The Mighty Cutter Fetus

By Seamond Ponsart Roberts

About 1986 or so (after about a six year wait,) I finally got to go to Military Court Reporter school in Newport, RI. There were four of us Coast Guard types, about 30 Army types and no Navy types (strangely enough) at a Navy school. 

It made for a weird class mixture, We Coasties were always the brunt of the jokes, of course, In the class was an Army guy named Rick who was over from
Germany. We couldn't figure how he was going to be successful as a military court reporter because Rick had a terrible lisp. The Army at that time required it's court reporters to speak into a mask to a recording device repeating everything said at the court-martial verbatim. 

Rick had a TERRIBLE lisp - but he was a neat guy anyway. The school was 12 weeks long and our weekends were spent studying. There was not much liberty. Rick came in one morning and asked the instructor, a Navy Master Chief Yeoman if he could make an announcement of something concerning on-base liberty that would be fun for all. The Master Chief said "sure."

Rick said, "Well, you all, I was over at the piers (he called them pwiers) and "twere is twis Cwoast Cward Cwutter there" and he said that we got an invite to come on board, and then he turned to we four Coasties and said, "and you sure awwl nwame your swhips the most fwunny names." Whereupon, we wore kind of confused looks and he said, "I cwant imagwine nwaming a shwip the FETUS." 

Well, we four broke up with tears running down our faces, DYING,  and hoping against hope that the Thetis guys never knew their cutter just got re-christened the FETUS by this Army guy with a lisp. 

Our Navy YNCM joined in this and said, "Yeah, Rick, they have boats named stuff like the Daisy and the Pansy, too." 

We were laughing so much, the YNCM had to give us a break to collect our senses (which at that moment were pretty zonked out anyway.) It was great. WE four didn't go visit the "FETUS" but the whole Army class did and they had a wonderful time, and they gave Rick lessons the rest of the time saying "Thetis."

We loved it, It was a moment frozen in time. Anytime I write to any of my fellow Coasties who endured this educational ordeal, we always remember Rick calling the Thetis the FETUS. 

Return To Coast Guard Stories