A Tender Tale

Chapter 5: (continued)

"A little light shinin' through the window-
let's me know ev'rything's alright -
Summer Breeze makes me feel fine,
Blowin' through the Jasmine in my mind."
....Seals and Crofts

As a First Class Petty Officer - I was not only expected to domore - but there were times that the new rank was reason for reapingsome rewards as well. Every-so-often the Proteus did go to sea- sometimes because a Typhoon was coming - and it's a good ideato get out of the way... other times to dump effluent - and ingeneral sharpen our "at sea" skills. Still assignedto CIC as my "Sea and Anchor" Station, when I heardwe were to put out - I decided to check with the CIC supervisor to see about watch schedules, training and so on. Oops. He had gotten orders a few weeks back - and was gone. So I called the Navigator to see what was going on. He told me that they had just selected the replacement - some guy named Guttery from W5. At first - I was somewhat elated - WOW for all intents and purposes - at sea - I would be the CIC officer. Whoa... that also means I am responsible for CIC. Getting watch standers assigned, and since some (most) will have never stood a CIC watch - I have to train them. Oh Crap! that means I've gotto make sure that I've got people that can plot on every watch...Since I'll take one section - I've got to have three more plotters...And I've got three days... The enormity of the situation sweptover me like a tidal wave. You wanted it - you got it! You justthought you wanted it! No- I really did. I really thought I coulddo a good job with CIC - but I guess I thought I'd be able to"ease" into it - now it was do or die in three days.I met with my division officer who allowed me to draw 4 peoplefrom our division for watches - Repair R4 gave me 4 more - I needed3 more - the Fire Control repair shop gave me those. I now hadthe 12 people I needed - counting myself. The Navigator arrangedfor us to use one of the meeting rooms in officer's country forour training. He was super. He supported me in every way. WhenI walked into the room for the first training session -the 11 people that I had gotten "volunteered" were there - butthere were also a couple of Officers as well. I didn't think much ofit at the time - I was concentrating on getting my people ready- because we had three hours today - and three hours tomorrow- then it's for real - we'd be at sea!

Our outing was pretty un-eventful. My watch standers did a goodjob - fortunately we only saw (on RADAR) a small handful of shipsthe whole time we were out - and we were always ready with a recommendedcourse to maintain the 10 mile buffer the Captain had orderedbe maintained. The only glitch was during the last night out.Someone came and woke me up about 2:30 that morning - saying therewas a problem in CIC - that the RADAR operator had requested thesupervisor immediately. Arriving at CIC there was my RADAR watch stander- standing OUTSIDE the door. "What the hell are you doingout here?" I demanded as I approached. He just pointed inthe door. There were those two officers - the two that had satin on the training session - both bent over the scope - and twistingevery knob on both the PPI AND - more seriously - they had theRADAR remote panel open - and kept cranking up the crystal current.That is an EXCELLENT way to burn out a detector crystal - andleave you blind as a bat. Worse. We didn't have SONAR. "Just what the hell are you doing?" The look on the faces of those two was worth any punishment my "impertenance" might have purchased. They looked like two little kids caught elbow deep in the cookie jar. Realizing I had run mouth before brain again -I decided to take the offensive and see if I could salvage thesituation. "Would you two please step outside with me fora moment?" I motioned towards the door to the weather deck.They looked at each other, then got up and we went outside. Whenwe reached the weather deck (out of earshot of anyone - orso I thought) I again asked the question - this time a littlemore politely: "Sirs - may I ask why you are interferingwith my watch standers? - and by whose authority are you tamperingwith the RADAR?" Well the "tamper" word was enoughto start one of them talking. He maintained that they were doingnothing wrong - that as officers they could play with the PPIand the RADAR as they wished. I told them that as long as I wasthe CIC officer - they were welcome to observe, but not interferewith my watch standers - and that under no circumstance were theyto touch the RADAR remote. Feeling pretty good about how it wasgoing to that point I decided to press the issue. "As faras I'm concerned at this point - no harm has been done - and I'mwilling to overlook this incident. But please - do not misunderstand- if you tamper with the RADAR again - or interfere with my watchstanders - I will take this up through the Chain of Command."They looked at each other - "I can't believe I'm standinghere getting my ass chewed by an enlisted man." A voice camefrom over our head. THAT voice. Damn! - that man knows everythingon this ship. "Believe it Mister. And if I catch either of you in CICyou'll continue that conversation with me. Is that understood?""Yes sir." both of them saluted towards the voice -it was so dark we never did see him... but his presence was awesome.They took off towards officer's country. I paused a moment - notsure whether to say something to the Captain - I decided justto keep my mouth shut - for once.


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