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Page 7 started May 22, 2002

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

Another Old Sailor!

How you guys doing? I was in Class 66-2. Reported aboard in '67 and bailed out in '71. Was an EM in the Engineering Department. Went through the refueling and fire and the stay in Hawaii. Life was tough then. Enjoyed seeing your web site, brought back lots of memories. Any of you guys remember taking our cars up to Seattle and around to the other coast? Beats having those airplanes onboard.........

Steve Mager
Old EM2 
smager@prodigy.net

New Email Address

King Paul/Tuli/MoojGuy:

Please note that Lyn Small (from the 60's) address is now lsmall@earthlink.net

Thanks

PS ... Do they still have "lead pipes" in the modern Nuke Navy? 

The Hippo Has Landed!

I see Willie "Hippo" Kreutel has been piped aboard. Good to see you're still suckin' air Sir William. I'm sure I can recall a hippo tale or two if I try. ;))) Willie was (still may be) obsessed with hippotomi ... I don't know why ... perhaps he was recalling a former life or hoped to someday reincarnate in that form or perhaps he was just channeling ... hard to say. Now most of us perverts had Playboy centerfolds taped to our lockers but young William had pictures of ... yup ... hippos. Nude of course. Young ones and old ones ... even pigmy hippos. And he was expert in transmitting hippo facts and stories and ceaselessly spoke of their virtues and their place in the animal kingdom. I'm certain he considered them to be the true king of beasts ... if not of all animal life on the planet. Not that he resembled them that much most of the time although he was a big boy ... 200+ and kinda hairy but pretty normal lookin' for a nuc. 

However, once we had downed a few San Miguels in lovely downtown Olongapo one could begin to see a change come over him. During monsoon season (which is year round as far as I can tell) when the streets of Potown (which were dirt in those daze) became a river of mud ... well, the call of the wild was just too much for the lad and the transformation would begin. His nostrils would begin to flare as he took in the sweet smell of Shit River and he would begin to bellow and wallow in the mud. Once he was covered from head to toe he was in heaven and we would hit the bars again for a few more brews and he would grab a girl and press her close for a dance. Some of these folks had no sense of humor and the guard (this was in '72 ... martial law with armed dudes at the door) would force us back out onto street where the hippo would continue prancing thru the mud to the next bar. A normal night for the Hippo ... when he was in a good mood ;) 

One of the most amazing things about Willie was his ability to place both of his feet behind his neck. I've never met anyone else who could do this and to see a guy of his size execute this move was quite a sight. And he could do it in a flash with no effort. One of his fav tricks was to be in a crowded bar ... and to wander out onto the dance floor where some unsuspecting soul would bump into him. In an instant he was on the floor screaming out in pain with his leg stuck behind his neck !!! Screaming and bellowing and spinning around on the floor !!! Of course everyone just stared in disbelief with their jaws dropped and didn't have a clue about what to do. Then I would come to the rescue with a "Stand back !!! Give him some air." And then slap him to get him to stop screaming, place one foot on his chest and grab the foot behind his neck with both hands and yank and pull. This would set him to screaming once more and I would have to slap him again. Finally I would get him untangled and on his feet and he would stand there glaring at the poor soul who inflicted such horrible pain upon him. And of course I would intervene and usher him back out onto the street and on to the next bar. People just didn't understand the lad. 

On the nights when he wasn't in a good mood he would do things like squeeze a San Miguel bottle in each hand until they broke ... cutting the shit out of his hands. I would then help by whipping the tablecloth off of the table to wrap them in to soak up the blood ... again ... some folks have no sense of humor. One morning after a very bad night, the Hippo caught a Jitney back to the main gate. He was a mess ... with an awful hangover ... a Mojo night I believe. Well, one other Filipino jumped in the back ... Willie is by himself ... and they suddenly veer down an alley and are gonna roll him. He just looks at them and growls, "I don't have any money, I'm sick as hell, I feel like shit and I have a splittin' headache and you are not gonna roll me. It ain't gonna happen. Take me to the fuckin' main gate, give me your Jitney number ... I'll go get some money and bring it back over tomorrow and you assholes can rob me then. But ... I am NOT in the mood !!!" They laughed right out loud and delivered him to the gate no problem. I don't know if he looked 'em up the next day or not. 

Anyway ... it's great to know that The Hippo lives and his adventures and exploits as one of the Magnificent Seven on the streets of PoTown and Singapore are some of my favorite memories. Funny how when we tried to party like that back here in the States, we seemed to get into much more trouble. Ah ... Youth. 

Here's a pic or two of the Hippo ... check out that T-shirt in the 3rd one. 

http://community.webshots.com/user/objack2 
and go to the "Old Friends" album 

Will work on the adventures of "The Hulk," "The Mighty 
Thor" and "Animal" Parker as time permits and load up 
some pics of them if I can locate 'em. 

it's 8 bells ... 
Steamer  

 

Magsaysay Memories....

Last night I was watching The Osbournes on MTV and the words, "Ozzzy, f--cking, Osbourne" (in a high-pitched Filipino accent) kept echoing through my head.  "Where is that from?" I wondered .... and then it hit me: "Of course, Olongapo!"  

Remember how the Magsaysay heavy metal bars always had totally kick ass bands that could play any song perfectly?  Those guys sounded exactly like the band they were covering.  Between songs the singer would always shout stuff, like: "... you want to hear som' Ozzzzy, f--king, Osssbourne?  You want to hear som' ZZ, f--king, Top? You want to hear som' Led, f--king, Zeppelin?"  The band would then break into their next song and it usually wasn't an Ozzy, ZZ Top or Led Zeppelin song.  

I really miss Olongapo.  But not so much because of the hooks, mojo and other adult Disneyland stuff; mainly it's because of all the good music you could listen to while butterflying your way up and down Magsaysay Drive. 

I frequented both the country-western and heavy metal bars.  I loved good music and didn't care what kind it was.  In my opinion those long-ago Olongapo musicians were the best in the world.

Remember how every O-town rock band played Stairway to Heaven and Free Bird almost every other song?  Bar girls were always trying to get you to dance and you had to tell them over and over again that Stairway to Heaven and Free Bird were songs that you just couldn't dance to.  But they were persistent so you finally got up and danced with them anyway and then suffered that awkwardness of not knowing what to do when the song went from really slow to really fast; at that point you could either sit down or look like a fool trying to dance.

Slam dancing was also really big in the late 80's and any squid with a few drinks in him would gladly join in whenever things got wild.  My favorite semi-sober slam dance memory occurred at the Cal Jam (or was it The Apple?).  Most of rx dept. was there slamming it up (a typical last night in PI).  And then out of nowhere waddles MMC Bush onto the dance floor.  Pandemonium ensued when everyone then began slamming their way into position to get a better slam at Bush.  That was the night Bush and C. Pulley slugged it out (see page 1).  I think that was also the night Big Dave Conklin was throwing tables across the bar until one of the bar girls returned his stolen camera (see Feb 28 2001 Mooj newsletter).

Do you guys remember how mechanical bulls were also really big back then? Most of the country-western bars had one.  The country-western bars also had "open mike" policies, whereas drunk squids were allowed (often encouraged) to stagger up on the stage and sing with the band.  Sometimes watching an idiot sing was funnier than watching him get nearly killed on the mechanical bull.  I still have a vague memory of wandering into one of those country-western bars (forget the name now) and seeing my future brother in law John Hutchings up there on the stage with his fellow 3-plant M-Div'rs singing Hank William's Kalija (or was it Kaaaa-li-jaaaaaaah).  They were actually pretty good if I remember correctly. 

And then there were those hourly power failures!  I remember being in the Sierra Club many a time when the band was blasting out 120dB music and then the lights went out.  In the silent darkness you could still hear the drummer pounding away; and then, when the lights came back on, the band was still playing, having never missed a beat.

KP

Another Early 80s RM:

I like to get added to the list!

Brendan Mulligan 
RM-11, 1980-1984
Bmulligan00@aol.com

Thanks,
Brendan Mulligan 

A Couple of Old Salts On the Town

I finally hooked up with my old bud Craig Norquist!  I haven't seen Craig since the '89 world cruise.  We had dinner last night and talked about the good old days.  Craig is now a doctor and just finishing up his residency.  

One story we laughed about was the one when Craig got that punk rock haircut back during the '88 cruise.  Craig let Kevin Kidder cut his hair and basically told Kidder to make it look wild, which Kidder did.  (I can't remember if I actually saw the haircut but I remember it being described by most as a 'punk rock haircut from hell.')  Craig walked into central control with this extreme hairdo and was immediately pounced on by the off-going EOOW.  This orcifer had no sense of humor and made Craig accompany him to the ship's barber to have his head shaved.

Years later (while in college) Craig ran into this humorless former EOOW.  He, like Craig, was a civilian.  When the guy asked Craig where he knew him from, Craig reminded him that they were both on the Big E together and then told him about the haircut incident.  The ex-orcifer recalled the event and was sorry for what he did and apologized for being such an asshole.  Neither Craig nor I could recall the officer's name.  Does anyone out there remember?   

KP

 

The 5 REM Kid

Back during the s/g inspection job (1986 cruise) we were required to have extra TLDs strapped to our heads (and other vital organs).  Sometimes these TLDs would fall off and collect massive zoomies in the bilge until someone retrieved them.  As the s/g job was wrapping up, M-Div's Harry Cohen found one of those long forgotten TLDs and brought it up to HP to get it read.  Harry handed the HP guy the TLD from the bilge and pretended that it was his.  The guy taking the reading nearly shit himself when the thing pegged high.

KP

Looking For Old Shipmates?

On the website www.classmates.com you can access a military section and hence the big E and find some people you used to work with. Needless to say, it's a pretty big list because it includes everyone, but at least you can narrow it down by years. The only catch is in order to get e-mail addresses and such you have to become a "gold member," which is about $30 a year. You can put in your own info for free though. I did see some names from my era that were listed "lost" on Dove's 2-plant loser site. If anyone is a member maybe they can put someone in touch with the others or at least let them know about this site and others on your links.  

Todd Miller

Olongapo and Pattya Memories

The PI stories brought back memories. I remember the Sierra Club well, "Judas F**king Priest, Breaking the F**king Law!!!" They must have thought American heavy metal went hand in hand with the word "fuck." 

Does anyone remember the Shark's Cove? The RM-22 guys used to hang out on the upper deck which overlooked Magsaysay Blvd and play frogger by tossing pesos into the street.

Those [Filipino guys] would scam you in a heartbeat, though. I saw one guy loose his ID after producing it in a jeepnee to prove to some [guy] that "he wasn't too young to be an E5." The [guy] swiped it and jumped off the back. The women would always try to find out who you were so they could write you on the ship and get money. A lot of guys got letters saying they were daddies and needed to send cash. In my case, I bet the ship got a lot of undeliverable mail addressed to "Ted Nugent." 

Does anybody remember a place called "Marilyn's a go-go" in Pataya Beach, Thailand? It had a Marilyn Monroe theme (I still have the T-shirt). MY GOD!!! I saw women do things in there that I never would have believed if I hadn't seen it. Stunts involving birds, turtles, eels, ping-pong balls, needles, razor blades, cigarettes, etc... I never knew that particular organ was so ....versatile. I went with two other guys from RM22. Steve "Fish" Sturgeon was sitting between myself and Clay "dr D" Huml at the stage. The girl on stage had a banana "locked and loaded" at that time. Me and Clay held up a fist full of baht, kinda leaned back and pointed at Fish. She spun around and launched that baby and scored a direct splat on his chest. He never knew until a dopey-book entry a few weeks later that we did it. Some crazy bastards would hold balloons in their mouth and the girls would shoot darts at them. Not me, that had STD written all over it. I know those eels didn't look too lively when they came out.

Todd "opie" Miller

 

Another Old Friend

Ram,

Hey, nice website. You probably don't remember me; I stayed in the shadows as much as possible on the Pig. I still remember watching you guys play guitar in the old RE office - didn't you used to play a short black electric? That really affected me - I wound up buying an acoustic after we pulled in and I've been playing ever since (still suck, though ;-) ) 

I was in 4 plant on the 89-90 cruise, then in Seamus Mcgowan's crew in the shipyard (pseudonym "Pazuzu," aka "Paz." I don't know if you knew Seamus - last I heard his e-mail was seamcg@aol.com

Anyway, the site is excellent, and brings back a lot of memories (good and bad). Do you know whatever became of the RE-Div short-timer's book and belt buckle? I'd like to get a copy of that someday. Anyway, I finished up my undergraduate work in philosophy about a month before getting out. That was probably the biggest scandal of my day. The officers started encouraging everyone to take a class or two while we were in the shipyard, I guess to better their perception that the blue shirts were more cerebrum than cerebellum. So by the spring of 1991, we had so many people taking classes that they never knew where the hell anybody was. We had all these complicated duty arrangements to work in with everybody's class schedules. It was like Top Gun meets Fast Times and Ridgemont High. I wound up taking 22 credit hours one semester, mostly sleeping Monday and Saturday nights and going to work and school 24/7 the rest of the week. It was a bitch keeping it all going while at the same time switching every seven days from days, then swings, then mids, then back to days again. It was a zombie life. Got out in July of 1993 - one of the single best days of my life, if for no other reason than the fact that I was basically just blown away by the fact that they were actually just going to let me gather my shit and go home after six years. I was supposed to get out in September, but the CO gave me a break on the last few months because I was starting school in Illinois in August. Went on to law school in Champaign, Illinois and now I work in Rockford. I keep in touch with Russell Anderson and Dwayne Hamby - in fact we're doing a dudes weekend at the Lake of the Ozarks end of this month. Feel free to add me to the contacts list - my info is here:

Aaron W. Brooks
RE04 1989-1993
awb@planetbrooks.com

Regards,
Aaron

Aaron, Great to hear from you again!  Yes, I remember you.  You were among that lucky gang of nubs showing up during the 89-90 cruise.  Man, you guys skated because there were so many of you and hardly any work.  I guess you paid for that, though, once the Big E entered the yards.  

I'm glad you remember that old office guitar; it was an awesome thing. (It was a Steinberg I think.) It actually belonged to Dicko and he and I logged about 10 hrs a day [each] on the thing.  I didn't bring my main ax (a '77 tele) on that cruise since I knew I was flying off and didn't want to worry about getting it home.  Our DO at the time (Mr.Lee) was also a guitar player and we taught him many a tune.    

I remember Hamby and Anderson, too.  Both were great guys and very hard workers.  I remember every time poor Hamby came into the office we'd all say, "Haaam-bee" (in an English accent).  I'm not sure why we did that; I guess his name sounded like an English butler's or something.  The poor guy was only a nub so all he could do was smile (deep down inside he was probably cursing us).  

Great to hear from you again.  Keep playing your guitar! 

KP

 

Another '90s Kinda Guy

Yeah, add me!

Gerard "Pickle" Heidgerken
2MMR, 1994-1998
gerard@heidgerken.org

Cheers!
Gerard  

 

Messing With The Bears

Back when we were in the Med following Operation El Dorado Canyon, Soviet ships were all over the place.  Those rust buckets would sometimes come so close that you could see the "white's" of the Russian sailor's eyes.  Those poor Soviet sailors always looked miserable.  We did our best to look like we were having the time of our lives and held up our ice cold Cokes and waved it at them (since they obviously couldn't get any).  Then we'd moon them.  Cold War diplomacy I guess.

Back in those days it was no secret that anything that got thrown off sponson 7 was immediately retrieved by one of those Russian "fishing" boats.  Therefore, we were forbidden to toss anything that had any writing on it.  Just about everything that wasn't garbage had to be put into burn bags.  

Something that I recall hearing about was once someone shit in a small box, marked it "top secret," and then put it in another, larger box.  This box was then completely HP-taped over, and then placed inside a bigger box.  (...and so on and so on...)  By the time the object was finally tossed overboard it was inside a huge crate.  Needless-to-say, some poor Russian slob had to spend hours peeling away HP tape and opening boxes to find that lump of shit.

KP

 

Messing with The MAA

No one hated us nukes and engineers more than the MAA.  Nothing pissed them off more than stopping some guy with a TLD on the 2nd deck (to give him a "speeding ticket" for long hair, wild sideburns, dirty dungarees, or whatever) and then watching that guy run away and scramble down the plant.  Usually these MAA idiots would wait at the point of access, not realizing that there were dozens of ways out of the plant. 

KP 

 

LEGENDS AND HEROES 

We all needed to have them.  I certainly did ....

As a nub onboard the 'Prise, I listened to the Old Hands as they transmitted the tales and exploits of those who had gone before. Those Great Ones who stood up for the lowly enlisted man and fought against the Enemy ... the enemy that manifested itself in the form of power mongers and the military bureaucracy. Heroes who struggled with those sadists who sought to dominate and subdue those who made up the very backbone of the USN ... the able bodied seamen ... the true sailors ... the enlisted men. 

My heroes were the capable lads who dared stand against those who would pull rank to dehumanize and demoralize the lowly nub just because they could. Let's move on. 

It was through these stories of these brave ones that I was able to maintain my morale ... to keep on going and not give in to the pressure and roll over. These dudes made me laugh right out loud and served to fill my memory banks with positive, uplifting experiences. These tended to displace the negative and the crap that could otherwise overwhelm you and wear you down. It was these folks who made it alive and worthwhile. 

In RC Div, we had a saying: "Rod height is directly proportional to morale." The Powers That Be should be grateful to these guys for keeping it up. ;) 

The first legend I recall ... A.B. Tate Or ... ABT (for Auto Bus Transfer) ... he certainly could switch realities on your azz in an instant. ;) I didn't know him ... caught a glimpse of him here and there but knew of him mostly through hearsay. Perhaps John Cover or some of the boyz from the late 60's early 70's can confirm some of this. My impression was that he was brilliant, fairly introverted and in possession of a great sense of irony and humor. He was an ET ... RO/RT in 1 plant. I understand that he went through the yard period in '70 and could sit down with paper and pen and draw out the circuitry of any of the systems in Control Equipment from memory. I believe that ... I could (and still might be able to under hypnosis) draw the circuits for the SPS-10 surface search radar and IFF gear. I spent so much time living with and repairing that gear that I'm afraid it's now permanently stashed in my synapses. Short of a complete defrag and reinstall of my biological hard drive ... I'm probably stuck with it. But I digress. The point is ... ABT was very good at what he did and was seen by the Powers as essential to the operation of the plants. This gave him a bit of leverage and he utilized it well. 

OK ... his legendary exploits.  These are the stories I heard and I want to and need to believe them ... I certainly did at the time. So if anyone can substantiate them or add to them, cool. If you can debunk 'em ... please don't !!! ;) 

#1 You know how it goes ... the brass gets on some sort of rant and rave and screws over the enlisted folks. Nothing new or unique there. Standard Operating Procedure. So while the Forces were once again endeavoring to put the vise-grips on our collective mental health, ABT had an idea. He constructed a set of rear-view-mirrors complete with brackets that would allow him to mount and carry them on his shoulders. Just like driving in your pickup truck. He donned his gear and slid into EOS to assume the Rx panel watch. The new EOW comes in, takes his watch and finally has to ask, (they tried NOT to ask ABT about things but he would suck you in until you just had to ... that was part of his expertise ;) "Tate ... what's with the mirrors?" "Just watching my back sir, just watching my back." 

#2 ABT puts in a request ... he claims to have converted to Buddhism and he insists that the galley provide him with a nutritionally complete vegetarian meal. And he's gonna go on a hunger strike until they comply. Now I figure they should have just done it ... he's lettin' 'em off easy IMO ... I mean he could have set himself on fire. Well, memos are exchanged and he is talked to by various folks but he's determined and pushes it as a religious issue. He finally ends up having a talk with the Chaplain (a Christian). They chat a bit and the Chaplain finally asks him, "Tell me Petty Officer Tate, just what made you decide to become a Buddhist?" ABT: "Well sir, I read a book." "What ?!" says the Chaplain, "do you mean to tell me that you are going to choose a religion and live the rest of your life based upon reading just one book !?!?"  ABT: "Yes sir, isn't that what you do ???" 

#3 Commendations. I know there are those who deserve them. Those aren't the ones I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the Nav doing some sort of quota thing ... and giving them out in mass quantities in an attempt to uplift morale and make a good show. Institutional self-indulgence, IMO. I see the same thing happen in the Nuc Industry and I'm certain it goes on in all Big Bidness. I believe ABT must have thought the same. OK ... big show time ... gobs of commendations to be given out. Dress uniforms, big deal ceremony with the Captain and various Department heads giving them out. Pomp and Circumstance to the max. ABT is to be one of them. So ... there he is, standing in line as the Captain (Kellogg?) and the Rx Officer (Rx George?) move down the line, handing them and congrats out, shaking hands with each of the recipients. They get to ABT. He won't take it or accept their congratulations. He just stands at attention. They try again ... no luck. The Rx Officer pleads with him to take it. He won't. "Why not ???" they desperately inquire. "I haven't done anything to deserve it, sir ... all I've done is my duty ... nothing above and beyond the call, sir ... just doing my job like everyone else in the division." They try a few more times but he won't budge. They move on. I love it. 

Remind me to talk of C.L. Turner aka CLT ( pronounced CLiT ;) This guy could convince anyone of anything, anytime, anywhere. Even when I knew he was bullshittin' me, it was impossible to not believe what he was spoutin'. A True Master. 

Steamer 

 

Another RM14 Bud!!!!

Hey Ram!!

I am not sure, but I think you should remember me, or at least my name. I was a 4 plant RM and then in RM3 for a couple of years. I love your site, I about soiled myself remembering some of those stories, especially the one about Stinger in Tijuana. 

I hated the Pig, but I realized I have many great memories. Add me to your site if you would and I will keep checking back to see if I recognize any more names. Thanks a lot.

Kevin Kucifer
KSKucifer@att.net

Kevin!  I remember you!  I think we were on the same watch team for one of our many ORSEs.  Do you remember all the water fights we had down in 4-plant?  I'll never forget how you RM14 dudes rigged up the sink on the flats to spray the person standing at the faucet.  Every time we had a nub come down I'd ask you RM guys to get the sink ready and then send the nub to get a bucket of water.  The look on the nub's face was always priceless; especially when he couldn't figure out how he was getting soaked and kept turning on the faucet.

Sadly, Stinger still hasn't made his way to this site as of yet.  I'd love to hear from him again.

KP

 

DA HULK!

The Incredible HULK ... like the Hippo, The Animal, Bull or The Mighty Thor, one mo steamin' bud who was/is one of a kind. (Thank Buddha!) Not only was the mold broken after these dewds were created ... but I understand that the guys who made the molds in the first place were then hunted down and killed. 

The Hulk was one of those fellows who had the knack of being able to come out of any real stinking situation smelling like a rose. You all know the type ... there are many stories here about them. Well, the Hulk was a True Master. 

I first met Frank (later aka Duke The Nuc) in the fall of 1970. I was brand new to the E and had just come aboard as she was coming out of the yards at Newport News. I was in the RT void studying when he made his appearance. I noticed him right away ... something about how he carried and conducted himself caught my attention. There was an air of self assurance and confidence ... he seemed to be very at ease ... a non-sweater, if you will. I spoke to him, and asked if he was coming over to the Nuc side. He replied that he didn't know for sure ... seems the Rx Officer (CDR Davis aka Rx George) had some reservations as young Frank had been in a bit of trouble here and there during a previous Med cruise. (More on that later in a story called "Just One Beer" ;) But ... he said that his Chief thought he could convince the RO that he would be a valuable addition seeing as he was an E5 MM with a great deal of experience. That was about it for our conversation and I went back to studying. 

That evening I decided to head over to the EM Club ... not something I did very often but I was new on the boat and didn't really know anyone and this was well before my "steamin" days. Besides, I had heard that there was a pretty good band playing that night. But first I had to get busy and sew my ship's patch onto my dress blues. This was just before ADM Zumwalt and the change that would allow us to wear civvies. And ... this ship's patch thing was the hot item that the brass was obsessing over at that time. You know how it is ... they get a wild hair up their collective azzes over some small issue and then it becomes the most important and eventful item in the entire Navy and is soon considered to be a threat to National Security. For whatever reason, this was it ... you could go AWOL for 3 months, raid the CPO's booze locker and knock up the Capt's daughter and be forgiven but if you were caught on liberty without that ship's patch ... stand the f**k by to be keelhauled and to receive a few thousand lashes. 

Now the Rx Officer was the number one advocate of this directive and had made it very clear that he would not tolerate any deviation for any reason. But I digress. In the Club that night ... I was nursing a beer and just checkin' out the band ... having a quiet evening and about to head back to the boat when a commotion over by the door caught my attention. There was a great deal of shouting and yelling and I could see a group of 5 or 6 squids moving through the crowd towards the dance floor.  The dancers were disrupted as the shouting became louder and eventually the band even stopped playing. I moved a little closer to get a better view and could then see that the leader of the gang had some object in his hands.  Damn ! ... it was a forked stick ... a witching stick! And ... it was being wielded by that dude Frank!!! Then the stick bent down towards the middle of the dance floor and I heard him shout, "This is it men, dig here!" and they began to pry up the tiles on the floor. 

Well, first Shore Patrol tried to intervene by grabbing Frank and that's when the Transformation began. I swear he began to turn green and that his jumper began to split open! Frank was in pretty good shape, lifted weights and was built like a grizzly ... including the hump and the hair. And just like a bear, he let loose a roar and backhanded the SP clean across a table. The rest of the dudes dispersed but Frank continued to dig, man.

Reinforcements soon arrived and before long all I could see was 5 or 6 guys beatin' the lad severely about the head and shoulders. I don't think he even felt it ... he just became greener and larger. (This was 20 years before the Rodney King thing but every time I see that video I flash back to this scene where I first saw the Hulk emerge. Of course the Shore Patrol didn't have tasers or tranquilizer guns or they might have fared better.) It took about 10 of 'em but they finally hauled him off in cuffs and shackles and chains and he was still baring fangs, roaring and struggling and knocking SP's down. Well ... I remember thinking that would be the last I would see of the lad unless I ended up in the brig my-own-self that night. 

I'm back in the training void a few days later when who should slide in but the Hulk. He's still got a few lumps on his head and a busted lip but he's smiling and looks content as can be. I tell him that I saw him that night and that I figure he won't be joining us and that he's probably in deep dark doo-doo. "Nah," he replies, "I'm in. I just came from talking with the Commander and everything's cool." ??????? ... I don't say anything ... I don't know what to say. 

He continues ... "Yeah, I just explained what happened and he understood." I'm just looking at him with a puzzled look so he goes on. "Yup ... I told him I was sorry for the hassle but that I was just trying to defend myself, my ship and shipmates. I explained that the whole incident started when the SP's saw my new ship's patch and informed me that Enterprise pukes weren't allowed and were not welcome ... especially friggin' nucs. And that's when I objected and tried to enter but they blocked my way and then began to beat the crap out of me. I was just defending myself, sir." 

I couldn't believe the RO would go for it but the Hulk assured me that it was indeed the case ... and that he had capitalized on the ship's patch brew-ha-ha to tap into the Cdr.'s psyche and that it had worked. Not only did the CDR buy into it but when Frank left his stateroom, Rx George was on the phone chewing out the Shore Patrol for discriminating against his troops. I was astounded and still didn't believe it but ... it turns out he was correct and that he had indeed pulled it off. I don't try to explain it ... that's just how it came down. 

That day in the RT void I realized that this guy KNEW something. He understood a great deal about human nature and about perceived realities and that it would be a good idea to make a study of the lad and to learn as much as I could from him. And I did. I spent another 15 years runnin' with this dude, both in and out of the Nav and I tell you ... he continued to pull off amazing feats of escape and to blow people's minds.

We spent a great deal of time traveling The Adventure Trail and I apprenticed pretty well. He took great pleasure in setting me up in embarrassing situations just to see if I could get my dumb azz out. Sometimes I did and on other occasions wouldn't and he then he would just smile and say, "Too bad, Grasshopper." He he ... it was always a blast. And every now and then, I would pull something off on his azz and throw him. He loved it when that happened and would then advance me a degree/belt in the Art of Steamin'. ;) 

Shortly after this incident, we headed out to sea to round The Horn and join the 7th Fleet out of Alameda. We pulled into Rio for 6 daze during Festival (my first liberty in a foreign port) and the Hulk took it upon himself to take me under his wing and to show me the ropes and to introduce me to the Art of Steamin'. Somehow ... I managed to live to tell the tale and will relate that story next time. 

It's Liberty call ... 
Steamer 

A Note From King Paul:

God (or Buddha) Bless Steamer!  Nothing brings tears to my eyes faster than one of his Steamin' stories.  He sent me several last night with careful instructions not to post them all at once (he wanted them staggered over a few weeks so as not to overload you poor guys).  But these stories are just too good to wait!  Here are two more!

LEARNIN' THE ROPES 

I'm in the RT void with the Hulk ... and we're about to pull into Rio for 6 daze during Festival. I'm a nub and have never been on liberty in a foreign port and I'm pingin' the Hulk about where to start to experience in a large city like Rio. There is so much to see and do ... how does one go about taking it all in ? "Laddie-buck," says Hulk, "you just stick with me. I'm an old hand at steamin' and I'll take care of you and learn you the in's and out's." 

Well, I had heard some of his sea stories and they sure sounded like fun and I wanted to have those experiences too. He had recently related his story of going on liberty in Naples ... a story he called "Just One Beer." Seems he had decided to stay onboard during an inport period there ... just to rest and recover from a previous liberty. But ... being of Italian extraction his-own-self, he did want to buy a few souvenirs and knickknacks for family. And ... there certainly couldn't be any harm in going over and having Just One Beer, right? ;) I don't recall all of the details but it seems he finally made it back to the ship three daze later, hung over, in complete disarray, missing his jersey, with his "used to be white" pants totally shredded and looking more like a hula skirt, shoeless and wearing a French sailor's hat with a goofy red dingle-ball on it. The reason I don't know the details of his adventures is because he didn't recall them either ... but he did remember having a good time. 

"OK," says I, "where do we start ?" "Well lad," he explains, "I've got a Magic Marble I carry in my pocket. When we get ashore, I'll take out this Marble and drop it on the street. And that marble is gonna roll downhill. It's gonna roll down, down, down and we're gonna follow it. It's gonna go lower, lower, lower and we're gonna go with it until we get to the lowest, most filthy, impure, scummy, godforsaken part of the city ... a place known as "The Gut." Every city has a Gut ... and that's where we're gonna start." 

"Cool," says I. And that's what we did ... found The Gut, achieved criticality, heated up, opened up all the stops and commenced to steam. God ... it was wonderful !!! Festival in Rio !!! Talk about partying !! Everybody just dancing in the streets ... all night. Dancing to the Samba and passing bottles through the crowd as we danced along. It was amazing !!! Great food, great music, beautiful women ... everything you ever wanted or desired. Party on. 

Now ... we had Cinderella Liberty ... the last boat (a landing craft) left at 0200 and we had to muster every morning at 0700. But, the Hulk said that the real fun began after 0200, when most of the sailors were gone. Made sense to me. And it turned out he was right ... things really picked up then. The Hulk wasn't worried about the last boat so I wasn't gonna worry either. There we were ... having a blast dancing in some bar ... dancing with nekid women on our shoulders !!! Unbelievable. Something to write home about, eh? 

The Hulk dances over near me and says he's going upstairs with this little honey he has and to not go anywhere until he comes back down. That's fine with me, I'm gonna keep on doing that Samba ... I'm in Heaven. Some time passes and then there is a disturbance on the other side of the room. Seems there is a group of 4 or 5 Federalizes, Brazilian cops, who are upset about something. And I see them start running up the stairs. Hmmmm ? ... same stairs the Hulk went up with his girl. Hmmmm ... I wonder ... ? 

I ease over toward the door. Just then the Hulk comes bounding down the stairs taking 4 steps at a time and shouts, "Let's go !!!" I follow. We run down the street and then blend in with the crowd of folks still dancing. We go into another bar to have a beer and I ask him what's up. Seems that the girl he was with got a little upset with him when he started to lift her over his head like a barbell ... he liked lifting things ... but she didn't enjoy it much and scratched him and pulled out some of his griz hair. He got pissed and started throwing her stuff out of the window. It was on the 4th floor and he was having trouble getting the mattress thru the window when he saw the Federalizes arrive below and enter the building. So he got his clothes on and started running down the stairs. He met them coming up on the 3rd floor landing and began shouting that there was a crazy man up there and gestured repeatedly up the stairs while frantically yelling, "Loco !!! Loco hombre !!!" or some such thing. I have no idea how close Portuguese is to Spanish here. So they did their best Keystone Cops thing and ran up the stairs while he ran down. (Told you he could think on his feet ;). That's when he grabbed me and we split. 

We finished our beer and I asked him how we were gonna get back to the ship. "No problem ... we'll take the Officers boat. We're wearing civvies and they'll never know." Sounded OK to me by then ... I was pretty open to anything at that point ;) 

So we found the launch just as it was about to head out. Seems there weren't many Officers out and about at this time of morning as we all know they are Gentlemen and can't hang nearly as well as your typical enlisted puke. That takes practice, practice, and more practice. There was one though. A LtCdr decked out in full White Regalia ... must have been to some Officer's Ball. Seems to me he even had a sword strapped on but I could be wrong about that. Well ... he didn't seem too pleased to see us and I could feel him just glaring at us as we found a seat. He was obviously disgusted that Officers and Gentleman would be out in public in such a condition. The Hulk said, "Screw him." That was fine with me. 

We sat as far away as possible and tried to not make eye contact. The seas were pretty rough so he remained where he was. When we finally reached the ship, we got ready to disembark as quickly as possible before he could confront us but I saw him get to his feet and approach. I noticed the Hulk was looking a bit green but this time it seemed to be more from the drink and the rough seas and not a precursor of the Transformation. Just as the dude approached and was about to address us, the Hulk turned and puked all down the front of the LCD's dress whites !!! I mean he blew chunks, man !!! 

The dude fell out. He tripped off-line. He was stunned. Speechless. He couldn't handle it and I could see the look in his eyes ... it was surreal for the poor guy ... unbelievable ... beyond comprehension. He froze in place ... just staring down at his uniform in disbelief. I think a chunk or two even got into his scabbard but I could be wrong about that. ;) In this instant the Hulk and I leapt to the ladder, shot up it and scrambled below decks as quickly as possible. I don't recall anyone even being there as we boarded ... no watch or anything. I don't know ... the Hulk seemed to have the ability to create a separate reality in times of dire need. 

Needless to say, we spent as much time as possible below decks and away from any Air Wing spaces for the rest of that cruise. Never did run into the guy. Whew !!! Of course the Hulk would say, "No worries, mate." I'm still not sure if he was really sick or if he was able to just call it up on demand. He was one very resourceful fellow. Of course after that ... we made sure we caught the 0200 boat. Just like the good little sailor boys we were. ;))) 

Steamer 


THE ANIMAL!

He earned the name my friends, he earned it. 

Now it turns out that part of my duties as a member of the Magnificent Seven during our steamin' excursions was to ensure that no one got killed. I served the same function back in my college daze ... seems I could hold my lacquer better than most and I seemed to have at least a bit of discipline when it came to drinking. There were times when I overindulged but, as a rule, I was usually able to maintain some semblance of consciousness and an awareness of what was happening. I kinda like having some sort of an idea of what's going on, eh? I'd rather not have someone else tell me later about how good a time I had. 

So ... I was there to stop the Hippo's bleeding ... seems he was always bleeding (did you know that hippo blood is pink? Hmmm ... maybe that's their sweat ) ... or to keep The Bull from having his head caved in by the SP and intercede when Little Bud (them little guys will get you into trouble) would start badmouthing San Diego motorcycle gangs and allude to their rides as scooters. I tried to take a step back and watch things from that "witness" position ... and to observe and pay attention to how folks reacted to the insanity we brought into their lives. It was better and more interesting than going to the movies. These are the things that stories are made of and I took it upon myself to also become the group historian. 

I did a lot of steamin' with Animal in the PI and in the States. I could hang with the best of them but with The Animal, there often came a point in the evening when I would have to say, "OK Bobby ... you're on your own." I likes having a good time but I also likes being among the living and young Bob sorta kinda pushed that on occasion. 

Many were the times when I would bid him adieu expecting to never see him again or if so, having it be in some morgue while identifying his body. I'll relate the story of the time he ended up floating in Shit River some other time ... but for now, I'll do my best to describe what he was most famous for: The Amazing Pitcher Trick. 

It went sorta like this ... Sometime during the evening, we would find ourselves in front of a bar on Magsaysay Drive ;) and drift on in. It was best if it had a dance floor but that it not be too crowded ... Bobby needed to be able to get everyone's attention. He would find a pitcher and fill it with San Miguel. Then he would wander out onto the dance floor and find some way to draw everyone's attention. Once he had it, he would tip the pitcher up and begin to chug. And of course, usually to the cheers of other depraved squids. (Hmmm... that's a bit redundant, eh? ;) Now, that's no big deal ... plenty of folks have performed this feat. But then, he would begin to gag a little. And then a little more, keeping the attention of all. And then ... upchuck the whole mess back into the pitcher !!! Of course, there were still those who cheered him on. However, when he had just finished a plate of spaghetti or some chunky fare (chew your food, kids) with a colorful sauce and would divert a portion of the effluent out through his nose, the fans were fewer. And then ... he would tip it up and chug it all again!!! This usually resulted in the cheers turning to jeers and to our being thrown back out onto the street ... even in PoTown. 

In the States, we were lucky to escape at all!!! Some people just don't have a sense of humor or an appreciation or recognition of greatness. They probably don't recycle either. 

But here's the thing ... that was not the scary part. This is: After we left Uncle Sam's Canoe Club I went up to Idaho to visit the lad where he was going to school in an attempt to educate himself in Nuclear Engineering. No ... that's only semi-scary. Read on. I found him at home in the kitchen in the afternoon doing the pitcher trick. He was sitting there alone at the table recycling the same pitcher over and over. And he was sober !!! When I asked what was up he explained that he had a party to go to later and they expected him to do his thing and he was just practicing !!! The animal. He offered me a beer but I wasn't thirsty. 

Once at a barbecue, a couple of underage neighbor kids asked him if he would give 'em a beer and well ... yeah ... he recycled it for 'em and they ran away ;) Probably drove 'em to temperance. He thought it would be even cooler if I would learn to do it too and then we would really freak people out by forming a team act and exchange pitchers while recycling. I also declined that offer. Brilliant dude though ... and he must have really been a boy genius in early life as I have personally assisted him in destroying billions and billions of brain cells over the years. ;) 

OK ... the Shit River story: I'd have to say that the Animal ranks right up at the top when it comes to being a Gross Out champ. There is very little that would bother the lad and he would do most anything on a dare ... be it taking a bite of a urinal cake (used) or riding naked on the luggage rack of Coop's Volvo for a 5 mile trip home from a bar (imagine that) on a dark and stormy night up at Bremerton. Tough guy to get to or to bother. But, after one inport session in PoTown, he was uncharacteristically quiet and reluctant to share his exploits. As a matter of fact, he didn't even go over during the next inport period so I knew something was seriously wrong with the boy. I asked him about it and he said that he had been rolled last time and had ended up in Shit River wearing only his skivvies. His PoTown honey had fished him out and made him stay in the shower for hours but the whole thing really freaked him out. And he was way worried about disease and having contracted some sort of plague. It really weighed on the lad. I asked him what it had been like in the River and he couldn't bring himself to even talk about it. I recall thinking it must have really been something to freak out the Animal. It was months or perhaps even years later when he was finally able to describe to me what the experience of crawling along the slimy bottom of Shit River was like ... knowing that those floaters poking him in the eye were NOT Baby Ruth bars. Here's what he told me: He asked me if I had ever read a book called Red Sky In The Morning by ??? (I don't recall the author) I said that I had and he asked if I recalled the scene where the kids find a dead horse. I did. In this scene, three kids are out just playing and they spot a dead horse lying in the hot Mexican sun. It's been there a while and is way ripe, bloated and oozing all kinds of nasty stuff. They're quite some distance away but can still smell the stench and hear the flies buzzing. One dares another to touch the horse and he takes the dare. He gets prepared, takes a big breath and begins running towards it. The plan is to touch it and then run back out of range of the stench before having to take another breath. He's doing well and just starting to slow down for the turn when he trips and falls directly onto the corpse and then feels the rib cage collapse as his outstretched hands break through into the putrid, pus-filled cavity just before his face meets the same fate. It's a wonderfully descriptive scene ... very well done and I highly recommend it to one and all. ;))) The Animal relates this narrative and then exclaims: "It was just ... like ... THAT!!!" 

Well, it's dinner time ... Cheerz ... 
Steamer 

 

Another Old RM23 Buddy Comes Aboard

Bill -

Please add me to the Big E Contacts list.

Thanks

Mark Best
RM23 83-87
RM Tech 93-95
RM22/23 98-2001
junque@zianet.com

Hey Mark I remember you!  Looks like you made the navy a career.  Hopefully Chief Petrie wasn't your role model! 

KP

 

More Idle Ramblings.....

How did we survive?  Reading Steamer's stories above I'm reminded of so many similar adventures.  My, how wild and crazy things were overseas!  I feel sorry for today's fleet sailor, no doubt similar antics would land one's butt in the brig (or, as a minimum, have to participate in sensitivity training).  In our time we were encouraged to blow off steam; as long as you didn't kill someone you pretty much needed only to make it back to the ship in time.  You didn't even have to be coherent, unless you had the next watch.

I remember when I was in college after my steaming days were over.  Often I overheard some frat boy talking to another about a wild party.  I'd think, "How pathetic," and then felt the need to tell the pantywaists a thing or two about partying.  "Pull into port with a battle group of 10,000 men that hadn't seen land in 60 days--then talk to me about partying!" I'd say.

I remember how awkward it was pulling into Pearl Harbor on the way home from westpac '86.  It didn't seem like a liberty port at all.  It was way too mellow.  And for some reason American girls had lost their allure compared to the charming and beautiful Pacific Islanders.  Shopping was no fun either because no one hassled you or tried to bargain.  Most of the time you'd walk out of a store without buying anything since you desired some sort of confrontation.  

It's weird to think back on those long ago days.  As happy as I was to finally be home after a cruise I was sad, too.  It's hard to describe to someone who never did a westpac.  

Would I ever want to do it again?  Nope!  But when I was young and adventurous there wasn't a better way to see the world.

KP

 

A Poem Of Sorts......

Yikes! Had I known that my request to be added to the listing would have been posted under the sea stories, I'd have made it more substantive. To make up for it, I'd like to share two gems I came up with while standing watch in 2MMR. The first is a poem, written during a frustrating portion of the 90's overhaul.

--------------------------------

The Mighty Warship Enterprise
I've been stationed here, Oh! What a prize!
Wait'll I write home and tell the guys
That I'm on the Mighty Warship Enterprise.

The Mighty Warship Enterprise
They refueled her, but was it wise?
It's still hell in disguise,
This Mighty Warship Enterprise.

The Mighty Warship Enterprise
She rots in port attracting flies,
And my frustration is on the rise,
Late at night you'll here my cries,
(My recruiter, he told me lies)
So someday soon, I'll sever all ties
With the Goddamn Warship Enterprise.

---------------------------------

My second humble contribution is this simple fun fact: If you rearrange the letters of "Mighty Warship Enterprise" you can spell "Three Shrimp Try a Penis Wig." Coincidence?

Gerard "Pickle" Heidgerken

 

The Brown Trout

Hey, remember the brown trout that used to swim in the heads? Sometimes you would get a citation sized trout swimming around in there. It usually was the stbd side head but all our heads experienced this lovely development every now and then. For some reason the collection tanks would have a seizure and fill one of the heads to the lip of the water tight. I spent my first three months on the Pig in the RX Dept coop (King Paul I think you might have been down there for some of that time, or has a decade hosed my memory?) Back then the coop was for nubs, some stab job, or lucky nukes who had been disqualified for some reason or other. Anyway, after the Turd chasers had chased away all the brown trout, it was the cooper’s job to swab the floor and collect to small bits of detritus that remained. I hated doing that, but realized after a while in the plant that the coop wasn’t all that bad.

Kevin Kucifer
RM 14 ‘87-‘89
RM 3 ‘89-‘91

The Mighty King Paul never did coop time (at least during the MMCM reign of terror).  I guess I was lucky.  If you read through the 1987 RE04 dopeybook you'll see a cartoon depicting the day poor Blister Dick found out he was being sent to the coop.  He was devastated!  He was actually pretty senior by then but was such a no load that the "powers that be" thought it would be funny to see him have to do real work for 30 days.  I actually felt bad for him (but not bad enough not to draw the cartoon). 

KP

rx-062502-bd-coop.jpg (260217 bytes)

 

The Legendary Exploits of a "Hulk-Like" Creature

Back when I was doing quanitative risk assessments for the army I was often subjected to the ranting and raving of Congressional mandated expert panels and/or the National Resources Council (NRC).  One prominent member of the NRC was a well known expert in my field and, as it turned out, a former Big E nuke officer.  I won't mention his name here since it isn't appropriate and I'm sure he would hate for his peers to see this.  I had no idea this guy was an ex navy nuke until he mentioned it during one of our panel meetings.  After the meeting I asked him what ship he was on and he said the USS Enterprise.  I then proudly admitted that I, too, was a Big E nuke.  

I had known this fellow for years (since our paths often crossed -- the risk assessment world is a small one).  The moment I revealed that I was an Enterprise-man I sensed that I lost his respect.  Especially when I further admitted to being a mere enlisted man.  But, being the kind of guy I am, I asked this prominent NRC guy to check out my Big E nuke website (this one).  He said that he would but I doubted it.   

The next time we met for a meeting he came up to me afterwards and said that he liked my site but that there wasn't enough stories about the early 70s (his era).  I told him I could only post what got sent in .... and then asked him for a story or two.  He declined (as he should) but did mention a certain "hulk" like MM that he remembered.  He claimed this guy was stronger than an ox and could withstand anything.  I wonder..... could this have been Steamer's friend Frank?  The timeframe seems right.  I'll have to ask Steamer if he knows this former watch officer.

KP

 

Another Early 80s 4-Planter!

Mike Noland 
RC-14 1981-1985 
MchNoland@aol.com

 

Merry Christmas RC-14 1982

Santa Claus was very good to the RO's in 4 plant that year, they all found a cold bottle of Saint Pauli Girl under their pillows. How this beer got onboard and cold is not even the question but how it lasted 4 months is. Those cold brews were consumed during each senior RO's watch and the bastards wouldn't share. 

Some of the names from that cruise were - Aarrrgh, Lipps, Lt Schlong and numerous others. We were known to drop bags of shit down on RARUL after certain MM1's left us presents behind the vent trunk in RCER, that hole in the floor was right over the RM toolbox (oops). 

Wonderful memories of the brown trout in the aft head, "Danny the dirt bag" going to the aft head in all his glory and wearing no shower shoes just those lovely black wool socks then returning to his rack and not bothering to remove the wet socks, he was a 2 plant loser I think.  He was the most dinq guy on the Big E.  I believe he qualified about 6 months before he got out. 

Sometime I will tell you about Trigger, aka "thumper bunny" and how he got those names. 

M.N.

 

Email Address Change

Yo nuke!  You are doing a great job with the web site. I've been able to e-mail a few buds that I haven't spoken with since the Big E days.  But, as all things change, could you update my e-mail address?

Joe Seman, 1980 - 1983, RL div is now reachable at:
jseman@comcast.net

Thanks

 

Modern Era Insights

Hey great site. I absolutely love it. It is good to know that things were as fucked up in the day as they are now. I was on the Pig from 97 - 01. I was in 3 plant and then a 4 plant ET. I read about the rx fill thing and figured I might as well volunteer a similar incident. Please keep my name out of this. I am still in the Nav. and freedom is 25 months away.

We were overseas somewhere in the med. I and a friend were doing a precrit. We were both pretty senior and had done a bunch of precrits together so we were moving through it pretty quickly. The #3B RO got a relief so he could go eat or something. His relief took just about enough time to sign into the logs and then just as I was taking one of the flow instruments to test, he turns the fill switch to fill. Apparently he was trying to spray and he just plain didn't look. I heard the heaters drop out and the alarms go off and sat there for about a minute trying to figure out WTF I had just done. He never admitted doing what he did and the A RO officially never saw anything (although he saw the whole thing off the record). They actually called in some security loser to fingerprint the fill switch to see if the guy touched it. Right after that, they put covers on the fill switches.

To answer some questions I saw on here... As of when I left a year ago,

1. There are women in Rx department. Things are a lot more PC. We still watch porn in the RC lounges occasionally.

2. Nubs no longer live in fear. There was a huge hazing witch hunt precipitated by some dork trying to save his ass after he went UA.

3. There is still porn behind the switch covers. At least there was in my plant.  In particular, there was a picture of the queen of 3 plant on the red warning label on the RC ventilation controller in 3 EOS. She was from some of that Italian porn and I think she probably weighed about 300 pounds. She kept the gremlins away though.

Anyway, I love the site! RC div had an underground newsletter for a while, I will try to get you some of the cartoons that were in it.

A question for you? Back before I was onboard, did you guys ever have mass tape fights between RC div and M div?

We never had mass tape fights as far as I know but I do recall seeing a nub or two HP-taped to the shaft (like he was over a spit fire or something). But mostly that was an RM Div thing reserved for nubs with attitude problems.

KP

 

One of My RE Ancestors!

Howdy,
Please add my email address to the list.  I was an RPE from 1975 to 1979, assigned mostly to 3 plant and RE
Division.

Thanks,

Tom Gonzales
tom-gonzales@alumni.calpoly.edu

I'm not sure what makes me happier -- seeing that you were a former RE or a Cal Poly alumni!  Welcome aboard! Did you know Jim Whitsett?

KP

 

Email Address Change

Hi King Paul, I have an email address change.

For Jay Robinson from jrobinson1@home.com 

to jrobinson1@cox.net

 

A Winner!!

Hi Ram,

I hope I am in time. I haven't checked into your site lately.

The mystery nuke [who sleazed off RC sigs while working for the hangar bay vending machine company] was Larry Coster. He was quite a character. I ran into him at Chabot College in Hayward, a couple of years later. He had been a technician on the movie "The Deep." He spent 3 months in South Carolina or Florida or somewhere on the set.

I want to give a shout-out to Brendan Mulligan, who I noticed joined the site lately. I remember the Sunday morning that Brendan, Hank Gotch, Al Decker, and myself were getting ready to go and observe the Communist Party rally over in the City. Brendan had torn off a sleeve from his jacket and couldn't figure out how to reattach it. He was trying to tape it from the inside. He asked Al for help and Al said, "Turn it inside out, you #$%@." I still laugh when I remember the sheepish grin on Brendan's face.

Thanks for the memories,

Jeff Curry (RM-11/RM-23 1983-1988)

Jeff, you win! Larry Coster is the right answer.  Do remember how he grew that long fuzzy beard as soon as he got out?  He grew that thing in record time I think.  I remember seeing him in the plant one day and then a few days later (as a civilian) with that long beard.  Send me your address and I'll ship off one of those few remaining Mooj minion shirts! 

KP

 

The Hippo Responds

KP,

I felt a psychic tremor and perused your website. I find pictures and text and a tremor enveloped this scarred and radiation damaged body. I am the HIPPO, A former 4 Plant RT(~1970-1974) and I am here to say that Steamer, though a thoughtful and accurate scribe, was not the "Innocent Abroad" that Marks his prose. Perhaps he should explain what he did to Alex F. (A young lady comes to mind.)  When my neurons and synapses finally regain some equilibrium from my sojourn at the bottom of this bog I find myself in, I will inform!!!!!

The Hippo

 

1988 Westpac Quiz #2

What was the name of the semi-robust EE30 guy who got caught in the 2AMR access watertight hatch? (X-ray was set so all the plant watertight doors were shut and watchstanders had to squeeze through the manholes.)  This E-Div'r was finally yanked free after being greased around the torso and pulled and pushed from above and below. (Nickname only please.)

For bonus points, also name the RC14 guy that suffered from narcolepsy and was often found sticking halfway through watertight hatches fast asleep.  Whenever this poor guy got excited he fell asleep.  I guess he got excited trying to squeeze through hatches or something.

KP

 

Dustin' my broom!

(A Disclaimer of sorts.)

As you may have noticed ... I enjoy a good story.  Seems to run in the family ... some of my earliest memories are of spending hours sitting around my Grandparent's kitchen or around a campfire listening to my Dad and Uncles relating adventures and exploits from their youth spent on the farm and of their war stories in WW2 and Korea. And then the great hunting tales ... all wonderful stuff. And now my siblings and I continue the tradition and pass it on to our own kids. Well ... MOST of the stories anyway;)))

I've related a few sea stories here ... these aren't the only tales I have to tell but I do try to keep them somewhat relevant to the experiences we may have shared as minions of Uncle Sam's Large Canoe Club. So ... they consist for the most part of "steamin'" tales of shameless debauchery and drunken insaneness and of the trials and tribulations of the enlisted man in his never-ending struggle against the Powers That Be. However ... these are only a small portion of the experiences I have of SE Asia during the time I served. A VERY small part. So ... lest the reader get the impression that these tales are representative or that they in anyway describe the attitude that I and my runnin' mates had towards the people and places we frequented ... I'll attempt to tell a slightly different tale and try to more accurately transmit some of the feelings and experiences I had/have ... and still hold dear after 30 years. Especially the love and gratitude I have for the Filipino people ... including some of the sweetest and dearest young girls I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to know. I came to know them very well and consider them to be dear friends.

When we first hit Potown back in '71, we were warned over and over about this wicked Sodom and Gomorrah of the Far East. We were cautioned to not travel alone ... to go over in groups of four or five and to never venture off of the main drag ... down those evil dark alleys. I took it all very seriously ... Marcos had imposed martial law, there was a curfew and armed Filipino Army dudes could be seen cruising all over the place. A strange scene for a boy who grew up in a town of 200 in the backwoods of Michigan. Of course we soon learned to find our shore legs and to avoid most real dangers. We steamed with our buds and had a good time.

Two years later, my way of seeing and experiencing Potown, and the world in general, had changed drastically. I had taken some well-deserved leave in Singapore and had traveled up into the jungles of Malaysia and hung out on the island of Penang. Cruised up to Thailand, spent some time in Hong Kong and the New Territories and finally worked my way back to the PI to pick up the 'Prise in Subic. My experiences during this sojourn had changed me in a fundamental and enduring way. I had needed this leave ... as the Big E and the military had me at the end of my tether and I was about to trip off-line. I needed to get away and sort things out ... to regain my center and balance and to make some sense of what I had come to see as madness and insanity all around. It was time to dust my broom. And it had worked.

When you find yourself halfway around the world and are totally unfamiliar with everything in your surroundings, you are forced to drop all preconceptions. You have to realize that you are a stranger in a strange land and that you have no idea about the how's and why's of anything. You are forced to pay attention ... Here and Now, boys, here and now ... if you are going to be successful in navigating your way through uncharted waters. You've got to get real and drop your illusions. That's exactly what I had been doing during this whole period ... learning to be where I was when I was there ... paying attention to the moment. Damn ... it's amazing how Real things are when you stop living in your head and begin to pay attention!!! A most excellent discovery!!!

So ... I was in a good place with a wonderful attitude. A tremendous weight had been lifted and I was once again experiencing life with a most wondrous lightness-of-being. I believe this is our most natural state when we aren't allowing some entity or idea to suppress or restrain us. (ALLOWING being the operative word here.) I had regained my appreciation of just being alive and could not imagine being happier or more satisfied. There wasn't anything that had a chance of throwing me now. However, the trip wasn't over. Nam was winding down and the Big E wasn't at Subic when I arrived and no one knew when it would return. I had to check into a transient barracks. Aaaarrrruuugghhh!!! That place sucked big time!!! Here I was after a wondrous time experiencing True Freedom and now I was being locked up inside a barbed wire enclosure and not allowed to leave except for special circumstances. I now found myself a prisoner!!! Now get this ... we had to muster every morning for an inspection by some Admiral and I didn't even have a uniform. I did have some fine colorful batik type shirts from Malaysia and some cool flip-flops but that wasn't gonna cut it with these dudes. So ... I finally wrangled a pass to leave the compound under the guise of buying some uniforms and beat feet for the main gate. Screw this ... I'm just gonna wait it out in Potown until the "E" returns. Certainly they would pull in in a few days. Well ... it eventually did but not for another 3 weeks or so!!! In the mean time I had to find a way to survive in Olongapo and I had zero bucks left. This is where my appreciation for Filipino hospitality and kindness stems from. They helped me out ... provided me with places to stay, food, real friendship and even gave me money so I could have an occasional beer. In return, I babysat, escorted young non-working girls (not everyone was a hooker) thru bad areas and did laundry by hand ... sitting in those alleys scrubbing laundry in big tubs with all the women. They called me Terrieo Labindaro ... Terry the Washman. It was way cool. These folks had nothing ... but they would share whatever they had with me. I hooked up with a sweet girl, did the babysitting and cooking and cleaning and lived just as REAL people did ... right down in those same alleys we had been warned about. I had no fear of being there ... this was my home. I met and made many very good friends ... one most amazing guy ... half Filipino, half Chinese who sported a fab fu-man-chu. He looked just like any number of small Filipino dudes but he turned out to be a heavy-duty martial artist with his own dojo. (One more reminder that things aren't always as they seem to be.) He was my girlfriend's teacher and he turned me on to Aikido and Buddhist thought. (BTW ... she was a big 80 pounds soaking wet but could put some real hurt on me and took great delight in making me perform various ... ummm ... uh ... acts. ;) Well ... I didn't really have to be forced but we had a lot of fun playing.) I traveled with friends to Northern Luzon and spent time in the barrios of Manila ... was invited to a wedding and even attended a funeral when my girl's best friend was killed in a bus crash in the mountains. They accepted me ... as ME ... and made me feel that I was a part of a family. These people opened up their lives to me and invited me to open and share mine. I felt honored.

A word about the girlz. I loved them. I didn't think of them as hookers and certainly not as whores. For the most part they were just regular young girls who found themselves in a very tough situation. Many of them provided for their entire families ... brothers, sisters, folks and grandparents. It was a very tough life and my heart went out to them. I came to know many of them very well ... as people, as human beings doing their very best to make it through the day ... just so they could do it all over again the next day. Most were raised as Catholics and had that guilt trip to deal with as well. And drugs certainly took their toll ... I knew a number of sweet ladies who were beautiful and intelligent and a joy to be with when straight ... but who couldn't even recognize me at other times. There wasn't any way out ... the one hope they had was to marry an American ... that was their only chance. I tell you ...if I could have figured out a way to do it, I would have married a hundred of them just to help them out of there. All I could do was treat them as well as I could, and respect them as human beings and as my dear friends because that's exactly what they had become.

These people and my experiences of living close with them changed my outlook, reshaped my perceptions of reality and enhanced my life. They helped me to realize how fortunate I am to live where I do and to have the opportunities that I have. They taught me to be less judgmental of others and of ways I am not familiar with or don't understand ... to learn to pay attention instead of prejudging. They taught me to be a better person. To be real. I will be forever grateful. I love all those stories of steamin' with my buds but THESE are the memories I cherish most of all.

The Tunaprise finally pulled in and I found many of my buds in town that first night. They had no idea what had happened to me ... only that I had disappeared. They were to be in port for about a week so I gave them some good rumors to spread. I borrowed as much money as I could from them and spent the next few days visiting the people who had helped me out and did my best to repay them with some meaningful gift and to show them my appreciation. And to say goodbye. That was tough. There were many tears shed as I knew this goodbye was most likely final, as I doubted I would ever be allowed to leave the boat again and this was my last cruise. I was right about that.

On the morning we were to depart, I left Potown and strolled across the Shit River Bridge for the last time. I took it all in, burning the sights, sounds and smells into my memory. I won't ever forget. Hey ... perhaps when Alzheimer’s finally strips me of all other memories, those of Potown will remain until last and I'll once more be Steamin' in my home town ... Olongapo City!!!!

Back on the E, I crawled into my rack and slept like a baby ... waiting for the Powers to realize I had returned and to do their thing. I wasn't worried. I had discovered what the source of True Freedom and Power is and that it cannot be controlled from outside. It comes from within. They might hassle me and screw with me (which they attempted to do with great vigor for my remaining time. ;) but ...they no longer owned me and they never would again. I was done wasting my time and my life playing their idiot games. I had experienced what it was like to be alive and real.

I had six months left and it indeed turned out to be a most interesting time ;) I'll relate what went down during my meeting with Rx George some other time. It was priceless ;)

Steamer

 

Lance Winters, Where Are You?

I haven't heard from my old buddy Lance in a while.  Hey Lance, are you still out there?  Back when I was writing that 1986 Westpac piece for Mooj.com I had planned on devoting large portions of the work to Lance.  Lance was one of my most memorable shipmates.  

There were really two eras of Lance: the nuke Lance and the de-nuked Lance.  I think Lance spent more time on the Big E without a TLD than with one.  

While Lance was awaiting his transfer he was assigned to the Rx Coop (along with all the other un-nuked).  Within weeks he was the King of the coop, and pretty much ruled supreme.  Lance proved to be the biggest thorn in the side of both the RO and CO because it became near impossible to get rid of him.  (To this day I bet Rocky Spane and B.P. McClure wince every time they think of him.)  I forget the specifics but Lance was able to fight his re-assignment for a long time (maybe even a year) thanks to the help of powerful friends and politicians, like then California Senator Alan Cranston.  

When Lance was in the coop he could get anything.  Those of you who read the book Catch 22 and knew Lance would probably agree that he was like that Milo character.  There was a pretty healthy black market on the Big E in those days and Lance was tapped into it.  I relied on him more than our own division supply system when I really needed something.

One funny thing I remember was the day our DO came down the office and was complaining about how ice cream was stolen from the officer's mess.  The SUPO had just received some real ice cream and the officers were going to have it that night for a treat.  (Back in those days ice cream was worth its weight in Gold in the IO.)  Later that day I ran into Lance and he told me to come down into his office (it was down that ladder on the stbd side of the front lounge).  Lance had a freezer down there and it was filled with ice cream.  All I could do was laugh while eating a generous portion of the stuff and thinking about all the poor officer bastards that weren't getting any.

Even after Lance was finally removed from the Big E he still haunted the Rx Dept Elite since he was assigned to a tender or oiler that was in our battle group.  Within a short time Lance became buddy-buddy with his new CO and was pretty much running the show on that ship too.

KP

 

Re: Hippo

The Hippo claims that I am responsible for the unfortunate incident that befell our dear friend and fellow nuc Alex during a rest and relaxation session at White Rock Beach. I can only say that mistakes were made and that some collateral damage was incurred.  Know that my intentions were good ... I was only attempting to provide the young lad with a birthday present that was worthy of remembrance. I ask you ... how could I possibly have known that a girl so young would turn out to be so diseased ???

That wasn't the only surprising thing I witnessed during that outing ... as unlikely and improbable as it may seem ... I swear I saw a Hippo attempting to climb a coconut palm in an effort to obtain milk to mix with our rum. With one leg behind his head !!!  I've heard of folks seeing flying pink elephants but Hippos's in treez ?!?!? ... yikes !!! Good weekend. 

Steamer

ps ... you must admit Sir William ... it did indeed turn out to be memorable for the lad ... the gift that keeps on giving. ;)))) 

 

Another Joke That Backfired ....

Last year I wrote a short piece about a practical joke I pulled on Lenny Myers that really got me into hot water.  It was bad but it wasn't half as bad as a joke I played on Lance Winters while he was embroiled in all his legal troubles.  That joke also totally backfired on me and almost cost me my future in the nuclear navy.    

I wrote earlier (see page 1) about how Lance and I were always playing practical jokes on each other (sign wars etc.).  I forget what Lance did but I retaliated by placing an ad in The Shuttle, stating that MM2 Winters was giving free Bible lessons.  I thought the phone number I gave was for Lance's office (the Rx Coop) but instead it was for the RX admin office (... or more exactly, the phone on the RO's desk).  The timing couldn't have been worse since we were undergoing an ORSE or MTT at the time.

The RO's phone literally rang "off the hook" as soon as the ad came out and the normally cool, calm and collected BP McClure blew a gasket.  

I learned from my sources inside the Rx admin office that when the RO began getting calls from people wanting to enroll in Lance's Bible classes he was irate.  He later softened his stance a bit and mentioned to MMCM that he was happy that Winters had turned his life around and was trying to do better--but that he still shouldn't have used the RX office phone number !!!   

Believe it or not the MM1 Coop Tsar (who later got busted for making bomb threats--see earlier story) told McClure that he was responsible for the mess and that he would correct the situation immediately.  MM1 quickly found me and told me to pull the ad ASAP or he'd kill me.  After that I owed MM1 big time.  I wasn't even sure why MM1 saved my ass (since he didn't really like me) but I was grateful.  

That was probably the only time Winters really got mad at me.  He swore that he would get even but his transfer finally arrived and he never got to carryout his evil plan.  I lived in fear until he was gone.

KP

 

This Guy's On Duty?

My name is William Davis and I am an EM on board the Pig. My e-mail address is Tami82699@aol.com. 1998-2002. I am kind of short on time I have to get back to work, I am on duty. 

 

More About Mass Tape Fights

We called them blood balls, you made a ball of HP tape as big as you could and let it fly at some unsuspecting mechanic, electrician, or ET that pissed you off. These things hurt like hell and would leave a fairly nasty bruise if they didn't cut you open. 

Who the hell signed Larry Coster's qual cards? I thought we swore we would never qual his ass.

Does anyone remember dogface or phuck, they had stenciled there nicknames on there uniforms and dogface got to spend some quality time with Capt Kelly due to his appearance, longest beard I ever saw in the nav.

Michael Noland  

 

Another Winner ... And some interesting news

Hey Ram,

The EE-30 guy was Zippy the pin head......

The reason I am writing you is something really scary happened to me the other day. As you know I am still in the Lovely Fucking Navy.... I was going to work, walking across the street and I had to stop at the crosswalk. I come up next to this guy who is waiting for the cars to stop and I glance sideways and he looks familiar. You'll never in a million years guess who it was.....MARK STOHL...AKA...Chicken Hawk.... I was in shock....He looks and acts the same as you remember him... His hair is a little darker... He was down here on reserve duty.... He spent a couple of days with me and we had a blast.... We called Andy Astleford and Rich Marsh....I needed someone else to confirm my story..... His E-Mail is stohlm@dnr.state.wi.us.... Told me to give it to you so you can post it......Hard to believe....You can write him and ask to be sure...... I will write soon with some stories...Like the missing issue of playboy....the lost or stolen Beatles collection.....Dicko and you in the barracks in Hunters point with Ralph's iron.....Had some good times....I need to read the rest of the posted stories before I write.....Got to get....Take care

MikeyB 

Hey Mike, email me your address and I'll send you a Mooj.com T-shirt.  

God, who could forget old Zippy the Pinhead!  I remember he had a marginal sense of humor and found little to laugh about concerning the above mentioned episode.  Those heartless EE30 bastards made his life miserable after that, too.  I'd pay a hefty price to get a copy of some of those old dopeybook cartoons showing poor Zippy stuck in that manhole.  

The Chicken Hawk!! No way!  I can't wait to talk with him again after all these years.  He was a true gem!  

KP Note:  Mikey B sent me a picture of Stohl but I won't post it until I get his okay.  To be honest I hardy recognized the guy--he looked so grown up!

 

Holy Cow, can it be true?  It sure is! Our adventures continue onward to Page 8

 

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