Sea Stories
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On the bridge of our Sturgeon-class stretch-hull, the USS William H. Bates (SSN 680), the OOD and I enjoyed the last few minutes of fresh air as we headed out past Point Loma to our dive point. The tranquility was broken by a gaggle of midshipman peering up from the access trunk, asking permission to come to the bridge. One by one they made their way up the ladder, each proudly sporting their newly purchased ships ball caps. Soon the six of us were squeezed in tight as we enjoyed one of the best parts of the op.

Answering Ahead Standard into the wind, it didn’t come as a surprise when the OOD’s ball cap was blown overboard. A stream of invective followed his brief glance back at the blue and gold disappearing into the wake and I commented that it was typical of the wet-behind-the–ears middies to blatantly ignore naval tradition and continue to wear their brand new ball caps when the OOD had just lost his.

Having conveniently left my ball cap below in order to handle the headphones and cameras, I belabored the point that no self–respecting seafarer would flaunt his new purchase in the face of a more senior officer that had lost his to the wind and the sea. After all, we were speaking of Naval Tradition (even if it had been invented a few minutes earlier). Thirty seconds later, four new ball caps, complete with “dancing” dolphins, were sinking into the Pacific as the once proud middies gazed longingly after their lost identity and the OOD tried to keep a straight face.

Later, visiting the CO’s stateroom at his personal invitation, the Captain made it clear with a difficult-to-conceal smile, that although the Rec Fund appreciated my effort to "stimulate revenue generation" through increased ball cap sales, it would be appreciated if I would “quit messing with the midshipmen!”

Alan Weakley
Who can forget freezing their pillows!!!
Robert Emmitt
All we did in '74 (or was it 75?) was to get them to load water slugs and steal their collar devices - I got three one week.
David (Harry) Harrison
I like that one! It was always fun messing with them.

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