Sea Stories

There were only a few books that I can think of that were permitted in Maneuvering. The RPMs (Reactor Plant Manuals), of course. Websters Collegiate Dictionary, so that our logs wouldn't contain spelling errors, was officially sanctioned. I think. It was kept in an aluminum can about 2 feet tall and 2 feet diameter that sat on the deck and usually resided near the sound powered phone mounted on the control panels. Just to the right of the RO.

I have a little niggling doubt about the dictionary because it was the final arbiter for the forbidden games of "Hangman" we would play while on watch. I mean, picture it: Doing ahead 1/3 for days, the reactor is at equilibrium xenon and there are 6 hrs to be used up. We're gonna play hangman. It was not without challenge. 

But the OTHER book we had was the "Rash Statement Log". U.S. Government Issue, green canvas cover, the purpose of which would be to enter rash statements to see if they stood the test of time. Like, "We'll be back in port before Christmas" and stuff like that. Or funny things that happened.

I only remember one entry for sure. The tracking party had been assembled and a target was being tracked. Bill Houley was the Captain and was running the drill. TM Jack was at the fire control panel and a water slug was primed to go. Things got to a point (I heard, I wasn't there) and suddenly they heard the sound of the torpedo tube cycling.

The rash statement was made, perhaps for the only time in history, by Cdr. Houley himself:

"Jack," he inquired, "Why did you fire that torpedo?"

Just one of those things, burned into my mind.

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