Stores Load

A very, very long time ago, in Bangor, Washington, aboard USS Michigan, I participated in at least six “stores loads.” Probably more because at least twice we broke our patrols into two parts, once for a Follow On Test (a four missile test launch) and the second time because we broke the submarine.

What happens is that all the “Junior” enlisted sailors, say Petty Officer Second Class (me) and below, 110520-N-DI599-019that aren’t on watch, form a line from the pier to the storerooms aboard ship. The worst place to be is in the hatch, because then the boxes are going vertical instead of horizontal. But otherwise, the line has a Sailor handing a box to the next guy who is facing him and then he passes it on to the next guy who is facing him and so on until the box goes from the pier to the proper storeroom. On occasion there aren’t enough guys and each box is carried by a sailor from the pier to the hatch, which is okay at high tide and best at mid tide. It absolutely sucks at low tide when the pier is suddenly 10-15 feet above the deck and you have to carry the box down the gangway. This can lead to funny moments, like when one sailor (not me) stumbled coming down the gangway and in best vaudeville fashion continued to stumble down the way, hit the deck at full speed, crossed the deck and hit the safety line on the far side. He then slowly leaned out over the edge leaning on the line), came to a stop, and gently eased back up as the line took in the slack.

He then looked at the rest of us – who in best sailor fashion were just watching – and said, “Whew, that was close.” He was carrying a box of grape juice, of which he had not let go, even when hanging over the edge of the ship (remember, submarines don’t have wide decks or full safety lines, just a line). We applauded him, agreed to a man that if it had been me the box would have be ejected overboard, and decided that something special must be done with the grape juice since it had come so close to not making patrol. All I can tell you is that it involved fermentation experiments.

On my very first stores load I was still a young and unqualified submariner who didn’t really understand the hierarchy of things. Boxes of pistachios were moving forward – I was in the 3rd Level Berthing area – and every fifth box or so would get chucked into one of the enlisted berthing rooms. I thought that people were just messing with me, so I went into the bunkroom to get it, where I discovered the second most ingenious system ever invented for getting our hands on the pistachios without having to go through the Officers Mess.* Quickly I realized what was really happening and made my way back to my place in line, and eagerly looked forward to the day when I could enjoy the pistachios as well. By the by, this was back when pistachios were all painted red with the dye that made your hands, lips and tongue look like you were a street walker offering a very special service, if you get my drift.

Anyway, pistachios were a big deal when it came to stores load aboard USS Michigan SSBN-727(G). 

All this comes to mind because on my way out of work yesterday somebody asked me whether or not I was enjoying myself or not? Before I could even think about it, I said that it was just like stores load days back on the submarine, which always makes me happy to think about the greatest days and job of my life – at least pre-Ben. The person who asked had asked me was somewhat taken aback, since most “new” people are pretty tired and worn out by the end of the day. But I was smiling and happy to talk Navy.

Let’s see here… a populist elected to office as a Republican with heavy support from Conservatives who have convinced themselves that the populist will be “conservative,” gets into office and becomes an environmental activist. Where have I heard that story before? So why should I be surprised that Trump is now meeting with Al Gore and being urged to make environmentalism the “defining issue” of his Presidency?

Did you know that the average change in the number of votes in a recount of any given election is less than 1%? In order to reverse the results in Wisconsin she would need better than a 7% change. And even if she pulled that rabbit out of the hat, it still wouldn’t give her the election.

A mistrial was declared in the case of Michael T. Slager, the South Carolina Police Officer who shot Walter Scott, and was captured on video. The Jury had told the Judge that they were within one vote of convicting Slager on the charges, but never were able to get that vote. Now, was this nullification or racism?

City of Oakland officials have a great deal of explaining to do. After fielding “multiple complaints about the building but taking no apparent action, the fire which killed at least 36 people at an unauthorized concert, a City Councilman admitted that the City had not been “as responsive or assertive” as they need to be to prevent the tragedy. I am certain that the City Attorney had a choking fit when he heard that, but it’s also becoming pretty evident that the City did know about the danger and failed to take the appropriate action.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Pearl Harbor with President Obama. He will, of course, be the first ever Japanese PM to conduct such a visit and it comes in response to President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima. We can debate and discuss for days the necessity or wisdom of apologies for the crimes and evils of World War II. For my part, I would like to see Mr. Abe honor those who died for our nation at Pearl Harbor and at the same time make it clear that the past is not prologue. That Japan is now and will forever be the best friend of the United States. I would also like to see the Japanese school systems begin to teach a more complete history of the War and its causes. That would go a long way to restoring the faith that so many of the Pearl Harbor survivors have found, but the rest of us seem unable to locate.

Speaking of Pearl Harbor survivors, one of the most incredible stories of this past week has been following a special Honor Flight to Pearl Harbor, featuring survivors, including one Irv Schab. Petty Officer Schab was a musician that fateful morning, and saw the hits on USS Arizona and USS Utah. His son, Karl, would go on to serve on USS Michigan with me for a brief few days – I was actually Karl’s replacement – and now friends again on Facebook getting to watch him go with his dad to the 75th Anniversary commemoration of December 7th.

I’m not certain what else one can say about some of the fake stories out there. One idiot decided to “self investigate” the idiotic Pizza-gate story… with a rifle. He travelled six hours to “investigate” the situation, admitted that he found no evidence of children being held as sex slaves and ended up firing his rifle anyway. The progressive solution will be to ban “fake news.” A better solution would be for people to be smarter.


*The MOST ingenious method involved a fellow FTB who happened to be very short and able to contort himself into a very small space, the Missile Control Center outboard area, a rope, a pop rivet gun, a screwdriver, two other FTB’s to hold the rope and the backside of the Pantry locker.


Posted on December 6, 2016, in American, Global Warming, History, President Donald Trump, US Navy, USS Michiagn, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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