Wednesday, November 26, 2014


CARIBBEAN SEA (Oct. 31, 2010) Dutch Ambassador to Suriname Aart Jacobi walks through the passageways of the
medical department aboard the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) during a tour of the ship.
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathen E. Davis
So on Monday night I went to bed at a reasonable hour. I had not eaten anything different or out of the ordinary and was tired enough to go to sleep within a reasonable amount of time after my head hit the pillow. Not immediately mind you, for there is a ten to fifteen minute period of bonding with the cats which started shortly after The Missus Herself began her latest sojourn to the sunny state of California.

As the cats would spend the entire day on their own while I was at work with no one to keep them company, they started to get a bit clingy after Mama had been gone a couple of days.

So they got into the habit of sleeping with me. After the obligatory ten to fifteen minute purr-fest and "we're happy to see you" period, I was allowed to actually close my eyes and go to sleep.

For Anya, this was no problem. She would curl up and go right to sleep. Sasha however, is a different proposition altogether. She will let me think it's okay to go to sleep.

Then she will poke me with her paw as if to say, "I'm still here you know." Believe me, Sasha, I know you're there. After a couple of paw pokes and the occasional head butt, I am allowed to actually go to sleep. It's a process.

Is he talking trash about me? Again?

Last night was no different. Once I was asleep though, things got strange, very strange.

I dream a lot and frequently (but not always) remember what I dream about. Some nights I dream in color, some nights it's black and white. My dreams are always pretty vivid. Pretty detailed. Sometimes disturbingly so. (The weirdest dreams I ever had was when I quit smoking. The drug I used to do so, Chantix, is known to have that side effect. At first it was frightening. Then I started looking forward to those dreams. Bizarre they were but entertaining in an odd way.)

So last night I dreamed that I flew down to Norfolk and embarked upon a U.S. Navy warship. I remember that white-speckled blue tile of the opening photo in the dream, the coolness of the air conditioning (which was actually working, which isn't always the case) and the smell of light machine oil. (Which I always associate with a warship.)

Now I couldn't tell you what type of ship it was. There were areas which looked like the destroyers I've been on, areas which reminded me of the two carriers I've been to sea on and some of the areas were reminiscent of a battleship. Oddly enough nothing reminded me of being onboard a submarine.*

I do remember distinctly that my attire varied throughout the dream. In one sequence I was wearing my Air Force BDUs** (avec les galons de sergent-maître), in another I was wearing U.S. Navy coveralls and in one (very bizarre sequence) I was completely outfitted in MOPP gear.

MOPP (Mission Oriented Protective Posture) Gear

The other thing that struck me is that Chesapeake Bay was filled with hazards to navigation. Giant protruding rocks, granite outcrops just below the surface and numerous ship wrecks. There was even a cruise ship on her beam ends near the Hampton Roads Bridge. I was on the port side bridge wing watching that pass by. Even within the dream I thought the captain had far too much way on. What with all the wrecks and rocks you know. But what do I know? I was in the Air Force.

In one portion of the dream I was belaboring a group of chiefs for having a crappy Chiefs' Mess. (This was in the portion of the ship that was big and roomy like a battleship.) The so-called "Chiefs' Mess" was two card tables crammed against a bulkhead on the side of a wide passageway that had a crudely worded sign reading "Cheefs Mess." I kid you not. (The card tables did have a couple of cigar-filled ash trays and numerous coffee cups. So that part seemed accurate.)

It was after I belabored the chiefs that some random lady LT (JG)*** jumped out of her stateroom and started yelling at me for being out of uniform. When I pointed out that technically I was a civilian contractor and shouldn't be in uniform at all, she really lost it. Frothing at the mouth and throwing things at me. Yeah, she was pissed. (Not sure where that came from, perhaps the result of a visit to SKK's blog?)

In the dream, while I was being yelled at, is when I noted that I was wearing Air Force BDUs, with MSgt stripes. Magically I was then transported to the helicopter hangar and was wearing Navy coveralls again.

Maybe it was watching Captain Phillips over the weekend.

Who knows.

Dreams are strange sometimes.

The next picture was included for one reason: knee knockers. One week on The Nuke's first ship cured me of ever wanting to see those again. (Mercifully, there were none in the dream.)


ET3 Jason Blank works on a knee knocker on the 02 level of the USS WASP (LHD 1)
U.S. Navy Photo by PHC (SW/NAC) Spike Call

While I didn't get the chance to go to sea on McFAUL I spent most of one week "visiting" the ship while she was in Newport back in the fall of '05. Visiting with 60 of my closest friends. Never actually ran aground on a knee knocker, but my knees were not happy with hopping over those things all week long. A fellow gets to a certain age, he's not as spry as he used to be. (And that was nine years ago, when I was younger and quite a bit lighter on my feet.)

One really odd thing about this dream, I never got lost.

Of course, all I had to do was think "port side bridge wing" and voilà, there I was. (No, that's not the start of a war story.) In real life I get lost very easily when onboard a warship. Though I can read one of these (see below), I still have some difficulty figuring out where I am. Dreams are easier.

A Bullseye, let's you know where you are.
(If you're really lost, ask someone in E Division.)

One last note, not dream related, I'm off to DC for the Thanksgiving Holiday so posting may be sporadic.

Happy Thanksgiving to my co-authors, Tuna and Juvat, and to all our readers out there in the blogoverse. Here's hoping you have the chance to spend time with friends and family. Eat some good food and maybe watch some football (if such be your preference).


* The warships I've been on are, in no particular order: German corvette HIDDENSEE, USN destroyers USS JOSEPH P KENNEDY, USS OSCAR AUSTIN, USS McFAUL, USS BRISCOE, USS NITZE, USN aircraft carriers USS DWIGHT D EISENHOWER, USS RONALD REAGAN, USN battleships USS ALABAMA, USS MASSACHUSETTS, USN submarines USS DRUM, USS LIONFISH, and USS NAUTILUS. Some modern, some old and some foreign. I actually got to spend a day at sea on both carriers. Good times. Ask ORPO.

** BDU = Battle Dress Uniform think woodland pattern camouflage, a very '90s uniform. Ivan coming through the Fulda Gap and all that. Very apocalyptic.

*** LT (JG) Lieutenant (Junior Grade), O-2, one silver bar. Equivalent to a First Lieutenant in the other services. But not a Navy First Lieutenant, which is a completely different thing. The latter is a job, not a rank.


  1. I think it was the pepperoni pizza you had for dinner. Quite the talent you got there Sarge, to be able to turn a dream into a highly entertaining story. Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels.

    1. Thanks Juvat. You and Tuna have set the bar pretty high for story-telling. I needed to step up my game.

      My best to you and yours on this holiday! (I'm in the DC area now, at The Nuke's place. The weather is bad but the company is excellent!)

  2. I forget my dreams about ten seconds after I wake. Have a fine Thanksgiving Sarge, and it is sunny today in California!

    1. Most people do as I understand it.

      My wife told me they had rain in California (San Joaquin Valley) when she was out there. She came back Thursday. It's been raining here since she came back. I think she brought it back with her!

      May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving c w!

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Chris. Safe travels!

    1. Thanks Buck, hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving as well.

  4. Likewise for you and yours, OAFS!

    1. Stay warm up there Dust. You folks may get a bit of the white stuff! (It's been sporadic here in Alexandria.)

  5. Wow! The obvious question is whether tryptophan affects your dreams and if so, whether you'll write about 'em.

    Have the best of Thanksgivings Sarge, all the best to you and your family.

    1. If it does (and I remember the dream) I will no doubt regale you with it here. Provided it's of any interest.

      My best to you and yours!

  6. That passageway on the Iwo Jima looks much too big to be real.
    I never encountered any that were more than about a third of that width.

    Sebastian will occasionally sleep with one of us, but doesn't make a habit of it.
    OTOH, he does need access so he can wake one of us up when he has to visit the sandbox.

    I wouldn't be at all surprised if the rain there originally made landfall here.
    We're due for more on Friday.

    Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone!

    1. I've seen p-ways on a carrier that wide. They are rather large ships. An amphib isn't that much smaller and is a lot bigger than a can. But you spent your time on cans so I'd be surprised if you saw anything half that size!

      Best to you and yours.


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