I reported to the Noxubee
in September 1967 and left August 1971. I have many stories to
tell. But I will start at the beginning for now.
Just one week out of boot camp I landed in Hawaii with orders
to report to the USS Noxubee. I remember thinking "What is
an AOG anyway?"
Lets see how many Pearl Harbor guys are reading this. I asked
around to get some help in locating the Noxubee, what ever that
was. All I heard from the girl that was helping me was "go
to hotel." I thought to myself, that's good I get to stay
in a hotel. By now you have guessed that this hotel is the pier
clear out in the boonies. It was way out.
That wasn't bad enough. They sent someone out from the ship
to pick me up. It was PERRY! If you know Perry he is what a
Boatswain's Mate was made from. His facial expression was
something to see. His voice was something to hear, I was so
scared that I started calling him "sir." As soon as I
said it, he growled at me in that voice of his "Don't call
me sir!" All I could say was "yes sir." Actually
Perry was very nice when once you got to know him.
Now remember, I am right out of boot camp and don't know much
about anything. So while I was walking around the ship, Gunner's
Mate Truett Brannen asked me to help him so I said sure. He was
working on one of the 3-inch guns which looked very big to me
and said he needed a sky hook. I asked where it was and he said
it was up front.
So I went up front. Never being up front before I found
myself on the bridge. This little old man was sitting in a big
chair on the port side. I was looking high and low for the sky
hook. The man watched me for a while. I saw him looking at me so
I said "Hi, how are doing." He asked, "Can I help
you?" So I told him I was looking for a sky hook. He the
asked who wanted it, so I turned around on the bridge and looked
back so I could see the guy who sent me up their. At the time I
did not now his name so I pointed to him.
There were three guys laughing and pointing to me but they
could not see who I was with. As soon as this man came around
the corner to see who I was pointing at everyone ran. The man
the said "You don't know who I am, do you?" I said no
I didn't. He then told me he was "The Old Man," the
captain. He said that I should get back to work and tell the guy
that sent me looking for the sky hook to come and see him. I
never heard what happened but after awhile Brannen and I became
friends and I began to learn navy protocol. Yes sir, my naval
education had begun.
The day before we crossed the International Date Line, the
Plan of the day said: "At 0430, tomorrow morning we will
cross the International Date Line. It may be too dark to see it
but in case you are up, it is a red line superimposed on a black
line (you can see what it looks like on the chart in the
Luckily I had the fantail watch at that exact time so I had
an excuse to be up and about. But I do know of a couple of guys
who were not on watch and were up on deck. I could name names
but I won't. All in all I crossed the International Date Line