Flying BVD's

By Jim Oss


I’m lucky there wasn’t a brown spot on them. . . .

In the latter part of the 1960s, when you got your "crow" at CG Radio Station, New Orleans, it could only mean (no pun intended) one thing—you got orders to one of the district’s "buck and a quarters" those little 125’ Cutters cursed little bobbing buckets of bolts.

I had not finished unpacking my seabag when the RM1 ordered me to go up the stick to turn and burn a rusty antenna mount of the starboard yardarm. All my pleadings of acrophobia were to no avail.

As the sun rose the next morning, up the mast I went. It wasn’t too bad, but going out on the arm was hell. Chipping hammer and brush were sent up in a bucket attached to a signal halyard and I began to work.

Fine, job done. Now to get down. No way!

The RM1 ordered me to come down. The QM1 ordered me down. The XO ordered me down. Then the "Old Man" ordered me down.

"Sir, I want to come down, honestly I do, but I cannot move!"

A discussion below ensued, soon joined by the BMC. He points and gestures, then grabbed a safety belt and soon was on his way up the mast to get me down.

As the sun set in the western sky, I finally was once more upon the signal bridge deck, with a death grip on the "Boats".

Well, the ribbing wasn’t so bad, but what was far worse the next morning was the sight of my BVDs run up on the same signal halyard.

Thank God I had cleaned them in time!


Return to the Coast Guard Stories Page