Convention I am turning myself over to you. You are forcing me to miss my ship so I‘m your prisoner.‖
EN3 Hebert had this shocked look on his face. I didn‘t have a clue as to what I was doing. The two police officers moved off and had a quick conference and came back to the counter and said take your stuff and get on the motor bikes and leave. He directed me to follow Hebert as he had a headlight. I‘m glad they didn‘t keep me.
Shake Down: Salty Dog! . We were on the shake-down cruise after the dry dock in Baltimore and had taken on a good number of new crew members including a bunch right out of boot camp. We had been diverted on a SAR mission to rescue a sail boat in distress. It was in a tropical disturbance area with near hurricane winds. The ship was really rolling and you see green water out the port holes with each roll. I had the engineering lower deck security watch and was making my rounds. As I approached the mess deck it was truly a mess. Seems half the crew was heads down on the tables. Most had coffee cans etc. It stunk to the high heaven. The mess cook had lost control of one of the milk jugs and milk was sloshing back and forth across the mess deck. I was ―over four‖ and original commissioning crew, so thought of myself as an old salt. My experience with search and rescue boats on the rough Lake Michigan had me feeling pretty good about this ocean thing. With my Dixie cup cocked down over my eyes I strolled through the mess deck and started singing ―Oh I wish I was a Salty Dog, a Salty Dog, a Salty Dog.‖ I was laying it on the sick boots real heavy.
My next stop was to check the sewage pump station a couple of decks below the galley. It was about a 5X10 enclosed compartment and someone had painted a picture of a wilted rose on the doorway. We called this pumping station ―Rosy‖ for a reason. This sewage station serviced the galley and collected some of the galley waste including grease. It also collected other normal waste and would clog frequently. She was a real stinker at times. When it clogged you would have to change the valve setup to back flush Rosy to get her working again. When I got to her on my rounds Rosy was clogged and flooding over with about four inches of water on the deck. I put down my clip board in the passageway and hooked back the hatch style door for ventilation and climbed in over the pipes to do the back flush.
We were taking heavy rolls and the hatch came unhooked and slammed shut. No worry I got this baby! Rosy however was not willing to work with me and I had to manually pump and flush it several times. The sweat began pouring off of me. It was really hot and the water just kept sloshing around. It may have only been 15 minutes or so but by the time I got out of Rosy I was one sick puppy. I could barely crawl up the ladder to the mess deck. When I finally made it to the mess deck no one was sicker than me and I assure you I didn‘t come out singing. Just before the last reunion I found an old hand written copy of a poem stored in an old shoe box that I penned about Rosy.
That Beast of December
by Ron Henderson
I still remember that cold day in sixty-six When fate was up to her old tricks… We took over Atka from the Navy And they got rid of their baby Rosy