With all of the tragedy around us and the Navy collisions causing loss of 17 sailors and the fake news about a Navy ship hitting an office building in downtown Houston and my old Hawkins shipmate, Norm O’Neal sending me a joke about an airman in Thule, Greenland, i thought it was time to lighten up a bit. This sea story actually happened. And as i have claimed in the past with several posts, sometimes the “F” word is the only one that works. So beware.
Before I returned to active duty in 1972, the USS Stephen B. Luce (DLG 7) had completed overhaul in the Philadelphia Navy Shipyard. The officer i relieved, who shall remain anonymous for later obvious reasons, was showing off his Anti-Submarine Warfare spaces and equipment to his new bride and her parents who had come on board for a weekend lunch and the tour. The lieutenant escorted them to the bridge and showed the the Anti-Submarine Rocket (ASROC) launcher forward and below. Then he took them down to the third deck to Underwater Battery Plot and showed off the sonar and new computer-driven fire control system.
Finally, they walked out onto the 01 level weather deck on the starboard side. There was the Mark 32 torpedo tubes. Leaning up against the bulkhead was the second class torpedo man. He was dressed in the standard blue chambray work shirt with dungarees. His dixie cup, the sailor’s hat, was down on his nose, covering his eyes, almost as if he was asleep leaning against the bulkhead.
The ASW Officer proudly pointed to the torpedo tubes and boasted, “Evelyn, Mom and Dad, these are my torpedo tubes.
The second class petty officer stirred. With one finger, he pushed the bill of his dixie cup off of his eyes and quizzically looked at the ASW Officer.
“Beg your pardon, sir,” he said quietly, “Those are my fucking torpedo tubes.”
He was right, of course.