The Deckie's Revenge
By Jack Morrison
The report of the CO’s Material Inspection simply said paint the ET Stockroom. We still had several weeks to go before being relieved on Bravo, the weather was being unusually nice and I thought it would be a simple task to accomplish. The ET stores were located on the starboard side aft of the main hold on the CHASE. The man assigned to that area was an ET3 nicknamed "Storming Norman."
The CHASE was Norman’s first field unit and had been his home for about nine months. He was slight in stature and barely weighed 150 pounds soaking wet. Norman never walked, he ran everywhere, going down a ladder he slid down, landing with a loud bang. Norman also made life miserable for certain members of the deck force whenever he had a chance. If Norman could do it he would. His running about the ship helter-skelter left more than one set of boondocker marks on the decks. Many a mid-watch was awakened by his landing on the berthing area deck after sliding down the ladder. He loved to cut the chow line. In his opinion deckies existed to serve petty officers. He had the same opinion of the snipes until they advised him as only snipes can to stand clear of any and all engineering spaces. He would get seasick. If a trash can was nearby, he used it, if not he made for the weather decks and sometimes he didn't make it. Guess who he expected to clean it up. It got so bad that he was made to carry a bucket with him lined with a plastic bag. Of course he had to show that he had used the bag one time which almost ended the problem once and for all.
Like all good "deckies," they waited for their turn.
At muster one morning I told Norman he had to paint the storeroom and to go down to the paint locker and get the necessary paint and brushes. In a flash he was off. You could hear the thuds as he landed at the foot of the two ladders on the way to the paint locker. I saw little of Norman except at muster or quarters for the next couple of days, or when I went down to check his work. He showed up on Friday saying that the job was done and that the storeroom was ready for the CO’s inspection the next day.
Shortly after 1000 the next day, the pipe was made for CO’s Material Inspection, I was standing by in the ET Shop having sent all the ET’s to their stations for the inspection. The phone rang, as soon as I picked it up I heard Storming Norman yelling “Chief you had better get down here fast,” that’s all he could say. I went down to the main hold to be greeted by Storming Norman, who by this time was red in the face and couldn’t speak, just point towards the stockroom.
The side of the stockroom facing the hold was made of wire mesh, as was the door, all of which was painted shocking pink. Norman was livid, "what can I do," he cried, my response was to “stand by for inspection and hope that the inspector doesn’t see it, what else can we do”. The CO and the BMC were inspecting that zone that week, so there was little if any chance that the door wouldn’t be noticed.
The Captain remarked to the Chief Boats, "nice paint job, strange color.".
The inspection report simply said, again, “Paint ET Stores.”
Norman learned first hand that you didn’t fool with the deck force; they had their own ways of exacting revenge.
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