The Dave Rulon Fishin' Trip Massacree
By Donald C. Mello
I don't know if this is a true sea story
since it took place on a LORAN station, 13 ft Boston whaler and a floatplane but
here goes anyway.
In 1971-1972 I was stationed at CG LORSTA Biorka Island, Alaska. as an ET. I arrived as an SN(ET) and left as a ET3 but only by the skin of my teeth.
Along with my buddy SN Dave Rulon, we obtained permission to use the station's Boston Whaler for an RR fishing trip near the island provided we were back in time for an expected new FN arrival later that day by floatplane from Sitka.
As usual it all started out as a real blast with plenty of Red and Black Sea Bass hitting just about anything that sparkled. We had about twenty good size ones in the little boat along with a couple of empty "sixes" when Dave hooked a Pacific Ling Cod about thirty pounds or so. As was the custom we always carried sidearms for bears as well as our own personal weapons just in case the Viet Cong decided to invade Alaska or if the Russians invaded.
As was also the custom, whenever you got a cod like this one you never brought it into the boat alive or it would thrash everything else all to hell. We usually clubbed them with an oar or better yet shot them with one of the many weapons. I was back aft about six feet away when Dave opened up on the cod with his own .22 pistol. About round three the damn thing jammed and he was fiddling with it while I happily continued to fish. Next thing I know a shot ricocheted off the water right in front of me. I get mad and told him to watch his fire without really looking at him. Dave then let out a kind of grunt and said "**&%$@, I shot myself."
I looked and sure enough he held up his hand and a lot of blood was spurting out both top and bottom of his palm and he was getting real white in the face. After several "**&%$@'s" myself," I stuck his other hand over the holes and lined up his fingers to plug the wound followed by a fine sterile fishing rag to hold the mess together. Up came the anchor as Dave lay down on the floor with the fish slime and blood and I two-blocked the throttle on the mighty 33 horse outboard, headed back to the cove to get him some help since we had no radio. It would have done no good anyway. PRC-59's had a range of about two feet.
About the time I rounded the point there was the the float plane with our new FN aboard. I noticed that the pier held several other crew members waiting for the new arrival along with our skipper, LTJG J.P. Hantover. They were just about to lower the other small boat when they spotted me as I pulled up alongside the floatplane. The plane door opened with the pilot looking down at us covered in all sorts of fluids and just said "Holy s--t, get him in here quick. I'll radio the Public Health Service in town and let them know I'm coming in with a casualty. Meanwhile the poor FN is staring down at us all white-faced and a look of "ain't no way I'm going in that thing with him" on his face. The pilot reached back into the rear seat area and just chucked the kids seabag down into the fish and fluids and not so gently shoved him out the door onto the float while I loaded Dave into the back seat. I grabbed the FN and slid his buns onto the boats seat and pushed off. as soon as I was clear the plane fired up and took off helter-skelter for Sitka.
As I pulled up to the pier our ETC was complaoning, "what the f--k does Dave think he's doing?' The skipper just looked at me the boat and the new guy and shook his head and said, "this is gonna hurt."
After a couple of days in Sitka Dave was back again only slightly worse for wear with a big bandage on his hand. We both spent the next several days writing out depositions and helping the Skipper and Doc recreate the circumstances of the accident as well as taking pictures. Since I was an petty officer and he was a seaman responsibility fell to me. The skipper could not really decide on what to do to punish me. I ended up restricted for two weeks, on isolated duty! Dave was not allowed to go fishing with a weapon for the rest of his stay on the rock (Muskeg Manor). The FN never really got over the incident and would not even go fishing with me once I was off restriction.
One side note though. The Doc was a pretty good musician with a guitar and if you remember the song "Alice's Restaurant" he came up with the "Dave Rulon Fishin' Trip Massacree in four part harmony." We also ended up with "8-1/2 by 11 black and white glossy photo's with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one us explaining what each one and was to be used as evidence against us".
As far I know Dave is still living in California and I am now in my twenty-fifth year working for a electronics company