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  A Porter Is A Porter -- Not Exactly!
       May 10, 2002



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Beer Time Stories With Gusler


Volume 1 - Chapter 1 – Story 1
Features August 22, 2002      
Written by Gusler


Tucson, ARIZONA -



<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Note: First you must
understand the difference between a “fairy tale” and a “sea story”, a “fairy
tale” starts with “Once upon a time”, and a “sea story” starts with “This ain’t
no shit”.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>As I recall these “sea
stories”, you must understand that some stretch all the way back to the early
“sixties”. My notes were not always coherent <i style='mso-bidi-font-style:
normal'><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writer’s note: Neither was the
writer)</span> and I must admit that a little “touch up” has been done to
protect the innocent. The guilty can fend for themselves.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoNormal><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>So here goes “story 1”, and
“this ain’t no shit”.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>As I grew up in a
“small”, “Old Foghorn” sized town in the Midwest, 1400 people and 44 saloons,
made up of mostly Middle Europeans, due to the coal mines and foundries, I feel
the following diatribe is important so you can<span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> 
</span>“see where I’m coming from”.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>I’m
Polish and French, my father was Russian/Polish, my mother French, and was as tender
as she was beautiful.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>My father was a
millwright for Central Foundry, hard working, hard drinking and as tough as
nails, or as a friend of mine was fond of saying, “He was meaner than a two
dick dog”.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Well on to the story, I
graduated high school at fifteen, and joined the Navy that September.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>“Yes” I was underage, sixteen and hated the
thought of spending the rest of my life in a “foundry”.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Much to my mother’s laments my father signed
the papers saying I was seventeen, and off I went to Great Lake’s Naval
Training Center for eleven weeks of “basic training”.<span style="mso-spacerun:
yes">  </span>Basic training means you’re re-trained to live and think in a
military way.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>You re-learn how to
dress, shine your shoes, tie knots, and lots of other interesting things to
prepare you for you’re life upon the sea.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> 
</span>My test scores indicated a career in the Engineering Rates, and as I
wanted to become an electrician, this was working out so swell. <i
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writer’s
note: Little did I know)</span>.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> 
</span>Upon graduation, I was sent to Norfolk, Virginia to await my school, as
it was a couple of months away.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><span style="mso-spacerun:
yes"> </span>“Dogs And Sailors Keep off the Grass” Yes there were such signs, a
great place where a “Newbie Gob” could get his introduction to the world.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Almost 90 days of “mess cooking”, grass
cutting, and driving people around to various places, I finally got the “WORD”
- school is full, you’re going to the fleet and I was assigned to the U.S.S.
Piedmont AD-17, home ported out of San Diego, California. Seems silly, doesn’t
it, that with dozens upon dozens of ships in Norfolk, Virginia I was assigned
to a ship in California, but that’s the military for you.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Ok, I hope your still
awake, it gets better I promise. So as I wing my way across the Pacific to
Japan, where I’m to meet my ship, that was supposedly on its way, I land in
Tokyo, where we board a Navy bus to go to Yokosuka, where the ship was to pull
in.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>After one day in Japan, I meet 3
other guys going to the same ship and we all get put on the bus and back to
Tokyo so we can fly to Okinawa to catch the ship at its new destination.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span><i style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'><span
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writer’s note:<span style="mso-spacerun:
yes">  </span>Gee this isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be). <o:p></o:p></span></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>We stayed at the Air Force
base at Kadena. Gee those airmen had it made; did I make a mistake, not
becoming and “Air Jock”? After 30 or so days, the ship shows up, and yes
“sports fans”; the “frigging” thing was sitting in San Diego, while I was making
like the Harlem Globetrotters, flying around the Pacific. <i style='mso-bidi-font-style:
normal'><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writer’s note: The above
should have been a warning.)</span><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold;
mso-bidi-font-style:italic'><o:p></o:p></span>< ;/span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Boarded the ship at 1405
hours, assigned to “A” Division (Engineering Section), my first watch was at
1545 hours - the 4 to 8 watch -<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>as an
“FR- Fireman Recruit”, in the boiler room. What a wonderful chain of events has
transpired, I’m now a BTFR, which on a scale that should be understandable to
all concerned is equivalent to “whale shit” <i style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'><span
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writer’s note: another Naval term)</span><b
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:normal'><u> </u>on the bottom of the
ocean.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Off watch at 2000 hours,
assigned a bunk, of course the top one, right underneath the pipes, they
stacked us 4 deep.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>On watch again at
0345 hours, that’s in the morning for you “Non-Military types”. When you got
off watch you “turned to”, to do ships work, my job was to “brighten” the deck
plates behind #4 boiler, and many other interesting duties.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>This routine went on day in day out for
nearly two weeks.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>By this time, I was
plotting “jumping ship” as soon as we got near any inhabited island.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>As it was my good luck, we pulled into Subic
Bay in the Philippines on July 3<sup>rd.</sup><span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> 
</span>Of course, as luck would have it, I had the duty.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>On overseas deployment we did Port and
Starboard duty, one day on one day off, but as a favor to the “new kid”, I was given
a break and was assigned the “Mid Watch” - 1200 to 0400 hours.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>The “bennies” <i style='mso-bidi-font-style:
normal'><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writer’s note: Another
Military term for benefits) </span>was that you only stood one watch, got
“Mid-Rats” ( SOS normally, “shit on a shingle”, or for you civilians “chipped
beef on toast”, eggs and fresh milk, actually damn good). <i style='mso-bidi-font-style:
normal'><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writer’s note: For my whole
Naval career and as long as I stood watches, I always asked for the
“Mid-Watch”)<o:p></o:p></span></span></p> ;

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Well, I was plotting my
desertion from “Uncle Shit Head Sam’s” Navy, understand I was one pissed
off<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>“snipe”, a derogatory term used for
the Engineering types or those that worked in the bowels of the ship. We called
the “panty waste” that worked topside “deck apes”.<span style="mso-spacerun:
yes">  </span>Personally, I’d prefer it to being called “seaman”, and if you
miss that, God help you.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>July 4<sup>th</sup>, is
also the Independence Day for the PI<span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> 
</span>(I’m going to refer the Philippines as PI - too damn much trouble to
keep writing it out).<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Subic Bay is, or
was, a major Naval base in the Pacific, been turned over to the Filipinos.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>The base borders a town called Olongapo or,
as we affectionately called it O-Long-A-Poo-Poo, as the division between the
base and the town is a “Benjo Ditch”, or to be exact an open sewer. <o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>So now the real story
begins, and I apologize for all the superfluous rhetoric, but I deemed it
important and it’s my “story”, so if you don’t like it, “DU DIT”, just
kidding.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>A friend I had made while
suffering the indignities of forced incarceration, we will call him Jim and I
hit the beach together.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Well first we
hit the EM Club (Enlisted Man’s Club) for some chow, <i style='mso-bidi-font-style:
normal'><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writer’s note: Menu was turkey
clubs and french fries.) </span><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold;
mso-bidi-font-style:italic'>N</span>ot allowed to drink, minimum age 20.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Not to fear, we knew that in town there were
a bazillion bars, and three bazillion bar girls who would serve our needs.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>So Jim-Bo and I don’t give a “rat’s ass”, a
well-used Naval term, and you should have seen those rats, looked like beavers,
<i style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writers
note:<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Yet another story).</span><span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>We stop at the money exchange, to get some
pesos, the PI currency.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Oh did I tell
you I was making the enormous salary of $94.00 a month?<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>E1’s under two years of service don’t get
much HUH?<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>The rate of exchange at that
time was twelve pesos to the dollar, four centavos to the peso, so off we go to
the American Legion as the beer San Miguel was 1 centavo each.<span
style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span><i style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'><span
style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writers note: There were other beers, hard
liquor, “MOJO” Shit I forgot again, another story)<o:p></o:p></span></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>A wise old BT1 named
“Rocky”, (BT1 - Boiler Tender First Class), advised us only to drink San
Magoo’s, as they were affectionately called with the painted labels - that was
the good stuff(?) <span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>It’s very hot and
humid there, think I’d be used to it after spending an eternity, well actually
about 14 days, chained to a 950-pound type “A” boiler. <span
style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>As we are making our way to the American
Legion, I noticed something strange. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>The
bar girls knew my name, how the hell could that be, but yes they were saying
“Psssst hey Joe”, come in and be my “Cherry Boy”. <span style="mso-spacerun:
yes"> </span>Cherry my ass, I’m a sailor in Uncle Sam’s Navy and who the hell
was I kidding, those “ladies” had Doppler radar 40 years before it was invented
and knew a soft touch when they saw one. <span style="mso-spacerun:
yes"> </span>So I turn to Jim and ask how could they know my name? <span
style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>I’ve never been here before! <span
style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>Damn I was young and tender in those days.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>Well Jim and I spent the
afternoon in the Oro Bar relishing the attention heaped on us my many “young
and not so tender” bar girls. Slamming endless San Miguel’s (painted labels only),
eating “water buffalo” and “BBQ monkey meat” on a stick, but after several
hours we decided to see what the rest of this town had to offer. <span
style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>Leaving an air-conditioned bar and entering
that 95 degree and 96 percent humidity air, and consuming many, way too many
beers, it hit us like a ton of bricks. <o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>The SP’s, Shore Patrol, who
were as numerous almost as the “honeys” in the bars, nabbed us almost
immediately. <span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>Apparently, two drunk E1’s
leaning against each other for support was an obvious give away that we were “shitfaced”.
<span style="mso-spacerun: yes"> </span>They put us in the “paddy wagon”,
escorted us back to the ship for safekeeping. <span style="mso-spacerun:
yes"> </span>The quarterdeck watch escorted us to our sub-basement penthouse
accommodations, telling us to take a cold shower and to hit the “fart sack”. <i
style='mso-bidi-font-style:normal'><span style='mso-bidi-font-weight:bold'>(Writers
note: Naval term forbed, see also “rack”) </span>As we were enthralled with
the days happenings, (enormous amounts of good looking women, fighting for your
attention, and yes pesos) we did as advised, we took a cold shower to gain our
equilibrium, changed into clean uniforms as "civvies", (civilian clothes)
were not allowed in those days.<span style="mso-spacerun: yes">  </span>Went
back to the quarterdeck as they had changed watches, “silly boys did not take
our liberty cards”, Jim and I hit the beach once more, to revel in the
attention, slam down some more “Magoos” and play “Kissy Face Huggy Bear” with
some more bar girls.<o:p></o:p></span></p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'><![if !supportEmptyParas]> <![endif]><o:p></o:p></span> ;</p>

<p class=MsoBodyText><span style='font-size:10.0pt'>I learned a valuable lesson
that day, when you hit the beach, find a nice bar, fine a nice table, find an
“Olongapo Honey”, and stay put ‘til the sun goes down.<o:p></o:p></span></p>
................................................................

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