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by Sid Harrison ETCM(SS) USN(Ret)
I remember being issued heavy brown bib trousers and heavy brown wool shirt (1 each) and a heavy olive drab down filled comfort to wrap up in. All looked like US Army issue circa WWII and probably were. We stashed supplies in literally any hole we could and still had stuff that needed to be stowed. Then we broke open the cases and packed it into personal lockers and tried to maintain an inventory where all those canned goods went. As I recall the cook misplaced the list so we had to inventory the chow in our lockers again. I had rusty cans in my bottom locker when we got home. Kinda funny to think we could do a tricky operation like that and couldn't keep track of the lima beans and corn.

Yep, you gotta be young and full of juice with that feeling of immortality and invincibility with time to spare. The main reason I wouldn't do it now aside from stiff joints, is I (we all) have reached the age where wasting precious time on some patrol is not the best use of the time we all have left. When we were young the years lay long ahead of us, so what was a few months/years at sea. There's a quote in the bible about a time for everything. And that's the key. Everything in the right time. I literally loved that life, but that was then and this is now. and I'm happy in this moment.

There was a spook that we carried on that Northern Run that I must have really unnerved. Years before I had been on liberty in Istanbul and some sailor stole the trumpet off the bandstand in a bar during a break. The Turkish cops and SPs piled into the joint and for some reason I noticed this guy with a Bogart trench coat and sporting a large eccentric black moustache. I guess at the time I thought he was a Turkish detective. I heard him speaking to the head cop and he was an American for sure, then he was gone. Doncha know one of the spooks we picked up In England was the same guy. So when everybody got settled in I asked him about that incident. His eyes got wide and he started asking me a lot of questions. Turns out he had been assigned to a U2 tracking ComSta up in the Turkish boonies somewhere. Small world huh? He's the guy who could quote Kipling so well.

OKAY! OKAY! So you want the whole unvarnished truth (truth?) of the old diesel (smoke-boat) days?
I'll give you a link to one of Dex Armstrong's smoke-boat-mind-dumps -- after that cyber-wayfarer you're strictly on your own. But you are hereby forewarned that Dex DOES NOT have a PC bone in his body. He writes like we all talked so long ago. Long ago In that galaxy that grows further and further away with each passing year.

Heeeere's DEX..... RAZOR BLADES AND IVORY SOAP (and more)