A Tender Tale

One last pair of Sea Stories to Wrap Up Tender Tale. The funnyiest (we think)- and the most poignant - and both involving the US Marines.

When the Proteus was converted in 1959 to service the FBM submarines - the missile and other special weapons storage, handling and service areas were added in that 44 foot long - 500 ton "addition" that was spliced in. On the weather decks - there was little to the addition - mostly the crane - and a few shop spaces here and there. Below - the "addition" was for all practical purposes a sealed box. No access except for those who actually worked in those spaces. This was enforced two ways: 1) "normal" access to the area was through 1 security entry door - which had a security person on duty 24 hours a day. 2) every other door (even most internal doors) had an alarm sensor on it - opening a door without proper authorization and procedures would result in setting off the ship's special weapons security violation alarm. That had the effect of causing the Marines to immediately deploy - establishing immediate and total control of all security areas and their perimeter. There is one more detail to the "addition" - the Burma Passageway. I have no idea why it was named that - though some guesses can be made once you know about "the passage". As I noted - the addition was for all practical purposes a sealed box below the main deck - except for this one fore - aft passageway that started aft out of the aft-mess hall - proceeded about 30 feet aft - then made a 90 degree turn in-board - went several feet - then turned aft once again - and continued aft until it opened into the machine shop. This is the only fore-aft passage below the main deck - and the only fore-aft passage in this section not exposed to the weather. Needless to say - it is one busy passage. Accidents do happen - and occasionally someone would forget - crack a door - and here comes the marines - weapons first, of course! They would go from the Marine Detachment area (just behind the machine shop) through the machine shop - through Burma Passageway - and deploy through the after mess deck - and other security areas. When the Marines respond to a sercurity alarm - about a dozen respond as fast as they can run - with weapon - careening through the "twist" of Burma-passage way - clobbering any sailor foolish enough to still be in that passage way.

Herein is one of those "Sea Stories."

She looked at me with big brown eyes -
and said: "You ain't seen nothin' yet -
B- B- B- Baby you just ain't seen n- n- nothin' yet!
Here's somethin' that you never gonna forget -
B- B- B- Baby you just ain't seen n- n- nothin' yet!...
Bachman-Turner Overdrive

It was a usual duty night - chow call had gone down - so we'd gone through the mess line and gotten our usual great chow (no facetiousness here - the Proteus usually had outstanding chow!) - and was eating in the mess deck. In the overhaul - they had installed booths - like in a restaurant - it made a very comfortable eating place! Well - we had been eating for a while - when over the 1MC: "Security violation! Security violation! All hands stand fast! Away the Security Alert Team!" In - oh - about 10 seconds - we could here the pounding of feet coming up the Burma Passage - "Get out of the way! Get out of the way!" - They yelled that even if they didn't see anyone - because they were told to - and Marines are like that - tell them to do something - and they do it!. Well in a matter of seconds several had raced by - on to the main door into "the security area." Others were taking up their assigned stations around the perimeter. Everyone had gotten to his post - and was looking for "the bad guys" - when this Marine who's post was directly in front of our table - became aware of us. There was nothing the matter with us sitting there - that wasn't what bothered the young Marine. You see - they have to respond immediately regardless of what they are doing.... And when you are a Marine - immediately means out of the shower - grab your weapon (not a towel) and get to your assigned post. What this Marine had just noticed is that eathing dinner with me and a friend was Sherry and the friend's wife - and he was buck naked. True Marine he stood his post - he didn't move a muscle (well he did sorta try to cover his ! with the butt of his weapon) - he did turn red from head to toe - but until secured by his sergeant, he stood his post as a proud Marine. Naturally Sherry and the other lady didn't embarass him by laughing - at least until he was relieved and on his way -- then all four of us busted loose...

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