Sid's N T I N S Locker
by John K. Ellett, RMC USN(Ret)
Chapters:  1  ||  2  ||  4  ||  5  ||  6
Chapter Three

Onward and Downward

After deplaning and a devoutly offered “Thank You” offered skyward, I was escorted off the Flight Deck.  Yes, escorted.  The Fight Deck of a carrier is no place for the uninitiated.  Danger abounds. It is somewhat akin to walking around Skid Row while wearing a suit made out of $1,000 bills.  A person can get killed there very easily, and I was very happy, momentarily, to be off the Flight Deck.

I say “momentarily’ as I was greeted by a member of the America’s crew with the information that my new ship was alongside and I could be, very shortly, transferred over to her.  I immediately smelled a rat since transferring from one ship at sea to another is somewhat difficult.  Trust me, there is no sidewalk between ships at sea.

I was informed a short while later by a Boatswains Mate Chief Petty Officer, that my ship was not “really” alongside.  She was alongside the oiler that was along side the America.  The oiler or tanker, was employed in refueling both ships simultaneously.  A busy seagoing service station will complete the concept.

In other words, TWO high line trips after flying the COD out from Rota.  Frankly, I thought, Job had it real easy!  Bible, Book of Job is the reference, or some such.

I had seen pictures of high lining operations in Boot Camp and elsewhere.  This practice is used to pass cargo and fuel from one ship to the other, at sea, in motion.  The process involves a lot of profane language, and a large number of lines between the 2 ships plus, I suspect, smoke and mirrors.

I had heard that the favorite practice of the people practicing this arcane art was to see just how far underwater they could dunk the Duty Chaplain as he ventured from ship to ship on his rounds and still reel him in.  Needless to say, I didn’t want anything to do with this.

Luckily, I was informed that I could do the unthinkable or I could remain aboard the America and transfer by boat the next day, when we reached Valletta, Malta.  After considerable thought, amounting to about 1 nanosecond, I elected to remain aboard and transfer the next day.

And some have called me not too smart!  Ask any Chaplain, and he will tell you that I am smarter than the average tree stump in that respect, anyway.

Sid's N T I N S Locker
Chapters:  1  ||  2  ||  4  ||  5  ||  6