World's Greatest Navy Part 5 USS California
None of these I can remember in any particular order, with that being said, let's start my first real Navy adventure.
Now this I know happened, after my two weeks vacation in the great city of sioux City, IA, I caught a flight from the Sioux City Airport, on my way to Northern California.
This time there was just nerves jumping around in my stomach about the unknown.
After quite a few hours of flight, the plane landed at the San Francisco International Airport.
I had to find a place to stay for the night, so I rode a limousine, to Oakland California, the limo ride was actually cheaper tha a taxi.
I ended up staying at the Oakland Coliseum Motel, it was right outside the Raiders home stadium.
I ate food and drinks from the vending machine, then watched a little tv, showered and went to sleep.
The next morning I caught a taxi to NAS Alameda, and the end of the pier, where the USS California was moored, I grabbed my sea bag, walked up on the gangplank, at the top I turned, saluted the Stars and Stripes, then turned, saluted and asked the Officer of the Watch for permission to come aboard, his reply was permission granted.
I handed him my orders and he called for the Petty Officer of the Watch to show me to my berthing located at 2-195-2-L.
I was shown to a top bunk, it was mid afternoon, no one was in the berthing, no one to greet me.
So I just sat there until a cook enterd the berthing and was getting ready to go out, he asked if i wanted to go, I said sure. He had changed and he looked at me and asked am I going to change.
I replied"I thought I had to wear this uniform out in town."
He said "You are on a ship now, yiu are done with bootcamp, you will not be a sailor until we get underway, right now you are a boot."
I said "Okay."
We went out to base enlisted club, we had a few beers and I was just watching everybody party, getting nuts.
Sailors would stop and say, "Welcome aboard Boot, you will not be a sailor until we get underway."
I must have heard that 50 or 60 times that night.
After a few hours we went back to the ship,
Soon over the 1MC, I heard "Taps Taps, lights out all hands turn in to your bunks, now taps."
The next morning, I was up attending my first S2 Division Quarters.
The Leading MS was reading the Plan of the Day.
After the POD was read, he looked at me and asked, "Are you ready to get started cooking?"
I replied, "Yes sir."
He said"I am MS1 Clause, I am not an officer, so don't call me sir again, call me MS1."
So the Galley Captain gave me threee aprons, three hats, some cooks whites and shirts, and told me go change, I will be on the Starboard watch.
I was soon back and told to report to the Watch Captain, MS2 Keister, my first assignment was to spread garlic butter on berad and assist another cook.
The cook, MSSN Hart, he told me to go get some more loaves of bread out of the Bread Room, as I approached the Bread Room, I smeeld something so familiar, there was no doubt what it was, it was the smell marijuana.
There was MSSA Rayford, smoking a joint in the Bread Room.
When you are the most junior person on the ship and the youngest at that time, you keep quiet and do what you are told.
The saying shit rolls down hill, is so true, after lunch was done, I was sent to a Working Party.
There were these 69 lb projectiles that had to hand carried on board from the pier.
My first real dose of doing something, that I didn't know cooks do more than cook.
After the Working Party, my arms were Nooldes.
Then I was told to report back to the Galley to help make dinner.
I was helping MSSA Cook make Meatloaf, then I was told to pan up rice, after MS2 keister showed how to do it, I was left alone to do it.
5 pans pans later, I was assigned to clean the griddle, that took a while.
MSSA Brackins was in Vegetable Prep, he was yelling thru the pass thru window,"Heres your onions, MS2."
Then I went back to cleaning,
After cleaning the griddle I was put on the serving line to serve the crew, as they came through the line a lot of them said,"Wecome aboard Boot."
It was about 1830 by the time we finished for the evening, I just to shower and get some rest, the berthing was empty, after Taps was sounded off, I shut the lights off and went to my rack.
It was now Friday, after Breakfast, the watched turn over, the Port watch takes over and the Starboard watch has the weekend off.
At this point, I had a chnce to meet all of the Cooks.
I wanted to get off the ship and have time to myself, so I got a Motel Room at the Alameda Motel just up the road outside the base.
I spent Friday and Saturday night there.
Sunday morning I came back to the ship, MS3 Dux, asked where have I been, I told him I got a room for the weekend.
He replied,"Don't do that again, without letting us know where you going, you are the baby of the family."
I kind of smiled and told him, "Okay."
That Monday, I was on a bus, going to Shipboard Firefighting School.
We were given instructions, the last words of the Instructor were, "Whatever you do, do not panic, it will be dark and cramped, you will need to fing your way out, but do not abandon your shipmate."
Guess what happened, I was scared as hell, the saior I was following through the fire, darkness and smoke, panicked and left me behind, I controlled my fear enough to get out.
The Instructor was chewing the sailor's ass for abandoning shipmates, and he was written up.
Outside the building, we all cleaned our OBAs (Oxygen Breathing Apparatus).
Then were were taught how to handle a 50 foot fire hose, CO2 and PKP Fire Extinguishers.
It was a very stressful day, but soon were on the bus, crossing the Golden Gate bridge and going back to the ship.
In another week, I would no longer be a boot, we would be underway.
We were getting underway for Refreshing Training, two weeks of nothing but firefighting drills, flooding drills , a lot man overbord drills and ship manuevers.
I had never been underway, I was told that during our underway period, I would be standing Mail Buoy Watch.
The Sailor, MS2 Churchill explained, "When you have this watch, you will be in a life jaket, sound powered phone a hook to grab the floating mail, if you miss it once, the Captain will turn the ship around for another attampt, you miss it again, you will be sent to Captain's Mast to be punished."
Boy, I sure was stressing over this.
Then, MS3 Dux pulled me aside and said, "MS2 Churchill does this to all new cooks, he is full of shit, there is no such thing as Mail Buoy Watch."
I was so relieved.
After, a while underway, I started getting seasick, this would happen about thirty times before I got my Sea Legs.