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July 12, 2005

First Duty Day in Guam

I take the duty section topside to do a little firefighting training with some hoses that are connected to a Y fitting from the tender. It is a pretty good size hose, about 2" in diameter, and shits through about 200 gallons a minute.

I tell a guy to flake out the hose for use, it was coiled up topside, and then a booming sound scares the shit out of everyone. The hose had popped off the Y fitting and was dancing around like a possessed cobra topside. It slide about 20 feet across the deck before wrapping up on itself and a smaller hose that was hanging off the side.

A guy stepped off the side of the boat the went down to grab the Y fitting while there was a lull in the action. Common sense would have said "Screw it, let it be and secure water to the connection" but I guess instinct took over. In all fairness, you can walk over the side of a round submarine before actually falling over. I didn't want this guy to fall in or get hurt if the fitting came loose off the other hose so I instinctively grabbed his arm which slid down to his hand because we were all wet from the initial spray. This guy lost his balance and got a death grip on my hand so we fell off into the water together. That scene from Backdraft comes to mind where the guy is dangling 40 feet inside a burning building and the guy holding him said, "You go, I go."

I felt someone grab my hand but it slipped out. The spray was secured before we fell over and he was pulled up by the hose that was already over the side. I waited my turn as people were yelling "Get the Jacobs ladder", "The Duty Chief fell over board", and dreadfully heard over our announcement circuit, "Men overboard port side!"

I grabbed onto the hose for support as I rubbed against the algae that had already started growing on the side of the boat in the 88 degree water. People topside started to pull me up and my knee must have opened the fitting. I was lifted out of the water as the hose came to life and as the end of it ran up the front of my body I let go of it and pushed it away but not before getting sprayed in the face with the full force of the blast. I turned my head away and dove under the water but I couldn't get very far in coveralls and the boots I was wearing.

By this time someone had run up onto the tender and secured the water to the connection. People were yelling and I managed to see the boat hook dangling in front of my face. I grabbed onto it and was pulled up. Topside was littered with people and the COB pushed his way through to me. I told him I was alright but I still couldn't see and I was out of breath and spitting up salt water that was forced down my throat. Someone on the tender asked if we needed medical assistance but I said I was ok.

After I got my eyesight back I noticed I was still seeing flashes of light which I thought were from getting smacked in the eyes with water. Nope, someone was taking pictures of the event. Didn't bother throwing a lifering or anything, but brought his camera up. Admittedly, I probably would have done the same thing. Speaking of which, I had just taken my camera and cell phone out of my pockets about an hour prior to this happening.

My hat went over board too and was floating about 20 feet from the boat but when I got below and was stripping down in the lower level head someone brought my hat that had been fished out. Unfortunately, the keys to the duty van were not in my pocket when I emptied everything out. Hertz will be getting a call in the morning....

Other than that, it was a pretty good first duty day as the Duty Chief. And before I get the flood of emails, Duty Chief is just a watch that a First Class is allowed to stand if given the OK by the C.O. E-7 results should be out in a few more weeks though.


  1. I guess firefighting, and swimming are second nature. Practice makes perfect, eh? What, no coqui frogs on Guam? Perhaps eaten by brown tree snakes? Ah, yes. A good source says that they were devoured by Aumakua - Sharks returned from departed loved ones. But then again, we just fuckhead peoples.

    Aloha, you do need it.

  2. I honestly can't tell if this guy is trying to slam me or just interjecting. Thanks for reading the blog though!