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  USS Noxubee AOG56

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Noxubee Crest

HOG-56


By Dan Mass

 

Towards the end of the 1973 Med cruise Charlie Johnson and I decided to do what we all had talked about for some time, paint a "H" in front of the OG56 on the bow. We were tied up to a pier some where, I don't even remember where. So after a heavy night of testing the local wine, Charlie and I with our newly found liquid courage lifted the keys to the paint locker by taking them off the hanging pants of the BM1 while he slept.

One gallon of black paint, brush and a boatswain's chair was all we needed and off we went to the focsle. Now in case you forget, the boatswain's chair is a board tied to a heaving-line which is no bigger than a clothes line. I lowed Charlie down over the side and secured the line around the bits on deck. Next I sent the paint down on another line. Charlie kicked off the side of the ship and swoops the brush down, then out and in again repeatedly painting the "H" on inward swings. When he is done he throws the paint in the water and hollers "OK, pull me up!" My response is " I can't pull your fat ass up, I'll swing you up to the side." I start swinging and he starts yelling "NO!" "NO!"

Man I'm really leaning into the swings trying to get him up. After he is moving rather well the line snaps. Poor old Charlie goes flying through the air sitting on this boatswain's chair, civilian clothes, shoes, and wallet. He smacks his knees on the stowed anchor going by and flies into the drink. He could have drowned because I hit the deck doubled up in laughter. He got out OK but to this day he thinks I cut that line.

Fortunately, we were not busted and thrown into the brig for our midnight paint job. All that happened was that Charlie, a.k.a. "Crowbar" had to paint over his handy work the next day. You see, when that rope snapped, I could hardly breathe I was laughing so hard. I forgot all about Charlie and managed to make it to the deck compartment doubled up with laughter. So buy this time some guys were awake when Charlie came walking in soaking wet screaming "You no good #@&$#!!! You cut that rope!" Well with all the commotion, next day everyone on board knew what had happened. We certainly didn't mean any disrespect to the old girl but she was getting up there in age.

Charlie lives here in Washington, Pa where I live and is married to my cousin. To this day he thinks I cut that rope. Charlie....come on.

HOG-56

Noxubee Crest

Spanish Riviera Skinny Dippin'


by Dan Mass

 

Noxubee on Riveria On the summer Med cruise of 1973 we had our R & R in Valencia Spain. Two weeks on the beautiful beach of the Spanish Riveria was just what we needed.

Right away, we met a merchant mariner from Trinidad named Rudolph, who missed his ship and was stuck in Valencia until he figured out what he was going to do about his situation. Rudolph hung out with us for the next two weeks. He ate on the ship and once we let him sleep in shaft alley but a first class snipe found out and put a stop to it.

Charlie Johnson (remember the HOG story) and I would take cartons of cigarettes hidden in our guitar cases on the beach and sell them for a nice profit. With the proceeds, we bought rum and coke. The first few days it was a shot of rum and the rest coke. A few more days it was a shot of coke and the rest rum. A few more days and we quit buying the coke. We slept on the beach every night except when we had duty.

Towards the end of the two weeks, late at night on the beach, 3 or 4 of us decided to go skinny dipping. Bad decision. There we were in our birthday suits throwing sand and carrying on like… well drunkin' sailors. Then a young Spanish couple out on a moonlit romantic walk hand in hand came upon us in our naked splendor and quickly went back from where they came. In a matter of minutes, two very large Spanish policemen arrived. Naturally, our decision making process was a little clouded so we started to swim out to sea. Well we sobered up rather quickly and came back in to the beach, got dressed and proceeded to walk with the policemen to prison we thought. We had not walked far when our friend Boyd Driggers, a 3rd class bos'n mate who had been drinking at a café up the beach came to our rescue. With him was Rudolph who could speak Spanish very well. He explained to the policemen that Driggers was the Captain of the ship and that we were going to be punished severely for our actions. Well after some lengthy conversation between Rudolph and the police and some cussing and yelling at us by Driggers, the police consented to letting us go in the custody of the "captain". Once set free we all went up to the café and had a few laughs and a few drinks. It was almost nice to get underway and leave Valencia because we were just having to much fun for it to be good for us. Anyway, there is always another port to raise hell in.

This was to be my last of three Med cruises and by this time I was an old salt. I could tell the new guys "yea I wrung more saltwater out of my socks than you been across." But as I remember all the friends I made and all the sights I have seen I can say today that those were some of the best times of my life.