By Andre Moog
When I was stationed on the U.S.S. Belleau Wood LHA-3, I was a young 3rd Class Petty Officer. We were on our way to Hong Kong for liberty, when suddenly, in the middle of the night, our ship did a 180. We were now headed to Okinawa for a no-notice deployment. Oh, goodie…
Many of us did not have everything inboard needed for deployment so we had to hit the Air Force Exchange in Kadena for the essentials. Upon this more than slightly disappointing news, I had found it necessary to load up my sea bag with 6 boxes of those tiny Jack Daniels bottles like you get on the plane.
About a month into deployment, during the “Desert Fox” time, I decided to get a Coke and drink half of it, then empty one of those tasty, little bottles into it. Once I got done enjoying my seagoing cocktail, I was informed that I had “Flight Deck Integrity Watch.” The primary watch-stander was sick. Damn it! I thought, as I left to stand watch.
As I was sitting in flight deck control, the Marine Officer on watch with me kept staring at me. Finally he asks in an accusing tone, “what’s that I smell?”
“Nothing, Sir.” I innocently replied.
Unconvinced, he said: “Bullshit! I can smell it way over here!”
I was busted. What do I say next? I wondered. Just as I was mulling over an appropriate response to his founded accusations, he asked, “do you have anymore?”
“That depends.” I replied.
“On what?” He pressed.
I looked over at him with that “AB” smirk on my face and continued, “on how many Cokes you’re gonna get!”
He left his chair without saying a word. I sat and worried that he might come back with a couple witnesses and continue the interrogation. To my relief, he came back with a couple Cokes. I went and grabbed a couple bottles of my stash, cracked ‘em open, and poured one each into our Cokes.
That was the best watch I ever stood!
About two weeks later, that same Officer came looking for me in Flight Deck Control. When he found me, he handed over a big stack of Domino’s Pizza. Remember, we were at sea in the Gulf at the time. However he procured these, it couldn’t have been an easy feat. He said, “this is my ‘thank you.’”
“How did you get those, Sir?” I couldn’t help but to ask.
“Thank you Sir!” I said gratefully.
Before the Marine Officer walked away, the Handler asked me, “ABH3, what was that for?”
I replied as I looked at the Marine Officer, “Sir, he had dropped his sunglasses on the flight deck, and I returned them to him.” The Marine Officer just nodded his head in approval as he grinned.
I never did get his name, but that was one, cool Marine Officer.