by Jack Baines
A most unusual pet dropped in on the crew of the TANEY.........
In the early '50s I was on the TANEY and doing Ocean Station November weather patrol when an exhausted owl landed on the fantail. We clipped its wings and named it "Barney." The coxswain was assigned the job of taking care of Barney.
One day walking down the deck toward the fantail, a wise guy ensign decided to spook the owl. When the coxswain walked by a passageway with Barney on his shoulder, the ensign jumped out and waved his arms wildly, spooking the owl, who went over the side. Barney was flapping around in the water, almost drowning--the Captain saw it all from a wing of the bridge and had "man overboard" piped.
The Captain told the ensign that he was to be the coxswain of the rescue boat, and if that owl died or drowned, it was his ass. The owl was rescued.
I copied press and put out a newspaper for the ship's crew. If a shipmate wanted to put something in the paper, they would put a note under my pillow, and it would be printed under "Barney Sez. . . ." Barney would say some weird things!
When we got back to San Francisco, we gave Barney to the zoo.
* * * *
Return to Coast Guard Stories