My first ship

5 05 2014

CFB Cornwallis – done

OSQAB – done (basic seamanship course)

QL3 Navalsignalman – done (first course for my trade)

At last, I am a sailor. Now what….

Oh yeah, a ship – sailors need to have a ship. Monday morning and I march myself smartly down to dockyard in search of my first ship – nervous as all hell because I haven’t got a smick of an idea of exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Oh well, I am fresh out of school, so shiny and bright and clean that I squeak so if I mess up I can always fall back on “ummm, I did not know that”

In my years that followed I told a lot of the young sailors that as an Ordinary Seaman, you are expected to mess up and when you mess up just stand there, take being yelled at and redo whatever it was  you were told.  It doesn’t matter that you dropped a $10000 toilet seat into the harbour, it doesn’t matter if you send a ship 7 miles out of station (no one got hurt until the Yeoman smacked me in the back of the head), you are a OS therefore you are expected to be stupid.

Anyway, back to the story..

I found her. Her Majesties Canadian Ship Qu’Appelle, DDE264. I had never been on a real live warship before and really had only ever seen one through the eyes of a civilian so this was a pretty awe inspiring moment for me.

I marched up the gangway, smartly saluted the colours, marched over to the QuarterMaster and slammed my heel into the deck, coming properly to attention.

The QuarterMaster looked at me with a look approaching boredom and then it began

” OS Johnson, first of all, you are fucking late. It is 0820, leave expires at 0750 – where the fuck have you been? Asleep?”

“ahhhh, Master Seaman, I got lost, I….”

“YOU WERE FUCKING LOST? WHAT SIDE OF YOUR RACK DID YOU GET OUT OF THIS MORNING? THE STUPID SIDE? YOU MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR LAZY GOOD FOR NOTHING ASS ON BOARD BY 0730 TOMORROW AND REPORT TO ME BEFORE I GO OFF DUTY – DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”

“YES MASTER SEAMAN” – apparently this QuarterMaster got out of his rack on the grumpy side.

“Secondly, you can forget all of that slamming your heel crap here on ship. You keep doing that and you will fuck your ankles so bad you won’t be able to walk. Now, get down to see the Cox’n in the ships office and he will get you started.”

I look around helplessly for a few seconds and he cuts in – “that hatch, go down, turn right. If you get to the pointy bit, you have gone too far.

Quickly turning I get over to the hatch before I screw up anything else. Down the hatch I go and allow Monday morning to get me again. I turn left and make my way to the aft end of the ship before I get stopped by someone asking what the fuck I was doing in the laundry room. He looks at me and realizes I have just gotten on board, takes mercy on me and guides me to the Cox’n.

The Cox’n of a ship is the senior non-commissioned officer on board, in essences he answers only to the CO. All through my military schooling I have been told horror stories of the “Cox’n” and what he does to young Ordinary Seamen. Older than the hills, tough and mean and here I was, day one and late. Oh God, I was about to be crucified.

As it turns out, I had been mislead. The Cox’n was a pretty decent guy. He didn’t chew me a new one for being late, he didn’t scream at me for saluting him and he even managed to smile (a bit).  He told me that I was being assigned to the galley staff for the next week while the ship gets cleaned up from being in dry dock. After this first week was done with, the signalmen would be coming back on board and then I would be doing my actual trade. He assigned me to 8 mess, where I was to sleep for the next couple of years, gave me a bunch of paperwork and told me to bugger off to the galley to get it done. When I returned with the paperwork completed, I would be taken to my rack and settled in.

And the adventure begins

 

 

Advertisements

Actions

Information

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: