Category Archives: Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings

Chapter 10: Settling into Busy

i am back. It took a while. Liberty in Scotland and Sonoma was even better than expected. Home tasks became a priority. And, on top of that, i had “writer’s block.” It wasn’t really “writer’s block” but it was close. Now that what i post as part of the book is written on the fly while earlier posts were rough edits of already written chapters, it takes more time to go through my sources of ship’s logs, POD’s, my notes, and other ship documents and actually get things on paper.

Also, not having my mother’s incredible memory, i wrestle with what to include when others’ memories do not coincide with mine. i want to get it as correct as i possibly can so i wrestle with what really happened those thirty-six years ago. This post took exceptionally longer because i found it difficult to determine, as Bob Seger sang, “…what to leave in; what to leave out.

Please remember this is a rough draft of what i intend to be the final manuscript for the book. For those who were there, if you have input or recall things differently than i record here, please let me know. i do wish to get it right. But after i have considered all inputs and my sources and make my final draft entry as i stated in my prologue, that’s my story and i’m sticking to it.

Chapter 10: Settling Into Busy

Although he stuck to his guns about proper support for his commanding officer through the rest of the deployment and, for that matter, his entire tour on The Busy Lady, the XO was too busy himself and didn’t have time to dwell on his mistake.

It was a new world and the ship was setting up a routine that would work but with constant changes in an unknown environment. Even before the USS Fletcher came alongside for our first “TAV” (Tender Availability) off of Masirah, we began a routine for Tuesdays, which would last throughout all of our time in the North Arabian Sea: “UNREP” (Underway Replenishment), which for Yosemite meant “VERTREP” (Vertical Replenishment) was conducted every Tuesday.

Each early Tuesday morning, beginning the first of November, the ship would set Flight Quarters to receive helicopters hovering and lowering supplies to our “DASH” deck. This was also our method of transferring personnel who had completed their tours on Yosemite. The personnel would be hoisted from the deck to the hovering helicopter, taken to the Masirah air base and further transferred to Diego Garcia, then on flights out of the Footprint of Freedom to various airports before eventually arriving at their new duty stations.

Almost every Tuesday, the ship would set Flight Quarters around 0630. The captain and the XO would go to the bridge to observe the evolution and by sound-powered phones communicate with George Sitton, the first lieutenant, who ran the operation from the DASH deck, offloading the supplies and shuttling them to the working party which would further transfer the goods, usually to supply or repair personnel. The flight quarters crew also would hook up the transferring personnel to be hoisted into the service force ship’s helicopter or new personnel being lowered to our deck. Depending on the supplies to be received, this could be a three or four hour evolution or infrequently more than eight hours.

This first VERTREP lasted only an hour or so. The USS San Jose (AFS 7) and her sister ships would be vital to Yosemite for our stay off of Masirah.

Of three surface communities, destroyers, amphibious, and service, the service group had the most arduous sea duty during those days and previously. Now most service ships vare USNS ships under the administration the United States Marine Administration (MARAD) manned by the merchant marine.

Service ships: oilers, tankers, combat stores, and ammunition ships would conduct their transfers to the carriers, cruiser-destroyer groups, and amphibious groups, then steam back to a port to replenish their supplies and head back to the units at sea. There in-port time unlike the other deployed Navy ships was essentially working around the clock rather than liberty. It reminded me of the grueling routine of the merchant marine ships I rode as the XO of a transport unit in charge of managing embarked Korean troops to and from Vietnam (1970). They had my utmost respect.

Service force ships such as the San Jose, a combat stores ship, made Yosemite’s stay off Masirah bearable with not only supplies and material for our work at hand, but also for our supply of foodstuffs for our own meals. Since we had stocked up in Diego Garcia before our transit, this was a quick resupply.

After the VERTREP and the Fletcher’s mooring alongside, the Fletcher’s “arrival conference” for her maintenance availability began right after the noon mess. This was preceded by the Fletcher’s commanding officer meeting Captain Boyle in Yosemite’s captain’s cabin, a procedure, which would be de riguer for all of the availabilities during the deployment. i would attend the bulk of those meetings.

The “arrival conference” was a detailed, expanded version of the beginning “Restricted Availabilities” (RAV’s) Yosemite and other tenders conducted back in the states. Critical repairs and maintenance were discussed. Work priorities were set, the correlation of the tender’s and ship’s force was delineated, and a schedule was laid out to complete the work on time. During our time in Masirah, we also discussed the rules we had concerning relationships between our crewmembers, especially the female kind, and the all male crews of the tended ships.

The helo ops, the Fletcher coming alongside, and the arrival conference were just a few of the items on the XO’s list. My spiral notebook action list went from one or two pages to four to six. My tasks varied from working how the crew could record tapes to send home to family, working on tides and the scheduled garbage dumps, ship’s plaques, our divers cleaning our own hull, the condition of the auxiliary gyro compass, urinalysis procedures and scheduling, the commanding officer’s cabin air conditioner, radio messages responding to higher authority, enlisted evaluations, smoking and coke can rules, etc.

I was now in all-ahead-full running mode. Sometimes late at night after Eight O’Clock reports and my evening meeting with the captain, followed by the chaplain, the first lieutenant, and the doc dropping by my office, I continued my quest to streamline and update the ship’s regulations, which was usually interrupted by another letter to Maureen. I realized I really enjoyed this stuff. I was a great example of Mazlow’s highest stage of “self-actualization.

A Navy officer at sea is a busy man (or woman). There is little time to dwell on the loneliness of being away from home. Previously for me, the grind was interrupted by standing bridge watches or conducting amphibious or anti-submarine operations, but as XO, it was all management and administration except for the rare moments when I would participate in a evolution like navigation or bringing ships alongside.

The rigor probably kept me sane.

I also was playing my role and understood the XO was the bad guy, the enforcer. In Thursday’s Plan of the Day, November 3, my handwritten note showed me baring my fangs:

If the XO finds coke cans or cigarette butts and ashes as plentiful about the decks as he did today, the smoking lamp will be put out throughout the ship and the sale of cokes and cigarettes will be halted. No joke. No game. Get hot. No smoking in passageways nor topside. Violators will be put on report.

Cleanliness, good order, and discipline were the responsibility of the executive officer. I was getting used to the role.

On Friday, November 4, the Fletcher concluded her availability and got underway at 0800. An hour later, the USNS Passumpsic (AO 107), an oiler and former Navy ship, maneuvered alongside and refueled Yosemite. It was likely the first time these two ships tied up together in an open sea. Neither had the mobility of the cruisers and destroyers Yosemite received Passumpsic alongside to port. The maneuver went off with no difficulty. The refueling went off without a hitch and Passumpsic was underway early that afternoon.

The next day, flight ops again were set at 0630. At 0700, The USS Benjamin Stoddert (DDG 22) came alongside for our second maintenance availability. As soon as she was tied up to our starboard side, flight ops with the USS Camden (AOE 2) for transfer of our personnel to Masirah and then on Diego Garcia were conducted followed by helo ops and supplies and personnel transfers with the USS Ranger (CV  61), the flagship for Battle Group Alfa. The captain had the CO of the Stoddert over for lunch in his cabin and the second “arrival conference was held at 1300.  And to keep things hopping, another round of flight ops was conducted with the Camden, beginning at 1500, for another two hours.

It was a busy day.

The crew was getting into a routine, a busy routine, and this XO believed it was a good thing. We needed to keep them busy. And they certainly were busy in their first week off Masirah.

But they still were missing home. We attempted to assuage the loneliness, especially for the majority of the crew, which had never deployed before with means to communicate back home. A POD note let them know of another method to contact home:

11. Want to send a message home?? The Yosemite has a service onboard that not too many people are familiar with. It is called the Class “E” message service. The Class “E” message is a service provided by radio in which any crewmember stationed onboard the Yosemite can send a message to any person ashore they desire (i.e. wife, husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, parents, and anyone you desire, provided they reside in the Continental United States. There is a charge for this service…The reason for the charge is these messages are transmitted thru the Western Union Telegraphy Co. This service can only be provided when the ship is away from its homeport…

This was news to the executive officer. I had spent eleven years at sea and did not know (or did not remember) Class “E” messages were available. For me, that was okay. One of the best things about going to sea was the ship becoming my primary focus. Connecting with folks back in the States was for late night letters and crazy all-night waits in foreign liberty port telephone stations for expensive and short calls back home.

The Class “E” messages also had to be reviewed. Who got that job? Why the executive officer, of course. I was the censor and the security screener for such messages. There were not a huge number. I was not supposed to divulge the content to anyone (of course, if there was a security matter contained, I would consult with the captain). Reviewing the content made me aware of how lonesome some of the crew actually were. There was some real drama in numerous ones I read, and admittedly, some made me laugh out loud.

*     *     *

Daily, we tossed our garbage (and there was a lot of garbage with a crew of 900) timed to the outgoing tide. We were making the effort to keep any of our trash from floating ashore. This was not easy, even if we stuck to the ebb tidal flow. We put one or two of our small boats in the water to watch for wandering garbage.

One handwritten POD note from this XO, on that busy Friday mentioned above, praises on busy sailor:

Busiest sailor of the day: SN Warren who worked help ops, handling cargo loads to helicopters, then was part of the boat crew to sink the wandering barrel (of trash).

The hard work and the loneliness was somewhat assuaged by the evaluation of the Fletcher to Yosemite and our chain of command arriving by radio message on Monday, November 7 (and passed along to the crew):

Overall Evaluation of TAV (with Yosemite) is outstanding. Yosemite’s efforts, spirit, and professionalism was impressive as the statistics above demonstrated. Yosemite is a can do ship that does…Ref A (TAV report from Fletcher) details the astounding amount of work completed by Yosemite during Fletcher’s four day TAV. The pride and professionalism exhibited by all concerned was obvious from the start of the availability and proven by the quality and quantity of the jobs completed. We are proud to have had the opportunity  with you and wish that you were San Diego based. All of us in America’s finest destroyer salute you.

Similar praises continued from every ship receiving Yosemite’s services for the rest of the deployment. For me, this kind of evaluation from ships and sailors made my decision to report to Yosemite a good decision.

I felt good about what we were doing. I felt good about how i was doing my job. There were numerous frustrations, but overall, we were doing well. It seemed the crew was handling women as part of the crew in the right way although I remained wary.

But our wrestling with the garbage was not over.

Liberty Call

Well, i wasn’t expecting liberty to come upon me this fast.

Saturday, i will be leaving for 13 days of liberty in Scotland. There are six of us going to Edinburgh, Pitchlory, Isle of Skye, and Inverness. Sounds nice. i’m sure i will enjoy it.

i especially am looking forward to visiting the University of Edinburgh. The professor who influenced me most through my five-plus years at Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee was Dr. Bill Holland. When i came to my senses and changed my major from civil engineering at Vanderbilt to Literature at Middle Tennessee, Bill Holland not only blew me away with the Romantics, he became a close friend. Bill’s dissertation traced the themes of Chaucer through the British greats such as Shakespeare and Spenser to the Romantics. i was told (although i have been unable to verify it) he received a “first class” doctorate, one of ten recipients of such an honor, especially since the university was founded in 1582.

Regardless, Bill Holland was an impressive professor, and my respect for him as a professor and a friend makes a visit to the Scottish university a joy anticipated for me.

The locales planned for out visit are interesting. i know i will find them wonderful. But for me, having two weeks with my brother, sister, their spouses, and Maureen is the best part. It will be the first time and likely the only time just the six of us will be together without other family. This is special for me.

Initially, i was planning to take notes, some source material, etc. and continuing to post installments of Steel Decks and Glass Ceilings.

But i am old and don’t multi-task as well as i used to do. Come to think of it, when i went on liberty while deployed, i never, ever took any work with me. So there will be no installments of the book while i am on liberty. Nor is it likely i will post much of anything, except some thoughts about the trip until i return in mid-June.

i just wanted you to know.

Apologia

i was shooting to get the next installment out this past Sunday.

Nope.

i continued to miss Monday, Tuesday, and today, even with my golf being cancelled because of rain.

RAIN. Come on, i’m not complaining considering what’s happening to the rest of the country, but this is the most unusual San Diego May i’ve ever experienced. And it ain’t over. That could lower my productivity i think.

Regardless, i apologize. i’ve been working on this installment for four days of at least eight hours each day. Hmm, sounds like work. That’s okay. And i should point out all of those eight hours weren’t just working on the book.

But i’m disappointed i’m not getting this out as planned. i apologize to all.

Chapter 9: Settling into Masirah Anchorage

Chapter 9: Settling into Masirah Anchorage

The night before the ship anchored off Masirah, the XO made a challenge that worried him for two months. Each autumn, Navy commands conducted the “Combined Federal Campaign” fund drive. The Yosemite’s had been running for about a month.

The ship’s goal was to get 100 percent participation in giving to the fund and to give more than other commands. The XO thought he might influence both goals being met. So at Eight O’Clock Reports on the evening of Thursday, October 28, I put my foot in my mouth. I mildly chewed out the department heads, command master chief, etc. for not getting more crew members to donate. Then, I announced the executive officer would take the person who in ship’s company donated the most to the campaign out to dinner at our first liberty port. I followed that up by posting it as a note in the POD the morning before we reached our anchorage.

Almost immediately, I began to have doubts. I wondered what I would do if the crew member gave the most so he or she could bend my ear about how bad I or another officer was treating them. I was concerned a malcontent might do the same just to make one liberty night miserable for me. And I wasn’t looking forward to spending one of the few evenings I would have to relax ashore spent with a crew member I might not enjoy. But most of all, I worried I might have encouraged a

The night before the ship anchored off Masirah, the XO made a challenge that worried him for two months. Each autumn, Navy commands conducted the “Combined Federal Campaign” fund drive. The Yosemite’s had been running for about a month.

The ship’s goal was to get 100 percent participation in giving to the fund and to give more than other commands. The XO thought he might influence both goals being met. So at Eight O’Clock Reports on the evening of Thursday, October 28, I put my foot in my mouth. I mildly chewed out the department heads, command master chief, etc. for not getting more crew members to donate. Then, I announced the executive officer would take the person who in ship’s company donated the most to the campaign out to dinner at our first liberty port. I followed that up by posting it as a note in the POD the morning before we reached our anchorage.

Almost immediately, I began to have doubts. i wondered what I would do if the crew member gave the most so he or she could bend my ear about how bad I or another officer was treating them. I was concerned a malcontent might do the same just to make one liberty night miserable for me. And I wasn’t looking forward to spending one of the few evenings I would have to relax ashore spent with a crew member I might not enjoy. But most of all, I worried I might have encouraged a sailor to spend a lot more than they could afford just to have dinner with me.

The possibilities continued to bother me until the winner was announced at the conclusion of the CFC drive.

*    *     *

But as we went to anchorage, this executive officer had the problem overtaken by becoming busier than expected.

Once anchored, the world of Yosemite changed quickly. We were now at a place where we would remain for an undetermined amount of time. The operation of the air base  primarily was accomplished by British Royal Air Force personnel who were based there.We had received guidelines on what was expected of the ship by the Omani Air Force base on the island through government channels. Our Supply Officer, Commander Tim Allega had worked on the coordination for us. Most of the coordination on the Omani side was done by the British.

We were just off the coast of what was for all of us a strange land. We would find out more as crew members went ashore, but we tried to give the crew some ideas of what this strange land was like.

What we could and couldn’t do was pretty straightforward except for one item: trash. The word we received from shore was emphatic: there could be no trash floating up on the shore of Masirah. In  case you haven’t been on a ship, they do not get regular service from garbage and recycle trucks. Ships have to deal with it. For my entire time at sea, the way we dealt with it would give today’s environmentalists a heart attack. We dumped our trash over the fantail and watched it float away on our wake or sink. But Yosemite was not underway. We had a problem. The captain, department heads, and I put our heads together and came up with a plan. It was explained in the 01 November POD:

9. Trash/Garbage Procedures for Masirah Anchorage: While at the Masirah Anchorage, it is imperative that we take necessary steps to ensure all trash is bagged, sinkable, and dumped at optimum tide conditions. Accordingly, the following procedures will be applied.

The fantail is the only authorized trash dumping station. No coke cans or other items of trash are to be discarded over the side except as specified below.

All trash and garbage will be held on station until the authorized disposal time.

All trash will be compacted to the maximum extent possible and bagged in such a fashion as to prevent the load from coming apart before it sinks. (e.g.  coke cans or aerosol cans floating loose).

Take extraordinary steps to ensure no radio copy (classified or unclassified) or any classified material is mixed in with the trash.

Times for dumping trash will be published in the Plan of the Day. During the trash dumping period an EDF [Enlisted Dining Facility, i.e. the mess decks] will supervise at the fantail dumping station. He will make the determination as to whether or not a package is in compliance with the above procedures. In making this determination he is exercising a watch responsibility and will not be over ruled by a more senior petty officer. Any dispute over what is approved for dumping and what is not will be resolved by the quarterdeck OOD.

If it becomes necessary to send a boat to retrieve a package which did not sink, the offending division will provide the personnel to to ride the boat and fish out the mess.

Trash Dumping Hours for Today are:
0600-0700
1830-1930

We announced daily the times for dumping trash coinciding with the outgoing tides. We thought we had solved the problem.

This was just the beginning of the extra work we had due to our unique situation.

*     *     *

It was time for this executive officer to remember the admonishment Captain Roger Newman had given him when I departed the Okinawa for my change of duty to the Yosemite.

In my time at sea, one of the signs of a good ship handler was bringing his ship alongside a pier with no tugboats assisting. In today’s Navy, the increased size of the ships and the cost of repairing any damage if there was contact between the ship and pier has pretty much eliminated this maneuver without tugboats. In the case of tenders, their size and lack of maneuverability compared to destroyers and many amphibious ships in the early 1980’s, they nearly always used tugboats.

But we were in Masirah, at anchorage, not alongside a pier. There were no tugboats. For ships to come alongside and tie up for their maintenance periods the conning officers of the approaching ship had to demonstrate exceptional shiphandling capability.

The next day, the USS Fletcher (DD 992) was approaching our port side at 0900 and would not only test the seamanship of her conning officer but would also put me through one of the worst experiences of my tour.

As Fletcher made her approach,  our linehandlers were responsible for passing the  “messenger” lines (“ropes” to landlubbers) to the Fletcher linehandlers on their forecastle, amidships and on the stern. The Fletcher linehandlers would then tie the messengers to their mooring lines and our linehandlers would  pull the mooring lines back to Yosemite.  When the Fletcher moved into her mooring position (our rubber fenders were out over the side to buffer the ships from actual contact), the mooring lines would be secure.

Passing the messenger normally was done by two methods. One was heaving the lines by hand to the other ship. The other was using a shot line. A shot line was the messenger tied to a small

This was in an open sea  and bringing a ship alongside a ship at anchor required lines being passed as quickly as possible. The mooring lines were passed quickly on the forecastle, but the seas had separated the two sterns out from each other and the fantail linehandlers had not been  able to get their lines across. The captain began to become more forceful in his orders through his sound-powered phone talker to the fantail. George Sitton, the first lieutenant, spoke to me with some urgency. He essentially said the linehandlers aft couldn’t get the lines across and we should use the crane to pass the lines. i agreed. We suggested this to the captain. He did not agree and became more forceful in his commands to pass the lines aft.  As Georg and I became more belligerent in our recommendation, the lines were passed without the crane as the captain had ordered.

The lines were tightened and Fletcher was secured alongside. We secured from sea detail but before going below, the captain asked me to come to his cabin. i followed him and sat in the chair in front of his desk.

“XO,” he began, “Don’t you ever question my orders again in front of our crew or officers again! I cannot tolerate that kind of show of disrespect. If you disagree with a decision or order of mine, we can discuss in private, but never do that again.”

I not only knew he was correct in admonishing me, I was embarrassed I had forgotten that parting advice from Captain Newman: “You know when you become executive officer, your most important job is to support the captain,” he explained, “It doesn’t matter what you think about his decisions, if you don’t like his actions, or even if you don’t like him. Your job is to support him, to do anything to make him successful, to be his voice, his mirror reflection. That is your primary job.”

And I had forgotten. In my mind, I had committed a major blunder. It may have been done with good intention, but it was something an executive officer should never do.

I immediately responded to the captain, “Aye, aye, sir. i understand and apologize.” As I was leaving his cabin, I vowed I would never disagree with him in public again.

to spend a lot more than they could afford just to have dinner with me.

The possibilities continued to bother me until the winner was announced at the conclusion of the CFC drive.

*    *     *

But as we went to anchorage, this executive officer had the problem overtaken by becoming busier than expected.

Once anchored, the world of Yosemite changed quickly. We were now at a place where we would remain for an undetermined amount of time. The operation of the air base  primarily was accomplished by British Royal Air Force personnel who were based there.We had received guidelines on what was expected of the ship by the Omani Air Force base on the island through government channels. Our Supply Officer, Commander Tim Allega had worked on the coordination for us. Most of the coordination on the Omani side was done by the British.

We were just off the coast of what was for all of us a strange land. We would find out more as crew members went ashore, but we tried to give the crew some ideas of what this strange land was like.

What we could and couldn’t do was pretty straightforward except for one item: trash. The word we received from shore was emphatic: there could be no trash floating up on the shore of Masirah. In  case you haven’t been on a ship, they do not get regular service from garbage and recycle trucks. Ships have to deal with it. For my entire time at sea, the way we dealt with it would give today’s environmentalists a heart attack. We dumped our trash over the fantail and watched it float away on our wake or sink. But Yosemite was not underway. We had a problem. The captain, department heads, and I put our heads together and came up with a plan. It was explained in the 01 November POD:

9. Trash/Garbage Procedures for Masirah Anchorage: While at the Masirah Anchorage, it is imperative that we take necessary steps to ensure all trash is bagged, sinkable, and dumped at optimum tide conditions. Accordingly, the following procedures will be applied.

The fantail is the only authorized trash dumping station. No coke cans or other items of trash are to be discarded over the side except as specified below.

All trash and garbage will be held on station until the authorized disposal time.

All trash will be compacted to the maximum extent possible and bagged in such a fashion as to prevent the load from coming apart before it sinks. (e.g.  coke cans or aerosol cans floating loose).

Take extraordinary steps to ensure no radio copy (classified or unclassified) or any classified material is mixed in with the trash.

Times for dumping trash will be published in the Plan of the Day. During the trash dumping period an EDF [Enlisted Dining Facility, i.e. the mess decks] will supervise at the fantail dumping station. He will make the determination as to whether or not a package is in compliance with the above procedures. In making this determination he is exercising a watch responsibility and will not be over ruled by a more senior petty officer. Any dispute over what is approved for dumping and what is not will be resolved by the quarterdeck OOD.

If it becomes necessary to send a boat to retrieve a package which did not sink, the offending division will provide the personnel to to ride the boat and fish out the mess.

Trash Dumping Hours for Today are:
0600-0700
1830-1930

We announced daily the times for dumping trash coinciding with the outgoing tides. We thought we had solved the problem.

This was just the beginning of the extra work we had due to our unique situation.

*****

It was time for this executive officer to remember the admonishment Captain Roger Newman had given him when I departed the Okinawa for my change of duty to the Yosemite.

In my time at sea, one of the signs of a good ship handler was bringing his ship alongside a pier with no tugboats assisting. In today’s Navy, the increased size of the ships and the cost of repairing any damage if there was contact between the ship and pier has pretty much eliminated this maneuver without tugboats. In the case of tenders, their size and lack of maneuverability compared to destroyers and many amphibious ships in the early 1980’s, they nearly always used tugboats.

But we were in Masirah, at anchorage, not alongside a pier. There were no tugboats. For ships to come alongside and tie up for their maintenance periods the conning officers of the approaching ship had to demonstrate exceptional shiphandling capability.

The next day, the USS Fletcher (DD 992) was approaching our port side at 0900 and would not only test the seamanship of her conning officer but would also put me through one of the worst experiences of my tour.

As Fletcher made her approach,  our linehandlers were responsible for passing the  “messenger” lines (“ropes” to landlubbers) to the Fletcher linehandlers on their forecastle, amidships and on the stern. The Fletcher linehandlers would then tie the messengers to their mooring lines and our linehandlers would  pull the mooring lines back to Yosemite.  When the Fletcher moved into her mooring position (our rubber fenders were out over the side to buffer the ships from actual contact), the mooring lines would be secure.

Passing the messenger normally was done by two methods. One was heaving the lines by hand to the other ship. The other was using a shot line. A shot line was the messenger tied to a small

This was in an open sea  and bringing a ship alongside a ship at anchor required lines being passed as quickly as possible. The mooring lines were passed quickly on the forecastle, but the seas had separated the two sterns out from each other and the fantail linehandlers had not been  able to get their lines across. The captain began to become more forceful in his orders through his sound-powered phone talker to the fantail. George Sitton, the first lieutenant, spoke to me with some urgency. He essentially said the linehandlers aft couldn’t get the lines across and we should use the crane to pass the lines. i agreed. We suggested this to the captain. He did not agree and became more forceful in his commands to pass the lines aft.  As Georg and I became more belligerent in our recommendation, the lines were passed without the crane as the captain had ordered.

The lines were tightened and Fletcher was secured alongside. We secured from sea detail but before going below, the captain asked me to come to his cabin. i followed him and sat in the chair in front of his desk.

“XO,” he began, “Don’t you ever question my orders again in front of our crew or officers again! I cannot tolerate that kind of show of disrespect. If you disagree with a decision or order of mine, we can discuss in private, but never do that again.”

I not only knew he was correct in admonishing me, I was embarrassed I had forgotten the parting advice from Captain Roger Newman as I left Okinawa: “You know when you become executive officer, your most important job is to support the captain,” he explained, “It doesn’t matter what you think about his decisions, if you don’t like his actions, or even if you don’t like him. Your job is to support him, to do anything to make him successful, to be his voice, his mirror reflection. That is your primary job.”

And I had forgotten. I had made a major blunder in my mind. It may have been done with good intention, but it was something an executive officer should never do.

I immediately responded to the captain, “Aye, aye, sir. i understand and apologize.” As I was leaving his cabin, I vowed I would never disagree with him in public again.

And I turned my attention to how to run a ship with a crew of 800 men and 100 women while anchored off a strange land with no precedent from which to learn, and, oh yes, with a Spruance Class destroyer moored alongside, the first to receive our maintenance and repair services. It seemed like the deployment was becoming longer, not shorter.

 

 

A Slight Delay: Apologies…and Stand By

It hasn’t been a particularly good weekend.

i dedicated the two days to finishing our trellis painting after Paul Shipley and Jacob helped me…er, the two of them putting up the last replacement beam with me helping, and my posting the next installment of my book in progress.

Well, strange weather bit me in the…ah, you know. Pacific storms forming and then riding the Japanese Current after hurdled across the Southwest corner in spades, taking our derogatory term “May Gray” to a new level. Therefore, no painting on the trellis.

Worse, my installments are now dependent on my actually completing the draft. That’s why i went to a one a week on Sundays rather than two a week. i’ve got most of the stuff lined up through the deployment, but i wanted to make sure it all was correct from the standpoint of when and needed the ship’s logs on microfiche to verify.

i ordered the logs about twenty years ago, maybe more, at least before microfiche became antiquated. i had also bought a reader when they were abundant and cheap. But in my wisdom (not) while cleaning out the garage attic, i tossed it forgetting i needed it for the ship’s logs.

When i began this project, i realized i needed to read the microfiche. i bought a reader on eBay for $120 but the seller forgot to tell me it had been converted to battery power. i hooked it up and smoked the mother board. The guy took it back and refunded me but it set me back about two months.

So i started looking at libraries around here to find a reader. There were only two within a reasonable distance i could determine actually had one. So i spent about ten or twelve days driving to San Diego State and the Chula Vista main library to record the logged events up to the Yosemite arriving at anchorage of Masirah, Oman.

Since i’ve reached that point in the installments, i drove to the Chula Vista library yesterday. When the reader light would not come on, i went to the desk to determine why. It broke. They didn’t know when it would be fixed.

i thought i would try the internet again. i found several on eBay and Amazon. The ones on eBay seemed reasonable, like in the $200 range. However, they required the buyer to pay shipping which came close to doubling the cost. Boo.

So this morning, i decided to travel to SDSU and use the one i had found initially. i walked through the rain to the library, went down three floors to the basement, walked down the hall to the microfiche room where a locked door had a notice reading “Closed Until Further Notice.”

i was distraught so i did what all good sailors do. i came home mid-morning and had a beer.

Before taking my nap, a requirement for old farts who have a beer mid-morning, i decided to take one quick stab at Craig’s List. Bingo. Rick had put one up for sale two weeks ago. Twenty bucks. i took Maureen and Sarah to South Park, bought my monster, and took them to The Rose Wine Bar for lunch, a double good thing.

So the bottom line is there is not a real installment on the book today. i will get one out in the next day or two. The good news i am no longer inhibited by the lack of microfiche readers. After all, i have this monster:

Stand by. Installments on their way.