IRIS "Sweet" Anchors
by Jim Oss
When two or more cutters of the same class are homeported in the same place there is bound to be some competition and tomfoolery. Here is a sea story that describes one incident and it has a surprise ending. Which goes to prove the adage that "the crew will beat you if you don't play the game" fairly
Buoy tenders IRIS and GENTIAN, which I was on, were tied up at the commercial wharves in Galveston. Knowing the IRIS was on aids to navigation and search and rescue standby, and likely to get underway in the morning, we GENTIAN devils decided to raise some hell.
GENTIANs rubber life raft was inflated; the specially selected assault crew slipped quietly aboard with paint and brushes, then rowed silently in the dark of the night to the target, while I remained behind as lookout, to give the alarm if the mission was compromised in any way. The assignment was well executedboth of IRIS anchors were painted a gay, bright PINK!
Our insult crew stealthily returned to the GENTIANour carefully prepared and well-executed operation had been accomplished successfully.
Sure enough, IRIS got underway early the next morning to re-station a buoy in the Houston ship channel without knowing of our dirty deed.
Sometime later, we heard over the ship-to-shore FM channel a tanker talking to the IRIS and commenting sardonically on the color scheme of their anchors. As I recall, there was a long pause, acknowledgement of the tankers message, then nothing more. The anchors were back to their original color of black when she returned to the wharf, however.
Scuttlebutt had it that the IRIS Old Man was extremely POd, but too embarrassed to bring the matter to the attention of our Old Man, Captain Holmead, due to lack of security on their part.
The IRIS crew always looked for a way to even the score, but it never happened. However, the IRIS and GENTIAN Chiefs were close, so an attempt by them to get the GENTIAN crew to spill the beans lead to .
The Great Savings Bond Mutiny
The Chiefs made life aboard the GENTIAN a living hell for the white hats. We had to stand at attention when they address us; whites were now required uniform for Liberty; shoes and boondockers had to be spit-shined, and so on. You would think they were going to change the Cutters name to EAGLE or UNIMAK.
All this chicken manure was piled on in an attempt to get us to crack and confess to our crime.
The Yeoman and Storekeeper came up with the idea we could cancel our savings bonds to draw attention to our plight. When the District Office noticed that GENTIAN had dropped almost overnight from the usual 100% participation to last, they wanted to know what was going on.
The next thing we knew, the XO, Mr. Lutz, had us mustered, then accused us of "conspiracy to commit mutiny"!
Liberty, he advised, would not be granted until he discovered the source of the problem.
He soon found out that there would be calls to Senators and Congressmen about the "mutiny" charges. Eventually he learned about the behavior of the Chiefs and told them to back off.
"Bond"ing was resumed and the GENTIAN once again became the Happy Little Tender That Could.
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