A Navy Story



This is a story about something that happened to me some time ago. I realized that while I write a lot of posts about this or that, I haven't shared a lot of personal stories. So here is one.


I was never much of a student and when I went off to college I found the allure of things outside the classroom more compelling than those inside.I will save the story of how I left college and entered the Navy for another time, but let's just say my decisions at that junction in my life were not my best. The ship pictured above and below was where I spent my otherwise college years.


I will save the boot camp stories for another time as well, but I did manage to score very well at the aptitude tests they gave and with those solid grades I was sent to chip paint on the USS Hooper DE 1026. I have to admit I had some skills in the paint and rust removal department. One day we pulled in to Long Beach and since that was not too far from where I used to call home, I asked the Boatswain's mate, who was my boss, if I could leave early (I was new to the job). He told me that was fine with him, but he no longer was my boss, I would need to go talk with the cook. And so began my 3 month stint getting up at 4:30, peeling potatoes and eventually learning how to break eggs with both hands while cooking a few hundred eggs to order.


Recognizing my varied skills I was promoted to be the gunnery assistant and had a closet of an office that I could call my own. It was one of a few private spaces on the ship and like everyone else I made sure to grab as many naps as I could. The problem was napping in a private space did not afford me the luxury of having others sleeping beside me who when rousted would also wake me up. So, one day I was napping while the ship pulled in to Pearl Harbor. For those unfamiliar with the military there are certain do's and don'ts and not showing up for this activity was a big no-no. So while I slept through our coming into port the decision was made that while I might have gone overboard it was more important to get into port on time. Which we did. And when I was discovered to no one's joy, I was sent back to chipping paint.


The particular aspect of this demotion that you ought to know is that instead of having a cushy little office and an easy job of keeping track of our guns, of which we had few and limited skills sets by which to use them, I was now back working outside in the cold, rain and typhoons that came our way. That's a picture of our ship fueling up in what was not terribly rough waters. Our ship had a lot of bounce. You can see how easily our ship was able to imitate a submarine when called upon to do so.


I mention this story because those that know me are aware that I now tend to strive to get to places early. I no longer sleep through activities. Well, I do when I get there, but not so much beforehand. I make sure to be where I need to go before I need to be there. I know this tendency can annoy others, but I have no desire to chip any more paint.

#USNavy #USSHooper #Chippingpaint #Sleeping

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