I know I have written at length about the issues of the day, so I would like to write about how things were when I joined the Navy. My first ship was the USS Mullinnix (DD 944). She was a Forrest Sherman class Destroyer with three, 5"/54 Mk 42 gun mounts, one 3"/50 twin mount, two Mk 11 Hedge Hog projectors, two MK 32 torpedo tubes, and 450 romping, stomping, fleet sailors proficient at drinking copious amounts of alcohol!
When I first got aboard in 1969, we still worked on Saturday! That's right, we worked a half day on Saturday and that amounted to cleaning the ship, washing down all topside spaces, and polishing anything that could or would shine!! Sometimes, we would have a personnel inspection after the "Field Day". One Saturday, the First Class Gunner's Mate in charge of Mount 51, where I worked, was no where for us junior personnel to see. When it came time for our personnel inspection in "Tropical White Long" uniform, GMG1 Harold "Suitcase" Simpson was standing tall in ranks, looking sharp. Well, at least his uniform was looking sharp! He looked a little peeked! The Captain began his inspection of our Division after the Division Officer, LTJG Breeden had presented us. The inspecting party proceeded through the ranks with the Captain in the lead, followed by the Yeoman writing down the discrepancies, the Executive Officer, the Weapons Officer, and LTJG Breeden. The Captain got to GMG1 Simpson and inspected his uniform and haircut without comment. He moved on and the Executive Officer was next to look over GMG1 Simpson, then came the Weapons Officer, and our Division Officer, LTJG Breeden. Just as LTJG Breden moved past GMG1 Simpson, he passed out, AT attention! He fell forward and laid there on the forecastle deck, at attention! The Captain looked back for a second and then proceeded to inspect the rest of the Division. At the completion of the inspection, he commented to LTJG Breeden about how well we had done in the inspection and then he departed returning the Division Officer's salute. All the time with "Suitcase: laying at attention on the deck!
It seemed that the Chief and Division Officer knew GMG1 Simpson had gone on Liberty the night before and had maybe one too many beers! After the inspection the other First Class, there wed five of them, got "Suitcase" up and carried him off to the compartment where he got cleaned up and went on Liberty again!! We were a hardy breed back then! Hardy or pickled, I'm not real sure. But GMG1 Harold "Suitcase Simpson later was advanced to Chief Gunner's Mate soon after that little event. Like I told you in previous posts, "Suitcase" was a exceptional Petty Officer and Gunner's Mate! He was one of my first mentors and I respect him to this day.
However, to this day, I have NEVER seen anyone pass out at attention again!