Thursday, February 4, 2010

Duty Van Breakdowns Cont'd.

Intrepid fellow Submarine Blogger Bubblehead from the truthfully named blog The Stupid Shall Be Punished has asked for your best duty van stories.

The duty van was always a chance for a huge screw up.

I actually got to be the duty driver in Charlietown during middie ops one year without a whole lot of problems (except for the Korean gas station owner who insisted that he could take a GSA gas card BEFORE I pumped a full tank and them matter-of-factly told me that his station didn't take them. Ironically, the only reason we were in the vicinity of the Weapons Station was to get a part for the CHOP so that the most official trip of van was paid for by yours truly while the GSA card carried the crew around the town on liberty for a week.)

Then we pulled into Rosie Roads and had the duty van ride from hell across the island to San Juan. And guess where the COB decided to make the one pick up stop in SJ? You got it. The Black Angus. (I kept wondering why we were going to a steak house!)

But, by far the best tale of the duty van was in Britain on Her Majesty's Secret Service (OK, so it wasn't so secret but were were in the UK.) FT1 Sureshot had been deigned as worthy of the international driving license and was very meticulous about the rest of us riding around in his rental van. We get to the last day of liberty and everyone is in a hurry to get a few last things done before we pull out and then IT happened.

FT1's preparation for international driving had left out one small bit about making a left hand turn and we had a wreck. Damage wasn't too bad but I immediately figured all of the passengers would have to stay with the van as witnesses thereby eating up the last few hours of freedom. But, as soon as the door opened, one of our JO's jumps out, looks at the driver and says, "Good luck, I'm outa here." So's I figure, if the LT don't have to stay for the bobbies, why should I? And just like that, liberty was saved. I guess the MWR fund took care of the damage.


Mike Golch said...


Herb Forgey said...

After being talked into getting a Navy drivers license while in the yards at Pearl I continued to make stupid decisions.

I volunteered to serve as the driver and assistant bartender at an officers party given by my Co for the wardroom of a British boat that stopped at Perl on her way home.

I was a Quartermaster and had grown up with a mother who was an officer in the Army Nurse Corps and a Dad who was an EM1 During WW2, Therefore officers were,for the most part, just another uniform to be respected but not worried about.

The ride out to the North Shore was pretty uneventful and I began to get to know these guys. They were like junior officers in any navy I guess and what they wanted to do most was get to the party before the booze was gone.

Our CO was the real deal. He made his enlisted support feel welcome and gave us an area of our own to relax a bit in and fed us well. However, he did NOT extend the hospitality of the bar to us...Well as the assistant bartender I found the proximity of all that free drink just a bit more than any highly trained, qualified Submariner could stand. Soon it was 2 for the O gangers and 1 for me,4 for them and 1 for get the drift

I made it through the night somehow but did not drive back to Pearl. That was handled by a Steward that did not have a license to my knowledge. Well I guess i misinterpreted some of the noises coming from the rear of the vehicle, as I did not the check car's condition when we turned it in that night.Actually I could barely see at that point.

The next morning as I walked down the pier toward my boat, USS Greenfish SS351 i was passed by a very unhappy looking Commander.

I was told by Topside that the CO was looking for me and that I was to see him immediately I came aboard. I was hoping for a bit of an attaboy for the way I had treated our guests and the great drinks I had made. WRONG! It seems the noises I heard were the British JO's barfing up all the pork and poi they had mixed with my booze! Weather the Steward had noticed or not, who knows but my CO had just had his ass reamed by that Commander for returning that VIP vehicle in very non VIP condition.

I spent the rest of the morning, in the bright Hawaiian sun getting pig, poi and Mai-ti out of the carpet of that station wagon.