My First Ride On The Taney

By Dave Davis

I was new to the Coast Guard and had never been to sea. Late in the winter of 1978 the Taney (WHEC-37) set sail for Cuba with me as a crew member. I served as a mess cook. What a lousy job. 

We went through a real mean hurricane on the way to Gitmo. Below decks were a flooded mess. I saw scores of sea sick sailors on that trip. I was lucky I never did get sick; Thank God. One guy looked like a monk with head shaved and just a white sheet   wrapped around him. He was throwing up all night and he kept hanging on to the top rack and his sheet. At day break I peeked up on the main deck and there was the monk hanging on and rolling like a bowling pin. I never did know his name.

After arriving at the GITMO FTG it was three weeks of drills; this drill that and mess this and that. Only one thing I wanted to drill on and it wasn't anywhere around.

Super hot weather and under paid, I was not smiling nor was anybody else. The day fleet training was done the Navy sailors saw white paint spilled on the dock and the Base Commander ordered it cleaned up. 

Well nobody owned up to it and the Navy wouldn't cast off our lines.  The Captain ordered the axes out and the lines cut and as  the Cutter Taney backed from the dock the captain played  a fitting tune by Johnny Paycheck, "Take this job and shove it."

That evening we had a cook out and a little beer, a very little beer, but all was well once more for this 18 yr old.

True every word!

Return to Coast Guard Stories