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August 30, 2009

A short time spent in 1992

I am a pack rat. A big fat sentimental pack rat. Two 60 quart Rubbermaid bins, stacked in my garage and a continuing eye-sore to my wife, are testament to my obsession to save anything with just an ounce of nostalgia- and those bins are just my Navy crap (that I can fit into those bins).

I rummaged around in 2 other bins today to try and locate a network interface card for my new motherboard and failed. I probably threw it out years ago thinking I would never need it. I did come across an old "pocket brain" from my early military career with some interesting tidbits. In the spirit of nostalgic, crusty sea stories, I share its contents with both of my readers.

The first page is a countdown calendar from NorPac 1992. For those of you not hip to Navy lingo a NorPac is a Northern Pacific Special Operation (SpecOp). Yes, I know, the acronyms are unbearable at times. These NorPacs were Pearl to Pearl runs, i.e. no liberty ports, no stops, just leave Pearl Harbor and then return about 8 weeks later or so. This particular run happened early in the year and the run ended a little shorter than most of my SpecOps (only 6 ½ weeks long). It wasn’t until after I flipped a few more pages that I remembered why.

For reasons unknown to me now, I kept track of a lot of insignificant data during my deployments. For example, on this NorPac I took 24 showers and punched the clown 18 times. Again, I do not know why I thought it important to keep track of how many times I masturbated. Yeah, should have given a TMI ALERT a few sentences back.

I was a Second Class and I believe this was the last deployment before we headed to Mare Island Naval Shipyard for our reactor core swap out. I had been on board my first boat a little over 4 years and was pretty senior in the division. In fact, I looked ahead at the schedule in my pocket brain and saw that we had an ORSE just before we went to the shipyard. ORSE is the worst 4-letter word in the submarine force. It is an excruciating inspection that would make Hyman G. Rickover roll over in his grave, and then shit on the faces of all the dweeb nukes that turned his nuclear power program into what it is today.

Having an ORSE so close to our shipyard time never made sense to me anyway. What was Squadron going to do if we failed- keep us from going to sea? It was one of many instances during my career where procedure and paperwork trumped common sense. It was a check mark in some asshole’s yearly planner. I equate a pre-shipyard ORSE to a doctor cleaning the area on an arm with an alcohol swab for someone receiving a lethal injection. What the hell is the point? But I digress.

I wrote down the score of the 1992 Superbowl: Washington – 37, Buffalo – 24. Looks like a pretty good game. I’ll never know because I was underwater and probably got this news from one of the broadcasts. I was also underway for the anniversary of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident. I was a Junior in high school and in French class when some jackass poked his head in and told us the news. Yeah, that French really came in handy in Asia and Australia.
Here is a short list I made on the NorPac titled Things to do, make, etc…
1. Trail mix
2. Cereal – Honeycomb, Cocoa Puffs, Alpha Bits
3. Bishop Museum, Aquarium
4. Climb Diamond Head
5. Chicken fried steak and macaroni salad
6. Cook lobster dinner
7. Hamburger pie with bacon bits
8. Manicotti and white wine
9. Chili Peppers- Blood, Sex, Sugar
10. The Cult- Ceremony
11. Erasure- Chorus
12. Concrete Blond- Bloodletting
13. Jesus Jones
14. Terri Weigal- Star/Inferno
15. Sisters of Mercy- Floodland
16. Sting- Fortress around your heart
17. Cribbage board
18. Nachos

I am going to guess that the food on that run was not that great and that my selection in music was severely influenced by people in my underway watch section.

I also watched a lot of movies this run. I love underway movies because it is a great way to kill a few hours and get that much closer to going home. It was rare to be able to actually watch a whole movie without have to run up to Sonar for a piss break or to help divert another mini crisis. Here is my movie list in viewing order:

1. Terminator 2
2. Dutch
3. Ford Fairlane
4. Silence of the Lambs
5. Flashback
6. Object of Beauty
7. Postcards from the Edge
8. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
9. All the Right Moves
10. Stone Cold
11. Marrying Man
12. Toy Soldiers
13. K-9
14. The Short List
15. The 5 Heartbeats

I honestly cannot remember what half of those movies are about.

I also had a page of blonde jokes, which are really old and I will intentionally omit from this post, 2 pages of the schedule for the rest of the year and what appears to be some vocabulary words.

Aplomb- self confidence; poise
Endorphin- a group of hormones secreted by the brain that cause a tranquilizing or pain killing effect.
Husbandman- one who cultivates and raises crops; farmer
Apropos- ironic, relating to a story

I don’t know what the hell I was reading that underway to give me that list of words or why I wrote them down. They don’t really come up in conversation and I have tried for the last 5 minutes to use all of them in the same sentence.

The last thing that I will share is a small wish list on the last page of my entries for that underway.
1. Saling lessons
2. scuba lessons
3. motorcycle
4. truck
5. 4 wheeler for California
6. A BIGGER DICK for Pat’s mouth
7. Rollerblades- The Bike Shop, Kapiolani, 7-11 on right.

I feel that I have to explain #6. The entry in bold letters were from a rider, Pat, who got a hold of my pocket brain when I left the sonar room to take something to the Control Room. Someone else in Sonar added the next piece to the entry. Coincidentally, Pat also drew the LA personified as a blind helpless boat, an apropos icon to wrap up the wasted time we all spent on that miserable spec op in the Northern Pacific.


  1. they were "wheel books" in my day. Still have some from 609b 555 and 595. I too findit hard to decipher some of thos old entries,but enjoy going through them. They still have the smell. Glenn STS1/SS

  2. Sounds like some of some of the same random facts found in my old pocket brains.
    Food, Music, schedules, Movies, insults, and other seemingly random ideas that years later are either nostalgic or puzzling.

    Bits of Submarine heritage that open a window to the past.

  3. Yeah, if I take a deep enough breath I can almost smell the amine on my notepads.

    Well, I am definitely relieved to know that I am not the only one recording bits of history. I wonder why we don't hear or read more of these entries.