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, that 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. Read the rest of this entry