When last we left our hero....come to think of it, that 'hero' would be me. My, don't we think a lot about ourselves? Let's try this again.
When last we left our hapless schmuck, he was onboard the aircraft carrier USS America as it headed towards the equator en route to military exercises with the Brazilian Navy. You can read about it here if it's a slow day, you're bored, and you have nothing else to do. If nothing else, you can go look at the pictures.
Or you can just take my word that I was nervous...
17 JUN 1977
USS AMERICA (CV-66)
Latitude 00˚ 00’ N
Longitude 039˚ 00’ W
Hot, Frikkin’ Hot
After the morning rush, MS1 Abunzallah announced that we were to report to the ship's hangar deck with the rest of the pollywogs.
“Ass-keecking for sure, boddy,” he cackled to nobody in particular before disappearing.
|An A-7. |
Next to two helicopters.
I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.
“All you ‘wogs, asses down! Grab your ankles and duck-walk to elevator #4!”
|"Ya know, if I cut this bastard into two foot lengths, |
it'd be perfect to smack the hell out of someone.
What are the odds of us actually catching fire?"
“I want to hear everyone squawking ‘wog, wog, wog’!” the smaller (not to be confused with ‘nicer’) of the two hollered.
Like cowed lemmings, we belted out “wog, wog, wog!” and hobbled to the elevator platform.
Emerging into the bright tropical sunshine, we were greeted by a torrent of saltwater from a flight deck firehose. The high-velocity spray cascaded over us, momentarily drowning out our pitiful cries of “wog.” Its salt got into my eyes and coursed down the back of my pants, soaking my shorts.
|NOTE: Depiction of 'skivvies' |
for entertainment use only.
|NOTE: What we actually wore.|
I shook my head and tried to blink away the saltwater stinging my eyes. No way was I going to remove my hands from my ankles to relieve the salty burn. No sense giving Blackbeard or Captain Hook any excuse to belt me with what they called their “shillelaghs” (ohhhh, so they were Irish pirates).
With a jolt, the elevator quickly rose to the flight deck. Primarily used to shuttle aircraft from hangar to flight deck (or vice-versa), it now carried several dozen miserable pollywogs in backwards clothing. For a brief, crazy moment, I fantasized about duck-walking my way right off the edge into the Atlantic Ocean.
Getting picked up by a helicopter had to be better than this.
The elevator shuddered to a halt and we were ordered to hobble onto the flight deck. Right into a direct hit from the firehose. Several of those around me were knocked to the rough non-skid meant to aid a crewman’s footing and halt any sliding by aircraft or support equipment.
All it did this morning was remove skin.
We were quickly formed into a line and ordered to jump to our feet. At the sound of “Go!”, we dashed between two lines of shellbacks (“pirates” is a much more accurate description), shouting obscenities and, most importantly, armed with firehose “shillelaghs.”
Why aren't they effin' with the dude
that has a camera??
I reached the end and collapsed on the flight deck. Trying to catch my breath and ease the burning on my back, I didn’t see a shellback sneak up behind until it was too late. I turned my head to see Abunzallah leering over me.
To be continued....