Sid's N T I N S Locker

3 A.M. Flashback

by Robert M. "Bob T" Taylor (July 2001)
USN 1962-1970
QualBoat: USS Sea Devil SS-400
USS Pomfret SS-391, USS Sam Rayburn SSBN-635, USS Nathanial Greene SSBN-636

In port, alongside the pier. I had been relieved from topside watch about 20 minutes ago. We had been running an equalizer, there wasn't much breeze, and everybody's eyes were bloodshot from exhaust fumes. At the end of my topside watch I had collected about half a dozen coffee cups, and was washing them to return them to the cup rack. There was a card game going, no point in finding a rack just yet. It was about time to hold a drill. I was hoping for "repel boarders." That would mean I got to haul the BAR up to the bridge, and I thought that weapon was one mean machine. My shipmate Tate used to bring up a mail bag full of magazines, but after an unfortunate incident on another boat in the squadron all he was allowed to bring for a drill was one empty magazine spray painted bright orange.

Ensign Kellog, the mustang duty officer, appeared in the crew's mess. He was wearing a greasy sweat shirt, stained trousers, an officer hat, and the Duty Officer lanyard. It was a red white and blue across-the-chest affair with a big key ring. The keys fit the small arms locker, the Doc's locker, and a bunch of other stuff. He walked over to the bread locker and gave it three taps with his knuckles. This was our tradition, "knock before opening the bread locker so the roaches don't stampede." He pulled out a piece of bread, stepped into the galley and speared a polish sausage. After wolfing down the snack, he cast his bloodshot eyes around the half dozen animals infesting the crews mess, and asked, "Anybody seen my new Gentlemen's Quarterly?"