Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Subron 8: Captain's Mast

Another in the ongoing "Subron 8 Sea Stories" series.

My nephew asked how many times I'd been to Captain's Mast. Ha.

On a diesel boat Captain's Mast was never conducted at sea, and was held somewhat irregularly when we were in port, but whenever one was held and I was not there the Captain wanted to know why not. I think he was not sure how to hold Mast without me there.

I nonetheless got the third chevron below my crow before I got my first hashmark. To those who don't know, that means I made E-6 before I finished my first four-year hitch. That certainly could not be done in today's Navy, and I'm not sure it could have been done then anywhere but on a diesel boat, and only by an Electrician. EM's were in short supply.

And, at the risk of being immodest, I was very good. I had a hell of a reputation when it came to diagnosing a fault in a motor controller, or finding a distribution problem and, best of all, I was the best jury rigger on the boat. That was a skill highly valued on a 21-year-old diesel submarine, a ship type that was already becoming the bastard stepchild of the submarine Navy, which was rapidly going nuclear.

Response to comment, Wednesday afternoon
And I'm still not going to answer the question, because I don't know the answer. Let's just say it was not a particularly rare occurrence. It typically had to do with overly enthusiastic consumption of alcohol while on liberty which, in those days, was by no means considered a heinous crime.

And luck had nothing to do with the time and place, buddy. The choice of rating was deliberate when I joined the Navy, specifically designed to give me the best chance of winding up on a submarine and specifically on a diesel boat. I had to jump through a lot of hoops to get waivers due to being taller than the maximum height allowed, and with my test scores they were hell bent to put me on a nuclear boat, which I emphatically did not want. From about age ten I had been determined to serve on an operational diesel submarine and I worked my ass off to make that happen.

1 comment:

  1. bruce9:32 AM

    Hmmm.. Notice how he is definitely immodest, admits to being lucky as in the right place at the right time, tweaks the nose of the modern Navy and never actually answers the original question.

    The man should go into politics.