USS Noxubee AOG56

A Tribute To Those That Served

Thank a Veteran

Lost Contacts
Agent Orange













Noxubee Crest


By Ray Ledenican

First off let me introduce myself to all the Noxubee shipmates whom served before and after my tours. I arrived aboard in 1969 after serving three months TAD in Hawaii waiting for the ship's return from a West Pac cruise. As was the case with almost everyone I reported aboard and was quickly assigned to the Deck force. I had a friend who told me all about the different jobs available and storekeeper seemed to be what I was looking for.

My friend made me aware of how things like a ServeMart chit could work to my advantage. How right he would come to be. Anyhow I spent any time I had when not chipping and painting with Pat Lum Lung and Earl Yokoyama learning all I could. Pat was in charge of OPTAR which had total control ( or should I say access) of all ships funds. If memory serves me correct our budget was about $30,000.00 a quarter.

We departed Pearl for Viet Nam and I started putting requests to go to San Diego to Storekeeper School. I was allowed to put one in week, and to my surprise I was sent off to school. To this day I still don't know how I was so lucky. It meant not having to spend anymore time in Nam, and that was OK by me since it had only been a couple of months since the mine explosion. That schooling sent me on my path of shall we say---never mind on with the story.

Priority 3, let's see if I can explain. Priority codes were assigned to every thing that I had to order. Usually a very high number (double digits). To me Priority 1 was when the ship had probably all ready sunk and was sitting on the bottom, that's when I could use Priority 1. Priority 2 was when the ship's mast was still showing above water and the item ordered could keep it from hitting bottom. Priority 3 was when you knew if the order was not filled quick enough you knew something could strike and send the ship to the bottom (or in this case me to the bottom).

Well sometime latter while in Athens, Greece I had the pleasure of running into a taxi driver who had a lot of money. We struck up a deal were I would supply him with all the cigarettes he could handle for $10.00 a carton plus all the taxi rides I wanted. Does anyone remember being turned down for a taxi ride and then watching me jump in with a very large package and heading to my favorite bar the Golden Key. Oh I still remember Sofia. Back to the story!

Well one day I went to load up another package and to my surprise the Noxubee was almost out of cigarettes. As a matter of fact we were totally out of some brands. I figured I'd be hung from the yardarm either by the crew when they found out we were out of cigarettes. I thought I was a goner. So I smartly decided to delay my liberty that day and run down and place an order, and yes it was "PRIORITY 3" that I used because I not only thought that I was sinking I knew I was sinking. So I took my talents to a new high by using some creative accounting procedures to cover my tracks. Somehow it worked, those cigarettes were on board almost before the ink dried on the requisition. More importantly no one ever said anything about it.

I hope everyone enjoys the story and that the people who had to change brands that cruise will forgive me.