What would it be like to have a marine duty on a tender for a submarine?
The first thing I learned about the Navy is that if it is your on-call ship, and it is moving across the ocean, sometimes it takes you a long time to get there, to climb it. That was the deal with this ship and the destroyer I was also on. It took me almost a month to catch up on the destroyer I was stationed on. It didn't take me long to get to the boat. The ship was on its way to Subic Bay, Philippines. And I wanted to meet him at the dock, when I finally got there.
After arriving in Manila, me and some of the other guys on the boat stayed in Manila tonight. It was the first night I spent in any other country ever in my life. There were several of us who flew to Manila the same day and had to take a taxi about 2 hours south to get to the boat.
We got a nice hotel room in Manila, it looked down the streets, there were all kinds of vendors everywhere, and jeeps like taxis, pushing horns all the time. We didn't know what to do, so we stayed in the hotel lounge. That first night we all drank there in the lounge and just stayed there. We traveled for a while and were told not to go out and hang out, but we had a little fun, but only in a hotel stay.
The next morning, a white little air-conditioned van came and picked us all up. They took us to the city where the ship was waiting. Along the way, you could see many different types of taxis, and the tons of fields we all assumed were rice fields.
Taxi drivers seem to drive more crazy than in the United States. They rolled over things, barely slowing down for anyone to cross the street, they had tons of stickers all over their hoods, and it was everyone who heavily decorated their taxis. They would be constantly bombarded, and sometimes if you look at the driver he just waves his horn to howl the horn. There were 3 all-wheel-drive taxis that they called tricks. They were the cheapest way to get around.
I consider myself a good motorcycle rider, considering I grew up with dirty bikes and motorcycles the whole time. One day I asked one of the tricks of the driver if I could ride his 3-wheeled taxi motorcycle. He said I would have a hard time managing it because I had never done it before. I told him I've been riding motorcycles my whole life, I can ride his thing. He bet 50 pesos, which is roughly $ 1, that I couldn't drive him from one place to another. Boy, I was driving him just a little bit, and I couldn't make him turn me around, so he was right, you have to practice riding those things, to understand.
Again, I was the "fresh meat" type on board. Finally it will be, a real Navy. A ship with more than 1300 people on it. Our office was almost at the very top of the ship. All administrative offices, legal, public affairs, recreation, headquarters of CO, XO and command were all connected. Offices are linked together so we can all use the same spaces. You had to perform standard duties that any ship would have to do. Fire fighting training, exercises, man on board, abandonment, nuclear spill and other types of exercises.
They all do special training, and you learn other things about the ship. One of my first tasks, besides being a jeoman, was to have to stand on guard or serve on a flight crew, or a rescue crew, or something. Even if you work in an office, at any time, and even at 3:00 in the morning, they might decide to do an exercise or the right thing.
One of my jobs as a sailor in the Navy and working in the administrative department was during special marine operations. We might get supplies from another ship, which was traveling, it threw water, for example, 20 knots, and we were traveling throwing water, at the same speed. We can transfer, fuel, supplies, food, mail, people, as you say.
They could use a helicopter to get supplies from one ship to another, and in all that time, the captain is on the bridge, standing on the wings, directing the ship at what speed it should go, what stream it should be on, and during that time he always has his young naval officer, who is around him, because he is a training officer at all times.
The captain, whom I must see, rehearses 50 different officers over and over with the same things. Here we are, traveling at high speeds, two ships no more than a hundred yards from each other. On the wings of the bridge there will be a young colonel or junior lieutenant, trying to give speed and course, to the steward and the helmsman. Also, at the same time he has a captain right behind him, putting a little pressure on him, telling him what to do and asking him a lot of test questions, and always testing and training them.
It was my job to keep track of what speed and course we were in at all times. The young officers would be confused and could not remember what course we were going, or what speed we were going. Usually you just have to refine your course and speed every now and then, so slightly backwards, forwards, forwards, and the ships will be fine.
It looks really impressive, phenomenal and strong, being at sea, thousands of guys working, bright sunshine, crystal blue waters and your ocean cruise, at pretty high speeds, and you can see the cargo and other items shifted from boat to boat, and you just think. wow, how great does this look.
One day, the captain was on the bridge, and he was a pretty handsome guy, he said, "Stupid little thing," although at the time I was only a sailor, he always liked to call people of higher rank. He said, "You must have heard me say it, and again, a thousand times so far, I bet you could drive a ship better than these officers."
I always knew when it was time to change direction, I could do what these officers were trying to learn, just because I was up there with the captain every time, when he was always training someone. Never did the captain do anything, it was always a drill, or a drill, or a supply mission, he always trained junior officers, for everything he did.
One of my jobs was talking to a CO phone during emergencies and exercises. During the fight scenarios and other things we do, each department would have one person talking on the phone, like the repair department, the medical department, the damage department and all the other people connected.
The captain barked orders, and I would send orders to other departments, it was kind of like I was giving orders, and it was a bit of fun, because everyone took it so seriously, and wherever the captain was, there was always a good view.
On this ship, the captain had his own kitchen and cookbook. The cookbook was part of our department, and the Purchasing Department and the Executive Department shared the same sleeping space together. So we always shared our bonding with the chefs and the guys on offer.
Chef in CO, was selected as Sailor of the Year, Ship, and was a good guy. His dream was to work in the White House, so he applied, but was turned down for work. The captain had his regular home-sized oven, refrigerator and all the things he would have at home, in the kitchen. Chef, he would ask CO what he would like to eat for each meal and then make it. The skipper can answer, I want a light salad, steak and anything else he wants.
Everyone on board brand new and just starting out in the Navy is required to perform a 90 day duty, somewhere in the cooking section. Whether as a cook, assistant, cleaner or whatever. My job ended up with about 3 frozen food cabinets. There must have been at least 12 cabinets to store milk, food, bread, burgers on board.
At each entrance we had an elevator and at the top of the boat we had our own crane. Before going out to sea, some semi-trailers with trailers would come and we would load the ship with fresh food, a lot. On board you usually get 4 meals a day, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and again one at midnight, called mid-rats, for people who are still hungry, or people who go on guard or take off guard. When you have 1300 people, a lot of food is needed.
Working in the food storage department for 90 days was fun, the guy in charge of us was pretty cool. We were always allowed to have days off as soon as we finished our work. It meant all our work, so if someone was done, we would help the next guy do his job, until all things were done, and even a lot of days, we would work until noon and we would leave for the rest of the day. Not a bad deal.