Letters, Random Memories
and Assorted Sea Stories (Cont.)
8502 MM-Section E (From Nitro)
Top Row: Christiansen, Mueller, Schrecongost,
Hutchings, Matherly, Conner
4th Row: Bieske, Staat, Young, Daie, Pena, Newhard,
3rd Row: Bortalazzo, Battle, Hazelman, Demaris,
Little, Stapleton, Holdman
2nd Row: Peterson, McColloch, Guenther, Speer,
McFall, Floyd, McArthur
1st Row: Ehelen, Sohn, James, Eastman, Casey,
Front Row(Instructor/Staff): EMCS Serenko, Ens
Johnson, Lt Dowd, Ltjg Smoot, LCDR Gibson, Ens Boydstun, LCDR Casey,
EMCS Bell, EMC Londo
(Click to enlarge)
Thanks Nitro for sending in your NPS Photo.
There are lots of familiar faces there. I remember MM3
Little. Did he go to the Big E, too? Seems like he and I
hung out together but I can't remember where. I also recognize
the pride of RL Div, the king of trubitity, the one and only Sohn.
I almost shuddered
seeing the likeness of EMCS Seranko again. He hated me.
I mean he really hated me. But he hated my roommate Dave
Freisleben more. If I recall correctly he was the senior
enlisted advisor (our section chief's boss). Toward the
middle part of nuke school several of us 8502 EMB'ers decided to bleach
our hair. Our chief didn't care (since we were making
good grades) and even thought it was funny. I recall his words
to us were along the lines: "Hey, whatever it takes ...."
One day EMCS Seranko came into our section and spotted
Kevin Kidder, myself, Dave Freisleben, Jim Heartless and a few
others with our blondish hair. He then started mumbling something about us
being faggy boys. I had no idea what he was saying since all
he did was mumble. All I could make out was that he was saying
stuff like, "Look at 'em faggy boys... what 'er ya faggy boys? ..... mumble mumble,
boys?" To be honest most of us only bleached
the fronts of our hair (so we could hide it under our dixie
cups). Freisleben was the only one who went full tilt boogie
and bleached his whole head. After a few days of ignoring his blatant
hints EMCS finally ordered Dave to dye his hair back to
normal. (I think the rest of us wisely toned ours down enough
that he wasn't too upset about it anymore.) Dave tried to fix
his hair but something awful happened. It turned
bright orange. EMCS took this as a direct assault on his
authority and ordered Dave to have it back to normal by the morning
or risk getting sent for a psych eval. Dave tried real hard to
get it back to normal (we stayed up late into the night trying to
dye it back to brown I recall) and by
morning his hair was the right color but looked awful, like he had
dreadlocks. This was the last straw! EMCS ordered Dave
to the barber immediately and told him to report back to him within
the hour ... OR ELSE.
I'm not sure why Dave did what he next. Somewhere
on this site is the story about it so I won't repeat it
It was great seeing LCDR Casey in that photo. I'm not sure if I've mentioned how important LCDR Casey
was to me back then. He saved my ass in a way that cannot be
adequately described. If I ever cross paths with him again I
will give him the biggest handshake possible. I should have named
one of my sons after him. Mr. Casey, wherever you
"Better Get Some Sushi to Go with
This afternoon I was in the store buying
lunch. As I walked by the sushi bar I thought to myself,
"...better get some sushi to go with them fries..."
I do this every time. I started to think about this. Why
the hell do I say this every time? OH YEAH--now I remember! It
was that horrible night, many moons ago, when Dicko almost got Guido
and I killed!
I can't believe how close we came to getting our
heads squashed that night. It was in Long Beach, CA.
Dicko and Guido had accompanied me home (my dad was living in LA)
for a long weekend. This was probably following the '86
Westpac. I took the boys to one of my old favorite hamburger
joints. (A place called Tommy Burgers.) For some reason
Dicko was drunk out of his skull that night. I was sober
enough to drive and Guido was in an in-between stage. As we
were eating our food Dicko decided to mouth off to whomever or
whatever was around. Those of you who know about Tommy's
Burgers know it isn't exactly in the best neighborhood. The
"clientele" are a bit tougher than your usual burger joint. On this night Dicko decided to insult one of the
biggest and baddest dudes I ever saw. He was a Samoan but for
some reason Dicko thought he was Oriental and began hurling insults
at him, like, "Hey Fuji...you better order some sushi to go
with them fries..." Guido and I almost died. We didn't
know what to do. Should we haul ass and save ourselves or try
to get Dicko back into the car in one piece. The giant 8-ft
tall, 600 lb Samoan guy was actually in a good mood and thought
Dicko was funny, even when he said something along the lines of,
"Hey buddy, your sister was just here. She ordered a
milkshake and a [omitted] to go." The merciful giant allowed us
to take Dicko and put him in the car, understanding that he wasn't
sober enough to know better. He had a giant heart to match his
giant body. This was pretty much a typical steaming night for
us back in those days.
Awhile ago someone asked me if I knew when NPS did
away section numbers and began using letters. In the old days
there was a certain stigma attached to which section number you
belonged to. It was based on your NP Qualifying test
score. The smartest guys were in the highest sections and the
rocks were in the lowest. (Or was it visa-versa?) I
think this all changed about the time I went to NPS. I think
8501 was the first class to use letters (e.g., 8502 EMB). I'm not
sure why they did this. Does anyone know? What does NPS
do these days?
Note: "Tuber Mike" reports back that 8502 was the
first class to use this less stigmatizing section numbering
scheme. It was thought co-mixing the classes with good and bad
would be beneficial. I have no idea how long this played out.
We are unsure how NPS allots section numbers today.
NPS Class Numbers ....
Some of this shit might be (probably is) wrong. If so, I'll
cheerfully stand corrected.
Upon being lured/enticed/tricked/shanghaied into the Nuclear
Power program, we all got sent to boot camp. There, we went to
classification where the Powers That Be separated us into ratings.
The pecking order for nukes was MM, EM, IC and ET. The MMs usually
were the ones with the least academic math background. I had gone to
a vocational high school and majored in aircraft mechanics where my
math courses were minimal, so naturally I became a Machinist's Mate.
Once boot camp was over they sent all us potential nukes to A
school in Great Lakes. In the dead of winter, they billeted us MMs
in a drafty, broken-windowed shithole called Snipes Castle.
Physically, Snipes Castle was a depressing place, so we made it
bearable by living the "Animal House" lifestyle. MM
"A" school was about 9 weeks long including Steam Lab. It
was a pretty easy course which could be completed in ones sleep. (In
fact, I think I DID do it in my sleep.)
At the end of A school they put us MMs through a 3 week course
called NucAcademics. This was used to save the Navy time and money
by weeding out the guys that probably wouldn't have made it anyhow.
Of all the people I saw wash out of the program, most did so here.
The course was divided into 3 one week classes. You were given two
shots at each week. In all my academic experience I have only
flunked four tests. The first two were here. It took me 5 out of a
maximum 6 weeks to make it through. After that ordeal we were given
our third class crows and sent to the conventional fleet for four to
I ended up on a rust bucket 40's era destroyer in Norfolk named
the USS R.A.Owens (DD-827). I spent about 5 uneventful months there
before getting orders to NPS Bainbridge. I always felt sorry for
those poor schmucks spending their entire Navy hitch polishing deck
plates on the Owens.
NPS class 7401 started coming together in Bainbridge, MD in June
1973. We were called 7401 because we were to graduate in January
'74. The second NPS class to graduate in '74 was from Mare Island
Ca. and was called 7402. So that year at least, all the East coast
classes had odd numbers and the West coast classes had even numbers.
Those of us with minimal math background (like me), or had done
poorly in NucAcademics (also like me) had to arrive several weeks
early to go to "pre-school". This was to get us up to
speed for what lay ahead. (Sort of a Nuclear Headstart Program.)
Again, we had a fairly sizeable attrition rate.
When they finally assembled us into sections, the lowest number
sections were the "dumbest". Section 7401-1 were the
"dumbest" of the MMs. Section 7401-2 were the
"dumbest" EMs. Sections one through seven were all MMs and
EMs. ETs didn't show up till section 8. In all, I think there were
about 13 sections. The guys in the higher sections mostly had some
college and pretty well breezed through NPS. Interestingly, some of
these guys were the ones who struggled in prototype. As part of
7401-3, I myself flunked the first and third math tests and spent
the first half of the school on "Mandatory 25".
(Fortunately, the second half of NPS and prototype in general didn't
really pose that much of a problem for me.) After Christmas break,
it was time to wrap up, review and take the long-dreaded Comp. As we
were leaving NPS they were bringing in class 7405 (or maybe it was
7407). My understanding is that they were the last NPS class of
Amazingly, 7401-3 sent six guys to the E. Four of us ended up in
1MMR steam side. We found it amusing in '77 and '78 as we former
classmates all relieved each other as CMO.
Note: Thanks for the history lesson PP. Most of it agrees
with stuff I've heard so I assume it is correct. If others out
there remember other aspects, please share them with us. In my
time there were only MM, EM and ET nukes. The IC nukes were
phased out (I only recall only one IC nuke on the E in our
for me, I had almost three years of college under my belt when I
took the ASVAB and nuclear qualifying exam. But, for whatever
reason, I failed the nuke exam. I have no idea
why. Maybe I just didn't try hard enough; or I was sick,
or was hungry .... who knows. So the MEPs guy says,
'sorry dude, you missed one too many.' He talks to someone,
who looks at my ASVAB score and the fact that I had some college and
together they decide to give me a waiver (they could care less whether I
passed or not, as a nuke I was worth more points to them). I was
sure that under these circumstances I would be an MM, as I was told
by just about everyone that this would be the case. I wanted
to be an ET but knew the deck was stacked against me.
that day in boot camp, when us freshly head shaven nuke candidates filled out our
'wish list' for
which rating we wanted, I put down EM first, ET second and MM as my third
choice. I was 100% sure I'd be designated as an MM. To my
surprise I was classified as an EM! I guess no one put down EM
as their first choice (or maybe they just needed EMs). To be honest I was kind of upset, since
I had already resigned myself to being sent to the fleet as an
MM. I thought the "MM" rating symbol was the coolest
one of the three (Maybe because I saw that movie The Sand Pebbles
so many times.) In the end I was very happy being an EM.
8502 EMB we definitely had a mixture of smart and stupid in the
section. The first "ac board"; however,
thinned the bunch considerably and the remaining ac boards took one
or two more each time.
prototype I saw many of the "top" NPS students struggle
and those that barely made it through school do exceptionally
well. I think that was the case for most of us. At
prototype "book smart" didn't help you all that
|Joe Broome Changes
his Email Addy:
Hey Ram, I was going through the website again and
found out that my email is wrong. I got rid of aol, now it is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for making the change.
MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM The KPs!
Well my brothers and sisters in steam, before I
head off for a quick holiday gathering in my former boyhood area of
operations, let me wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy
New Year. I will be absent from the "control panel"
of this site for about a week.
The KP family
IKE BITES and an Observation ....
This is not so much a sea story but more of a comment - although
it pertains to my time on the Eisenhower, this topic does transcend
all vessels and all eras...
Here's the deal: In the 4 1/2 years I was on IKE, not once did I
wash my blanket. Moreover, I never once saw anyone else's blanket
come back from the laundry on laundry day...
Now am I just particularly revolting, or is it SOP for a sailor
to never wash his blanket?
What's even more disgusting, my first day aboard when I was
issued the blanket, I didn't wash it - and I sure as hell didn't
wash the damn thing when I left the ship... so here it is, 25 years
later, and some sailor is using that blanket - has it ever been
Speaking of washing bed linen, on the IKE we had a particularly
vile and disgusting sailor who would go long stretches (entire
cruises) without washing his sheets. - They would turn a
brownish-yellow and have an oily sheen. After the stench got
unbearable, his rack-neighbors complained to the division LCPO. The
chief came down to inspect and was so grossed out by the sheets that
he started dry-heaving. Chief made him deep-6 the sheets and get new
ones. Those sheets were so saturated with oil that we had better
have been outside the 50 mile limit when he tossed them overboard!
PS. If I can put in a plug for my website, I have a sea-stories
website for the USS Eisenhower at www.ikebites.com
what a great site (puts this one to shame:). I wish I could
organize this thing in such a way.
Kevin Swearingin Comes Aboard ...
My name is Kevin Swearingin, MM2, RM14, 1988-1992
Thank you for this incredible wed site. It is
awesome to see names of past friends and glow worms! I will pass
this information on to others I know so that the "list"
can get even bigger.
My email address is KevinBS7@adelphia.net
Thank you so much for this service,
Note: Hey Kevin, I remember you! We stood many a watch together.
More NPS Thoughts ...
I have to weigh in on this nuke school reminiscing. I graduated
number one in class 8503. I had no prior college, and I was never on
mandatory hours. I think I averaged 11 hours of study time per week
during nuke school. I would say the secret to my good success was
trying to get to bed by 10:30 on week nights and being very focused
during study time on memorizing that day's notes. Yes, nuke school
was a lot about memorizing, but I don't say that to put it down. It
was a tough school, and to this day graduating number one out of 500
plus students remains my proudest academic achievement. I'm now 38
years old, and I still don't have a single college credit that I can
claim. But in my job with a major utility company I basically
fulfill the function of an electrical engineer, and it's my Navy
nuke background that allowed me to get into that job. I wish I had
gone to college and gotten an electrical engineering degree, but my
parents not only would not provide any support but even put up a
pretty big road block (I was accepted for a 4 year Navy ROTC
scholarship and was accepted to UVA and Va Tech but still couldn't
put the college thing together). I expected back then that the Navy
nuke enlisted thing was a decent alternative to a traditional 4-year
college education. I believe it was. I am thankful and proud to have
served. Merry Christmas to all and God bless.
7502-Section 3 EOs
A picture of NPS Vallejo Class 7502-3 (low EO
section) close to graduation Spring of 1975. We started out with
about twice as many as graduated. I think I was the only guy to end
up on the Enterprise from my section.
Front Row (L-R) EM3 Tom Lindmark, EM3 Jim Banke,
EM3 Irwin Decauer, EM3 Pat Estee, IC3 John Taylor, EM3 Walker
Middle Row (L-R) EM3 Ken Heil, EM3Jeff Hewitt, EM3
Steve Chase, IC3 Lee (Bradfield?), IC3 John Blackmore, EM3 Jim
Back Row (L-R) EM3 Guy Qualls, EM3 Vern Owens, IC3
Gary Marshall, EM3 "Bo" Bogard
(Click to Enlarge)
Hi, Thanks for including my story/link to IkeBites.
I think I remember reading about an EM named
Tribble on your pages??? Red hair?
Anyway - in case I did, here is a picture of a EMC
Tribble from our 1980 IKE Cruisebook... This guy did have red hair -
I don't remember much about him although I think he did bluster a
bit... - maybe the same guy
thanks again! Peter
Mike Gunn Gets New Email Addy:
Dear King Paul,
Please see the revision in my e-mail address. Best
Regards, Mike Gunn
MICHAEL GUNN email@example.com
William Smith Comes Aboard ...
Would you include me on your list, William D Smith
Plant RM3 1972 to 1975. Romper room, this was not a circus. Spent a
good portion of New Years day reading the web site. laughing with a
kind of sadness at all we shared in the same place over so many
Apologies to all regarding my lack of getting any reunion stuff
together for 2004. Having no experience in this stuff and with too
much going on at work and home, I bit off way more than I can chew.
I had contacted a military reunion planner who basically gave
some suggested time frames to do reunions in Vegas. He overwhelmed
me with a bunch of info about dates, tours/activities, food and bar
suggestions, etc. Once we had a date and desired activities, he
would help pull it together.
Rather than go through a formal planner, I suspect talking
directly to a hotel and getting a conference room for a few hours on
a Saturday night (maybe with a cash bar) would suffice. The
"group" cost would be cheapest this way. Not sure what
everyone really wants to do, but a bunch of "tours" to
Hoover Dam and other Vegas sites is more than I think most of those
I have corresponded with want in a reunion. We can set a date, name
a place, and roll on. Those wanting a more extensive Vegas
experience can make those plans on their own.
What do you think?
Note: I say let's roll! Pick a date and we'll be there;)
The F Word?
A while back I wrote an entry to your site, but
then decided it probably wasn't appropriate. I'm sure you don't want
to clutter your site with rambling musings like this, but maybe you
can get a private chuckle out of it.
Note: Sorry Pat, I gotta share this with the boys.
It's too good to keep to myself;)
Since I started reading this site, several things
have caught my attention. Here's one : People seem to be afraid of
the "F" word. Most on this site elect to write "f__k"
when they really mean fuck. I personally tend to write
"f**k" when I mean fuck. Somehow, in this age of political
correctness we feel that dashes and asterisks make it all
acceptable. I mean REALLY! Come on! Who the f**k do we think we're
fooling here? Everyone knows the word we really mean. (What the f**k's
up with that?) I personally think it's bullshit, but sometimes it's
just easier to go with the flow. The F word is quite possibly the
most versatile word in the English language. It was during my 4
years on the Enterprise that I learned how to interject it into
common, everyday verbiage. You know the drill : "Fan-F-tastic."
"Out-F-standing." And let's not forget that 60s classic :
" Far-F-Out!" A few variations have even become so popular
that they are known by their initials alone. They have now worked
their way into everyday lexicon : BFD (Big F Deal) NFP (No F
Problem) WTF? (What the F?) To this day, when I see three capitol
letters together and one of them is an F, I just cannot help but
think it's the F word. Sometimes this really f**ks me up. (Think :
NFL, KFC, UFO etc..) I currently live in a town named Benicia.
Thinking I'm funny, I sometimes wear a ball cap from our local Fire
Department. (Think about it.) In a class of it's own is MFP. This
unfortunately does not enjoy widespread usage. I think this is
primarily due to the fact that it takes a skilled and experienced
practitioner to employ this term correctly. In the hands of an
expert however, its as versatile as the F word itself. (Maybe even
more so.) Several years ago I received a really great E mail. It
listed a number of quotes supposedly spoken by famous historical
figures. (Einstein Picasso, Noah etc.) The quote I most remember
was, "What the f**k was THAT!?" It was attributed to the
Mayor of Hiroshima. To this day my friends can use that quote and
abso-f**ing-lutely crack me up. I'm not sure why the f**k I wrote
this. I guess I just felt it was something that needed to be said.
Somehow, I feel much f**king better now.
PFP (Oops! There I f**king go again!) (I'm sick,
but at least I realize it.) (OFW. TYFG.)
Note: Remember how right out of boot camp, every other word that
came out of your mouth was the "F" word? You didn't
even know you were saying it. I still remember the look on my
poor mother's face when she came all the way out to see me for
graduation and I kept using my new-found seafaring vocabulary in our
conversation. You know, the truth is I hardly use swear words
these days. But get me around some old navy buddies ..... then
I pick up right where I left off! I don't think you can tell a sea
story without using the F word.
Micah Reddick Comes Aboard and Brings a
Reddick, Micah RE14, RE11 2000-2005 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: welcome aboard Micah! It's always good to see another Fwd
Group RE, especially when he comes bearing a story. Hey, did
they do away with the RE01 and RE04 designations? Oh well.
A Night in Jax
Well it was not long after I reported onboard to the Pig from
NPTU Charleston that the ship went to Fleet Week in Lauderdale. On
the way back, we stopped in for an overnighter in Jax. Now this
wasn't my first time in Jax since my brother was stationed there a
few years prior. I knew a little about the town and decided that I
might get us around. as it turns out, I was wrong. Way wrong. It was
me and a handful of my fellow RE guys out looking for booze and
boobs. We happened upon this club in town where the drinks were cold
and large and the boobs, well they were just large. I wound up
blowing a couple hundred bucks on liquor and dances and all of a
sudden realized HOLY SHIT, we gotta jet. The 5 or so of us that
hadn't already headed back piled into a taxi. One poor fella was so
drunk that he handed me his wallet and told the driver if he puked,
I would pay him. Well, I'd known this cat for a few years already as
we partied together long before either of us joined the Nav. I'd
never seen him puke and he swore I never would (and that was just
fine with me ) but I swear to god he coughed some up and swallowed
it again. Anyway, we successfully made it up the brow after a few
minutes gettin his sea legs to walk on land again. So up the brow we
went and across the quarterdeck, lo and behold who was standing
there but the damn CMC himself. I thought we were in some deep shit
when I heard the familiar voice yell out the S-bomb. "SHIPMATE!
just why do you think you can walk onboard my ship with those ear
rings in." We had both forgotten the ole boy had put his 4 gage
nails in his ears while we were out checkin out the scenery. Not to
mention he flashed his ID card upside down to the q-deck guys. Man o
man was there some fancy sidestepping goin on in hangar bay 1 about
that moment. Lucky for us, the CMC was a bit happy himself and just
took the nails and let us go about our business. The next morning at
quarters was quite a sight to see. Another division had stolen our
muster location so we had to move the division to EL3 for muster
that morning. About the time the LPO's called us to attention for
quarters what do I see, but the tallest lankiest drunk dude you've
ever seen. Just strutting right through the hangar to quarters, with
the wrong division. So I drew some attention from the LPO so he
could go round up our wayward shipmate. Upon corralling him into
ranks with the rest of us, the distinct aroma of alcohol leeching
out through flesh permeated the entire division. The div-o asked the
chief if it was him, chief asked divo the same. The LPO's were
sniffing each other and everyone else just chuckled as the offender
was standing right in the back, swaying back and forth just like we
were underway. In '03, we returned to Jax and I returned to the site
of that festival while we were there, I didn't get nearly as drunk,
but I did sneak a few pics of some chicks with their tits all over
A PPWO Tale of Sordid Nakedry ....
During the last deployment (2003-2004) we had the joy of being in
Bahrain for Christmas. The holidays are rough enough but to be
put through that was pure torture. So we got back underway and I had
to come up with something creative to do for New Years. Well, as the
PPWO of 2 plant and being a former Submariner there was only 1 thing
I could do. We were on watch (22-02) as the clock struck
midnight all of the guys in the plant got naked and we had a naked
New Years eve party in 2 plant. Of course in the new Navy we had to forewarn
the women on watch with us. They kept their eyes to themselves
(none were ballsy enough to join in) and we celebrated with nothing
on but party hats and noisemakers we took from the celebration in
the hanger bay. I had a lot of fun standing watch but that is one
Note: Hmmm. 2 Plant? Naked Watchstanders? How
come this doesn't surprise me? Thanks for the story!
Like you, KP, I seldom utter curse words. I might,
for example, say 'arse', rather than the alternative. Even during my
Navy days I mostly adhered to this practice, but I must confess for
some reason the 'F' word seemed to develop a certain appeal. What is
it about that word that squidly types love so much? In RE Div aboard
Ike back in the late 80's we used to have to perform this particular
task fairly often at sea that we came to dread. I guess these
(ladies) and fellows these days with the solid-state rod drives
don't deal with it anymore. Back then we had GE Amlidyne DC
generators that provided rod drive power. Something about the JP-5
fumes that constantly got sucked into the plant would upset the
friendly copper oxide film on the commutators of these machines.
This would lead to destructive 'arcing and sparking' and we would
have to resurface these things. We would set up a stoning rig and
grind copper off with coarse and then fine stones to get a new
surface. Pretty soon though we'd have to undercut the mica between
the commutator segments. What a pain this was. At this point the
machine would be tagged out, and frequently we'd need to rotate the
machine by hand to expose a new area of segments. We fabricated a
special tool that we could place on the end of the shaft to rotate
the machine by hand. We called it the motherf*ckingmotherf*cker. You
gotta love squids. Who else would come up with such a colorful name
for a simple tool?
Note: I hope them commutators had a nice "dog brown"
look to them!
Matt Haney Comes Aboard ....
Hello, Thank you for making such a great web site. I served
aboard the USS Enterprise 1988-1992 in RM-14 and I currently live in
Yuma, Arizona. I work in Agriculture for Sakata Seed Corp. of all
things but enjoy type of work and the hours. Please include my
E-mail on your list ( email@example.com
Thanks again, Matt Haney
Note: Hey, another Arizonan! Make sure you attend our next
Arizona BBQ. No doubt we stood a watch or two together down in
A GW Nuke Stops By ....
I went into boot camp in Dec of 91. Prior to this I had no
experience in anything except wasting time, beer drinking, and
surfing. I joined because a friend of mine said I was screwing up
and needed to straighten out! I thought about it one day as I was
ditching college and surfing and realized he may be on to something.
I went to a recruiter in shorts, no shirt, and flip-flops and told
him I wanted to join the navy. He said "get dressed and we'll
talk about it." I took his pre-ASVAB test and aced it. He then
signed me up for the ASVAB and got a 97. The next thing I know, I
was convinced to join the program I said no matter what I would not:
The Navy Nuclear Program. You see my dad was an Ex-Nuke. He was on
the Francis Scott Key and has been in civilian nuclear power since
74. Well I made it through boot camp with no problems, "A"
school was rough due to my future wife attending University of Miami
and I went to power school in Orlando. Needless to say this did not
help the GPA! I made it to power school and finished with a 3.24.
This was higher than I got in high-school. I went to Balston Spa for
prototype and then to CVN-73 the George Washington as an MM3 to work
in 2 MMR. I was a good mechanic but bad sailor. I got out in Oct of
97 because I couldn't get a detailer to understand why a sailor from
San Diego wanted to get Shore Duty there instead of doing a third
Med cruise in 4.5 years. When I got out I thought very little of my
time in. The 90's were an unfriendly time to be in the service and
it left a bad taste. I did not want to work in civilian nuclear
power after seeing the hours and schedules my father had worked
through. I decided to get into a new field. I was a Nuke MM as I
said when I was in. Although we had theory on electrical circuits,
we didn't have much hands-on. My first job was as the Maintenance
Manager at a Plastic injection molding company in Vista, CA. I
taught myself how electrical control circuits work, electrical
wiring, PLC control systems, Robotics, and troubleshooting for
injection molding machines. I went on to work at 2 other molding
companies and Upper Deck. I found that in 2 years of working in this
Industrial environment I had learned what my peers who had been in
the industry for 10-30yrs knew. After 9-11 I talked to a recruiter
about signing up again. I found myself feeling proud of my service.
Well the recruiter told me that I might go back as a different rate,
and rank. I told her @#$!% you! At this point I started to look for
a new job. I was 29 years old, missed being treated with respect,
missed being respected for my knowledge of my job. I stumbled on a
job as a Service Rep for the USMC out west. By the grace of God I
was selected for the job. I spent 2.5 years working out of my house,
training Marines on the gear, offering Service Support, and traveling
around the US helping them. It felt so good to be back with the
Fellas again. I told them how proud I was to help them daily! Then
the opportunity presented itself for me to move to PA where the
factory was and run the Training for all Military projects out of
the Factory. I moved my wife and Daughter (she's 22 months old now)
back here. I now understand the importance the Nuclear Navy has had
on my life. I am now very proud that I served and served as I did. I
am a member of the VFW post in Greencastle, Pa where I live. If
anyone on this site knows of any ex-nukes that are looking for jobs
near my area, have them send me a resume. My department has 1 ex
Marine, 3 ex Army and myself. I need to tip the scales! Great site!
Stephen Wilson Changes his E-Mail Addy
KP, Please change my e-mail address on the alumni
list to firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Armbruster Comes Aboard
Hi, I was on the enterprise from 99-03 in
Engineering, M-Div, 2plant then moved to 4 plant after the
"hazing incident." This was a great idea and really cool.
I am also planning to go back to the enterprise after my shore duty
in San Diego is over ('06). My non-navy email account is email@example.com
Don Armbruster MM1 (SW/AW) Armbruster
Tag--You're It ....
Here's my nametag from D1G (Balston Spa) - Remember when you
qualified you got to stick the green "Qualified Student"
backing on your name tag.
- Peter Wentworth
Note: I remember them well, as getting one meant you went from
hellish 12 hour (+2s) days to leisurely 8 hour shift work. At
MARF our badges were orange. I think S3G was blue and I forget
what Skate 8 had. Another thing I recall was getting this
thing "tagged" on you, as was the custom in the
politically incorrect era of pre-1990s navy life. As soon as
you showed up to muster with one all the other qualified students
felt obliged to slug you in the chest threw it, leaving two
horrendous bruises where the pin clips were.
Time For Another Quiz!!!
Win the admiration of your peers by answering this question:
What was the name of the panel to the left of the astern throttle
(seen above with all the red tags)? And who took logs on it?
First one with correct answer wins a beer next time you're in
Wow, I guess that quiz was too easy, as most got it right.
The first correct response came from Blue Lou Wingo, with his 14:05
"It's a salinity panel. And it never worked from 1986 to
1989, at least not in 1 plant. The phone talker took the logs
on the salinity panel. These logs were typically beamed off as the
salinity panel was untrustworthy anyway..."
Followed by Mark Best's 17:03 answer of:
I would be embarrassed to take a beer for knowing about the salinity
panel (circuit name unknown), logs taken by LRPT."
"Thatís too easy.
An honorable mention goes 4MMR's Willie, who
thought it was the 2TM Panel. But what does he know he was a
CMO and avoided the EOS at all cost.
Next Quiz. Hopefully this won't be so
easy. Look again at the above photo. Below the
"Jacking Gear Engaged" brace is a small brass claxon horn
(or rattler as the IC gang called it). What circuit was that
thing, when did it ring (or clang), and what would the throttleman
do if it rang?
Throttle Man 101
Well, to be honest I have no idea what that thing-ma-jig was
between the throttles. Being an RE I never had to qualify
throttleman (though you RM and RC types did everything you could to
get me there). But, being the "circuit" guy in plant
I do recall having to at least pretend to fix these odd-ball IC
systems. Here were the answers that came in. I'll give
the most weight to Mark's answer, as he was both a qualified
throttle-dude and PPWS. Read on brothers:
The small brass claxon horn was the wrong direction alarm (circuit
Hippo says it came from shaft ally, and was used to tell if the
jacking gear was engaged and working or if something was wrong
down there in the bowels. Throttleman would lock out the throttles
with the bar you see in the picture.
Blue Lou says: Can't tell you the circuit it's on,
only an EM would know that, but it would ring whenever speed
changes were requested. The throttleman would acknowledge the
"bell" and adjust throttles appropriately. Or he would
go back to sleep and pretend it didn't happen. This was extremely
annoying during maneuvering when idiots on the bridge would
constantly change the bell by 2 or 3 rpms.
And Mark says:
It rang (when it worked) when a throttle was open opposite than
what was ordered on the EOT. The throttleman was supposed to close
the offending throttle at normal throttling rates until the bell
went away. Then he (or she now) would open the throttle in the
direction of the ordered bell.
Hong Kong '74, Part 2:
This is my rendition of PP's story on page 34,
probably one of my best liberty days while overseas. l just want to
mention a few things he didn't. As PP stated, we took a tour from
special services and our first stop was climbing Victoria Peak via a
tram. Within 5 minutes of getting off the tram, a local vendor
peddling slides of HK approached me and l politely declined. l then
went to take pictures of HK harbor. l decided to take a panorama
picture which would take 5 shots with my instamatic camera,
overlapping so l could put them together later. l take the first 2
pics and someone taps me on the shoulder; it's the slide guy again.
l'm thinking, can't you remember you just asked me 5 minutes ago?
Again l declined and went back to my photos, finishing the last 3
shots. By then, it was almost time for us to leave, so we headed
back for the tram. Out of nowhere, here comes Mr Slide Guy again,
this time blocking my path. What a persistent bastard, l thought,
and to get rid of him , l bought 4 boxes of slides, thinking that
they were probably all the same thing. How right l was; there were
some duplicates, but they were better than my pictures turned out.
When he tapped me on the shoulder, clouds moved over without me
noticing, changing the light on my pictures, so some turned out
lighter than others-thanks, pal! You got me twice! In the Tiger Balm
Gardens, PP disappeared for a while, and l was taking pictures of
damn near everything. There was a group of Chinese schoolchildren
there taking in the sites and l got a shot of two of the cutest
little girls drinking cans of Coca Cola , but, alas, it ended up
being blurry. Then on to the Tai Pak floating restaurant in
Aberdeen, where we quaffed liters of San Miguel and gorged ourselves
on that 7-course meal. It was a 2 story boat and the lower level was
loaded with pictures of American movie stars who had eaten there.
The only picture l can remember was that of Liz Taylor (always had a
"thing" for her!). We then went to Repulse Bay, (where the
HMS Repulse must have repulsed something), for a little shopping and
more wetting of the whistles. As we drank, l brought up something PP
did that l didn't like (in a friendly manner), and that was when he
said "Bud" to someone; to me it sounded phony, and he
wasn't like that. Then he told me that he didn't like me saying
"Yee" instead of "yes"; so then we laughed and
decided to answer "Yee, bud" to all questions that
required an affirmative answer. The tour ended, and it was tattoo
time. As PP stated, it was on a day off in Saratoga in a whiskey
clouded conservation that l told him that if we ever went overseas
together, l'd get tattooed with him. To this day l remember making
that promise. So, off we went into the Wan Chai district (supposedly
off limits) to get inscribed skins. We picked out what we wanted and
the artists sat us down with Anchor beers (Asian anchor beer). When
l looked at the guy who was going to do my tattoo, l did a double
take, as he was cross-eyed! "Hold the phone" l said,
"this guy isn't doing me!" He's f**king cross-eyed! Dude
didn't understand but one of his co-workers did and assured me
everything was OK. Reluctantly, l sat back down and went on with the
procedure. It stung like hell and the beers did not take away the
pain! In the end, l endured the pain and we headed for the ship. We
had a duty the next day and ended up removing wet asbestos
insulation in one of 4 plts reactor compts and my tattoo scabs got
rubbed off, pretty much removing the color of my tattoo. l was
pissed! That was the only time l had to do any work in any reactor
compt the whole time l was on board. A year later to the day of
getting tattooed, PP and l both had our colors redone at a parlor
next to the Dragon Palace in Alameda. Attached are photos of the
ship from a ferry taking us to HK, a shot of 2 goofy nukes pulling
in to HK, and PP's tattoo, which was much better than mine.
Steve "Willy" Wilson 4MMR
Pix and A Story!
Greetings KP, I've sent some pix and a story.
First, the pix:
(Pic1) Nuke School Class 8107, Section 1 - MM Rocks. We started
44 strong and pushed out 11. One thing nice to say about that is
that we got a lot of attention and we got pretty close-knit.
First Row: IC1 Frank Smith (first on left), our section advisor.
A great guy who helped get my ass through nuke school. If I ever see
him again, I'll thank him again. The only other person in the first
row whose name I remember is the one third from the right, Lt.
Tahler. He was a sub sailor who taught RP and what a hot-shit he
was. Half an hour with him and I completely understood the workings
of Xenon in a post-trip scenario.
Second Row left to right: Bill Pa__ic, Tom Roberts, Adam Mosher,
Tim (Sluggo) Colvin, Mark Heinrich, Larry Blaylock, Bob Thor, Mark
(Mr. Peabody) Sherwin, Billy Cole, John Strong, Bill Peters.
(Pic 2) Bill P__ric, Tom Wotherspoon, and Adam Mosher steaming on
Bogey St. in Singapore. Many said this was similar to PI, but no
way. It was mostly deserted. We still managed to get stinking drunk
(Click to enlarge)
and now the story...
This is a story that I always relate when called upon by those
who were never in the navy to describe the greatest liberty port
ever known to man.
The Hideous Change Machine
Quite surprised by his sudden appearance, I was thrilled and
relieved to see my friend Adam Mosher at Oakland International
Airport. He knew right away that we were headed to the same place,
and said "Enterprise, right?"
"Yeah" I replied.
Inside the anxiety I had been feeling was suddenly lifted. I had
a bud to travel with. "Hey, where the hell is Subic Bay, R.P.?"
"R.P. is the Republic of the Philippines, I think," he
said. "The Enterprise must be there."
Little were we to know that the Enterprise was just then leaving
Pearl Harbor and wouldn't be in PI for another month!
We boarded our plane and flew to Anchorage, Alaska where we
caught a MAC flight to Clark Air Base via Okinawa, Japan. The flight
was horrendously long and our approach to Clark was probably akin to
a bombing run on Hanoi - we bounced around like there was
anti-aircraft rounds going off all around us, the turbulence was so
We landed, processed through customs, and picked up a bus for
Subic. Our bus driver probably grew up in Hanoi because the plane
ride suddenly seemed tame compared to his wild careening down the
steep slopes of Mt. Whateverthefuck on our way to Subic. He was
passing people around blind curves and left quite a few fist-shaking
jeepney drivers in the weeds off to the side of the road.
Now, I had heard a little bit about the Philippines previously
from a chief on the USS Saratoga, where I had been assigned prior to
my nuke school class starting. He showed me a rather large, bulbous
knot on the side of his head one day and said "You see this? I
got this from wandering off the main drag in Subic Bay." I
think he may have realized that I wasn't sure what he meant and he
continued, "I took a 2x4 to the head because I was drunk and
didn't understand what the hell I was doing. All I'm trying to tell
you, is watch your ass out there." I'm not sure I still got
what he was getting at, but I did know that when I arrived at that
base, I was fearful of leaving it.
Adam and I enjoyed quite a few weeks keeping to the EM club on
base (no ships meant we were the only guys coming to the club - and
we were treated well) and also did some snorkeling over at Grande
Island. Hell, we even got assigned as Shore Patrol riding the boat
out to the island one weekend. It was a glorious time, but we still
hadn't set foot off base yet.
Then one morning, in stumbles a rather drunken squid who
proclaimed quite loudly, "Mojo make me smart!" just prior
to collapsing in a snoring heap in someone else's rack. We looked at
each other and decided we'd give it a shot. Talk about kids in a toy
We soon settled into a routine and as both of us were engaged, we
always seemed to inevitably end up at a particular bar at the end of
Magsaysay. It was called the Terrace Bar and there was a second
floor that looked out on the street below. We liked this place
because we could get a cold, cheap brew and not get hassled by the
girls that worked there. It was very low key and suited both of us
Ding ding, ding ding. Enterprise, arriving.
What a change comes over Olongapo when a big ship comes in.
After checking onboard, we are of course cut loose as no one
wants anything to do with us while we're in PI. Adam and I make our
way to our favorite low key hole in the wall only to find it teeming
Somehow, we manage to get a table and are instantly finding
ourselves accompanied by female companions. We let them know that
we're not interested and that's ok with them, they stay anyway. Two
tables away, quite a ruckus is building as ten or so squids are
stacking peso coins 7 or 8 inches high (maybe more).
The next thing I know, a young lady with a long shirt and what I
thought were very tight, black shorts (they were short hairs I later
learned) is on the table being helped by a lady on each side taking
her hands. As she starts squatting I still don't understand what's
going on and ask one of our female companions "What the hell is
she doing?" "Peso show" they said in unison and the
act suddenly became crystal clear to me. I couldn't see anything
from my vantage point (and wasn't sure I wanted to) but when she
stood up, I could clearly see that only an inch or so remained of
that initial towering pile of coinage.
In horror, I then watched as one of her assistants stood below,
hands cupped to collect the slippery booty, while peso girl patted
her stomach vigorously.
"Clinkity clinkity clinka clinkity clink"
The hideous change machine was forever burned into my
Salinity Schilinity ...
In a personal email from my old chief I gleaned a paragraph for
use on this site (as it is relevant to photo quiz above):
"The salinity monitoring system (circuit 2SB, I
think) was a disaster until EM2 Schaaf went through all the plants
and troubleshot and repaired them, module by module. He did a
fantastic job. After that, perhaps, the 1 planters had forgotten how
to use them, as they hadn't worked for so long. Good job, Schaaf.
This would have been sometime after the 1986 WestPac"
Yeah, Schaaf was the best troubleshooter I ever met.
There wasn't anything he couldn't fix. The aft group had Ricky
Khun and the fwd group had Lee Schaaf. When Lee was short,
probably in his last 100 days, he was 'put to pasture' as we called
it, meaning he wasn't really assigned to any plant or office job and
basically just helped out where needed. By then I was 4-plant
LPO and was constantly bothering him to help me out with all the
things I couldn't fix. He was always there when we needed him and I will be
forever grateful to him. I paid homage to him in the 4-plant
dopeybook with a cartoon right before he got out (see RE04 site) called Feline, the Ace
Troubleshooter (Feline was his dopeybook name). The cartoon exaggerates
his expertise by showing Lee completely disassemble the
"All Stations" amplifier and put it back together again
exclaiming, "Yep, just what I thought, a blown fuse!"
Often you'd walk into SWGR and see Lee tinkering with something and
it would be in 1,000 pieces. You'd swear he'd never get
it back together again and he always did.
By the time I was
Forward Group Supervisor (~1989) the salinity system had gone
completely tit's up. We spent countless hours trying to fix it
and never got it to function as designed. It was probably the
worst thing I bagged poor "Billy Jack" Harger with when
he took over for me as Group Sup. As I was headed out the door
I think I said something, like: "Oh, by the way, the
entire forward group salinity system is totally f__ked up and there
are no parts existing anywhere on this Earth to fix it!" I may
or may not have then done that "BOHICA" sound effect (with
hand gestures). Believe it or not when I went to college
afterwards my senior
project was to design a solid state salinity system. I chose
to do it because I thought it would be fun to redesign something
that was so FUBAR in my past life. I should have sold my
design to the navy as it worked like a charm.
Mike H. is Alive!
After many years of no contact I finally got a
call from Myron Gyolai. He promised he'd look up this site
again and forward along some email. The best news is Mike
Hemsworth sent him a Christmas Card this year! That means the
lad is still alive. "Q" says Mike now lives in
Korea. He will pass along this website addy and, who knows,
maybe we'll hear from the most infamous of all late 80s Big E
nukes. No doubt Mike is a respectable man of the world these
days and will disown his squidly past. But it'll be great to hear
from him again.
Brown Outs and Salinity Modules ....
Like you, KP, I was the forward group sup on the Ike from around
late 1989 into early 1990 right before I got out. I remember one
time ( I think it was in 2 plant, which on the Nimitz class is the
aft plant) we had a whole bunch of salinity modules that all got
fried at the same time. I think the conclusion we came to was that
our self-imposed brownouts were causing these things to blow. It
seems like we ran drills almost every night when at sea. I was on
the primary drill team. During ORSE workups we would also have a
second drill team so we could run drills on two watches. I'm
struggling to remember the details of how some of the drills were
set up, but the end result was often that one of the SSTG's would
find itself coasting down. As soon as the electrical operator would
notice it he would trip the output breaker. But being human he
wasn't always real fast on the trigger, so sometimes frequency might
decay to well below 60 HZ with associated voltage decay before the
breaker would be tripped. It doesn't do much harm to ordinary light
bulbs, but it's not really good for most anything else electrical
such as motors and vacuum tubes in 1950's vintage conductivity
modules. So the bottom line is we were shooting ourselves in the
foot. The Nimitz-class carriers are set up so that numbers 2 and 4
SSTG's can also serve Rx Coolant Pumps in a variable frequency mode.
When in this mode the voltage regulator would vary targeted terminal
voltage on a linear curve corresponding to frequency (Volts/Hz).
There was an underfrequency relay that would automatically switch
the regulator to Volts/Hz when frequency would fall below the
setpoint--something like 55 Hz I think. So I thought why not use
this same relay on all SSTG's and have them normally set up to trip
the output breaker on underfrequency (when not supplying coolant
pumps of course) and thereby avoid brownouts. I think I went so far
as to write up a suggestion to go to NAVSEA 08. I wonder if it ever
Coral Sea Kudos ....
I love this your USS Enterprise site. I was on the USS
Coral Sea from 1975 - 1979. I read all your stories in one
night. I couldn't stop. My wife asked me why I was
laughing so hard. Thanks for putting this site together.
You Big E guys were something else.
Steve Tracy, E-Div, USS Coral Sea, 1975 - 1979
Salutations to the Coral Sea ....
Seeing the name Coral Sea in writing jogged an old
I think it was the '76 Westpac. We were operating
with the USS Coral Sea. Unfortunately (for us, not them) their
evaporators kept breaking down and they'd have to pull into Subic
early for repairs. When they'd pull in, we'd have to pull out early
and take their commitment. This led to some pretty hard feelings on
Once, as we were pulling out early, the two ships
passed each other just seaward of Grande Island. Supposedly, good ol'
Capt. CC Smith called the crew to attention and then announced
"Hand salute to the Harbor Queen." over the 1MC. Evidently
the skipper of the Coral Sea heard this and made a big stink about
it. You just had to love old CC.
KP Note: I love
reading about CC. No doubt his leadership style wouldn't fly
today but I bet he could out skipper any of today's cover-yer-ass
Captains. I remember when I worked as a contractor for the
army in the late 90s there were big changes taking place and the
"hard-nosed" scrambled-egg on the hat brass were being washed out to make room
for the PC candy-assed perfumed princes. Guys like Patton, Ike
Bradley wouldn't have had a chance. I think now that we're at
war the army's "Cooperation of Others," which was the
much-hyped new policy (Known as COO) is
out the door.
Reporting For Duty!
Hey there KP and all the other former and current nukes reading
this. I wrote in about two years ago when I was considering joining
up as a nuke, and thought I'd write in an update for all the salty
dogs, as I'm sure some of you are curious about what's going on in
I signed the papers in March of '03, shortly after my 18th
birthday. They gave me 10k for signing. I waited about 8 months in
"delayed entry program", and tried valiantly to fuck up
the last part of senior year, just because I was a lazy shit. I
shipped out to Great Lakes on Oct. 29 of that year. Boot camp was
mostly a joke. I thought I wanted to be an ET when I put in my dream
sheet, but for once, the Navy did something right and made me an MM.
No disrespect intended, but I'm not cut out to be a wire biter.
Finished boot camp, and shuffled over to NNPTC, Charleston, SC. Not
my favorite place, by any means. Interesting Nuke pipeline fact: The
attrition rate is now something like 3%. You could put a three year
old through A and power school, and he couldn't get dropped
academically if he tried. I'm dreading standing watch with some of
these brain dead MF's. There is one guy in particular who you could
count on failing every test, and he failed comp, but they AC boarded
him through to prototype. Said individual recently failed S8G
offcrew exam with a 1.5 and is 10% behind the curve. I got through
NNPTC with most of my dignity and dangly bits still intact (SC has
the highest STD infection rates in the country). Two months ago I
made it up to NPTU Balston Spa, where I am currently a student in
S8G. We just started in section this last monday. Hopefully will be
qualified soonish (2-2.5 months), and get some staff hours. I
wouldn't know what to do with myself on 8 hour shifts. We filled out
our dream sheets last week. I'm a sub vol (insert sub joke here) so
I put Bangor, Wa first, so I'll be on a carrier out of Norfolk (my
last pick) in four months. Overall, I'm pretty happy with my
decision to join as a nuke right now (but pin on my second class
rating badge and I'm sure I'll be as disgruntled as the rest of
them). For all of you Saratoga guys, I'd love to hear some war
stories from Caroline St. or where ever else you caused a ruckus
here back in the day. If anyone has any questions about the
pipeline, or anything else, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeremy M., MM3
KP Note: Wow, so you did it
Jeremy! Good for you. I remember talking to you.
Hopefully when you get to the fleet you can keep your positive
attitude (you'll need it). If you want I can pull some strings
and get you sent to the Big E;) Let me know. I got
friends in high places.
Marvin R. Smith Comes Aboard ....
I am Marvin R Smith EN1 and served as an ELT in
the aft ELT shack during the period Oct 1964 to Oct 1967. My email
address is email@example.com
KP Note: Wow, an EN
nuke? Were there many EN nukes in the early days? Please
send some stories from you era. Believe it or not I was born
the year you reported aboard the Big E. Amazingly, still,
there are guys that were born only a few years ago that will serve
on the Big E on her last tour.
Ralph Downey Comes Aboard ....
I would like to have my name added to the
Ralph Downey 1978-1982 M-Div M-11 Email Ralph.firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Ralph
7901! (or 7902)
Here is NPS class 7901 (I think) maybe 7902 ?? anyway, we
graduated NPS in March '79 The Chief at the bottom in salt and
peppers was an ENGINEMAN Nuke. - Hell of a nice guy...I wish I could
remember his name. He sleazed the entire section off on our prac-fac
exam. He'd read off the question and then say something like
"When in doubt, pick Charlie". The other sections got wind
of it and complained - so their chiefs had to go back over the test
and give them the answers.. -All 12 sections got sleazed off....
ain't the Navy grand! Spot any "E" sailors there? - These
guys reported to the fleet around Oct '79
-Peter Wentworth -USS IkeBites
(Click to Enlarge)
KP Note: "Radioactive"
bumpersticker was also sent by Peter. I just added it to his
NPS photo to save space (and work uploading pictures). It
shouldn't be construed that the nuke school bunch was
radioactive--though, they probably were at some point in their
Dose of Nostalgia ....
Here are a couple of links to pictures of
I remember going to many a party when someone
would whip out a roach clip fashioned from a personal dosimeter with
the alligator clip turned around.
When I reported aboard, we had loads of these
personal dosimeters... but due to their popularity with sailors - as
time went on, we had to limit the number of people who could enter
the RC because of a shortage of these dosimeters.
- Peter Wentworth USS Eisenhower
Guitar Legend Peter Nathanson?
Right before I left for boot camp I went to live
with my mom in Norwood, MA and spent the better part of each day
playing guitar (I did this during my DEP period for about 3
months). While in Norwood I took guitar lessons at the
local music store. The other day I found some old music notes
from that era and on them was the name and address of my teacher, a
guy named Peter Nathanson. This guy was awesome and I learned
more from him in that short 3 months than I did from any other
guitar teacher. Curious and all, I did a Google Search on the
name and here is what I found:
Needless to say, I bought one of his CDs and was
blown away by how much I was really influenced by him. I sent
Peter an email but have yet to hear back from him. Hopefully I
As far as my playing goes I am in the beginning
stages of forming a blues band. We lack still a bass player (Arggh
get out here!). The drummer is 'old school' and often she and
I break into songs that our younger counterparts never heard
of. One night she and I played, in order, every song on the
Fresh Cream album while the others just looked on scratching their
heads. We're also guilty of spontaneous Led Zeppelin.
Port Louis ....
Seeing and reading about the aftermath of the
tsunami in the I.O. brought back a memory.
January '75, we rounded the tip of Sumatra and
entered the I.O for our first time. (We had no idea about Ache
Province or what would happen there 30 years later.) Near as I can
tell, we passed right over the site where the undersea quake would
eventually take place.
After more than a month of doing circles, we
pulled into beautiful Mombassa. Shellback cards newly in hand, we
had a week of drinking shitty beer and buying cheap wood carvings.
As soon as we pulled out of Mombassa we hauled ass for the tiny
Island of Mauritius just east of Madagascar. It had just been hit by
a cyclone and they needed help. It was pretty neat pulling into Port
Louis. The water was eerily still. All around us were green, craggy,
volcanic peaks. From the shoreline smoke slowly rose into the still
evening air. The only sound came from the anchor chain as it slowly
played out. I don't know if you ever saw the movie "Mysterious
Island" based on the Jules Verne novel, but that's exactly what
the scene reminded me of. This was one of those rare moments that
were really what I joined the Navy for. (Too bad the nuclear power
program didn't allow more of those moments.)
For the better part of a week we sent work parties
ashore to help the people dig out. We provided medicine, food,
water, and labor to help the survivors. Everything I saw seemed to
indicate that the people were truly grateful. Politics, reporters
and the like didn't seem to get in the way.
After we left Mauritius, we had traveled almost
completely east across the I.O when we had to do a U-turn and head
back to Africa. Idi Amin of Uganda was acting up and we went back to
the area as a show of force. We traveled back at flank speed (losing
our non-nuke escorts in the process). Once we were in the area, Idi
calmed down and stopped eating people. So we turned around and
headed east once more. Now Idi starts acting up AGAIN. Back to
Africa at flank bell. I'm not sure how many times we did this, but
it sure seemed to get repetitive. One thing this proved : Not only
could the old gal haul ass, but she could do so indefinitely.