More Cold War Secrets Revealed

by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong

Here are a few more smokeboat secrets now safe to expose.

1. You can steal anything not welded to the hull on a tender if it will fit in an empty mail bag and you can carry it off the lower brow.

2. If you can obtain an officer's hat with scrambled eggs on the visor, you can get any heavy equipment operator in any navy yard to do whatever you want. You just put it on your head, look up at the crane operator make a few aboriginal hand gestures and watch a two-million dollar contraption the size of an office building pick up a skid of head paper and sit it on deck... It was like they saw teenage three-stripers every day.

3. At two A.M. 0200... Marine gate guards will accept a folded up one dollar bill and a blue laundry receipt as an authorized I.D. and liberty card... If you flash it and yell,

"Make it quick I gotta pee."

4. On a slow night a Norfolk hooker will take you home so you don't have to pay for a room for an hour. In 1959 this secret was worth $ 7.00.

5. The pay toilet at the Jolly Roger (last one from the door) took your fifteen cents and wouldn't open.

6. The Coke machine at the main N.O.B. geedunk was always empty.

7. For a box of Whitmans' chocolates the honeys at the Motion Picture Exchange would toss in a couple of decent sea print films reserved for bird farms with low hull numbers.

8. It was not smart to exit the Receiving Station with a still warm DD-214 and ask the first four-striper you met outside the gate, "Hey sailor, you got a light?"

9. If you use a paint punt and crawl through the big limber holes up near the bow planes on a dark night, you can go pressure locker shopping for neat stuff. The topside watch on your boat has to lure the topside watch on the K-Mart boat aft and toss him a smoke and exchange a couple of bullshit loaded sea stories for the length of the shopping expedition. If the Bear Trap access to escape trunk is open... Skip shopping if you are not an All Navy Heavy Weight Boxing Champion.

10. If you can steal a boat hook from a visiting boat from another squadron paint it gray and stencil '481-SPARE' on it, you can trade it back to the leading seaman on the visiting boat the next morning for at least 5 skin books. Do not do this with boats in your squadron. They know the drill and always have a guy in the deck force big enough to give you a busted nose in trade.

None of this was in Blind Mans Bluff, a book with no practical information for bluejackets at the Rat Level.