A Cargo of Jargon From Days of Yore

blog 001 The other day I saw a coworker bring in a tater-sack sized bag of cheese puffs. Good Gravy! That was enough gedunk to last a whole year!

Gedunk: Snacks. I my experience, there was a vending machine amidships that typically only had licorice coins and Near Beer left by the time I got there. By the end of the cruise, even that was gone. I’m not big on gedunk, never have been. At least not since I was a kid and got excited over Cracker Jacks. They have a sailor on the logo, you know, in his uniform with the Dixie Cup hat. That spiffy outfit is called Cracker Jacks. Which came first?

I needed to ask a technical Manager something. She was out for a week. I went to her blog 002next-in-command. Not around. They had travelled to Europe for training. Now, I do most of my training online. However I learned their trip would coincide with a City Fair. Our company has a facility there, so our folks would not party alone. Good times had by all, no doubt.

Boondoggle: A trip taken ostensibly for a good and righteous reason, but sure to be filled with music and beer on the side. An expert Boondoggler returns with a Certificate for whatever he went for and brags that all he did was take an open book test on the first morning. He has bloodshot eyes, eats Tylenol and scratches himself frequently.

I sometimes need to check a large piece of storage equipment for sanitary conditions. Part of this check is climbing inside and using special swabs to test for leftover organic material. On occasion, I find there is no reason to waste to pricey swabs. June 13 002Sometimes the equipment needs a really good Navy swabbing to get up the kaka and standing water inside.

Swab: To mop, or at least move a mop side to side artistically as one walks, taking one’s sweet time. This a commonly seen person on the ship as the Swabbie roams from Fore to Aft on all of the outside decks.

June 13 008The other night I worked diligently on my studio cleaning and organizing project. This included moving many heavy items more than twice…had to get it all in the right spot. I banged my noggin on one of the steel rail industrial shelves I use as bookshelves. I thought, “I hit the rack!”

Hit the Rack: One of the cots stacked three high and four across in a berthing (sleeping) space, with a tiny pillow and a rough wool blanket, is your rack. Each cot lifts on a backside hinge to reveal personal item storage space. To get out of the cot and prop it up for inspection is called tricing up and may require balancing on a vertical ladder or June 13 001waiting for the slowpoke below. When you hear “Reveille, reveille! Heave out and trice up! Reveille!” you’d better get moving for quarters (not money, it’s the morning meeting where you get to stand at attention and sweat over whether you put your shirt on right side out). Gently rubbing my bumped forehead, I simply noted the very late time (late-thirty) and decided to hit my own rack, much more comfortable than the cots of yore.

June 13 006

Navy Days – Danger on the High Seas!

I happened to see a post about a sailor from my old ship saying the USS Dixon had a severe corrosion issue. No kidding! I remember the ship being caught in Pacific storm that busted a hole in the hull.
We were on a Western Pacific 6 month cruise out of San Diego California. I had met the ship in Honolulu, the first port of call. I was directly out of Nuclear Power School and had never been on a ship before…what an experience. Not being at sea, but being on a ship full of crazed sailors! Command wouldn’t let them off the ship the first day, so when I arrived they were in a frenzy. I heard that ‘the ship was welded to the pier’ ‘We would never go on Westpac’ so many times, but somebody must have changed his mind because I met it in Hawaii, already underway.
Cabin June 2015 063
I toured Oahu with some of the guys from my Division and they treated me to my first hard liquor, a Tiki Liki (souvenir cup in the header) from Trader Vic’s…Gee Wiz, enough of that!
The Dixon had a rounded hull, as it was a repair ship and we needed all available space for machinery and supplies for fixing up the submarines at sea. After Hawaii, we went to the Philippines, a whole book in itself. From there we had to cross the mighty South Pacific to reach Australia, passing through the Straits of Malacca at night to see the lights of Singapore. Far from any island, we rammed smack into a vicious storm, with swells so high all you could see was a midnight blue wall of water all around, electrified with thick and close lightening bolts; could be terrifying unless you were brave and stalwart like me.
We would ride a swell up, the entire ship would rise from the water and  shudder (yes, actually shudder) from prow to stern, then whammo ! We bammed down, over and over. Then suddenly it felt like a detonation. All our guts fell to our boondockers (boots). Alarms! Flashing lights! All hands shut those watertight hatches! Run Dammit! The ship was sinking! Honestly, I never found myself worrying. There was only one other person I knew on the ship of 1300 that wasn’t barfo seasick, and we went around with forks asking green sailors for the big chunks. We passed the word around the Psychic Jean Dixon had predicted a ship with her name on it would sink.  It’s a wonder one of them didn’t throw us overboard.
USS Dixon and Subs
USS Dixon AS–37, with the SSN Gurnard and SSN Pintado

Right after the storm they put divers over the side to keep us from actually sinking, with guys aiming rifles at them, ready to kill the hungry Great Whites. They put an emergency patch over the gaping rusted hole so we could carry on.

The ship laid on it’s side all the way to Sydney, where they wouldn’t let us dock close because we couldn’t confirm or deny the presence of nukes. I loved Rushcutter Bay where I had fish and chips for the first time. Maybe I should write a book on all this?