Saturday, April 02, 2005

Yes, Marty, I did it.....

As I discussed some things with my friend last evening, I recalled a simple, yet effective, practical joke during one of my at-sea tours. I realized it is time to publically confess. I can only hope Marty finds out here... Life at sea on a combatant is not all hard work, lots of sweat and no sleep for the line officers. During my XO tour, I used to regularly get up at 0500, grab a shower, get my radio traffic, then a cup of coffee. By the time reville sounded at 0630, I had a pretty good head start on the day. We had a helicopter detachment assigned to the ship, and Marty was the Officer in Charge. Being a Naval Aviator, he had been "raised" with a little different work place ethic, and he regularly worked to make ship board life more like that of he and his avaitors. That wasn't all bad, but, as you might expect, I resisted, which wasn't hard as XO to call the shots. I had a master key for the wardroom area (where the officer's rooms were). It was the implement that allowed me to secretly torture Marty, as a pay back for the friendly jibes he made about us "shoes" (short version of "black shoe," the name avaitors, who wear brown shoes, called us ship drivers). The officers didn't have "heads" in their staterooms, but they had a shared facility in the passageway right outside their rooms. Once I was up and dressed, and had headed forward to get my traffic from Radio Central, I would continue forward, check in Combat Information Center (CIC) and the Bridge, then head down and after to the wardroom for coffee and breakfast. When taking this route, I could take the short way through the wardroom area, past the staterooms, then into the dining area of the wardroom itself. Marty's room, as you've probably guessed, was right on that route. The stateroom doorknobs had a button on the inside to lock them, but when locked, needed a key on the outside to open them. With the key, you could lock the door, but the button on the inside stayed in the unlocked position. Because of this design, I could, in the dim red light of the darkened ship condition in the passageway, well before reveille, lock Marty's door with the master key. It was quite fun to sit eating breakfast and see Marty stick his head into the wardroom, obviously fresh out of the shower, and ask on of the mess cooks to get the key, as he had locked himself out of his room. I only did it a few times in the 6 month deployment, yet, for as smart as he was, he never suspected what had happened. I'm sorry, Marty, but it was just too much fun to pass it up.

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