…Or, it could have been this Enterprise, 1978 was a very long time ago, and some details behind these “Sea Stories” can be difficult for us “old salts” to remember completely accurately.
We were meeting with the combat support ship, the Sacramento.
I had been sent from forward special ammunition storage area, to run the aft elevator from the hangar bay down to the mess deck. I had already been at it for over 10 hours when the guy running the aft line to the other ship dropped his way too soon and slammed a pallet of rice into the side of the ship. Rice went everywhere so we had to stop and sweep up what we could. Of course, we were told to just throw it over the side, instead of repackaging it and feeding it to the crew.
The fellow got his butt chewed out good and it gave me a chance to go use the head (ship’s toilet.) It was on this night that I figured out why most of the pipes on the urinals are bent – but that is not what this story is about…That’s another “Sea Story.”
I grabbed another cup of joe and went back up. It took us about another hour to finish with the stores and then we started bringing the bombs across. Everything was going pretty well, considering that we had been working for over 11 hours. I had also done my regular work before this and was not watching anything but what I was doing at the time.
All of a sudden, I heard all kinds of screaming and yelling, and guys started to run. I looked around, and saw that the idiot had done it again!
But this time it was a rack of 500-pounders –not crates of rice, but BOMBS!
He hit the crate on the ship’s side. All of these bombs went rolling across the hangar bay and one was aimed right at me!
As it got closer, I just jumped over it and looked around. Only the gunner and I were standing, as everyone else dove for cover.
“Well, now what?” I asked.
The gunner looked at me and asked, “Do you want to re-stack these and move them?”
“Hell, no!” I said.
He suggested that we just kick them over the side so when I walked toward one, the rest of the crew did a second nose-dive back into their hiding spots. They stayed there until the gunner yelled for them.
“They are not armed, and will not go off, so get out here and help!”
Slowly they came out and helped push the bombs off. Needless to say, the guy running the line was replaced and the rest of the night was good. We had no more screw ups like that one. Most of the ship never even knew what had happened.
There were only about 11 to 13 bombs in the hangar bay. Since I had become friends with the EOD team (bomb disposal team) and partied with them among other things, I knew the bombs were safe and would not blow. If they were going to detonate, it would have been when they hit the side of the ship.