Mess Cooking On The Mighty John C.
By Jarard G. Powers
Printed in the exact words of the author without any real changes.
It was in the early
part of 1962 and of course we were heading North for ocean station duty. I had
reported aboard the previous October from boot camp and hadn't been assigned to
mess cook duty, but was for this trip. The John C was better known as the CGC
Spencer, a 327' white one stationed out of Base St George, Staten Island NY. I
understand that the base is long gone as is the John C.
We always seemed to
have potatoes for every meal and it required quite a number of them to feed the
The slop chute was
located on the port side, close to the galley and that is where we normally
peeled the spuds, but not this day. The ship was equipped with a brand new air
defense radar and we were told that
The cook, Tiny, weren't
they all called that, told me to come in the compartment forward of the galley
We would have a bucket
with the potatoes in it, one for the peelings, one to sit on and a pan for the
finished product, either whole, halved, or however the cook wanted them.
Naturally everything other than the bucket used as a seat had water in it.
You are probably
beginning to get the picture, dumb deck ape sitting on a bucket in the middle of
the compartment . When the John C. takes a roll to starboard, a
52 degree roll to starboard, and if that wasn't good enough, we took one
to port for good measure.
The roll to starboard
put me in motion and I flew into the starboard bulkhead, as I looked up there
were spuds, peelings and water all coming to me and they found there target. I
then slid across the deck into the port bulkhead and those damned spuds were
still with me, or should I say all over me?
Tiny heard the
commotion and came to see what it was all about. I was trying to get my footing,
which was impossible because the ship wouldn't quit rolling. Tiny started
laughing and he began to lose his footing and he came down with a thud and
started sliding around with me. He seemed to lose his humor about this
This is another story
from the "Old Guard" of which I'm proud to say I was a member of from
To Coast Guard Stories