Saturday, December 30, 2006

Barrels of Fun

Saturday, December 30, 2006
Barrels Of Fun

It was a dark and stormy night...

"United States Coast Guard this is USS Henderson, requesting emergency assistance, over."

It was the same thing on all the radio circuits. Nothing but static.

"Hell, try MAD," Chief said.

"Military Air Distress?" I asked, incredulous.

"The Cap'n said all circuits. Give it a try," said the Chief.

How do I word this? I wondered. Ok...

"Military aircraft this is USS Henderson, requesting emergency assistance, over," I said, in my most professional radio voice.


"Hey Chief, what about squawking the emergency code on IFF (Identification Friend or Foe)?"
I asked.

"Can't hurt. Go ahead, enter it in," Chief said.

After entering the code, I went back to trying the radio circuits again.

What a bummer. I finally get to talk on the radios and everyone is at home watching Hee Haw.
Not that I blamed them. Who, in their right mind, would be sailing or flying in this storm?

Besides the USS Henderson? Talk about bad weather intel..

The ship took another violent roll.

Clump, clump, clump! Clang!

"Damnit!" Shouted OSSN Anderson, tumbling across Combat and smacking into the metal chart table.

"Hold on when your pukin'," said OS2 Weekly, chuckling.

"Thanks for the advice," said Anderson. "A$$hole," he said, under his breath.

One of the sound-powered phones started squawking. The sound was annoying under most circumstances and comical when in port.
I was thinking it had a Looney Toons theme.

"I got it, said OS2 Weekly.

"Combat," he said. " many? One? Yes Sir," he said.

"LTJG Spaz wants us to send one man down to join a working party in the hanger to help re-secure some tools and stuff that broke free," Weekly said. "He said Ops gave him the go ahead."

"Conrad...," was all Chief said.

"Roger that, Chief," I said.

Crap, I gotta work for that bozo?

I made a bee-line for the helo hanger, very slowly.

When I arrived, there were 4 other guys there, picking up tools.

One man was tying up a dented toolbox.

"Ahhh...Conrad. How nice of you to join us. Are you always this slow?" Spaz asked.

"Only during storms, Sir," I said, with a blank face.

"Don't get smart with me!" He said, starting to turn red.

Who can possibly get smart with you? I thought. How did this psycho get in the Navy? I wondered.

Bang! Crash! Bang! Bang!

What the hell?

Spaz opened the hatch and looked outside.
The howling wind almost blew him over, but he held on.

"Ok, here's the plan!" Spaz shouted.

Plan? This guy should plan on attending a super-ego anger management class.

"Get out there and re-secure those oil barrels, before they tumble off the ship!" He shouted, over the wind.

I moved slowly towards the hatch and looked out. Three oil barrels were bouncing around on the deck, as the ship rolled.

A wave crashed down on the deck and sea water rushed into the hanger, getting our boots and feet wet.

One barrel tumbled over the side.

"Now!" Spaz shouted.

Is this guy crazy? Was that his problem?

"No Sir!" Came out of my mouth before I realized it.

The wind continued it's eerie howl.

Spaz turned redder than a fire truck.

Here it comes, I thought, mentally bracing myself.

"What?!!! What?!!!" Screamed Spaz.

"I order you to secure those barrels!!! Now!!!" He screamed, inches from my face, spittle flying everywhere.

Mad dog! Dragon breath! Hydrophobie!

"No...Sir!!!" I shouted back. "It's too dangerous! No one can stop those barrels, or keep their footing out there!" I shouted, not backing down.

"You are going to Captain's Mast for disobeying a direct order, Conrad!!" LTJG Spaz said, with a twisted smile.

"The rest of you get out there now!" He shouted, looking at the other guys.

They looked at me, and I shook my head no.

They didn't move. Smart Sailors, I thought.

"I ORDER YOU!!!" He screamed, so loud his voice broke.

It looked like the veins on his neck and forehead were going to blow!
Posted by USS Ben USN (Ret) at 5:06 AM


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