Gentlemen, do you remember how pretty and peaceful the ocean looked on some sunny days when seagulls circled overhead gliding around under big puffy clouds? Remember swim call, 'Russian acrobat drill'? The boat would be 'layin' to' and the Old Man would anounce swim call with no diving from the top of the sail. Remember how we rigged out the bow planes and would dive off the bull nose? We would do big cannonballs and blow depth charge holes with a big splash... Remember the guy on the sail with an M-1 rifle... The shark watch?
I just watched 'Shark Week' on the Discovery Channel. Boys and girls, we didn't know it at the time but there was a lot of nasty stuff out there swimming around outside the pressure hull... Great big nasty stuff that came with wicked teeth, was hungry and could eat you. They failed to mention that in the recruiting office and at New London. No one told me everytime I hopped off the bow, I was a Tennessee tacklebox lure for the really big ones. I thought sharks only ate Australians... And girls in bikinis swimming off New Zealand. Nobody said they ate seals. If they did, somebody stole that issue of National Geographic at my barber shop.
I never knew that there was stuff snorkeling around out there that could swallow a whole cow. I get duck bumps thinking about that now.
I thought Jaws was a science fiction movie... I didn't know that I spent years with his relatives poking around the outer door to our GDU.
Sharks are mean sonuvabitches. I saw one on T.V. chew chunks out of a bull carcass the size of snow tires and swallow them. Losing body parts that size could knock one hell of a dent in your liberty plans.
Scary... Scary thought. They just seem to swim around and eat other things swimming around out there. We were swimming around like Big Macs.
I kept waching them on T.V. and wondering... Did any mother get the following telegram...
'Dear Mrs. Murphy... We regret to inform you that a monster shark ate your son... Somewhere off Bermuda there is a large specimen of marine life containing major sections of Seaman John F. Murphy, messcook USS Requin (SS-481). His last words may be comforting...
"Tell mother I will miss her and most of my left leg"
Our condolences. The United States Navy.'
We had a shark watch marksman who couldn't have hit a billboard with a brick... But even if he had been Sgt. York, what in the hell would eight or ten rounds of 30 cal. ammunition have done to something with a six foot mouth, half the size of a school bus? With luck he could have turned it's dorsal fin into lace. By the time the clown with the M-1 got off his last round Mr. 'I just ate your two-way trash dumper' would have been picking his teeth with your dog tags.