Getting Revenge at Sea, Pt 1 😈

Hi, all— 
 
They say revenge is a dish best served cold. That may be true. But I've also discovered that revenge is quite satisfying when served up on the steel deck of warship buffeted by the warm & salty air of the Pacific trade winds. 
 
In my last Reader Crew newsletter, I shared a prank my sailors played on me—namely, slipping a gnarly 200 lb, damage control training dummy into my rack while I was standing bridge watch. Part 1 of my revenge involved my senior chief. (Remember: my 2 chiefs & my leading petty officer were behind my rack-warming gift.) 
 
Fast forward a few months. The ship was underway again. We were days into a 6-month deployment when opportunity knocked. Our ship was designed to support more than a thousand crew members. Hence, we had extensive gray & black water piping on board. Gray water includes wastewater from shipboard scuttlebutts (drinking fountains) & showers. Sources for black water involve the ship's urinals & toilets. 
 
In port, gray & black water are usually offloaded via CHT piping (collection, holding & transfer) and disposed of by the host country. If no permanent pier infrastructure exists, the host country will often tow a giant metal donut around to retrieve wastewater. And, of course, some ports will have you dump black water over the side. (Note to carefree beachcombers: avoid swimming & snorkeling in nearby waters.😳 ) 
 
Underway, black water is diverted into massive CHT tanks & pumped over the side of the ship once in open ocean—i.e., past the continental shelf. We had 4 of these monster sewage tanks on board. The maintenance of the entire CHT system falls to the repair division—my guys. (You know that expression—sh*t flows downhill? I can hereby testify that it also flows across passageways & up ladders. But I digress.) 
 
So there we were, steaming off the coasts of the Hawaiian Islands, when our CHT system malfunctioned & a forward berthing compartment began filling up with, well, poop. The Flying Squad was duly called away. My guys were eager to share the experience with their new DCA, so I headed for the scene. There, my senior chief—who was not wearing long-sleeved khakis as per shipboard regs—was standing in the middle of the space, his studly, tattooed arms proudly folded & boots squared off amid a surfeit of churning, rancid human waste. And all around him: the rest of my guys, already hard at work, cleaning it up. 
 
As any DC sailor will tell you, if you work in repair long enough, you're going to end up in contact with someone else's poo. And the resulting risk of that is a raging bout of hepatitis B. But never fear, the Navy has a preventative fix. At the time, it involved ice-cold viscous gamma globulin serum loaded into a giant syringe with a gorilla-sized needle attached. Said needle was then stabbed into the meaty part of a sailor's posterior. Yep, it hurts! 
 
Of course, I didn't know that yet, at least not firsthand. Nor, apparently, did my senior chief. I soon discovered the man was insufferably proud of the fact that, in sixteen years, he'd never once had a gamma globulin shot, despite having no qualms about standing amidst an ocean of putrid, potentially disease-ridden crap as it sloshed back & forth—slapping into the surrounding bulkheads before splashing up, becoming atomized...and entering the lungs of those sailors who were standing around. All of those sailors. 
 
Really, what was I to do? I was a shipboard division officer, right? Responsible for the health & welfare of my crew, including those determined to play hepatitis roulette. In light of my concern, I casually leaned down, dipped my index finger into the overripe sludge at my boots...and trailed that same finger along my senior chief's forearm. I then informed the man that, gosh, he'd come in direct contact with CHT. 😱 He needed to stop by Medical with the rest of the guys after the cleanup was finished. 
 
Responsible DCA that I was, I headed up to Medical myself. While receiving my own icy bullet to the rump, I dutifully informed the ship's doc that my senior chief had come into contact with CHT too. She wasn't nearly as amused with how as were the rest of the guys in the division— but considerably more so than my senior chief...especially when it came to light that the man disliked needles so much that he'd been ducking Medical for quite a while. 
 
In addition to getting that bullet in his own rear, my senior chief ended up receiving no less than three delinquent booster shots, including one for tetanus. Yep, there were many hearty arm slaps the following day by the entire division, most of the ship's chiefs' mess—and me. 😉 
 
And that's how I got even with one of those involved in my rack-warming prank. Settling the score with the others involved meticulous logistical planning & the open abuse of my budding friendship with the ship's supply officer… 
 
But that's a tale for your next newsletter.
 
—Candace
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