Rationale for Retroactive Combat Award

by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong

Stone, you old oxydized sonuvabitch, I am seeking support for the Retroactive Consideration of my Application for the Award of a Purple Heart.


Sometime in the spring of 1960 while visiting Bells, that well known establishment where members of Naval subsurface community went to seek refined refreshment and sophisticated interaction with members of the delicate sex. Bells, where you could get drunk and a set of doeskin blues simultaneously. Bells, where it was impossible to use "clean", "sanitary" and "men's room" in the same sentence. Bells, where iguana piss was a buck fifty a pitcher.

The HMCS Terra Nova was in. The "Terry N" was some kind of whiz kid Canadian can. In 60, she was so new she still had strips of masking tape around her hull numbers.

We'd been out... Came in, got mail, fresh milk... Put in a charge... Blues, half a bottle of Aqua Velva... Bum five bucks and over the side. Nothing complicated, just wanted to get off the gahdam boat. We had reached that point where "Fresh air, a f*ck and a bicycle ride would kill you." (Strictly SUBRON 6).

We were in Bells... Minding our own business, enjoying polite conversation... The global economy... Women's rights... Environmental issues... SAT scores vs. the entrance requirements at M.I.T... The kind of stuff all submariners discuss. Wait, maybe it was 'Who played first base for Cleveland in 1938?'... Sex with small animals... And how to steal electrician's knives from Fleet Supply... I forget...

Anyway, I had wrapped myself around the better part of a pitcher of draft. I had your basic E-3 bladder... If you were equipped with an E-3 bladder, they come with a high pee rate. In other words, compared with a high capacity Master Chief bladder, you were looking at something like a four trips to the head versus one. Or considering the Chief, maybe four head runs vs. a stop in the alley on the way back to DES SUB Piers. Above E-6, the whole world was your urinal.

I was in the head returning Bells' best to the Elizabeth River, when one of the lads from the neighborhood up north... Her Majesties fleet elite... made some very intelligent observation regarding the United States having some form of solo intercourse with itself. I was not present to enjoy this intellectual discussion.

I was a recently qualified messcooking escapee, who was rapidly reaching the point where the operation of 13 buttons and urinal plumbing become mental challanges. Once I figured it all out, I congratulated myself and made the big mistake of attempting to return to my point of origin.

When I opened the door, it was obvious that Canadian - American relations had rapidly degenerated. I was later told that I got in some good licks... You couldn't prove it by me... For at some point early in the action, one of our former allies bounced a gahdam pool ball off my head and put my lights out.

Somebody brought me back to the boat. Doc Rohr repaired me... Doc was a kind of veternary surgeon, who studied under Ganghis Khan.

For weeks at morning quarters, I was referred to as the "Eight ball who took an eight ball" and the "Cueball screwball." Sympathetic consideration among submarine sailors begins with limb and sight loss.

I was wounded in action against a hostile foreign power while defending the United States. It was in the middle of the Cold War... The Battle of Bells... Cold War. Don't know who won, but it WAS a hostile action. Anyone who doesn't believe it was hostile, wasn't between the juke box and the pool table at Bells that night. Someone told me that some poor sonuvabitch off the Cubera got his hair parted with a pool cue and that when the action concluded, they found some Canadian with his head stuck through the juke box speaker.

Should you have the sort of influence necessary to effect consideration of such an award, it would be the "COLD WAR DIESEL BOAT PURPLE HEART", with subsequent recognition for Black Eye in Bermuda and being Cold Cocked in Montevideo.

If the Secretary of the Navy is not available, how about Sherri at Houlihan's? She's prettier, smarter, has chest development... The kind that teenage late night fantasies are made of.. Hell, all the SECNAV has are 3-piece suits and lousy neckties.