ALCOHOL CONTROL OFFICER ON THE SEBAGO

Jim Miotke

 

The 255's had more recorded mischief the any other vessel class. Here's a tale from the SEBAGO .....

As a deck officer on the CGC Sebago in the early sixties, one of the most challenging jobs was to keep the short term reserve officers occupied. One man we’ll call "Bruce" was a large man that we all were constantly bumping into on the bridge or in the wardroom.

One afternoon Bruce came strutting into the wardroom, chest out and grinning. He proudly told me that the XO had named him "Alcohol Control Officer" for our upcoming reserve cruise to Tampico.

I feigned a frightened look and said, "Oh my gosh. No!"

He blinked and the grin turned to anxiety. "Why? What’s wrong?"

I leaned forward and said in a lowered voice, "Didn’t they tell you about Ensign Thompson?"

"Yeah. He’s at ASW-CIC school in Charleston, isn’t he?"

"That’s what they told you. (in fact it was true) Actually, he’s in the Marine Brig in Pensacola. All because of that damned ACO job."

"What happened?" I now had Bruce’s full attention.

"Well, you know how cheap the rum is in Mexico. Everybody buys their limit. It was Thompson’s job to keep it locked up."

"Yeah, the XO told me that."

"Anyway, Thompson knew we’d all be anxious to charge ashore when we hit home port again. At his stateroom desk he took a marking pen and wrote everyone’s name on their bottles. Just to make it easier to hand out when we were back in port."

"That sounds like a great idea." I could see Bruce mentally writing it down.

"That’s what Thompson thought, but the ship took a heavy roll and a bottle of rum rolled off his stateroom desk and smashed. The XO soon came around and accused Thompson of drinking aboard and put him in hack. He should be released after this cruise. Of course, he’ll never make JG. A damned shame, ring-knocker and all."

Bruce sat in stunned silence for a full minute. Then he asked, "What about the bottle seal?"

I smacked my palm against my forehead. "Oh my gosh! We forgot to check the seal."

Bruce was stunned. "You didn’t think to check the seal?" Bruce got up and walked slowly out of the wardroom a changed man.

For the next few days he carried this horror story in the front of his mind. Every time he was alone with another junior officer he’d bring it up. "Did you hear about Thompson?"

"Yeah, he’s in Charleston. At ASW school."

Bruce would shift to a confidential tone and say, "That’s what they want you to think. Here’s what really happened…"

To the credit of my shipmates, most immediately understood the joke and Bruce didn’t catch on until I finally broke it to him.

He couldn’t decide whether to be mad or just laugh. So he just stayed confused, which was his normal state anyway. No harm done.

 

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