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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

more no shi.. uh, i mean, sea stories

more about Lt.G.: he smoked a turk's head mershaum pipe while on watch. the qmow of the previous post stole the pipe at the beginning of one watch, and returned it with a perfectly made pair of wire rim red lens glasses perched on the turk's nose. what a visual. Lt.G with his rig for red goggles on, smoking a pipe wearing it's own pair of rig for red goggles.
imagine this guy wearing rig for red goggles. i still crack up

thanks to harry the hop for reminding me about the following:
Lt.G. used to put that pipe in his mouth while we had to do that 12 hour surface transit to do shallow ops. He'd sit in the chair and think he was in an Old Spice commericial.


hop also reminded me of another story that really and truly happened. he can confirm this.
first: some background.
on the pre-688 class boats, when you went to the bathroom, it wasn't a porcelain commode with a flush valve and tank of water. it was actually quite complicated, and easy to mess up. first, you did your business. then, you checked around the ball valve for bubbles. the ball valve sat at the bottom of the stainless steel throne, and was designed to hold against sea pressure. it isolated the toilet from the sanitary tank, which was emptied with pressurized air to sea while underway. so it was important to look for bubbles, because that meant the sanitary tank was at a minimum not vented, and at worst, pressurized 50 pounds above sea pressure to blow the tank. so here's the sequence of events to actually flush:
  • check for bubbles
  • crack open the flushing water valve
  • SLOWLYcrack open the ball valve and see what's happening. it's important to note that the unwary lean over the toilet to do this, not bend around the john in case there's actually pressure in the line. you only need to do this once to learn a life long lesson
  • fully open the ball valve and increase flush water flow to clear the bowl.
  • close the ball valve
  • secure the flushing water, leaving a couple of inches of water above the ballvalve to act as a seal. kind of helps keep the stink out of the people tank
  • exit the head, which is only wide enough for the bowl, usually no more than about 24 to 30 inches across

so on with the story. on the seawolf, the torpedo room was also crew's forward berthing. on this particular run, my bunk was in the upper level starboard passageway, right at the hatch leaving the torpedo room. that level also had the two showers and i think 3 heads, but i might be wrong and there were only two. been a while. so the inboard head was up a couple of steps, located above the ladderway down to lower level. so the water closet was actually mounted along the pressure hull. what that meant is that when you went into use the bathroom, you had to lean forward a bit because of the curvature of the hull. a young unsuspecting shipmate went into the head and did his business. while in there, the torpedoman of the watch lined up to blow down the #1 sanitary. normally you placed signs on the doors securing the head, and check for a water seal on the ball valve prior to pressurization. normally.
so our young innocent finishes his business, completes the paperwork, and opens the door to the WC to cycle the valves. did i mention that the head was along the pressure hull? this maneuver was common, because it was impossible to stand up in there. a lot of guys would get prepared and then back in to initiate the process, and reverse to exit.
so here are the initial conditions. the WC door is open, the sanitary tank is pressurized, and our young pup is getting ready to become part of seawolf legend. does he check for bubbles? does he slowly crack open the ball valve to see what would happen? does he finish his chore and toodle off merrily, on his way to chow or to releave the watch?
well, actually...no.
what happened next is usually a private experience. but when the door is open, and the tank is pressurized to 150 pounds, and the ball valve slams open, you get a shit laser. yes, a shit laser that travels straight up, hits the curve of the hull, deflects at a 90 degree angle horizontal to the deck, hits the door opposite of it, reflects off, and travels 15 feet across the boat to hit the lockers seperating a couple of bunks. there it is turned into a not so fine brown mist which promptly fills all of the racks with it's odious cargo.
unfortunately for me, i was in my rack at the time, sound asleep. being awaken by a bang, loud cursing, the sound of rushing air and water, and then drenched in the foul mix makes for an abrupt, and rude, awakening.
i don't think we ever got rid of the smell.

and that, boys and girls, is a real no shitter.

3 Comments:

Blogger WillyShake said...

ROTFL. You mean a real sh*tter! I have heard these stories over and over, but this one was so well told I found myself wiping tears from my eyes!

Overall I'm loving this 'sea story mode' you've been in of late and I promise that I will tell you my MPC story soon!

--Will

2/16/05, 5:25 AM  
Blogger Gus Van Horn said...

Hilarious! Brought back lots of memories, too!

-- Gus

2/18/05, 4:54 PM  
Anonymous Kilo Whiskey said...

At sea submerged. I was a LT hanging around in the wardroom with a couple of other JO's. We had heard that a urinal in the OPS ML crew's head was clogged and A-gang was working on it. It seem the two auxiliarymen pressurized the sanitary tank right up to 700 psi but the clog wouldn't move. They had the ball valve wide open and it wouldn't move - until it did. There was a loud roaring noise. Then over the 1MC we heard "Loud noise in the Operations Compartment due to blowing shi...I mean sanitaries inboard." By that time I had run to the head. The auxiliarymen were covered from head to toe with the creamy contents of the sanitary tank. All the bulheads and the overhead were likewise coated except for the "shadows" of the A-gangers themselves, who were of course laughing their asses off. I immediately returned to the wardroom, grabbed the juniormost officer and told him to get out there and take charge.

3/2/05, 5:57 AM  

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