Thursday, August 31, 2006

12 November 1955

The day started out on the wrong foot with the loss of still another hour. As a result, I forced myself awake (& believe me, it was a real battle) & glanced at my watch. Through the haze of my newly opened eyes & mind, the watch read 25 til 6. Since I am the type who is rigidly alert at the first moment of awakening, I immediately remembered that we’d lost an hour during the night, thought it was 25 till eight, & practically broke my neck trying to get down to the mess decks.

Fortunately, the one good thing about it was that I managed to miss standing the inspection. I type the list of those who have to stand it, & somehow I neglected to put down my own name. Good thing I did, too, because I’ve been working straight through since eight this morning (it is now 7 p.m.), minus an hour spent at G.Q.

Speaking of G.Q., they kept us busy every minute—we (the other OB & myself) were sent running around, sounding tanks (measuring the depth or lack of liquid in a tank, described previously). Two were thick black gooey oil—26 feet of it in one tank--& the other two were supposedly void. One of these had roughly four inches of water, which is hard to measure on a metal tape, since it doesn’t cling like the oil does. Upon removing the valve on the other, air began rushing out in such volume & at such length that I supposed a ventillation fan were on inside it (what a fan would be doing in a closed tank I didn’t think of). I’d learned that if air came out that meant something else was in there with it. The size of those tanks must be enormous, for the air rushed out for a good five minutes. When we lowered the plumber into the small (3" diam.) opening, we found that this supposedly void tank had 18’7 ½ " of water in it! I got a little shook, thinking we’d sprung a leak someplace, & envisioning us all standing on the flight deck singing "Nearer My God to Thee" as the Ti sinks slowly out from under our feet. Strump, the other OB, allayed my fears by telling me that these void tanks can be filled for ballast—if the ship is too heavily loaded on one side, the void tanks are filled on the other to prevent listing.

These void tanks also serve as an outer protective hull around the ship, so that if she should be hit by a torpedo, it wouldn’t be fatal (we hope).

Things started coming apart at the seams again this afternoon—troubles cascaded in & upon us with not quite the same intensity of a few days ago. This time, we reacted differently to the crisis—the worse things got, the less we seemed to care, & the sillier we got. Geneva Convention Card worries were on me again, & as I called different people to find out if they needed cards or not, & if so why, Botz (one of the cooks) enlivened matters by blowing a police whistle into the connecting office phone, scaring the wits out of whomever I was calling—I had to call one guy three times, cause he kept hanging up after the whistle.

As part of the "morale building" program, a special board has been set up to issue each division a box of games—ours included two chess sets, one cribbage board, five decks of playing cards, & a game of Parchese—such fun. This same board has also suggested skeet-shooting off the flight deck. Hmmmm………

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