By Bob Reding



In the 1950’s black men were moving slowly into different rates. For the most part this was very successful. This little story is probably true and is told to reflect the times. It is by no means intended to be derogatory – Jack


This amusing event allegedly took place on the CGC CASCO.


The QM2 “didn’t have time”, the QM1 “had more pressing matters” so that left me as the senior QM3, there was another, with the responsibility of training the new QM striker. I wondered at the time if it was because (I’ll call him) Louis, was a black man.  I had no problem with it; in fact we became close friends. I loved jazz and so did Louis, so we had something in common right from the start.


We stood watches together, at sea and inport for about six weeks and I helped him with his QM3 course at every opportunity. Louis was an apt and enthusiastic pupil, anxious to learn anything that pertained to our rate. I had been waiting for my QM2 rate and was eager to pass along any knowledge I had and he soaked it up like a sponge.


Our second patrol with Louis as a striker was a “Dog” (Delta) patrol and Louis was to stand bridge watches on his own. The QM1 and Chief were pleased with his progress and of course that made me look good and feel good too.



All went very well. Louis would still come to me with questions from time to time but never the same question twice. I was standing the watch ahead of Louis for the entire patrol and checking back during his watch. About halfway through the patrol we were on station and drifting. I was standing the 12 to 4 watches and Louis was standing the 4 to 8 watches. Having just been relieved at 1600, I was headed to chow when over the 1MC system came this announcement or something very similar,  “Now hear this! Now hear this! Anyone wishing to observe a wadder spit, a spit a wadder, a wadder spitter, (a gasp then a pause) a M_th_r F___ing  water spout, lay to the starboard side.” 


I arrived at the bridge just after the chief and of course the skipper. Things were not going well for Louis, he was the being confronted by three very upset individuals as the O.O.D. was joining in the melee. Fortunately we were at sea and not coming into port. It was obvious what had happened, being flustered, the only way he could say water spout was to toss in that profane phrase, which for Louis, might have been natural albeit almost disastrous as well.


The skipper calmed down, I remember seeing him chuckle about it later. The chief got over it, after having a very serious talk with Louis. The O.O.D. (regardless which officer had the watch) kept a close eye on Louis each time he approached the P.A.  Louis, well he was a good natured sort and took all kinds of comments and kidding in stride


Nearly everyone observed the water spout which many of the older members of the crew said was their first. It was the only one I ever saw and lasted just a couple of minutes.


Soon after this incident I was transferred to the USCGC DUANE after my promotion to QM2. I lost track of Louis, he was up for QM3 the last I heard. I wonder if he was ever caught in the same situation again?


I think not!


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