We floated around Africa hunting pirates, luckily it wasn’t Captain Jack Sparrow. We surely wouldn’t have come out on top of that battle. Anyway, we were hunting pirates and Snively and I found out that we were on the chopping block for ERB. Remember earlier I had mentioned that ERB was something that could affect me so I tried to find out more and the answer was pretty much that they didn’t have any answers. Well when I got to the ship I was for sure in trouble with ERB. That just really meant in my mind that they would look at my record and see that I hadn’t had any PRT failures, no Captain’s Mast, and no other bad marks in my record not to mention that I now held a critical NEC (Navy Education Code). Which is to say that I was needed, not very many people in the Navy could do what I could on the new sonar system we were supposed to be getting when we got back to San Diego.
Snively and I went through several days of really extreme stress, we couldn’t call our families to talk about the ERB nor discuss what we should, could or wanted to do. There of course was an option to change rates to some that were undermanned. I feel at this point that I need to mention the undermanned rates that were choices for us were things like…Fire Control Technician(submarines), Yeoman(submarines), and Cook(submarines). There were some others that were on the surface, Hospital Corpsman, Cryptological Technician(which is a hard school from what I hear), and a couple of others but nothing that I really wanted to do. Oh and I had to turn in an SF-86 with that conversion package which took me like a month to do with my wife at my side helping me fill in information when I was stationed at ST. MAWGAN. Now I didn’t have my wife to help me fill out information on a project that was time sensitive.
The decision was to roll the dice, and why not…clean record, critical NEC, who wouldn’t want me?
After several weeks pirate hunting we started on our way home. My very first time in several ports that were really, really cool. Singapore…my very second time but first time when I actually got to go out in town instead of stuck on the pier on duty. AWESOME, but totally afraid to spit or do anything but follow the rules because I didn’t have much money and I didn’t want to get hit with a stick
Brunei. Ya, there was some stuff about the guy that rules that country and we did some marching in front of him…it was cool. I volunteered for that, can you say cool. Everyone was super friendly, and there were so many other counties militaries there it was crazy to see us all in one place. The ship was in a parade of ships that floated by the ruler’s ship…COOL. We got to show the world we were ready and willing to help them and also be their friends. I guess the Chinese were there to threaten them because of oil…blah, blah, blah, political stuff.
Vitenam. Ya, that’s right. I can now say things like, “Back when I was in Nam!!!” Really cool country and I was briefly a millionaire there. I did get in a bit of trouble there but not anything to do with the country but let’s say I had a few drinks and leave it at that. One of the Navy bands also came by and did a concert, which I went to. It is, I think, a poor country but the people were friendly and generous. Except for the cabbie that took us out to a hotel spa we spent the day at. He took the long way ‘round and tried to rip us off but we knew and had one of the hotel guys come out and argue with him for us. We won.
Bali, how could this be a bad trip? I mean, seriously!!!!! I dove in Bali, with a German guy and I had my own divemaster who was a Japanese woman. The water was rough and cold but diving in Bali was really great. I totally want to go back and do it again with my wife and he kids if they are old enough. There were a lot of foreigners there like Australians and New Zealanders, pretty much what I think of when I see white people on vacation that aren’t Americans.
Last we hit Hong Kong. I took a tour and the guy let us out at the top of a hill and said to us. “You see that town over there?”, as we looked between two hills, “Ya, that’s China.” Like it was a bad thing. Of course to him it was because they’re commies there, not like in Hong Kong, right? Anyway, Hong Kong was really great we had tons of fun, I tried to stay out of the bars and see the sights. Strangely a bar in Hong Kong looks almost exactly the same as a bar in San Diego….