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Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 

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Torpedomen

By ET1 William Lord USN/USNR (ret)

Note: read at your own risk.  Not for those with a weak stomach.

Having joined the Navy in 1959 and being attached to shore duty on a Naval Auxiliary Air Station in San Diego, the Naval Station at Subic Bay in the Philippians and an aircraft carrier I had never had the opportunity to be around the sailors who wore the Navy rate of Torpedeoman.

This all changed after I affiliated with the Naval Reserve unit Subase Pear Harbor Det 716 in 1980.

Now let me explain that I had broken time between active duty and the Naval Reserves and was a 100% total civilian for seventeen years from 1963 to 1980. 

The reason for my adding this piece of information is so you are not picturing me in uniform with hash marks covering my entire left arm.

Now Subase was rich in Torpedeomen as this rat is one of the major rates in the submarine force.

I learned right away that the Torpedeomen had this thing going of trying to gross out their shipmates and were continually thinking of something new to gross out the crew.  It was almost if they had a competition amongst the rate to see who could get the most reaction from their shenanigans.

My introduction to this completion was in March of 1981.  We had just arrived at the Submarine Base at Pearl Harbor the evening before and with this time zone change most of the crew woke early. 

We went down to the piers as they had a gedunk area there.  While setting and setting and drinking coffee and chatting one of the Torpedeomen (name withheld) said “man, have I got a cold.  Wanna see?”  And with this he coughed up this yellow mess and held it out for all to look at.  After having show it to all those around him he put it back in his mouth and swallowed. 

 A few of us non-Torpedeoman got ill (myself included) but the other Torpedeomen in his support all complemented him for his efforts.

There was another time when a bunch of us were in the card room (there was always a room in the barracks that was designated as they card room) when one of the Torpedeomen had found a dead cockroach outside the room and put it on his tongue and entered the room for all to see. 

This one backfired though as another sailor came up behind him and put his hand over the Torpedeoman’s mouth so the cockroach was now in his mouth.  He started heaving and you could tell he was on the verge of throwing up.

Now this behavior was not limited to just the Torpedeomen as there was a Fire Control Technician who grossed others out by sucking dental floss into his nose until the end was actually sucked into his mouth.  Then he would reach in his mouth and find the end of the floss and proceed to floss his nose with it.

There are a few other instances that were just too graphic and distasteful to publish here.  I will leave the stories to your imagination.

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