Friday, May 7, 2010

Sorry for the long uninteresting rant,,, UPDATED!

Once a year about this time I take a evening to drink beer (DUH) and reflect back to what is now 34 years ago.
I was kinda a scumbag, doing all kinds of shit I shouldna been doing. Nothing real bad like burglary or assaults but plenty of alcohol drugs and bad driving habits. Lost my job, spent a night in jail, it was just going downhill.
Then Friday afternoon me and my buddy Jim went and talked to a Navy recruiter. That was Friday. Monday I was being screamed at by my new Company Commander, who told us he was our new mother, our new father, the only one who matters. And he told us that very loudly over and over.

3 months later we were sent to Great Lakes Illinois Naval Station for Boiler ‘A’ School. They told us that and Jim and I looked at each other and shrugged, “what’s a boiler?”
I can tell you now, it is butt-clinchin cold at that base in the winter!
Anyway, I was then sent to San Deigo for FireFighting training.
After that I got some leave and went back to Denver for some partying.
I had orders to go to Yokosuka Japan Naval Station and report aboard the U.S.S. Lockwood DE 1064.(in the middle there)

So here I am, 19 years old, riding a bus from Tokyo airport to Yokosuka. It was quite a trip.
I spent the next 2 years onboard Lockwood. Probably half that time was in the FireRoom (boiler room). It was the worst job in the Navy. Ask any old Boiler Tech he will say the same thing.

Over 100 degrees constantly, very noisey, stinking of lube oil and diesel fuel. It takes 5 guys to operate the boilers around the clock but there was never 15 of us. So for months we worked 6 hours on and 6 hours off. And during those 6 hours off you had to eat, shower, and ‘smoke, coke and joke’ before heading back to ‘the hole’ for the next 6 hours.
I could go on with the bad but believe me there was some good too!
While onboard Lockwood I visited 14 countries, participated in the ‘crossing the equator’ ceremonies twice, got arrested once, got a helo ride to the ship from Subic Bay (Philippine Islands) when I ‘missed ships movement’, and don’t think otherwise,, that PISSED them off!
At some point, I don’t remember the date, I was sent to Portland Oregon’s Swan Island to report aboard the U.S.S. Meyerkord DE 1058.

It was just finishing up a dry dock retrofit and was due to complete ‘Sea Trials’.
Soon we were back in SanDeigo’s 32nd street Naval Station.
I got lots of stories about my time here, getting drunk in National City,, what a shithole.
Blah blah a few small local cruises and I was ‘loaned’ out to the Sterrit CG34, a guided missle cruiser just returning from an extended tour in the gulf of Oman. When they hit the base, they had a bunch of guys due to be either rotated to another duty station or to be discharged. Sterrit was going into drydock and needed to steam up to Longbeach to off-load ammo.
But now they didn’t have enough qualified FireRoom supervisors to do it, so they went scrounging. They got to my ship and found out there were 3 of us not really doing much. And since I was the one not married, away I go.
Blah blah blah again, we were then sent back to join the 7th fleet in where else? Yokosuka.
I only made Hawaii and Guam. After 2 weeks in Guam I was flown back to San Fransisco to be discharged.
That was 30 years ago.
I spent the next 18 years in boiler rooms of various sizes.
I have a bunch of boxes of photos out in the shed of my Navy time and I have a scanner. Some day,, I will get around to scanning some of the better stuff.
Here is a shot of the Lockwood being scrapped.
The Meyerkord was sold to Taiwan.

I have no regrets of joining and I almost stayed in. and I have always encouraged young people to join as well.

Ok,, enough of that. LETS DRINK BEER!

But just to keep things in prospective,,,,,,

UPDATE: Heres a link you should enjoy.


Sue W said...

Nice post, Barn.

Editor said...

That girl..wasn't she in Yokuska>

JRinSC said...

Great post, Barn. I spent 6 years in myself... except somehow they got me to volunteer for the Sub Force. That'll get things interesting for sure. I went to San Diego for boot, then Treasure Island in Frisco for Electronics school (where I volunteered) and then New London for Sub School and finally 4 years on the USS Ray (SSN 653) - Fast Attack Nuclear Sub. Got out Nov. 1, 1972 -- that is a long time ago!

I don't regret it a bit, but I might have done things slightly different (but then who wouldn't).


Anonymous said...

Great post Barn.
Thank you for giving up your time and a protion of your life to protect what you belive in.
USAF Ret. and damn proud of it.

John said...

Stumbled on your post and enjoyed reading it. I'm a Yokosuka Sailor also, Oklahoma City, Blue Ridge and Midway.


Anonymous said...

Brother Bill,

Guess you can understand why I joined the Air Force. Best Chow Halls and Quarters in the U.S. Military.

The link to the ships quarters and various components was way too cool.

Hope none of that shit is classified. Don't want to see any of them fellers with funny badges coming to Maya Beach to visit my Brother.

Anonymous said...

I lived in Imperial Beach California and was married in 1972 at Coronado California.
Husband spent close to two years at the Imperial Beach Naval Station
in charge of the battery shop for flight operations. Later ended up on the USS Constellation for the remainder of his service duty.
We spent lots of our time at the ocean and in the mountains and your correct National City was not the highlight of the area.

RPM said...

Great post Barn! Everybody needs to pull at least one hitch in the service just to see the world and grow up, or in my case act out.

I went Coast Guard because my Dad was a Coastie in WWII. If you think Great Lakes was butt=clinchin' cold, you never went on patrol in the Bering.

You know you've been thru a frozen hell when Adak looks like a great liberty port.

Note for future reference... Don't hotwire a NOAA van and steal a ceremonial cannon on base. SP's there don't have any sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

Always love reading your stories man, whether bad or good they leave me astonished at how people serve their country. But also you must tell me who is that girl in the picture :D


Howdy...I think you and I crossed paths...1064 to 1058..BT.