As long as I am writing about officers, I might as well tell you about an Indian Ocean cruise. My second tour on the USS Stein, we deployed to the Indian Ocean. It was an uneventful period of time in that normally troubled waters, and we were steaming around in the balmy weather on a Sunday morning. I was taking temperatures on the Pyro Boxes that were top side just after breakfast. Gunner's Mates always take magazine and pyro box temperatures at least once a day. This is to make sure the ammunition is being kept at a safe temperature, to check the house keeping of the magazines, to provide powder temperatures to the Fire Controlmen to enable them to compute initial velocity of the 5", or any other caliber gun with a fire control system, and in general, to give the Gunner's Mates something to do early in the morning. It is some what a tradition. in any case, I was on the 02 level, by the signal bridge when I saw Rear Admiral Miller. He was riding Stein since we had been configured for a DESRON Staff. I don't remember why a little Knox class frigate had an Admiral, but we did. In any case, he asked me< "What are these tubes for?" I was sure he knew, after all, he WAS an Admiral. But I explained to him they were the new MK 34 Rapid Blooming Off Board Chaff launchers that we had installed in our last availability. RBOC was relative new at this time and the system belonged to the Gunner's Mates then. It belongs to the EW's now, so it seldom works, just like CIWS belonging to the FC's. Weapons systems belong to Gunner's Mates if you want them to work. Oh well, enough editorializing. The Admiral's next question was, "Do they work?" I proudly stated, "Certainly, they work!" The Admiral then ordered, "Then, let's shoot them." I asked, "How many?" He replied, "All of them". So I quickly found the Captain who was sitting on the bridge and told him of the Admirals' edict. His reply was, "Shoot them". Since all 24 tubes were loaded with real "Chaff", I had the "Boatswain Mate of the watch pass on the 1MC, "Stand clear of the 02 level while firing RBOC." With that, I opened the launcher panels on the bridge and fired, one tube at a time, all 24 "Chaff" rounds. This made a tremendous cloud of aluminum foil in the sky above and behind the ship. Anyone tracking the ship on radar had one big surprise as this new "Target", bigger that an aircraft carrier, appeared, and then slowly disappeared. II then went back on the 02 level and asked the Admiral if there was anything else? He replied, No, that was nice" and went back to his stateroom.
Now if you shoot Chaff, you have to have permission, clearance, and a firing plan bigger than the one for the atomic attack on Nagasaki. But then, Rear Admiral Miller wanted it shot, and we did.