fall out during field day or chippin' paint. i'm trying to recall what all this means ... the six factor formula i think i got but much of the rest is history!!! ;) all about how various changes affected the reactivity.


My brain hurts just trying to remember what this stuff meant.  To be honest I am amazed that the navy was able to teach us such complex ideas using simplified models and formulas.  When I was taking nuclear engineering classes as a graduate student we were basically learning the same stuff; however, the math was horrendous.  I had to take almost a whole year of extra math (after getting my BSEE) because I just didn't have the right background.  As an EE we learned differential equations but since most solutions were time dependent (initial conditions t=0 and t' = 0) all but one of the infinite solutions simplified to zero.  Not so when doing volume integral boundary value problems (which is what nuclear engineering was all about).  There you had to solve non homogeneous partial differential equations (in seven dimensions) that could have infinite solutions..... I remember thinking, "How the hell did I ever understand this crap in NPS!!!!" 

One thing that the navy did well was teach us "useful" models to represent complex ideas.  The six factor formula was, I recall, taught to us as a freeway with on ramps and off ramps.  The things that introduced neutrons (e.g., intrinsic sources, fission) were 'on ramps' and things that took away neutrons (e.g., absorption, leakage) were 'off ramps.'  So when you solved for Keff, you drew a big freeway loop and multiplied everything [using negative numbers for the off ramps and positive numbers for the on ramps].  When I was a grad student I swear to God I'd be solving these huge complex math problems, get some ridiculous answer and then resort to drawing that stupid freeway loop to try and figure it out.  

Too much Information, I know.....


Factor This .....

You know I couldn't even write that formula out today. But I still contend that I could sit down in the 1B chair and pull the rods to criticality and maintain that sucker till the core was spent. You never needed to know the math behind the 6 factors, all you need to know was which way the rods needed to go to maintain that temperature, and where the scram switch was. The old addage when all else fails just sit on your hands and let the protective functions do the job for you. I liken it to driving a car. You didn't need to know how gasoline, oxygen, and a spark plug combine to create internal combustion to get behind the wheel and drive the car. Nuke school was overkill!! All we really needed was the chem rad/con stuff.

I know what you mean about the math though, I took all those same math classes in my BSEE, I don't miss it though. Right now I probably couldn't even do basic differential calculus, but I still get paid like I could. I love America!! Sealed my engineering knowledge in a vault forever when I got my MBA. You know when I first started my BSEE my faculty advisor would not allow me to take Calc because I'd been "out of school" for 6 years. He had no appreciation whatsoever for the Navy Nuke Power program. I didn't mind, took algebra and trig and aced it. Padded my GPA with 5 credit hours of A. Gave me a semester to get into college life too. Of course then I joined a fraternity and watched my GPA fall through the floor.

Louie Wingo


More from Louie: 

Check this out, googled it because this was nagging me….

Took the test and scored a 4 out of 10. Not quite the 2.5 and fly mark you would hope for…But hey it has been 15 years of neglect to those memories…Some would say even more...

Even Arrgh! Remembers the Six Factor Formula ....

Oh, man, I got out of the Navy and forgot that junk a long time ago. Some of it, anyways. I always wanted to correct some bozo on the Thermal Non-Leakage factor, though. In the early 80's, the Thermal non-leakage factor was corrected to a value greater than one (for a Naval core only). If you can remember why, you need to go kill more brain cells. Maybe the reason I still remember that is because I was so impressed with the answer, which I thought was impossible until I heard the explanation. I also quit killing off the few remaining brain cells I had shortly after leaving the Navy. Now, old age picks off a few every now and then, but they are safe from alcohol and other "intoxicant" perils. And, since I can't afford a motorcycle, they are safe from being compacted together during a moment of bad judgment on a bike, too.



PLANK OWNER Norm Strong Comes Aboard!

Sure glad to see this site. Am a plank owner and nuke. Went to Vallejo class 59-3 and she was still on builder's blocks when I went aboard in May of 60. Spent my time in 2plant RM div. and qualified on all the watch stations. Lots of stories about this ship.

Norm Strong


Hot Damn, another plank owner!  Norm, please tell us as much as you remember about the early days, sea trials, Rickover, etc.


Change of Email address:

Willett, Frank; RC 4-Plant, 1964 - 1968

Can you update the e-mail address to indicate my home: 



John Hafer Comes Aboard .....

Hey [King] Paul,

I'm another ex-nuke from 4 plant. I was an RM from 1972 to 1976. A friend of mine turned me on to your site. I was wondering if you could add me to the list?

John Hafer, RM

Thanks buddy, 



Herb Hentschel Comes Aboard .....

I served in #1 plant in RM Div from Oct 22, 1966 to Oct 22, 1970.

Herb Hentschel


Steaming, Big E Style .....

Mark B. Sends along something else to give me a headache.  It does...  Next KP Site Quiz: Free beer (bought by me in Vegas or wherever) to he who can remember what this is (see below):


Hippo Wins .....

[Above is] Mollier Diagram, Saturated steam diagram, used to have this memorized for all the important points. John Hafer...that name I know but can't remember why..he probably walked through my wet Future Wax in RCER during field day, the son of a bitch......hippo


A beer also goes to Joe B., who also recognized this thing; albeit a few hours after Hippo;)  


Maybe ....

Those look like the cat ops tables that were in the RPCM's. Man all those charts looked the same and I don't remember anyone knowing what the hell they meant. BFPL was easy enough but those steam plant/load tables???? By the way if I lucked into the answer, I won't accept the beer, that one was slop...

Louie Wingo


I think only the MM types used these Mollier Diagrams but you RC types might have to.  Us REs, .... well, we didn't give a damn about all that steam/saturation/power load stuff.  All we cared about was pit time;)  


Sir Lance Returns!

Ramdass- I've been meaning to write for quite a while now. Every time I head into the distillery, I can't help but think of times on the Big E. The business has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last 2 years, and we recently found ourselves needing more space. A quick recon of our local surroundings turned up an amazing opportunity. Two months ago we signed a ten year lease on Hangar 21 on the former Alameda Naval Air Station. It's an amazing feeling after all these years, to be able to sit in former Navy digs and down a glass of whiskey. I hope that you get out this way one of these days and can check the place out.



As always, it's great to hear from our old pal Lance.  It must be spooky working on the ol' base.  I wonder if Lance ever gets the urge to wander around Webster Street late at night, looking for something to do?  Speaking of NAS Alameda, there's a show on TV called Mythbusters (Discovery Channel?).  They conduct many of their "tests" on the old NAS grounds.  I recognize many places as being familiar in a non-coherent, hazy, drunken flashback sort of way.  


As The Pig Turns, Part IV ....

"The Whore of Toulon"

Picking up where we left off, the pig had just toured Italy, and we were once again out at sea (Westpac 86). I think we were at sea in the Med less than 2 weeks and pulled into Toulon France for yet another great liberty call. I'm starting to think that this is how the Navy actually works, go to sea for a couple of weeks, see a great port for a week, go back out….So hey I'm ready to see France.

We anchor off the coast, way off the coast, and liberty is called. Again I'm still in RT so there is no expectation of standing watch or commitment of duty whatsoever. Just get off the ship before they can stab you. Now in high school I was told that it would be beneficial for me to take a foreign language and that this would one day make a difference in my life. Being from Kansas City and having no connections to Canada or Europe, I felt it was best that I take Spanish. So although I know how to find out where the bathroom is in Tijuana (as it turns out there are no bathrooms in Tijuana just piss wherever you feel like it), I have no clue how to speak to anyone in France who doesn't already know English. This mandated a form of strategy: we had to establish communication with the French hotties, so I had to find someone who spoke French. That guy was Mark Fritz. Joe Carl and I latched onto Fritz and he was going to be the guide that led us to the promised land of eager young French girls who just couldn't wait to meet American fighting men. After all we're the reason they don't speak German today!! Loaded with a trusty translator and enough hormones to repopulate the entire country, we hit the beach!!

The first bit of excitement is the beach. Chicks laying around with no tops on and really didn't care that you saw them. Well this is just too much to ask for and certainly not to be trusted to memory, so you see all these squids on the beach with cameras taking pictures. Back then the girls were happy to show their chest for your momentary enjoyment, but the permanency of film bothered them for some reason. So instantly the girls lumped us all into one perverted category. The fact that I didn't have decent swim trunks (remember the gay shorts from Diego Garcia) and all the girls think I'm a pervert (maybe I was but it still wasn't proven), the beach was a dead end.

We hit the town. Toulon was cool, and we stumbled around looking for booze and women. Of course during the day we played it respectable. I remember stumbling into a candy store and these really cute local girls that worked there were smiling and actually playing along. So we try to speak to them through Fritz. Well this is where we learn that Fritz wasn't exactly an "A" student in French class and can't understand most of what these girls were saying. I attempt to reach them speaking Spanish, and all they do is point to the restroom and giggle….The whole thing degenerated into them speaking French and giggling at us and we quickly realize they're not laughing with us, they're laughing at us.

After a day of striking out and realizing we don't have any way of getting anywhere with these girls we decide to join the rest of the ship and head to the seedy side of town. The back streets of Toulon were kind of scary. Dark and truly dirty. I remember hooking back up with the boys and we got the scoop on the proper way to pick up a French girl, you had to say "Voulez vous couche evec ma cest soi" (my spelling is most likely wrong, just go with me, you've heard the phrase, it's in an ABBA song). So now we're going along whispering this to every chick we come across. After a while it’s a game to see how fast you can avoid being slapped….The hot rumor going around is that there is a nasty old whorehouse in one of these back alleys and there can be found "The whore of Toulon." This actually became somewhat of an "unholy grail." I remember hearing the story that there was a huge line and as it turns out it was just one woman who was basically servicing the entire fleet. I don’t think I ever actually saw the line, but I remember the devout testimonials.

Now the big scam in Toulon was that you would go into the bars and the bar girls would do anything they could to lure you into the "private champagne room," where all your wildest fantasies would come true. The truth was that you would pay a large amount of money for this privacy and once you were in there with the girl she would bleed you dry teasing you and getting you to buy cheap champagne at hundreds of dollars per bottle. This is where Joe and I caught up with Mark. Mark had made the most critical mistake a squid could make. He entered the bar with his credit card! Fritz fell for the tease and had entered the forbidden room of pleasure. By the time Joe and I arrived he was maxing his credit card and digging for more. The poor boy was lost!! I can't remember the details (Joe can bail me out on this) but we got him out alive and I'm pretty confident we got some of the debt taken off the card, although I think he still walked out of there several hundred dollars lighter. Fritz was a great guy but man had he been worked over by the true "whore of Toulon."

So that's how we spent our week in Toulon, drinking and pigging out on good food, getting laughed at by respectable girls, leaving half naked chicks on the beach disgusted with our brazened cameras, and ever on the quest for the "whore of Toulon." And in the midst of it all having a great time with my Navy buddies!! Gotta love these moments, sooner or later we had to actually qualify to stand watch and would be on duty rotations. The real Navy was right around the corner for us (the corner of equator and prime meridian), and we didn't even know it….the shellbacks new it though…

(By the way, "as the pig floats" is meant to be interactive, feel free to enhance my memories so to speak, I'd love to hear other versions of the story from anyone else, might help to fill the gaps that my memory is missing, corrections are welcome too, I'm not perfect...)

Louie Wingo


Somewhere on this abyss I call the KP site are my own recollections of Toulon.  But I can't remember if I mentioned the "Whore of Toulon" or not.  I, sadly, knew of this not-so-fine woman but I best not mumble too much more, as it might stress those of you who know me to be pure of heart.  

Ah what the hell...  It was all VW's fault! You see, we, too, had spent the better half of the day being ripped off by those naughty French bar girls.  So when we heard rumor of said lady of ill repute, we went off with our hormones in tow to find her.   Sadly, we found the hotel where she was working right away.  Hell, you couldn't miss the place since there was a line about a mile long waiting at the door!  I was no longer in the mood but VW was and begged me to loan him the money needed to do what he needed to do (being as the day's previous escapades had long since relieved him of all his Franks).  I was obliging, as I was often under those circumstances, and I accompanied VW to the hotel desk.  I forget what it cost but I paid it.  Then VW turned to me and asked me if I had a rubber.  I didn't so he baled....right out the door!  The guy at the desk wouldn't give me back my money so I decided (under the influence of alcohol no doubt) that I might as well get my money's worth and so I climbed the stairs......  

There she was, boys, in all her glory: the Whore of Toulon!  I sobered up immediately when I saw her on the bed--all naked, hairy, flabby and smelly.  I spent about five painful minutes trying to excite myself into arousing my manhood (I think I even asked her if she had a Playboy magazine).  She was in no mood for timewasters (as she had a whole fleet to de-Frank) so I was told to either "put up" or "get out."  I failed at my task and was then promptly escorted out of the room and thrown to the street.   This was the first and only time I was tossed from a whorehouse.  I was out a few hundred Franks but really didn't care.  

I'm hoping Dicko isn't reading this or he might be obliged to send in Part II of this story.  With that being said I think I will end this memory here and now!


Formulae ....

Man, it's cool seeing all these formulas again! The crazy thing is that I graduated number 1 in class 8503 and yet I could not begin to recite these formulas today. I have always kept the definition of reactivity as it was given to us tucked tightly in my head for some reason. I agree with KP that it was quite a feat how the Navy took bright kids straight out of high school and gave them a basic understanding of some nuclear physics principles in a very short period of time. I think it's also a testament to the caliber of the students. Fortunately for the Nav, they had the luxury of being able to make the course work really tough knowing that they could always flunk out 35% of the class and send those people off to be stellar MM's or EM's or ET's in the conventional fleet. It was sort of a win-win for the Navy I suppose.

Joe B


English v. Metric ....

.... One thing I forgot to mention..when I used that diagram while sitting on the panel it was in degrees F. and lbs/mass, etc. I couldn't read the one you showed cause I measure my shoe size by American Standards, not European. No wonder I missed Mars with that stupid rover....hippo


4-Plant Football .....


Need to update my email address:

I found this picture while looking for an old book up in the attic. Do you recognize these guys?

R. Zerance


A Corvair ....?

Don't recognize the dudes but the cars are 65-69 Corvair and Old's Cutlass (Century)????....hippo


KP Note: Man, I knew all them 4-plant RC dudes and None of 'em was classy enough to be driving a mid-60s Corvair;)  

Wingo Knows ....

Nice reflection on Toulon, Ram, you know how to enhance a memory!! Big tease though with Dicko having to give us the rest of the story….

Hey Z, I think I can get 6 out of 7:

Going l-r: Terry "FOADie" Odoms, Larry "Corn" Cormican, hard to tell from the picture but either Sean Johnson or John Hull, Leonard "Bull Toad" Ravan, "Z" himself, Jeff Moon, and the guy on the far right I recognize but can't remember the name (sorry buddy).

KP Note: It was John Murtag.

Those football games were awesome! I'm sure I was there for that one too! You guys in four plant had a good group. Good on watch and fun to hang out with.

Louie Wingo


Thinking about that night in Toulon was fun, as Toulon was a great place to just wander around aimless and drunk.  I had totally forgotten about that lone whore of Toulon until you made mention of her.  The details are fuzzy and I suspect Brad Stephens was somehow involved in that adventure as I recall him showing us where the place was.  Afterwards I remember being furious at VW for leaving me hanging like that (literally and figuratively).  Part II took place a few nights later and is a pretty funny story (but I can't remember much of the details).  

Another thing I remembered (when you mentioned Fritz trying to translate French) was that Lance Winters also spoke somewhat decent French.  One night we were hanging out in the "Elvis" bar--so called that since it only had Elvis songs in the jukebox.  There was this sailor there that was smitten with a local gal.  She could speak no English and he could speak no French so Lance offered his services as a translator.  This guy then would tell Lance stuff like: "Tell her she is beautiful and that I love her," and Lance would say something to the girl in French and she would get a very angry look on her face and say something back to Lance (in an obviously angry voice) and Lance would turn and tell the guy: "She says thank you and that she thinks you are very handsome..."  Al Huff was with us that night (his ship was at anchor in the harbor with the Big E) and he also spoke a little French.  Every time Lance would say something to this girl Al would start cracking up and whisper to me what Lance had really said.  Needless to say, Lance was making lewd and insidious remarks on behalf of the poor sailor.  (One thing I recall Lance telling the girl was that the guy wanted to take off all her clothes and eat vegetables from between her toes.) 


A Fatherly Figure .....

KP: Happened to come across the attached photo of ADM Rickover. The chief I worked for in the Reactor Dept. office (EMCM Dennis Smith) called him "Ricky." At any rate, I took this picture of him on the Admiral's bridge during his visit to Big E early 1967 while on Yankee Station off coast of N. Vietnam (shortly after CDR Berger was suddenly and unexpectedly relieved) as Reactor Officer. 

Bob Keller


The Admiral ....

Hey Ram, please encourage more pictures like Bob's of "The Admiral." I had the privilege to meet him when he toured 'his carrier' in Bremerton during the 1979-82 yardpac. I was running the HP office at the time and had some access to him. What a phenomenal man. Having worked in the nuclear industry since 1983 (right after my EAOS), what he did to develop everything we take as germane from nothing, and in the confines of bureaucratic DC at the time, is nothing short of exemplary.

A quick tale about The Admiral. I was leaving the Aft chem shack (2plt) to hit #2 EOS for log review and saw The Admiral walk up to the CTG watch. He was dressed in a blue 'poopie' suit, with no insignia on it. He walked up to the watch and generally asked questions about the CTG. When he and the watch walked over to the manual trip lever, I heard him ask, "What would you do if I hit this lever?" to which the CTG watch replied, "I'd break your fuckin' arm." I walked away about to piss my pants, but it seems that was an acceptable response to the question.

Later Joe


A few years ago I was walking about the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery when I came upon Adm. Rickover's grave.  (It was actually only about a stone's throw away from the Kennedy eternal flame.)  I paused at his grave and said a few words of thanks to the man who I never met; but that had changed my life immeasurably.  Would other's on this site, especially the early 60s alumnae, care to share their Rickover stories?  Did anyone ever have The Admiral sit in on an ORSE board?  Did anyone else have him quiz you on watch? 


8 Up Under The Gate ...

And another thing... That " Eight Burning, Four Turning" thing, when I was in the Navy, it was "Eight Up Under The Gate."



Alan Crockett Comes Aboard ....

Please add me to the roster:

I'm Alan Crockett, I was in RL Division, and #2 Plant 1968 - 1970.



The USS Enterprise!

Not sure how many guys are members of the ENTERPRISE Association, but there are rumors that once our old girl gets decommissioned in 2014, that there will be no future ENTERPRISE. Seems as though Congress is already considering names for the CV(X) class and guess what? Most names suggested are living politicians. I think it would be a great thing for us to write to our respective Senators and Congressmen letting them know that the name ENTERPRISE must continue.

I, for one, am very tired of seeing names of politicians on our carriers and other ships. Maybe we can start a groundswell of support for keeping the name ENTERPRISE alive.


Speaking of CV(X), Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard is in the process of hiring 600 folks for design and engineering feasibility on the new class of ships. They are especially looking for past Navy guys who have gone on to get degrees (though degrees not required). I would apply, but the commute from New Mexico would really suck. Anyone interested may want to look at

How many times when you were aboard did you say, ‘who the hell designed this and why was this put here?’ Now is the opportunity to be that person!!




I had the “experience” of meeting Admiral Rickover twice. Once was as a NUB at Nuke School Orlando. Rickover visited the school in 1977 and was appalled that there was no flagpole. This was at about 0900. By noon, Old Glory was flying above fresh concrete in the midst of the “Main Coolant Loop” sidewalks.

For those who didn’t go to NPS Orlando, the Buildings were Y shaped like an S3G core 3 control rod cross section, the sidewalks formed Main Coolant Loops, with each Building as a Steam Generator with a center circular walkway as a Reactor. And everything was “Confidential.”

The second time was during the shakedown cruise of USS CARL VINSON in 1982. During speed trials in the Virginia Capes, a satellite speed indicator showed that the ship was substantially slower running South than when running North. Rickover queried the nukes and was seriously disappointed with our tunnel vision. Nobody could tell him the reason. The infuriated Admiral left after screaming at us and even drooling on his shirt in the process.

The fact was, the ship was in the Gulf stream, the satellite was reading our speed minus the current running South, and our speed plus the current running North.

Nukes are “internally” power plant oriented, with very little “external” integration into the bigger picture.

He was a great man who ran out of - or outlived - his friends.

All of the great Rickover stories deserve their own website, or even a book. It would have to start with the appropriate words, “This is no shit…”

Rob Brixey


Rob, there's a story you had on your website about why Rickover designed MARF without control rods.  Can you share it with the KP Site gang? 


As the Pig Floats Part V .....

This week's edition of as the pig floats…

To recap from last week, we had just left Toulon France and were steaming off Libya keeping Quadaffy Duck in line in Westpac 86.

Having been truly spoiled with great port visits and no real job other than avoiding being stabbed for shit jobs and qualifying BNEQ, I was finally facing the prospect of life at sea. So being a good nub I went forth seeking qualification and true knowledge. I got assigned to RC11 and when I got there the roster as I can remember it was: ETC Heacox (Mumbleyak); RO's: ET1 Hetzel, ET1 Mann (both those guys were 6 year E6's, no STAR baby), Terry Dawson, there were a couple of others I just can't remember their names; RCEO: Scotty Benham, Dave Boorn, Jud Woodings, Tom Holman, Rod Andrews, Jim Shoztak, and there was one other guy but I can't remember his name; Nubs: Greg Weiland, Rick Robbins, John Dirck, Mark Fritz, Rich Lorenz, Al Raymond. RC11 was extremely bottom weighted (all nubs and no RO's) those guys couldn't wait to see us all get qualified. They also couldn't wait for wog day.

After spending some time policing Libya and keeping the Mediterranean safe for democracy, we finally got orders to turn things around and head for home. It was all down hill from here. So rather than take a short cut through the Suez again, we went around Africa. Everybody was excited about this because although most sailors eventually become shellbacks, very few become a "Golden Shellback." A "Golden Shellback" is one who crosses at that single point on the globe where the equator and prime meridian intersect. Unfortunately for us Capt. Spane did not bestow us with that honor. He decided to cross about 4 degrees off. 

Now the juror's day was fast approaching when I would have to pay my dues and lose my sliminess by crossing the line. The shellbacks were just drooling with anticipation and would take any opportunity to let you know that you were going to suffer when they got a hold of you. So the day comes and I'm totally unprepared. No kneepads, no gloves or anything to protect me. I had no idea what was coming. Then it hits. I don't remember too much as my head was down most of the time and I felt truly like beef herded to the slaughter house. Even the smell was consistent!! I had taken rags and duct taped them around my hands and knees. This turned out to be a huge mistake as they got wet immediately which made them hard and useless. The duct tape broke down and before long it was actually detrimental and cutting into me. I had created my own hell. I remember crawling all over the main deck and then having to crawl up the stairs to get to the elevators in the hanger bay. And then you get to blow oily skanky water out of a pad eye. Talk about shoveling shit against the tide!! Remember the cheers and shouting once we got on the elevator and they hoisted us up to the hell that awaited. The beatings with fire hoses (always sounded louder and more painful than it really was). When we reached the top the mayhem reached it's fever pitch. I remember how rough the flight deck was and that it took about 5 minutes before my knees were blown out of my pants and I was crawling on bloody knees. I think the tube of garbage was the vilest thing I've ever experienced. I remember trying to hold my breath but it was just way too long and there was always the pause for someone ahead of you who had to yack!! I'm getting sick just recalling it. 

I remember looking at the wog queens and only for an instant I thought, "maybe they were right." No!! Then they put me in front of the fattest nastiest lifer scumbag on the ship with grease and sickness all over his disgusting fat hairy belly. Just when you think it's gotten to the worst he grabs you by the ears and mashes your face into his belly to kiss the "Royal Baby." Ready to yack again!!  All along I'm constantly instructed that I'm a slimy worthless pollywog. 

It finally comes to the end and the last test. Now I had positioned myself so that I was directly behind Rod Andrews. Rod was like that big brother type that always goes through things first and paves the way for the kid brother. That's exactly what happened. We were fortunate that a brain dead airdale went before us, they dunked him in the tub of swill and when he came up out of the unholy water he was asked "What are you?" His reply as conditioned "I'm a slimy wog sir," and back to the tunnel of filth you go…Rod would not go down so easy, even with glasses on he belly flopped into the swill, he came out seconds later his hair dripping with sewage and his glasses clouded with a film that would require industrial strength cleaning, and when asked what he was he simply spat out a stream of the swill (fountain like I might add) and said "Disgusted." The shellbacks were satisfied and so Rod was deemed acceptable. My turn was at hand, I closed my eyes and every orifice I could and went under, came back up and proclaimed when asked that I was now a Trusty Shellback!! My mother would be so proud! 

Then the glorious purification when you removed your clothes or what was left of them to be committed to the deep and stood on the flight deck bare ass naked with the other new shellbacks as they hosed you down with a fire hose. Ahhh the sense of accomplishment as you stood there in nothing but what God gave you, bleeding and exhausted, sick at your stomach, and thoroughly unclean. I can't imagine this happens in the new coed navy. Can you imagine a bunch of chicks going through the tunnel of filth and kissing the baby; dunking in the tub of swill and standing before King Neptune bare ass naked on the flight deck??? It might make a cool girls gone wild video though. For weeks later you could still find specks of garbage here and there. The cleanup afterwards was a monumental chore. I remember the showers were backed up for days afterward.

Years later I would go back to school and I joined a fraternity. Throughout my pledge process I was warned of how bad the initiations would be. They tried to make me think that I was going to suffer the worst hazing humanity could endure. I simply laughed and said, "Bring it on, you nubs have no idea how bad hazing can be." They still don't.

Now I was a trusty shellback and a salty old dog. Of course I still wasn't qualified to stand watch. With all this behind me I could settle in and work on getting qualified. So I racked out and vowed to start qualifying the next day. The next day I did the same thing. This trend continued as we rounded the horn and crossed the IO until we got to our next port call. AAAAAHHHHSTRALIA!!!

By the way if you've lost your shellback certificate you can get a replacement. This link will help. I'm considering doing this for my Suez safari. Can't seem to find it anywhere.

Louie Wingo


I can't wait to hear about Australia, as I was part of that unwholesome outing and my memories can use some refreshing!

Not much is written on this site about The Big E's transit through the Suez in 1986.  From what I understand the Big made another transit through the Canal in the mid 90s.  Anyone know how many times the Big E has been through the "ditch"?

That was one hell of an exciting day for us RTsians.  I remember the rumor was we'd have to make the all day transit through the canal manning our GQ stations. Luckily that wasn't the case.  Most of us nubs spent the day sitting with our legs over the angle deck, waving to the curious Egyptians standing a few yards away on the berm.  There wasn't a soul to be seen on the other [Sinai Peninsula] side.  

I also remember the day we finally left the Med and steamed past the Rock of Gibraltar.  I was up on the O11 level with my future Bro-in-Law "Nitro" and we were taking pictures.  As we passed through the Straights of Gibraltar I said to Nitro, "Man, the Suez Canal sure looked smaller the last time we went through it." To which some airdale, who was standing between us, retorted: "We're not going through the Suez Canal You Moron!  We're going the other way this time!" Nitro and I pretended like we were enlightened by this guy's wisdom.   

Wog Day 1986: I remember that day well and I probably took a bit more abuse than your average wog since I was a known smart ass in those days.   My only real relief came when I saw "khaki wog" Jim Whitsett crawl by me so I quickly got behind him, knowing a khaki wog would draw more shillelagh whacks than a smart ass wog.  


More Rickover ....

KP In following Rob Brixey's suggestion : "This is no shit……" When I was finishing up my time at S3G in July 1974 we were told that "The Man" himself was going to be paying a visit to the site. The purpose of the visit was a groundbreaking ceremony for the latest plant. (I believe this was S7G.) The staff had sweat pumps on overload. Us qualified students were told to look busy or stay out of sight. On the appointed date, I opted to stay out of sight.

At the front end of the hull we had a change room with a small steel grate "veranda" out in front. I went out there for some fresh air. This turned out to be a great vantage point to observe the ceremony. I was floored to see how small and inconsequential Rickover seemed. Could this be the man who had the entire nuclear Navy shaking in their boots? I guess this goes to show you just how much sheer force of will can accomplish.

In my era there were a ton of Rickover stories around. Most (like this one) were of questionable veracity. Nonetheless, here's my favorite :

Late one dark and stormy night, there was a fast attack moored at the D&S piers in Norfolk Va. Evidently the boat had been experiencing some reactor problems. Sometime after midnight, a lone figure comes down the brow and acts as if he's coming aboard. The Top Side Sentry asks this person for identification. The person says, "I'm Admiral Rickover. I don't need any identification." The sentry says, "You don't get on board without identification." Rickover supposedly tries to brush by the sailor. The petty officer then unholsters his .45, aims it at Rickover and says, "I don't care who you are. You don't come aboard till I see some identification."

The story goes that the sailor started his watch as a third class and finished it as a second class. (Rickover evidently liked people who went "by the book" and/or didn't take any shit.)



Small Big E

You might enjoy this link.............

I think this is something all of us has wanted to do barring time, patience, and skill....



Looking for Rob's Site

Ram –

Where is Rob Brixey’s website??



I can't remember or I would have cut and pasted the story myself.  Rob had a commercial website up but I can't remember the URL.  Rob can you send us the URL?  (or the story...)


Did The Ditch---And Then Some .....

I don't know the total number of times thru the Suez, but on the 98-99 Med, we went thru 4 times. 2 North and 2 South. Hope that helps a little.

Eric "Bobby" Hood


KP Note: Boy, and we thought we Wespac '86 guys were special!


KP and friends,

I don’t have a commercial website anymore. I took an in-house job at a utility and shut down my business.

I have a family website at ; my contact information is there.

The Rickover story about MARF is another one of those stories of dubious origin – but here goes…

This is no shit…

Modifications and Additions to Reactor Facilities (MARF) was unique among nuclear prototypes. The core was called S7G and was designed by GE to eliminate Rod motion due to Xenon transients. It accomplished this on two levels:

A) It didn’t have Control Rods, it had Reactivity Control Tubes with varying levels of water in them. The tubes were lined with Gadolinium, if water was present, Gadolinium absorbed neutrons, if water wasn’t present, Gadolinium didn’t absorb. They called it epithermal filtration, the majority of neutrons playing this game were intermediate in energy. Not quite fast and not quite thermal. 

MARF also used B) The thermometer effect. Stable levels of water were present in ex-core reservoir volume of the control tubes, so that all volumetric level change occurred in-core. If Xe was burning out, Tave would try to rise, the Control Tube water would rise due to heating, adding negative Reactivity – canceling out Xenon. So much for nuclear science. If you never hear from me again, I said too much.

Anyway, the Rodless Wonder was built in a hotdog hull with USS Portsmouth, CL-102 engine room attached in a pole barn. It was ideal for students, the Main Steam drawing was a virtual road map of the engine room. There was a rumor that the lead shield surrounding the Ion Exchanger in the Reactor Compartment had been engraved with the words, “RICKOVER’S $50 BET.”

According to legend, the Admiral had attended a Christmas Party and had accepted a wager from an Engineer that he could not build a nuclear reactor without Control Rods.

Then there was MARF.

Rob Brixely


rx-050204-nptuny.jpg (195274 bytes)

(click to enlarge)


Those of you who went to NPTUNY will get a kick out of the above photo.  I see that it was shot in July 1985 so that means I was there then.  Hmmm, If I look closely I might even see Al Huff and me doing our sympathy walk off the site, hoping for a ride. 

I forgot that the streamside of MARF was in a separate building.  It made standing the AE watch a major pain in the ass 'cause you had to keep going in and out of that stupid airlock to take logs.  

Looking at that big parking lot I am reminded of a funny story.  One day it was snowing pretty hard and they made an announcement that anyone who was parked in "such and such" lot had to move to "such and such" lot.  My pal Terry Hickey (future RE02) was too busy to move his car so he didn't get out there right away.  When he finally did go out to move his car it had been completely covered over by the snow plows.  I think he had to wait days--if not a whole week--to get it out.  The next time they announced that we needed to move our cars for the plow Terry was the first guy out there.  


Rick Stephens Comes Aboard ....


I found this site some time back and wanted to sign in and say hello. I was part of the "Augment Crew" for the refueling in Norfolk after the world cruise. It seems like another lifetime sometimes when I think back on the Enterprise. I was in RE Division from 1989-92. I think I was in RE01, but not for sure, maybe because I was in shiftwork some of the time. I do remember we had a lot of fun on Crew C, but still always jealous of the guys on days. When on shiftwork it seemed we were out of touch with the rest of the crew and world. Some of the names escape me now, but I do remember Randy Shackett and how much I liked working for him. When I really think about those days, names come back to me, like Joe Miskell (what a character), Tim Boyd, Seamus McGowan, Scott Hayes, Mike Powell, and Walt Hucks. There are many other faces I recall, but I don't have a great memory for names. My wife says I need more Ram. Ha.

I was on the Ike from 1985-89, and the George Washington from 1992-2000. Presently I work for Boise Cascade near Alexandria, LA. They have an automated engineered wood products plant that makes I-joist beams and structural lumber by gluing veneer together. Allen-Bradley PLC's control the whole process, which is what I work on, as well as any other electrical or mechanical problem that arises. Before this I was a maintenance supervisor at a steel mill in northwest Indiana for three years. I look forward to many more good stories.

Rick Stephens


Our time together on the Big E was short but I do recall you.  No doubt that by the time you were finally qualified something I was gone (but I might have sleazed off a few parting sigs on your RE card).  


More of The Admiral .....

First, I'd like just to say that addressing the Admiral as "Rickover" does not do justice to what this man devoted his life to accomplish. Many of us as Nukes have jaded attitudes towards the Navy for the crappy way people with high levels of skill and intelligence are treated. But this is not Admiral Rickover's intent. For those who wish more insight into him, look for "Cold is the Sea" by Adm. Edward Beach. By just pure luck, I have a friend who was Admiral Rickover's driver for a couple of years in Washington. John drove not only the Admiral, but his wife too. The Admiral did not approve of tipping, but his wife did not share this with him. John would take her wherever, grocery shopping, etc. and when he returned the car to the motor pool, he would invariably find a tip for him stuck in between the seat cushions. How many of you guys ever gave a passing thought about his wife? One morning, the Admiral seemed more than his normal dour self. John asked, "Anything wrong, Sir?" The Admiral replied that his wife had died during the night. I cannot imagine what demons resided in this man's psyche.

Dale Keys


Certificates ....

re: lou's post at Rx

hey ... the one i would like to have is for rounding the Horn!!!! we did it in early 71 ...

how many folks here have done so?



This is gonna sound like a stupid question but is "Rounding the Horn" going around South America or Africa?  Or are both considered going around the horn?  I've done one but not the other.  While on The Big E I saw all continents but two.  And had I still been aboard when we hit Rio a few weeks after my departure I would have seen all but one.  


Rounding The Horn .....

If I'm not mistaken, the tip of Africa is the Cape of Good Hope??? Anyway, the Horn is definitely South America. The mountains of Terra Del Fuego shrouded in mist are still in my memory. Terry says "how many have gone around the Horn?" I say, "How many have done it twice?" Here's one. Once going to Newport News and again returning to Westpac after overhaul. I still remember my first LD watch leaving the yards after being in dry dock for 1.5 years. Lots of cobwebs to shake out.



Fwee Barabas ......

I was reading some past pages on the site and noted how KP & Lance Worthy raised hell with strategically placed signs. Now, this is not really an ENTERPRISE story, but it involves nukes and how disruptive they can be (when they put their minds to it):

While stationed onboard the tender Yellowstone right after Gulf War I, we were quite bored. You see, even though we were a fully staffed, fully trained and ORSE-board certified group of radiological wonder children; we were NEVER allowed to do any nuclear work when we were overseas. Several of us even qualified as EOOW or CSOOW (Combat Systems OOW). The only thing radiological we EVER did was transferring some radiacs for calibration and allowing a submarine to pump their ODT to us.

We were going through a Monty Python period. I guess we had every movie and some videos of the show and we were constantly watching them when we weren’t cleaning or practicing for work that we would NEVER do.

Anyway, our fellow nukes in the Nuclear Planning area had a youngster working with them. He was a non-nuke machinist and his name was Barabas; and this young man could not seem to keep from getting in trouble.

This young man had just gone to Captain’s Mast and was being prepared for a visit to the Correctional Custody Unit. The nukes, having just watched ‘The Life of Brian’ made a tactical error.

We decided to make up signs and post them all over the ship saying, “FWEE BARABAS” … in the spirit of Monty Python. Now, these signs went EVERYWHERE, one even got taped to the Captain’s chair on the bridge, we are talking probably one-hundred or more signs. There was mass hysteria onboard … the ship’s officers were thinking, actually thinking that there was an organized rebellion onboard to get this kid released. The term sedition and mutiny were being heard. We were told that the ‘command was concerned’ about a potential uprising.

To make a short story even shorter, I was the LPO and went up and admitted what we had done. The Captain was quite relieved when I got to meet with him personally in his stateroom. After explaining the situation and letting the captain view the movie, he understood that his nukes had a sense of humor that no one really understood.

Amazing though, I remain friends with the Captain through the Navy League ( ). We still get a laugh over the incident, but it really wasn’t too funny then.



Toulon .....

Memories of Toulon, most have faded into a fuzzy dark place in the back of my mind, but , I seem to remember jumping over the bar and fighting off the bouncer (he wasn't that big) and coming out with six or seven credit card carbons that had Mark's signature (forged of course) and running like hell! Mark sure had a good time with that champagne girl.  We had to drag him out of the booth.  I don’t think his pants were on ether…! Anyway I'm planning on heading to Vegas this Oct. so count me in ! New e-mail address or

Joe Carl


KP Note:  Joe sent in the below photo but I don't know where it was taken.  It looks like one of Steamer's swimming holes.  Also, Joe, please refresh my memory.  When did we meet?  I know we were already friends by the time we arrived on the Big E but I don't recall if I met you at MARF or we had "run" together back in nuke school.  

Lou Admitting He Was Wrong ....

Hey I just checked out that Tiffany publishing site again and realized that my wog day post contained an error. I'll clarify: In it I list that we were all disappointed that we would not be "Golden Shellbacks," and in fact we couldn't. Golden Shellback is obtained by crossing the equator at the international date line. What we did have the chance to become was an "Emerald Shellback" which occurs at the intersection of the equator and Greenwich mean time. Still would have been cool Rocky!!!!! In my defense I was repeating what was being said at the time (wog day 86). I guess none of us really knew what the hell we were talking about, imagine that??

Looking at that site I think I qualify for the following:

Shellback (ordinary damn it) 
Golden Dragon (crossing the date line) 
Safari to Suez 
Order of the Rock (passing through straits of Gibraltar).

Looks like about $6.50 a piece. Wonder if they require proof?? I don't think they do.

Love the model ship site too. Unfortunately I don't have the patience or skill to devote like the one showcased. Guy had every detail right down to the rust streaks. Very cool.

Louie Wingo


KP Note:  Lou, I can think of a few more certificates that you qualify for ... but I'm sure the Tiffany Publishing folks are decent and wouldn't celebrate the kind of debauchery;)  I have most of my certificates.  In fact, my Shellback and Safari Thru Suez ones are hanging on my office wall (right next to my forklift school diploma).  My eldest son gets a kick out of my Shellback one 'cause it has a naked lady (mermaid) on it.

Around The Horn Once More ....

I always thought that rounding the horn meant South America.

Regarding your statement about visiting continents, a buddy of mine here at work went to Antarctica for Christmas. He had to fly to Argentina and then boarded an old Russian ship which took them to the bottom of the earth. It actually was very beautiful in an eerie way. I figure for $10K I could knock out the remaining two continents and have a pretty cool adventure to recall.

Louie Wingo


Mr. Dinq .....

Last night I had a major flashback to something that happened back during the '86 cruise.  I began chuckling and my wife asked me what was so funny and I didn't bother telling her since it would not have been funny to her.  Now you guys ..... you may think it's funny.  Or maybe not.  

As far as the '86 Westpac goes I can't remember too many details.  I know I spent a good portion of it in RT Div (slacking off) and the remainder in RE Div (slacking off even more).  The transition between the two divisions is blurry since I was stabbed with the S/G inspection job.  I would guess I finally arrived in RE right after the S/G job was over as we steamed into Naples.

Back in those days I was always hanging out with Lance Winters and he was seen with me in RE berthing all the time.  Lance was actually assigned to RM23 by then.  Because Lance was always in RE berthing, naturally all the senior REs thought he was coming to RE.  The RE TPO Kevin Willy was forever pestering him on finishing his BNEQ quals so he could get started qualifying RE.  Willy even had him penciled in on his training records and UI watchbills.  Each time Lance was challenged about his delinquency in getting BNEQ qualified he would give Kevin a song and dance about this or that, making lame excuses as to why he couldn't qualify and Willy was getting pissed.

One day Lance came to retrieve me for chow or something and Willy got hold of him and asked him if he had qualified BNEQ yet.  Lance told him that he had but now he was on legal hold and couldn't transfer divisions.  Willy bought it hook, line, and sinker and asked Lance what happened.  (Willy was more curious than upset.)  Of course, Lance invented some horrendous tale of "being in the wrong place at the wrong time," that supposedly occurred when we were in port somewhere; and it began mildly with some girl, then it involved her sister, then her friends, then her mother, then her grandmother,  .... it just got worse and worse.  Willy felt bad for Lance and told him it sounded like he was in deep shit.  Lance kept him updated on the situation each time they ran into each other for the remainder of the cruise.  The funny thing was Lance was pretty much qualified and standing most RM watches before Willy finally realized that Lance wasn't even an RE!  



Awards Ceremony .....

Seeing the picture of the E tied up at Cubi (bottom of page 28) brought back this memory :

Sometime early on the 76 cruise, a bunch of us were ready to receive our good conduct awards. They decided to have a dress whites inspection and awards ceremony for the entire Engineering Department. For some bizarre reason they decided to hold this inspection/ceremony while in port in Subic. To make matters worse, they decided to hold it at muster on the morning of our second day in port. What were they thinking?! Another fine example of "military intelligence."

On the appointed morning, we came in from town a little early, so we could shower and shave then put on our whites. I got up on the flight deck in the general area of the RT void. Soon as I hit the flight deck, I was assaulted by the smell of half of Engineering Dept sweating San Miguel and/or mojo out of their pores. Cdr G.O. Paulson (GOP to us) had a podium set up just inboard of the island, and had a microphone and everything. I didn't know till then just how many people there were in Engineering. We fell in ranks facing starboard by individual divisions, and I think M Div stood out as the scruffiest.

Finally, everyone was in formation and Cdr Paulson commences the ceremony. The Cdr. starts droning on about what a great bunch of squared away sailors we were. It's still fairly early in the morning, but it's already about 90 degrees out with humidity to match. Most of us are soon drenched with sweat. The smell of beer farts is now getting quite noticeable as well. I'm standing at attention, but still glancing around at my shipmates and most of them don't look so good. A little more than halfway through the ceremony, a non nuke from my engineroom, a guy named Voth (AKA : Mushmouth) starts losing it. He breaks ranks and makes a dash for the port catwalk. Once there, he noisily "sells a Buick". Given the distance from the flight deck to the water there's a several second gap from the noise of the puking to the noise of it hitting the water. Several of us (myself included) busted out laughing. Others weren't so lucky. Hands clamped over their mouths, a couple of them made their own mad dashes to the port catwalk and joined Voth. It was a real pitiful chorus that we heard coming from behind us. The smell wasn't all that great either.

The situation hadn't quite gotten out of hand yet, but to GOP's credit, he sensed that it was close to doing so. He wisely rushed through the rest of the proceedings and the ceremony was concluded.

During my 4 years on the E, I generally didn't have much use for the KKK, but I always thought that GOP was one of the "good guys". He didn't exactly fraternize with or coddle us enlisted types, but he didn't talk down to us or treat us like inferiors either. And he seemed to know his shit as an Engineer to boot. One night I had to go to his stateroom to get his signature on a single valve isolation. I'm not sure what I was expecting of his stateroom, but I was definitely disappointed. I've had walk-in closets that were bigger. Somehow I thought they'd give a full Commander better digs than that. Maybe he would have been treated better if he was a "flyboy." (OFW)



Snowy Parking Lot ....


Funny you should say the NPTUNY photo brought back memories of a snowy parking lot. That is one of the fist things I thought of, too. Then I tried to pick out MARF, but I should confess my memory for that is faded. Back then I drove an orange '74 Honda Civic. When we had fresh snow in that winter of '85/'86 I would typically enter the parking lot at about 45mph and lock up the parking brake and let the car come to rest where it would. I remember the airlock well, but I don't recall the bit about going in and out to take RE logs. I didn't have to stand any watches after qualifying because of the tube rupture. Other than taking pizza orders I recall Craig Norquist and I took some electrical maintenance class somewhere. I can't recall if it was given on site or not. I did have that Honda buried by the plows once when I left it parked on the street at my apartment. I think I mentioned on here before that I lived with John Pearson (and his girlfriend) in Gaslight Square apts in Saratoga. I recall Craig lived in town also in some old house. I could walk to his place in a matter of minutes. Man, those were some times. If we'd had just a little more free time it would have been like getting paid to go to college...except the part about no degree at the end.

Joe B


KP Note:  MARF was the "hotdog" at the bottom with the shed butted up against the back.  I think I was asked on my final board what ship the engine room came from.  Being a wiz for trivia I knew the answer.  Above MARF can be seen that ancient (by then) S3G.  Above that was the even older D1G.  The "state of the art" facility known as Skate 8 was on the left.  I forget what that pond thing was at the top of the picture.  Anyone remember?  The remains of the cemented over old seawolf core can be seen in the bottom right of the photo, to the right of the cooling tower.  That's the spot where there was never any snow.

Mark Foth Comes Aboard ....


It's Mark Foth, remember me? Just sending you my email and info.

RE04 1987 - 1991

Of course I remember you!  You were one of my least problematic nubs when I was LPO of RE04. Your buddy Cuda has been listed for a year--it's about time you showed up.  So fill us in on what you did after the navy? 


As The Pig Floats, Part VI .....

Picking up where we left off, the Pig was on the west side of Africa heading to Australia, and I was now a trusty shellback….still Westpac 86...

Well as I stated I was in no big hurry to qualify anything of substance after wog day. Basically the leverage the shellbacks had was gone now, and I was going to be the guy scrubbing the floors whether I qualified or not, so why bother. Spent a lot of time getting to know the guys on board and the ship itself, especially my pit. I loved my pit. I think I spent that whole transit across the IO reading and listening to my walkman. A lot of U2 Unforgettable Fire, Phil Collins No Jacket Required and Tears for Fears.

I was back in Reactor Berthing by now and this was infinitely better than "The Ghetto." The whole way across the IO from Africa to Australia was a bee line. I'm not even sure we did flight ops. The sea was rough and we must have been at flank speed the whole way. I think the Rock had some agenda waiting in Perth.

Even before I accepted the fact that my father would not pay for me to go to college and I would have to go in the Navy I had heard that Australia was the coolest port possible. In the early eighties Australia was given this weird coolness all of a sudden. You had bands popping up that had hit records (Men at Work, ACDC) and of course there was Olivia Newton John (get physical). I had this image that every woman in Australia looked like her and that accent….whoaaaa!!! The rumors I had heard since boot camp though were that the men there were very callous toward the women and for that reason Australian girls absolutely went nuts over American sailors. I had even heard that there was some form of sign up sheet where you could put your name on a list and eligible young ladies would come and adopt you for a few days, tending of course to your every need. Like shooting fish in a barrel. Given my smoothness with the ladies I was overwhelmed with anxiety. This was a port deemed worthy above all others to take leave in.

When we got to Perth it was early summer back home which means it was early winter there. It was cold and nasty weather. The seas were rough even for an anchored aircraft carrier. The highlight of the show though was the boats from local bars that came out and circled the ship. I never got a quality view but I could barely see through the crowd that each of these boats had Australia's best in nothing but bikini bottoms waving signs and blowing kisses to us cordially inviting us to come ashore and see them dance. The crowds roared, and the line grew and grew to take liberty. Fortunately I had taken leave and as such was one of the first people allowed off the ship. Me and my old buddy Mark Fritz, we were ready to launch our assault on Australia. I say fortunate because after a couple of runs on the liberty boat they closed it down due to the rough seas. Unfortunately for some they never got to see Australia because of duty rotation and shitty weather.

When we got on shore I never found "the list" and was quite disappointed. This was my first clue that the women weren't just going to jump in my lap. I'd actually have to work at it, at least they all spoke English though, a rather intriguing dialect I might add. So we found a nice hotel to setup shop in, and went out in search of the best nightclub. Found a couple of great places and had some good times. Mark was the lucky guy that night. He hooked up with a young Aussie named Christine. She was a cute girl. Of course her friends were not so cute. I was a team player though and backed Mark up (mighty wingman). Well I wasn't that good of a wingman. When it came time to go back to the room I was made painfully aware that I was a fifth wheel. So I bailed out in search of other compadres. I managed to hook in with Randy Jestice and we wandered the streets of Perth for a while. Randy and I were walking around the city just taking it all in, and I remember the both of us trying to catch on to the accent and foolishly complimenting each other that we sounded just like the locals. They were probably thinking "wow what a bunch of fucked up Americans". Remember going to my favorite American restaurant in Australia, only there the Burger King was known as Happy Jack. I hear in France it's known as Skanky Queen, but I digress…

I can't remember how we latched onto Ram Tuli, Lance W., Rich Hordyke, and Guido, but we did. Probably just stumbled across them. I remember we went back to the hotel (we were all staying at the same place). Cases of Emu beer were all about. Now the thing to know about Randy Jestice is that he is very sneaky. On the ship before we got to Australia he had recorded an entire embarrassing conversation with me on his cool new walkman. I knew even then that this would come into play later in our lives. He would have been really big in the Nixon administration. So we went up to Ram's room and were all just talking and enjoying the fact that we weren't on the ship. And the hot topic was that Lance had managed to hook up with some chick as well and she was due to come over and consummate their new friendship. Ram regaled us with tales of when he was in school before he joined the Navy. I remember a story about some crazy guy that nearly cost him his life ( I want to say the guys name was Tom, stuff about "hardened criminals," which we would thereafter repeat for no apparent reason). He had me laughing so hard I nearly wet myself. I had to explain of course to all these guys how Fritz was upstairs doing the best he could to make America proud and how I was baggage at this point. Well finally Lance gets the call, his date has arrived. So we all do the right thing and leave a couple of beers for Lance and his honey before bailing out (with the rest of the beer). Now what none of us new was that Randy had planted his tape recorder in the room and left it on record. Needless to say we caught all the audible details of Lance's big adventure. I seem to recall that the big issue afterwards was that the girl wasn't exactly big on hygiene and Lance got a scorching case of scabies afterward.

Next morning I woke up to hear Fritz's girl nagging us both to get up. I had slid back into the room in the middle of the night and didn't realize that she had stayed. Cool thing was that she was going to show us around Perth. We took off for her parent's house and there I was introduced to vegemite (Australians use this on toast and eat it, we would use it to patch potholes in the street). I couldn't believe how cool her parents were about her staying out all night with us and then bringing us home for breakfast the next day. We spent the day touring Perth and seeing the sites and in the process I found out that Fritz didn't get anywhere the night before. He was confident though that he only needed to be persistent. She was actually a pretty cool girl but I just had the feeling she was playing Mark the whole time. Now the funny thing about that day is the obvious differences on the road. They don’t drive on the same side of the road as we do and making turns was very difficult for me to get used to. So was seeing a dog in the passenger seat (looked like the dog was driving). I also noticed a lot of people driving around in their brand new 1986 Ford Falcon. That's right I said Falcon!! My dad had one of the last year Falcons they made from the late 60's. Guess the brand name was too good in Australia.

The rest of the time in Perth went the same way, drinking and carousing, getting my ass kicked in dart games in local pubs, checking out the local scenery. I remember we were there the same time Crocodile Dundee came out. In Australia this was a big joke but in America it was a huge hit. All in all we had a great time in Australia, never did find my own Olivia Newton John, but enjoyed the fact that I was seeing a part of the world I'd never see otherwise. Satisfying my fascination with everything Australian, well almost everything. I still have my boomerang that I bought there. Keep it hung on my "I love me" wall in the house. Fritz never did score the cute Australian girl but she did remain a pen pal for several months after we got back to the states. I think some Italian sailor eventually took the prize according to Mark, but up to that point I think he actually thought she was going to move to the states and live with him. I also think that Lance eventually got rid of the crotch critters too. Now the tape remains a mystery. It's rumored that I actually took possession of the tape. I'm not so sure I don't have it but recent searches have been fruitless. God help our political careers if I ever do find it, but honestly I think we're all safe.

The blur of Australia was fading already as we rode the last liberty boat back to the pig. The seas had calmed slightly by then. The real storm lay on the horizon, and that storm was Olongopo on the way home. I thought I knew about the PI from Angeles City. I was about to experience the real PI.

Louie Wingo


Thanks for the memories Lou.  I remember that Australian adventure well.  But thank you most for bringing back to mind MY repressed memory.... 

I am now replaying in my mind those horrific scenes of that near-fatal night so long ago during my first attempt at college.  I had forgotten all about it until now.   That was the night my Guardian Angel earned his wings.   

For 20 some-odd years I have been at peace but now I can see it all again so clearly:  Me, that innocent freshman at UCI; my roommate Art Rosenthall, another naive lad, the both of us .... so unaware of the dangers that lurk on this evil Earth.  

We're in our room.  Things are quiet, calm, ... nothing seems wrong.  Then there's a knock at our door.  The convict arrives--who is this guy? Who cares, he has a bottle of Southern Comfort in his hand!  We drink with this person for awhile and then agree to go with him to the store.  Only what awaited us was not a trip to the store but a drive through Hell!   

Oh My God!  I am breaking out in a cold sweat as I think about what happened next! The convict is drunk. He's belligerent.  He's wild! He wants to raise hell and take us with him as he spends the next few hours leaving behind a path of wanton destruction and broken noses.  

My roommate and I are too terrified to escape his company, so we abet him by our mere presence at the scene of all his extremely unsocial behavior.  Will this ordeal end soon?  Not likely! 

The images now get worse!  I can hear the police sirens that give us chase as we speed through the still un built city of Irvine, California.  I can see the red lights that we speed through as cars traveling perpendicular to us nip and tuck us fore and aft!  Is this nightmare ever gonna end?  

I'm as sober as a judge now and we are now nearing the campus again.  But the convict is driving too fast!  He's going well over 100 mph!  Here's the turn that must be made....  Can he do it? No!  

Now the car is flying, spinning, rolling.....exploding?  Not yet.  But the ornamental horticulture flower garden that welcomes all to the Univ of Cal, Irvine has been pulverized.  Ruined.  Mowed down and splattered by remnants of a rolling, near-exploding car full of idiots.  

But the chase doesn't end there.  My roommate and I are now on foot.  Somehow we are thrown from the wreckage.  The convict, ignoring the screams of innocent onlookers telling him that his car is on fire, begins driving the smoldering wreck while police cars ram and try to steer him into submission.  

My roommate and I run through the night.  We stop for nothing and when we reach our room the parking lot below our window is ablaze with flashing lights and sirens.  And there in the middle of it all is our convict friend.  He is caught.  Good!  But the damn fool won't give up.  We watch in semi-satisfied glee as he is beaten senseless by dozens of Irvine's finest as they administer wood shampoo for every kick and punch thrown at them.  

But our ordeal isn't over.  How could it be, really?  Countless witnesses were present when the car made its hasty entry into the UCI flower garden.  And these witnesses are no friends of ours as they told the police exactly who we were and where to find us.  The chase is on!  

We go from dorm to dorm, looking for asylum.  But it is all for not.  For we were also injured and the terminus of the adventure undoubtedly must be the campus medical center.  So that is where our night's adventure ends.  And our recovery is soon disturbed by men in uniforms, with radios crackling and squawking, signaling to all who care that they had finally located "the other two."  

We are asked to remain in the hospital overnight until we could be transported back to the UCI police trailer in the morning for questioning.  But we can't do that.  In true heroic fashion we elect to escape from the hospital at dawn and return to our dorm. Our hours on the lam are short though as the phone soon  rings and we humbly make our way to the UCI police department trailer.  There we throw ourselves at the mercy of the desk officer, who just wants to know "Why?"  Why would we get in the car with an escaped convict, who is driving a stolen car, who has stolen guns and other nasty things in his trunk ...yada yada yada. 

The good news was they dropped all charges against us because we agreed to sign a statement that said the convict/car thief/all around bad guy (who was wanted on multiple warrants) was drunk while driving.  It was just something else they could charge him with on top off all the other felonies he committed that night.  

So that was the story I relayed to my sympathetic cohorts that night in Perth.  I spilled my guts boys.  It was a catharsis.  And then I had to hear about it from most of Rx dept because Jestice secretly tape recorded my drunken confession and played it for everyone needing a good laugh once we returned to sea.

One last Perth memory and then I'll stop bending your ear (or eyes as this is a visual interaction).  We had no idea that many on the ship didn't get liberty in Australia due to the cancellation of liberty boat travel for most of the port visit.  So when Dicko and I waltzed back into RE berthing full of excitement after our glorious days in Perth had ended, we were met with stony silence.  EM1 "Wheels" shouted at us to keep our mouths shut about the fun we had, as many...MANY... never got ashore!  We felt really bad until (I think it was Paul Smith) came up to us and told us to tell him to go jump in a lake, as just moments before he was waltzing around berthing telling all who would listen that he got laid ashore. 


Getting Religion ....

The lasting memory of you telling that tale about the near fatal car chase was you praying "Hail Mary full of grace; save my ass its in a dangerous place"….That's the part that nearly had me wetting my Catholic pants. More than that it was the expression on your face. So funny especially after a lot of Emu beer. We had a great time in Australia. I wish Fritz would find this site. He's got pictures from that adventure and I'm sure he could fill in some blanks. Randy could for sure. Speak up Randy, your country needs you!!



Yes, I recall getting religion that night! I remember thinking with each red light we sped through [as cars skidded around us] that I'd be dead in moments.  I prayed harder than I ever prayed.  I could care less that we were being chased by cops; I just wanted to live.  

Someone emailed me and asked me if it was a practice of mine to allow convicts into my dorm room.  The truth was this guy wasn't exactly a stranger.  He was seen lurking about the campus and was supposedly dating some girl in one of the other dorms.  He was known as "Bad Ass Scott Schultz."  We steered clear of him except that night.  He was cutting through our dorm and heard our stereo playing.  Art and I were blasting out the mighty Met (KMET 94.7 FM), listening to Frampton's Do You Feel Like I Do ... This Bad Ass Scott guy knocked or just walked in and saw that we were drinking some brews.  He decided to join us with a bottle he had stashed away in his pants and sang along with us..."Do You Feeeeeel Like I Dooooo....dwa dwaaa dwaaa dwa..."  We needed more beer and he needed more cigarettes so he offered to drop us off at the store.  That's how we got into his car...not knowing he was in the mood to get rude.  

On a side note I should point out that in those days UCI was a small campus in a town that had yet to be built.  According to the campus police guy taking our report, that night was the most exciting thing to happen on campus in years.  Art and I couldn't help but notice the Polaroid snap that hung proudly on the campus police bulletin board: it was of Bad Ass Scott, obviously taken in the trailer the night before while he was awaiting transport back to prison.  His face looked like he'd gone twelve rounds with Muhammad Ali.  The idiot had a shit eating (toothless) grin on his face a mile wide.  Believe it or not, Art and I were quite the local heroes after that.  Everywhere we went other students pointed at us and whispered that we were the dudes who accompanied Bad Ass Scott on his lawless rampage through Irvine that night. 

That event (plus another less serious one that occurred later in the quarter ) got me "expelled" from UCI's pre med program.  Thus, the sea beckoned to me.   


Holy Moly ... time For a New Page!

Page 30? Click Here


Home | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19 | Page 20 | Page 21 | Page 22 | Page 23 | Page 24 | Page 25 | Page 26 | Page 27 | Page 28 |Page 29 | Page 30