A Tender Tale

Chapter 5:(continued)

"So I'd like to know where, you got the notion -
Said I'd like to know where, you got the notion:
To Rock the Boat! (Don't Rock the Boat, baby!)
Rock the Boat! (Don't tip the Boat over!)
Rock the Boat! (Don't Rock the Boat, baby!)
Rock the Boat----!"
....The Hues Corporation.

As I noted earlier - One of my favorite niches I had become good at was in getting stable platforms from the warehouse on the pier (or in one caseHawaii!) to a boat when needed. That sounds easy - and mostof the time - it was just a matter of running over to the warehouseon the pier - presenting the paper-work - and then getting itmoved by forklift to the crane on the pier, and either up to theO-2 deck on the Proteus to be fork-lifted to one of the Boat andAmmo cranes - and then onto the deck of the boat - or sometimesthat route wasn't available - so the pier crane would put thehat into a mike boat - which would run the hat to the boat - andthe missile crane would put it on deck for us. I had gotten realgood at that - to the point that everyone just assumed that I'dtake care of it - and I did. I got real good at it - one daytoo good. Seems a boat had come in for refit - and we suspectedthat one of the "hats" was going bad. Haden and Moneyhunwanted to change it right away - but the boat's on-coming navigatornixed that - thinking he could get it in specs with calibrationruns.

ET1 Haden keeping me on my toes. Note the permanently attached coffee cup - definitely chief material!

Well they went out on a shakedown - and we get the message theygotta have a "hat" and they sail in x hours. And letme tell you - Boomers don't sail late. Period. At least not thatI ever heard about - and none of us wanted to have anything todo with a boat being late. Nope. not a chance. So I was handedthe requisitions by the supply PO (Ron Ippolito) and I zippedover to the warehouse - drew the hat (the "hat" comesin a container - that looks like an oversized 55 gallon drum)-

SINS Console
A "hat" - (stable platform) - mounted in it's binnacle. This is how they are installed in the boats - inside a climate controlled - sealed binnacle. This platform is complete - with all of it's components installed - The round pineapple shaped thing on the left side of the platform is one of the gyros - the cluster of three cans on the right are the accelerometers

and got a forklift and ran it down to the pier. The pier craneoperator was ready to pick it up and put it in a Mike boat thatwas tied up right beside the ship - but no one was in the Mikeboat! Hmmmm.... Well - I zipped over into the Mike boat and gotthe crane operator to put the hat box in the front of the boat....still no crew. What the heck - this thing can't be too hard todrive..... where's the key. Hmmm. there's the start button [press]- Geez - left it in gear - let's see - throttle you turn -- pullback for reverse - middle neutral -- "I think I got it -untie me!" some other sailors had noticed my activity andwere staring down from the pier - "Are you nuts?" --"Yeah probably - cut me loose..." "OK - it's yourass---" Actually for being totally out of my league - I didpretty good - well --- at least I didn't hit anything. That thingwanted to go ANYWHERE but the direction I wanted to go... I finallymanaged to get all the way around the Proteus - (Thank goodnessthere wasn't a boat on the starboard side where I started from- it took me a couple thousand feet just to get it going straight!).I pulled up next to the boat the Hat was for - and tied it upwith help from a couple of the boat's crew. The Proteus' missilecrane is this huge X-Y yard crane that was built in somethinglike 1928. And it is up pretty high - The crane operator knewI was going to need a lift - and had been waiting and watchingall along - just sure I was going to sink. He slid the crane overto us - dropped his auxiliary hook and lifted the container tothe sub's deck. I guess it was about this time the Mike Boat'screw discovered SOMEONE STOLE OUR BOAT! Needless to say - therewas a bit of a buzz as that word spread around the ship - Wannarace the fastest thing in the Navy? Just start a rumor on thefantail of a Navy ship - and try and beat it to the bow ---- you'lllose every time! By this time - I had run the Mike boat back towhere I had "borrowed" it from .... I was getting prettygood by this time I actually managed to go in a straight linerather than the "Zigzag" of the trip over.... Just asI finished tying it up - a couple of deck department types showedup - a bit red in the face -- "Just what the ____ do youthink you're doing?" the coxswain demanded. I just shruggedand said it was a nice day for a cruise... they weren't too appreciativeof my smart-mouth - but I outranked them - so they just grumbledsome unprintable observations about me and my ancestry. As I Salutedthe flag coming up the gang plank back on board the Proteus -the Officer of the Deck called me over and asked if I was theone that "stole" the Mike boat. "No Sir - justborrowed it." "Uh-huh - the Chief Boatswain wants tosee you in the deck office - now." I could tell bythe shouting coming through the closed door as I walked up thatthe Deck Chief wasn't having the best of days... but all thingsconsidered - he was pretty nice: He just explained to me thatmy unauthorized use of the Mike boat was a no no - and that ifI did it again he would be very upset. I assured him I now realizedthat I had acted foolishly in my zealous effort to get my jobdone. I don't know if he totally bought it - but 1) I did getout of his office in one piece - and 2) I didn't ever again eventhink about "borrowing" the Mike boat...

Just about the time I was getting comfortable again - my worldtook another jolt. I had really worked on my attitude - mouthwas under more control - to the point that I was considered areasonably well behaved E5. Suddenly - what was acceptable behavioras an E5 was woefully short as an E6. Sheesh. My evaluation marksbefore were pretty good - this time - I got clobbered! Equallyupsetting was that now people seemed to be more concerned withhow good I was with paper work, and other administrative things.I liked the pay raised - but this other stuff sucked! Well - itwasn't' as bad as it seemed at first. And as time went along -I did manage to fit into my new roll better.


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