Wednesday, October 15, 2008

This one time, on the East Coast..

Time for some recollection!

I used to be in the Navy, and I LOVED every minute of it.

I mean, where else were you overpaid to do a job even a trained monkey could do, and get free room and board for it as well??

I made HUGE bank (I still have a hefty savings account that I keep for emergencies!), I got TONS of exercise, and was my most physically fit while in the service, and I was kept current with all my medical and dental work while there.

Granted, some stuff was more interesting than others. I know that Boot Camp stories abound. The tear gas training, the marching endlessly, the incessant drilling, the mean COs, and all that.

This is about my schooling afterwards, before I got assigned my first true duty station.

I was assigned to subs, and not only submarines, but I was also designated a "Nuke" because of my ASFAB scores.

This meant some serious school, and some serious cash!

My first school? Orlando.

Now, Basic Training was done in Great Lakes, and it was DAMN cold when I went.

Not only that, but the only females I got to see the entire time I was in Boot were the two nurses, and one food server in the mess hall. Everyone else was MALE.

Imagine how surprised I was to show up for my schooling in Orlando, and find out that not only were there women there, but my entire class was co-ed?


Sure, it was a distraction, but it was heavenly!

Sadly, the classes only lasted three weeks, and then we were shipped off to Sub school training.

Where else would this be located than in the gran location of..

Groton, Connecticut.

Where? You ask?

Groton. As I described it to my folks, "The armpit of America".

It stunk. It was dingy. There were WAY too many lifer folks here, and they didn't seem to care about who came and went, as long as it didn't affect their lifestyle.

Not only that, but it was directly across the bay from Manhatten, and at night you couldn't really get much sleep because of the lights coming off the island! It was like being so close to reality, but yet only glimpsing occasional flashes of sanity..

Anyway, the best part about the sub school was as follows:

One day, while we were learning about patching burst piping, we got a notice.

Apparently the SEAL team that nobody was supposed to know was stationed at our base was going to perform a "terrorist drill" where they were going to try to take over operations, and see how long it would take.

This then lead to a huge debate and betting pool. Most of us were undecided. I mean, there were plenty of objectives that you could take, the problem was deciding which ones to go for first.

There were the shipyards. The commisary, the officer's quarters, the enlisted quarters, and off-base housing.

Now, in my opinion, I thought that they'd take the shipyard first, then head over to the com, and take the naval offices there. Once done, they'd drop the officers, and then deal with noncoms and offbase housing.

I was so close, it really scared me.

However, I was WAY off base.

Here's how it went down.

First, they all smuggled into the base by posing as photographers and reporters.

One group (two guys) took down the entire officers quarters (300 men) with only 3 casualties in the entire exchange.

Another group was able to take out the noncoms by locking down the entire complex with a false alarm fire drill.

Another group took the naval offices and commisary just by capturing the SP (Shore Patrol) *aka naval police* and having them shut the entire area down.

And the last group took the shipyards by taking down the admiral in command, and getting the shutdown codes.

This all took exactly 13 minutes from when they got on base.

Now, this scared me, but I also realized something.

One, they knew the layout, knew the site, and knew operational proceedures.

Two, they had inside knowledge of guard rotations, and patrol areas.

Three, they were known faces, and familiar sights around the base.

Granted, if everyone had known what kind of operatives they were, I'm sure the strike would have taken longer.. maybe 20 minutes instead of 13!

But the best part about this whole exercise happened afterwards.

Because once a team achieves an objective, they party.

And I do mean PARTY!

Drinks flew fast and furious, and the dancing and cavorting went WILD.

Unfortunately, I had to stand guard duty early that morning on a cruiser that had come into the yard, so I begged out early that night.

I wasn't to be disappointed.

Some of the crew went out for their first night of play since getting back into base, and they fell into the SEAL party.

Now, standing guard on a ship means that you're armed, and you make sure all duty personnel ID themselves, and follow proper proceedure before getting on board a ship. This means showing ID, saluting the guard, saluting the flag, and boarding the ship.

One group of guys came back around 3am from tying one on with the team. There were four of them there, and they were so drunk, I was starting to get a bit of a contact buzz from just their breath.

The first one showed his ID, saluted me, then the flag, and boarded. The rest followed suit. The fun followed right afterwards.

The cruiser I was on had what is called a "breezeway" between the command decks. As you entered, there was an open space that went from one side to the other. On the opposite side of the ship was the gangway for the Captain's Sloop. This is the personal boat that the captain of the boat can use to go ashore at any given time. While at dock, the boat is removed, and the gangway sits empty.

Well, these fellas were a bit worse for wear, and proceeded to walk straight through the breezeay, and through the gangway, and down into the harbor water!

Now, we in the service call harbor water "sludge stew" because of all the different stuff you find floating in it.. Garbage, cigarette butts, dead fish, oil, diesel leakage, etc..

These boys got a FULL dose of it, and I couldn't leave my station to help.

So, I had to follow orders, and call the Master at Arms to come get them out.

Come to find out that not only are they drunk, but one was a bit high as well!

Anyway, it was fun to see some guys get stupid and drunk, and also fun to know that I'm not the only one who has a serious coordination problem when I've been out partying too much!

Anyway, hope you liked the story, and I'll tell more some other time!

look for me again tomorrow!


Hubman said...

I had the chance about 10 years ago to work with some submariners from Groton (I'm Army, btw) and after the project was over we celebrated a bit.

I think it took my liver a week to recover! Those Nay guys can drink...

Jormengrund said...

Tell me about it! I recall going to one bender that lasted an ENTIRE WEEK, and some guys seemed as sober at the end of the week as they'd been the day before getting started!

Mmy body just can't keep up anymore. One drink, and I'm pretty much done now.. Too bad, because I was quite interesting when drunk!