Sid's N T I N S Locker
by John K. Ellett, RMC USN(Ret)
Chapters:  1  ||  2  ||  3  ||  5  ||  6
Chapter Four

Into the ’Gut’

The next morning, I made the ship to ship transfer, safely ensconced in a ship’s Whaleboat and arrived aboard USS WHATEVER.  Her name shall be obscured to protect the guilty.  I still had my sea bag, my orders and my life, so I figured it was all worth while.

After checking aboard, I was shown my bunk and locker and escorted up to Radio One, the main communications area for the ship.  There I was welcomed aboard most heartily by ’Jim’, as we will call him.  He was anxiously awaiting my arrival, as I was his relief.  Frankly, I don’t think he ever forgave me the night I had spent on the America.

The day soon passed and Jim suggested we go tour the ’Gut’ of Valletta.  The Gut, for lack of a more particular term was a Sailor’s Paradise.  Cold beer was readily available for a reasonable price.  Hostesses were available, should a person need a new watch battery or something. Everything a Sailor of those days required was there and handy.  We Sailors were somewhat easily pleased.

Shortly about 11PM, or possibly about 4AM, the precise timing being somewhat hazy, I very alertly stood up, saluted Jim, and said “I relieve you, Sir”.  Precisely what was going through my mind, such as it was at the time, I confess I do not know.

The next morning or factually, later on after breakfast, I went up to Radio, and after a cup of restorative coffee I enquired about Jim.  I was promptly informed that Jim had checked off the ship and had departed on a homeward bound aircraft.  Strange things happen, sometimes, to Sailors in foreign ports.

So, there I was, with a ‘gimpy’ tummy, a vicious headache, a watch team that I had never really met, and all the responsibility of being the Leading Radioman.

Miraculously my training, such as it was, leapt to the fore.  I alertly told the watch to “Carry on with your good work” and departed for my “rack”.

Learning all about the ship, the Communications gear and all the other things I needed to learn about was relegated to “later”.  This has been known to happen to other folks, from time to time I am reliably told.  For Sailors, ‘later’ is a very useful, although regrettably not very often accepted explanation of why they are “Racked Out”.  Sad.

Since I managed to dodge just enough at the right times, and studied my butt off, all went well on USS WHATEVER.  It must have -  since I retired as a Chief Radioman after 27 1/2 years.

As the Watch Officer’s Guidebook says, or so I have been informed, “Enlisted men are devious and crafty and bear watching at all times”.

Obviously, they missed a few times watching me.


Sid's N T I N S Locker
Chapters:  1  ||  2  ||  3  ||  5  ||  6