When we pulled the ship into Hong Kong harbor, it was amazing. There were so many boats everywhere in the water. There were Big boats, little boats, and it looked like most all of the boats were being lived on, by local people. They all had numerous tires wrapped around their boats.
I would find out later that lots of these boats had long sticks on them. The local people on the boats, that would come over to our ship, and be below us, would use call girls in lahore these very long sticks, to reach up to our ship, and all the guys on board. They made it, so that you could attach money to the stick, and the people on the boats would send up there little trinkets of items for sale, like t-shirts, souvenirs, and items like that.
Our ship, the USS PROTEUS, had some of the local people, on the small boats below, paint our ship for us, as we were anchored out in the bay. For those many trips back and forth to shore, in Hong Kong, and the last rides, back to the ship at night, was some fun rides. A lot of guys would be so wasted, when they would return to the ship, and the boat ride, was sure to make a few of them toss their cookies, right in the boat.
The captain would have his own personal boat, called a captain’s gig, that was basically a small cabin cruiser, that was just for the captain, and was used for his personal boat, when he needed it.
We would bring a couple of motor whale boats, as they were called in the Navy, that could haul up to 50 guys at a time, into shore, and back out to the ship later in the evenings. They were basically our taxis, where ever we went if we did not have a dock or pier to tier up to, we had our own boats to take us into shore. We also carried several large passenger vans, that the cranes would pick up off the pier, and put them way up high, on a deck, where our vehicles would go with us also. These vans were used, when we were at various places, and came in pretty handy all the time.
Hong Kong is a very hustling and bustling town. When I first rode up threw the harbor, and past all the boats that were tied up, in one of the motor whale boats we were taking into shore, the bay was just packed chock full of boats everywhere, just like a traffic jam in the city.
The captain was cool, he was dressed up in a civilian suit, and he was also heading into town like the rest of us, to have a good time. He let as many people that could safely fit, ride in his captains gig boat, up to shore, and then he told his crew, to keep using the captains gig, to help get all the guys to shore, and back, faster. I rode one night back on the captains gig, and the guys aboard that boat, would not let anyone on, that had too much to drink, because they did not want anything to happen to the captains gig.
Before the ship pulls into any country, you usually get a brief, on what to expect, and do, and not to do, when you enter port for that country. There had been times before, for example, where our ship was on the way to Mombasa, Africa, and we all got malaria shots before hand, and was told no one could donate blood for 6 months. We never did make it to Africa, because we got new orders, to follow a Russian aircraft carrier for a long time. The lectures, were always down in the galley, where you eat all of your meals.
Some of the guys that have been there before, tell you kinda what to expect, and what to do, and not to do, so you can stay out of trouble. A medical person will usually tell you anything you might need to know about the woman in town, as most all the people, and it doesn’t matter if they are married or single, when you are out in town, in another country, most guys just go out to the bars, and you see them with other girls in town.
One of my first meetings with our new Lieutenant Commander repair officer, was out in town. I was in a bar with some of the guys, and there was this short black guy, dressed in civilian clothes, and I was wearing civilian clothes. Somehow, we ended up competing for the same girl in the bar, and I ended up being the one she ended up hanging out with for the rest of the evening, if you know what I mean. Sometimes a girl will not go with you, they don’t have to go with anyone they don’t want to go with. But most of the time, they like to get out of work.
I will just assume she did not like short guys, as he was shorter than your average guy, and I just figured he was some enlisted guy, from another ship or something, as he never said he was an officer. Some of the officers, will let you know right off the bat, that they are a commissioned officer, and if you hit one of them, you really get into serious trouble. They have that little Navy rule made up, because I’m sure, a lot of guys used to get the shit beat out of them, in the olden days. I never heard of anyone in the Navy, where I worked at anyway, ever attacking a commissioned officer.
Well, it turns out, that the little short black guy, that was in town earlier, and we both wanted the same girl, but I got her, was going to be our new Repair Officer on board the ship, and he was a Lieutenant Commander, that had just checked into the ship for duty. We had over 1,300 guys on that ship, and I usually have to deal in my line of work, on a daily basis, with the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer, and all the department heads, and even the division officers at times.
We see brass, numerous times every day. I was in the admin office, and this little short black officer came in, and it was the same guy from the bar in town. He looked at me, and I looked at him.
He had already been aboard for a few days, I just had never saw him before, and he was checking the repair department in box, where we keep all the papers for the department heads. They have to come up and check their boxes all the time, because we give them a lot of items that need to be signed, and the same for the CO’s and XO’s mail boxes. The Commanding Officer does not sign anything, unless it comes threw our office first, and it is typed up the military format style for the Navy.
The LCDR, just pretended that we had never met, and he asked me some admin questions about the ship, and the subject never came up, and he was not hard to deal with at all. Even thou we are enlisted, we work for the officers, we take care of their paperwork, from the admiral down to an ensign. The personnel men take care of all the enlisted’s paper works, and yeoman’s take care of all the officers paperwork.
We always keep all the officers service records in our office. I went, and looked threw the LCDR’s service record, and sure enough, he was married. So I guess he had more to lose, than I did. He could of gave me a really hard time, just because he was an officer, and he got burned out in town, by me, over a girl. There are so many ways to make things that are important, disappear from a service record, or something can be added, or just torn out, and it’s a lot of work, for an officer to replace it.
Most officers don’t even bother to look that great threw their service records. Our job, was pretty much the same as Radar O’reily, from the hit TV show, M.A.S.H., with Alan Alda. Radar ran the camp. He knew more about what was going on, than most all the officers there, that was pretty much what a yeoman did, but we were never as nerdy, as they make Radar out to be.
We have to type up all the evaluations, called, fitness reports on all the officers, and keep track of paychecks, leave papers, rental cars, transportation orders, and other paperwork. In other works, if a department head, or division officer, is an asshole. They will find it hard to get some things they need to help run their department the best they can, and they will always get things last from us, or not at all.
Some of the girls, that I worked with, could be really mean, to some of the pilot lady officers. We did not have that many female Navy pilots, but we did have a hand full, and some of them we cute, for pilots. Some of the girls I worked with, were jealous, and did what they could do, to make it hard for them to attend school, and not even know it was coming from an enlisted female yeoman, who just wanted them to leave our squadron, back then.
Our department, always works for the CO and XO. When the captain needs his fitness report done, he usually had his remarks already typed up, by me, and then I would take it over to the admirals office, and leave it for him to see, and make any changes, if he wanted to. The admiral usually will only make a few minor changes, just so it looks like he did something.
I’ve had to type up a few bad fitness reports before. On one of them, the captain just totally tore apart a flight surgeon’s fitness report. He hated the fact, that the guy never wanted to help the guys in the squadron out. He only wanted to apply for every single free school he could get his hands on, he would always request to attend a 2 day, 3 day, 5 day schools and trips, and never actually seemed to stay around, to perform his job.
The doctor wanted to be a brain surgeon, and not many of the enlisted guys, liked him at all, as our squadron flight surgeon, and he was just arrogant, thinking he was doctor, and we were all below him.
I had to go to him one time, when I had my toe nail, come completely off, and then my toe, split, and cut in the middle, and it needed to be stitched up, all from accidentally, hitting it right on the sharp corner section, of a dresser, in the middle of the night. The doctor did not have any bedside manners at all, he was rude to me, and treating me like I was an idiot, stubbing my toe, in the middle of the night. I had the best time, when I typed up his fitness report. It was one of the worst ones, I had ever gotten to type up.
Another bad fitness report, that I had to type up, on a new LCDR, that had just come to our squadron, was the combat information officer. The captain of the ship, did not like this new officer very well. The captain wrote a terrible fitness report on this man, and the man seemed like a nice man to me. The captain indicated that he was bad at everything he performed. The guy did not have a chance. He was relieved of his duties, and sent off the ship, and we received another new officer in his place, not long afterwords.
Later, when I was reading some of the message traffic I was in charge of, I saw a report from the psychiatrist, that said the officer that was relieved of his duty, felt paranoid, and always felt the commanding officer was out to get him, and it just made him so nervous, he could not perform his job. That guy was right. Our second commanding officer, while I was on the ship, had these eyes, that would just stare at you, if he was mad. He would not talk, he would just glare.
I saw him do that a lot of time when he was on the bridge. If a junior officer did something, or asked the wrong questions, or did not know an answer to a question he had just asked, he would just glare at you, and most people would just stand there at attention somewhat.
Even when typing up division officers fitness reports, that the department heads are submitting, to the XO and CO for review, ask a lot of questions, before they send them up the chain of command. The division officer will ask, what do I think of this guy, or that guy, to make sure they are close in their rating of the person they are evaluating. I could of told them, “that guys a jerk”, or, “his workers hate him, why would you give him high marks?” but I never had to say anything bad about anyone enlisted.
As the motor whale boat got close to the pier, and we tied the boat up, and everyone got off, the piers were packed full of nice expensive looking boats, and private yachts. Hong Kong was beautiful, it was so lit up nicely, and it looked like it was carved right into the side of a mountain. It was very busy, lots of people everywhere.
We learned from the ship, that Hong Kong was an excellent place, to get custom tailored clothes made, cheaply, and with good quality. Me and some of the guys, went into several shops, until we decided to sit at this one we liked. They brought us all beers, and passed around magazines with pictures of clothes in it, to see if we saw anything, we wanted them to make for us.
I decided to have a nice dark red leather jacket made for me. The man ended up doing an excellent job, and it was one of the nice things I still have from the Navy. He measured me, and took all the measurements, and then the very next day, the jacket was tailor made already. When I put it on, it fit just like a glove. It was perfect, and a great price too.
Must all the guys on the ship, wanted to go to the bar section of Hong Kong, which was in a place called Kawloon, and you had to take a big water taxi to get there. There were hundreds of people on the water taxi, and it was a nice way to view Hong Kong, again, since it is right over the water, and the water seems to be a lot of the attraction in Hong Kong. We went into several bars, when we got to the other side. I liked the way a lot of the bars were set up over there.
If you go in one bar, it might consist of 10 small booths, where maybe 12 people can sit around a booth, and there will be a woman inside, clothed, or naked, but usually with a small, sexy act going on, while she is still your bartender, she entertains you as well. She might be naked, and have a boa constrictor snake wrapped around her, while she is serving you your drink. And then you can move over 10 feet to the next booth, and it might be 2 lesbians in the booth, and they are constantly fondling each other while they are working. Most all the girls work for tips, and the places are busy with Chinese customers.
They are some of the funnest bars, because you really get to see a lot of bar scenes, in each bar. The shopping in Hong Kong is terrific also, there are vendors all over the sidewalks, selling cheap electronics, for pennies on the dollar, for what you would pay in the United States. I bought a couple of dozen watches right off the street vendor, for less than a dollar a piece. I sent them back to the United States to sell.
On one of the days there, in port in Hong Kong, it was going around on the ship, that this was the place to buy real china, like plates, dinner ware, and stuff like that. So a bunch of us, headed into town, and found an old warehouse, where they sold china by the boxes. We all bought boxes of china dinnerware, and brought them back to the ship.
I was 19 years old, I lived on a ship, and I was buying a 48 piece china set. I ended up sending that box, to my sister, back in the United States. Maybe 10 years later, I got it back from her, still in the original box, and to this day, we still have some of those plates, and now I’m glad I bought them, but most 19 year old’s would not buy china today, unless they go to China.
Vince Stead has 13 books up for sale so far, and one called “Navy Fun”. He was in the navy for 8 years as a Yeoman, and he visited 16 countries, and went around the world in 1986. He was on a destroyer, a submarine tender, a short stint on an aircraft carrier, and 4 years shore duty at a VAW squadron.