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Thursday, February 7, 2013


Navy Swabbies
In the navy I was the lowest man on the totem pole and everybody told me what to do.

As some of you know there were many women in the service and a great number of the women outranked me. You talk about embarrassing.

It seemed like all those women had been abused by a man at one time and they were going to make me pay for what had been done to them.  It was hard for me to learn to say "Yes sir," instead of "Yes mamm,” and they made me pay a heavy price for getting that wrong.

I had to get so many shots that I felt I should have received a purple heart.

I couldn't figure out why they sent me to the West coast when we had the Atlantic Ocean right at our door step.  There were plenty of German Navy forces available that needed destroying nearby and yet they sent me 3500 miles from where I enlisted.

There must have been something about me that ticked everyone off for I was excluded from all the "Good old boys" conversations and I didn't know why.

They kept sending me from one department to another. I didn't last more than a day at any one job. At long last I received an assignment aboard a Destroyer. I had applied for a cook's job, and what I got was the clean up duty.

For the next few months no one called me by my name for I was always called "Swabbie" which I thought should have been a job description.

The one thing that stood out was there wasn't any task too dirty for me. I must admit I had some difficulty in taking pride in that distinction.

On rare occasion I would be allowed to clean up the officer quarters and I found the conversations to be similar to the enlisted men's chatter except it was ever so slightly less crude.

It seemed to me that both classes had no world where there were not any women in the forefront.  
When they talked about women they were not considered as their equals, for they saw themselves as the conquerors going forth, and capturing something less than the fair maidens.

We were not in port much but after being resupplied in port, and the men getting leave, they all had their repartee renewed and it was let the lies begin all over again.

There were a few nurses on board but they were off limits to the enlisted men for they usually had a higher rank that the enlisted gobs.

I don't know about how the officers got on with the nurses but the Swabbies had to settle for a few off color remarks among themselves.

After a couple of shake down cruises we were now ready for battle.  I felt we were ready for anything.  Our weaponry was a full range of ammunition including depth charges.  T
hen we were ordered to join the fleet and when we were stationed next to one of our carriers I felt like I was in a row boat because our destroyer seemed so small.

What seemed strange was we were supposed to defend the carrier.  So far my fighting had been restricted to cleaning up after everyone else.  Once in awhile I would get extra duty and help in the kitchen. This was duty above my regular jobs.

Sometimes times at night I would slip up on deck while carrying a slop bucket and the night watch would think I was doing my duties.

That was about the only time I got to look out at the vastness of the ocean.

To be Continued

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