AT1 checks in today with a post about routines – daily and otherwise.Â Folks who have never been to sea or put to sea for extended periods often ask how one gets by onÂ a day-to-day basis, what with the monotony of the scenery and smallness of the ship and all.Â My answer is, as well, developing a routine.Â When in the squadron it usually meant at least one, if not two sorties to look forward to (even if it was a ‘yo-yo’ PMCF).Â Ship’s company was different – but even then I had a well developed routine that began with me rising before the CO to check out the hot water.Â See, when underway the CO, myself and the air boss had (*small*) staterooms in the island, the better to be near the bridge/tower if we were required post haste.Â Since we shared the same hot water pipes and since, at least on IKE, there was a proclivity for the hot water to be lacking (quantity and calorie) – substantially so on occasion, my deal with the CHENG was to be the first to the shower and call him and his merry band of henchmen should the hot run, well, cold and thus avoid a growly CO to start the day.Â So much better to have a growly ‘gator instead, you know… 🙄 – SJS
So here it is the second week of being on Gonzo Station. We are flying hard and fast in support of the guys on the ground. Every hour and fifteen a package is going out ready to fly close air support. Beyond that not much else I can tell you about what we are doing without violating rules and regulations regarding NSA of 1947. That being said. Our lives have settled into this routine while being on Gonzo Station. We fly a certain number of days with a day off for maintenance and paperwork. Then fly a certain number of days with a day off for maintenance. Our ship’s MWR works hard at providing ways to keep people entertained and keep the burn out from setting in on this second full month of cruise. Some examples have been board game night and we did a movie night where they set up a big eye projector and ran from a DVD player the movie “The Proposal” on the Mess Decks. Complete with a bag of popcorn and soda pop. Trying to recreate that movie theater atmosphere.
That is the biggest thing while out on a cruise is you need to settle into a routine and kind of get use to having an almost set schedule to accomplish things. Example would be saying you go and attend the morning FOD walk in the hangar bay followed by five minutes later standing in line for the ship’s store to purchase the can of junk food your going to snack on for the rest of the day. Even better is when you get off from work, we get our schedules so regimented that we do things with out even thinking about them all the way through. I was talking to a fellow PO1 and then turned around before I realized I was talking to myself, because this guy tries to get changed and to the gym by 1915 every night. I watched him for the next couple of days and realized that yep, right after maintenance meeting and pass down he heads to the berthing. Changing into his PT garb and is on a treadmill or elliptical exerciser by no later then 1920 every night. The only variation is which of the two machines he starts with.
Entertainment for a large number of us comes as well from playing cards. Spades, Hearts, Rummy, Cribbage, Euchre; are just some of the games the guys try to get going on around here.
We just got bunch of new faced people in the command in the last couple of days as well. All of them coming onboard via the COD. That has
lead to the uptick of people with the dreaded “boat crud”. The boat crud is what experienced cruising folks have called the combinations of various cold and flu bugs that intermingle onboard a ship and give everyone a chronic sniffle or cough. The best you can do is drink tons of fluids, wash your hands, and hope to only get a weak case of it. It always seems with myself that once I get a case of the crud and I get it out of my system then I am better and immune. I am sure some of your readers wonder how we get new people out here. Basically it happens like this, a person is transferring from a location (training command or a fleet command) and they have orders to report to us by a no later then date. Once they have these written orders in hand they travel to a personnel support detachment for official travel orders from there they are told to report to a civilian terminal in civilian clothing to catch a charter flight that is going near where we are. Sometimes it is a charter flight to get people with in a geographic location with a specific military flight to get them near a specific air base where they will then board a C-2 to fly onboard as part of what is called a PAX/Pony flight. Other times they will leave the US via a charter flight that will fly them to our next specific geographic operating area and possibly even or next port call where they will walk onboard. Either way they are in a foreign country waiting to come on out to join us on this adventure. Now before anyone gets confused, by charter flight what I mean is that the US government has specifically chartered certain airlines to operate a rotator service from a couple of specific US cities out to areas. An example would be an airline called ATA that I flew on one time to deploy to Japan a few summer ago. I arrived at Sea-Tac International at midnight for a flight that wasn’t scheduled to leave until 0500 in the morning. Ended up flying on a Lockheed L-1011 from Sea-Tac all the way to Yokota AB near Tokyo.
So we have new people show up and they usually spend a couple of days if not a couple of weeks trying to get the check in process done. Seeing medical for all their shots, seeing the chain of command, getting them fitted out with flight deck gear (if needed) getting them bedded down with a rack and locker in the berthing. Teaching them all about how to live on a ship. The funniest thing happened with one of our new guys that checked in while we were in port Singapore. We had a middle of a night man overboard. So everyone had to get up, well this new guy was in the shower and went running out of the shower with a towel around himself still dripping of soap. We had to stop him just before he got out of the berthing and remind him that his shop was located near a female berthing compartment and some people might not appreciate seeing that image. So quick rinse and throwing on some pt shorts and a shirt along with his tennis shoes to head to his shop.
What to bring and wear to sleep in while onboard the ship is always something supervisors and experienced cruise players have to remind the newbies about. I usually tell everyone to bring a couple pairs of sweat shorts and some t-shirts to go to bed in. Even for the women I recommend the same though most of the women I have know love to sleep in medical scrubs. The reason being you never know when your going to get woken up and have to muster some place for a drill or because some event happened and your name was involved. That way you don’t have to try and get dressed if told to report immediately.
Sports has taken over a number of our folks out here since football season has started a few weeks ago. The hard part is if you want to catch the games “live” then it is up at the crack of dawn to catch a game. Even harder is the fact that AFN doesn’t show all the games. Rather they pick the high ratings games so if you want to watch your team you have to figure out when it is being shown on the sports channel. Which makes things rough in the fact that you can read about the score the next day and then be sitting down to eat a meal or even off work and the game will appear in the middle of the week.
Only other thing I have to share is this quick history note. The Indian Ocean wasn’t a total back water during World War Two. Did your readers know that the Japanese Fleet came as far East as Sir Lanka and that German U-boats use to use Vichy French Occupied Madagascar as a refueling stop on the way over to Japan and a couple of German Raiders caused some hate and discontent in the early part of the war to British Merchant Fleets in the area?
AT1 Charles Berlemann