Snapshots

by Bob 'Dex' Armstrong
 
 

After damn near forty years, there are still people walking around that I swore to locate and feed to the alligators.

#1 - The clowns who smoked sea store Marlboros and poked the dead butts up in the empty tube of the operating vent handles. Every time we had a 'Hand Dive'... Shifted the pin and pulled the vent handle, what appeared to be 500 Marlboro butts fell out and rained down all over the gahdam deck.

#2 - Guys who ate hard boiled eggs and drank beer in Bells, then returned to the boat, crawled into an after battery rack and released lethal gas emmissions that should have been banned by the Geneva Convention.

# - 3 Bastards in the stores loading party who used electricians knives to cut the lower right hand corner out of the Post assorted cereal boxes and steal all the Grape Nuts, Frosted Flakes and Sugar Crisp boxes... (Lower right hand corner? How'd I know that?)

# - 4 The guys who, when we had to stack canned goods by the case in the passageways, put the gahdam canned beans and peas on the bottom. If you ever had to pull up 50 cases of cans to play the "Where the Hell are the damn beans" game, in a dark compartment, in a state three sea, you would understand.

# - 5 The same goes for any clown who stored coffee in 20 lb. cans outboard an engine, then piled gahdam canned goods in front of it. Those folks deserve a special place in Hell.

# - 6 Any sonuvabitch who told a lie in an "At Sea" movie swap. By no streach of the imagination can Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs be confused with The Magnificient Seven. For years I prayed that the lying bastards on the USS English (DD 696) would hit a gahdam iceberg and go straight to Hell. We gave up War and Peace, Peyton Place, Splendor in the Grass, and six episodes of Rawhide to close that deal. In the all-time annals of con jobs, that took the nickle plated prize. May they spend eternity conducting man overboard drills and cleaning bilge strainers.

# - 7 The supply officer on the Turkish tin can who gave us the gahdam blankets. In that little gift of international goodwill, we acquired half of the crabs in the known world and spent a month in the North Atlantic going around saying, "I'll trade you two blind ones for one with no teeth..."

# - 8 The idiot who stole the bullet out of the topside watches 45 magazine. Nobody counted bullets... Hell, once the brass turned green, who cared? We just took the stuff, wrote "Relieved the watch - Received one 45 cal. pistol and 16 rounds of 45 cal. ball ammo" in the log. Nobody ever figured out there were only 15 rounds until some Chief checked. You have no idea how much commotion one bullet can cause... Never say to a surface craft Chief, "Here's a buck, go by yourself another bullet and be a nice fellow." Hell, most of the time we used the magazine holder to hide Clark bars.

# - 9 Whoever told the COB that the deck force were tossing paint scrapers and chipping hammers over the side... We preferred to call it 'float testing'. Every band of merry men had a Judas.

# - 10 The idiot Marine on the gate at the Charleston Yard who discovered an issue canned ham in our vehicle... And used terms like "Misappropriation of Naval issue." This handmaiden of Montezuma had difficulty understanding that geographical location of consumption was not perscribed as long as we ate the damn thing... It was sustaining members of the United States Navy and would pass through the same digestive systems with the same ultimate result, whether we ate it on the boat or at the beach. He let us go... Which was fortunate because the trunk was loaded with the rest of our luau.

# - 11 The Chinese lady who operated that green laundry truck on the pier head road, with her husband who never had seen a dentist or a comb... "Hop-Sing, the Button Crusher." There was no front bumper so Hop-Sing glued his base sticker square in the middle of his front windshield. What a pair. He had a sign that read, "NO PICK UP LAUNDRY ONE MONTH LOOK FOR IN ORION LUCKY BAG." You would stand in line for 20 minutes then go to hand Mrs. toothless Hop-Sing your bag of laundry...

"No take... No take... Boat go to sea... No take..."

The old witch had Squadron Six ops wired. She knew everything. Shit, they talk about the Chinese spying... There was so much info coming out of that laundry truck, Hop-Sing could have briefed the Joint Chiefs. All scuttlebutt was not official until it cleared the laundry truck.

# - 12 John F. Kennedy... When he got elected, he came up with a brilliant idea to test the physical condition of the entire Armed Forces... They were called "JFK's." A bunch of hootn' nanny, 4th. of July potato sack-like events with lots of running, hopping, skipping, jumping stuff. A smorgesboard of idiot delights. Guys ran up and down yelling, "Hey Chief, I don't have to do this... It ain't on my qual card." and "I voted for Nixon." The only test E-6 and above had to do, dealt with lifting beer pitchers at the Chief's Club.

# - 13 Anyone who wanted to see Old Yeller for the 200th. time at sea.

# - 14 The guy on the geedunk truck who would not accept 300 Pesetas for a hamburger and fries, even after we explained that at the going rate in Palma, you could get drunk, laid, and a shoeshine for that.

# - 15 Ray Stone, the lousy sonuvabitch, who is continually contributing to the delinquency of a senior citizen... And has my bride of thirty-five years worried about law suits, deportation and men arriving with nets to haul me away.

For those of you who have never met Ray Stone, he is an "At Large" lunatic, former Mayor of Bells, and unrepentant, unreconstructed smoke boat sailor, whose reputation places him beyond redemption. He has plumbed the depths and lower reaches of the GDU of life, and has assembled a band of like-minded, unsalvagable bastards to whom he brings back the laughs and memories of yesteryear. Unfortunately, there are too damn few of these characters left...

"There's air in the banks, shit in the tanks and water all around..."

So, waddya do?

"BLOW BOW BOUYANCY!!"

War cry SUBRON 6, 1960


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