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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

it's seastory time again

eric over at the SubReport Blog posted an article about the USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735) (Gold) crew returning from a patrol weighing in an amazing 861 pounds lighter. hell, we used to pack on the weight when out in the deep blue sea, punching holes to nowhere. an enforced inactive lifestyle, coupled with some of the best cooks in the entire military (i'm thinking Ron Payton, for you seawolf sailors of that era).
we had an engineer that had started life as an enlisted guy, had the navy pay his way to college, came back as a nuke officer, and went all the way to commanding his own FBM. but when he was an engineer (you met him in this post, he was, well, uhhh, FAT! as a matter of fact, when refering to him, it was always Fat Hal XXX in enlisted land.
so he decides to go on a diet. that was something, considering it was not unusual for him to eat a 12 (yup count 'em 12) egg omelette with half a loaf of bread and about a 5 pound bag's worth of spuds for breakfast in port. and at sea, he lived on salem 100's, coca-cola, and 3 musketeers bars.
the navy was getting a little antsy about the image its sailors were presenting to the world. in a nutshell, we were all a bunch of overweight pasty skinned sea creatures. so Fat Hal decided to lose weight by dieting on a spec-op. he was basically starving himself. seriously undernourished. probably why he made some poor decisions along the way. he was not helped by his stateroom mate. said individual perpetrated one of the classic head trips known in the military far and wide as the "shave the belt" trick.
as all the sailors know, we wore "web belts", which you clasped a buckle on, adjusted to have the metal tab align with the edge of the buckle, then you cut off the excess webbing. nice, neat, and very military in appearance.
i think it was the great bonzo bear (one of my favorite officers i ever sailed with). every couple of nights, he would disassemble the eng's belt, shave off just a sliver of its length, then rehook the buckle. and then, of course, he told all of us.
the eng had made a big deal about going on a diet as we left for a 3 or 4 month spec-op, stating he would be slim and trim on our return to the world.
so, what is a crew to do? "hey eng... i thought you were on a diet!" "hey eng, looks like you've been hitting those candy bars again". "hey eng, those cheeks are looking a little pudgier" (actually, he was growing an underway beard, and couldn't really see that he was becoming emaciated). this went on for over two months before the quack stepped in because he was worried about the eng's health. the dude lost something like 60 pounds in 60 days before he was told. he was PISSED. but then, if he had been paying attention to things like lightheadedness, faintness and other clues such as his poopie suit was hanging off of his ass, well, you know

edit pounds and days may vary. 30 years is a long time to remember the finer details!

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