Charles L. Umpstead
jokes are one thing as long as they don't become malicious. One such practical
joke backfired and the author paid the penalty in later years.
Generally, the movies in the CPO Mess on the ROCKAWAY were held up until the 1600-2000 watch was able to attend. I liked showing the movies simply because the projector had an attachment that allowed you to speak into a microphone while the movie was running—it sounded as though it was coming over the ship’s PA system.
had a great bunch of Chiefs, otherwise I would have gotten my clock cleaned on a
few occasions. One patrol I piped the Chief Boatswains Mate to the 5-inch mount.
“Dang,” he said, “No one showed up.”
Gunners Mate got piped to the armory; we enjoyed the tricks very much.
night I piped, Mat McCool, YNC, report to the ship’s office, knowing no
one would be there. When he didn’t return we knew he had been caught by the XO
for some after-hours work. In the morning he said they didn’t finish until
evening coming off the 1600-2000 watch, I entered our mess deck and bumped into
Short, our Chief Radioman, who was in the process of closing a small knife he
had hanging from his belt—he let out a stream of profanity; I saw a finger
with a large laceration and a lot of blood. Blood I do not like and immediately
started hollering for the Chief corpsman. I must have been excited because
everyone was laughing. I expressed my feelings about that: This man is hurt
and you are all laughing! Chief Short had got the idea to pull this trick on
me when shining his shoes and noted that the brown polish looked like blood.
years later I reported into the 3rd District and Warrant Officer Mat
McCool for assignment. The night he had spent working because of my dirty trick
made me pause and ask, What do you have to offer me beside Vietnam?
“We’ll see when you get back.” Go to Vietnam or go home on retirement? Let’s say that I never saw McCool after that.And to think we once rode to work together!
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