THE RED HEADED ALBATROSS

By Dave Bailey

 

The crew, weary of cockroach races, decided to make things interesting.

During one O.S. November patrol by the Pontchartrain in about 1964, the Fish & Wildlife Service asked the Coast Guard to report sightings of any albatross, or gooney birds, dye marked with YELLOW heads. While the gooneys were constant companions on station, we saw none that were marked. The XO was really taking the project seriously and was upset that we couldn't report any.

So... The crew, weary of cockroach races, decided to make things interesting.

We dropped baited hooks out the port hole in the DC shop, counted to 10, and hauled up the birds (heads through the port,) painted the heads with RED paint and let them go. The XO was soon reporting red-headed albatross's to a very confused Fish & Wild Life Service headquarters.

By the end of the patrol, he was still not getting it, so we caught a whole bird and sewed it into a bright red sharkskin vest with "WPG-70" written on the breast. Only when the XO saw that gooney hovering over the bridge wing did he realize he had been hoaxed by the crew.

I was a QM in those days, so I had a front row seat for the whole game!

 

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