Ask A Sailor Anything!

Pescado_Verde

In the spirit of the "Interview" forum/threads, this is my AMA about being a sailor in the US Navy and also in the merchant marines. Go ahead, ask this sailor anything - you know you want to!
We've got a couple more folks here who I know either are or were Navy so they're free to join in on answering any questions.

Bring 'er up to ramming speed and fire away!
 

max h

This could be fun since I spent most of my time around Airdales, Divers, and Marines. I guess we will have to keep it family friendly. I'll get it started for you. Pescado_Verde what was your rate?
 

Platylover

Hmm... ok ok, let’s see here.
1. Are you allowed to keep fish on bored
2. Do you ever fish from the boats
3. In your spare time, are you ever like, “you know what, let’s have a dance party!”
4. Is there a library on board
5. Are there any animals on board
6. Do you use fishlore on board

May be odd questions, but I’m genuinely interested in the answers. I figure most these are no’s, but why not ask right?
 

midna

were you ever on any submarines or aircraft carriers? where were you stationed and where did you train? my dad retired from the navy a few years ago, he retired as a captain. he was mostly in the reserves but was on active duty in iraq for a year and on an aircraft carrier right after 9/11.

also, best thing about the navy exchange.
 

max h

midnaand Platylover I'll let Pescado_Verde answer first then give you a little from my time in.
 

Platylover

Thanks max, I also forgot to say in my original post, thank you for your services. You all are so important to the safety of the country and I just really want to say thank you for being willing to protect it.
 

Pescado_Verde

Hmm... ok ok, let’s see here.
1. Are you allowed to keep fish on bored
2. Do you ever fish from the boats
3. In your spare time, are you ever like, “you know what, let’s have a dance party!”
4. Is there a library on board
5. Are there any animals on board
6. Do you use fishlore on board

May be odd questions, but I’m genuinely interested in the answers. I figure most these are no’s, but why not ask right?
My time in service was from '80-'84 and a few years as a merchant mariner after that - just wanted to get that out of the way so my answers will be based on my experience in that time frame.
1. No fish
2. Did a lot of fishing while working offshore on supply boats in the Gulf of Mexico. We'd tie off to a rig and once the crane operators were done or whatever we'd drop a hand line down. Nothing like pulling 300' of line up by hand only to find nothing.
3. No dance parties but a LOT of shenanigans. Google "shellback initiation" for starters
4. Most ships do have a library
5. No animals allowed. Doesn't mean some weren't smuggled aboard, just not allowed. I saw a few birds kept and one guy bought a spider monkey in Brazil.
6. There was no internet.
 

max h

I was going to say for the non-Navy individuals the Rate or Rating is what the persons basic job was in the Navy, for example I was a Hospital Corpsmen by Rating.
 

Pescado_Verde

were you ever on any submarines or aircraft carriers? where were you stationed and where did you train? my dad retired from the navy a few years ago, he retired as a captain. he was mostly in the reserves but was on active duty in iraq for a year and on an aircraft carrier right after 9/11.

also, best thing about the navy exchange.
No submarine, that's for the crazies, NavyChief20 can respond to that, lol. My second ship was a helicopter carrier, LPH-10, the USS Tripoli, homeported out of San Diego. I went to bootcamp in San Diego and Navy "A" school in Orlando, Florida. First duty station was the USNS Sirius, T-AFS 8 homeported in Norfaolk, VA.
The Navy Exchange is a misnomer, there are no exchanges, only purchases. But seriously, the best thing was the prices of stereo gear.
 

Pescado_Verde

This could be fun since I spent most of my time around Airdales, Divers, and Marines. I guess we will have to keep it family friendly. I'll get it started for you. Pescado_Verde what was your rate?
Almost skipped the question part of your post, I was a skivvy waver, SM3 Verde at one point and kinda tested for SM2 but got yanked out of the room during the test by a cranky SMC. Got out as an SMSN, lol. They didn't care for my attitude, unfortunately.
 

Platylover

My time in service was from '80-'84 and a few years as a merchant mariner after that - just wanted to get that out of the way so my answers will be based on my experience in that time frame.
1. No fish
2. Did a lot of fishing while working offshore on supply boats in the Gulf of Mexico. We'd tie off to a rig and once the crane operators were done or whatever we'd drop a hand line down. Nothing like pulling 300' of line up by hand only to find nothing.
3. No dance parties but a LOT of shenanigans. Google "shellback initiation" for starters
4. Most ships do have a library
5. No animals allowed. Doesn't mean some weren't smuggled aboard, just not allowed. I saw a few birds kept and one guy bought a spider monkey in Brazil.
6. There was no internet.

Oh wow, the shellback initiation sounds crazy! Definitely more intense than a dance party! What shellback were you?
A bird or a spider monkey seems like they’d be difficult to keep without anyone knowing. Since most birds make a lot of noise and a monkey is, well a monkey. Lol
 

Pescado_Verde

Thanks max, I also forgot to say in my original post, thank you for your services. You all are so important to the safety of the country and I just really want to say thank you for being willing to protect it.
Thank you but I'd be lying if I said I had any altruistic or patriotic motives when I joined. I was out of high school and not ready for college. Joined with a friend more out of boredom and a desire for some adventure. He was lost at sea, blown off the flightdeck of the USS Midway in the South China Sea in November of '83. I didn't find out until a month or so later when I got a letter from home and the newspaper clipping from the hometown rag was in there with a letter from another friend.
 

max h

Hmm... ok ok, let’s see here.
1. Are you allowed to keep fish on bored
2. Do you ever fish from the boats
3. In your spare time, are you ever like, “you know what, let’s have a dance party!”
4. Is there a library on board
5. Are there any animals on board
6. Do you use fishlore on board

May be odd questions, but I’m genuinely interested in the answers. I figure most these are no’s, but why not ask right?

I did 20 years from Oct 1985-Sep 2005.

1. The only fish onboard where in the freezer waiting to be cooked.
2. When I was on the U.S.S. Enterprise we did troll down Puget Sound in 1988 returning from cruise, also out in the middle of the Indian Ocean during certain reactor drills.
3. Mainly Shenanigans, but we had weight rooms, there's always a card game going on, and also the scheming of the next practical joke to play on someone.
4. Every port visit unless you where assigned to duty or got into trouble.
5. No four legged ones, but we did call the guys in Deck Division Deck Apes, sorry all you BM's.
6. We where lucky to have a government provided computer when I was out to sea the first time.
 

Platylover

Thank you but I'd be lying if I said I had any altruistic or patriotic motives when I joined. I was out of high school and not ready for college. Joined with a friend more out of boredom and a desire for some adventure. He was lost at sea, blown off the flightdeck of the USS Midway in the South China Sea in November of '83. I didn't find out until a month or so later when I got a letter from home and the newspaper clipping from the hometown rag was in there with a letter from another friend.

Still, you helped protect no matter your motives. It’s something worthy of thanks.

I’m sorry about your friend, that’d be awful. Especially if you just suddenly found about it and it’s been a little bit.
 

max h

were you ever on any submarines or aircraft carriers? where were you stationed and where did you train? my dad retired from the navy a few years ago, he retired as a captain. he was mostly in the reserves but was on active duty in iraq for a year and on an aircraft carrier right after 9/11.

also, best thing about the navy exchange.

@minda I was embarked on the U.S.S. Enterprise with my squadron Air Antisubmarine Squadron 21, also embarked on the U.S.S Tarawa with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463. Other then Great lakes for boot camp and Hospital Corps school, most of my schools where down here in Pensacola related to aviation medicine subjects.
 

Pescado_Verde

Oh wow, the shellback initiation sounds crazy! Definitely more intense than a dance party! What shellback were you?
A bird or a spider monkey seems like they’d be difficult to keep without anyone knowing. Since most birds make a lot of noise and a monkey is, well a monkey. Lol
As far as I know there's only one "kind" of Shellback - you either are one or you're a Wog.
 

max h

Oh wow, the shellback initiation sounds crazy! Definitely more intense than a dance party! What shellback were you?
A bird or a spider monkey seems like they’d be difficult to keep without anyone knowing. Since most birds make a lot of noise and a monkey is, well a monkey. Lol

Most of us are just regular Shellbacks crossing the equator, There are Golden Shellbacks who cross the equator at the dateline. It's more like a Mosch Pit then a dance party, without giving details.
 

Pescado_Verde

Still, you helped protect no matter your motives. It’s something worthy of thanks.

I’m sorry about your friend, that’d be awful. Especially if you just suddenly found about it and it’s been a little bit.
I'd be lying if I said it didn't affect me. I had talked him into joining with me and so I felt some responsibility for what happened. He was his mom and dads only son, he had 4 sisters. As the only son he would not have even been drafted in time of war yet he signed up. He was the apple of his dads eye. Darn shame him dying like that. They never did recover his body, he's spending eternity with the fishes.
 

max h

midnaI forgot the best thing about the exchange, no sales tax. Plus they do have special sales where items are already on sale and you have the chance to get up to another 25% off.
 

Pescado_Verde

Most of us are just regular Shellbacks crossing the equator, There are Golden Shellbacks who cross the equator at the dateline. It's more like a Mosch Pit then a dance party, without giving details.
Funny coincidence, the guy I mentioned that I joined with, he and I crossed the Equator on the same date, October 31st, 1982 - on opposite sides of the planet. I was in the Atlantic and he was in the Pacific.
 

max h

I'd be lying if I said it didn't affect me. I had talked him into joining with me and so I felt some responsibility for what happened. He was his mom and dads only son, he had 4 sisters. As the only son he would not have even been drafted in time of war yet he signed up. He was the apple of his dads eye. Darn shame him dying like that. They never did recover his body, he's spending eternity with the fishes.

Brother I think anyone that has served some time has lost a friend or someone they knew. It always has an effect on us.
 

Platylover

I did 20 years from Oct 1985-Sep 2005.

1. The only fish onboard where in the freezer waiting to be cooked.
2. When I was on the U.S.S. Enterprise we did troll down Puget Sound in 1988 returning from cruise, also out in the middle of the Indian Ocean during certain reactor drills.
3. Mainly Shenanigans, but we had weight rooms, there's always a card game going on, and also the scheming of the next practical joke to play on someone.
4. Every port visit unless you where assigned to duty or got into trouble.
5. No four legged ones, but we did call the guys in Deck Division Deck Apes, sorry all you BM's.
6. We where lucky to have a government provided computer when I was out to sea the first time.

Thank you for the answers max! Poor BM’s lol

As far as I know there's only one "kind" of Shellback - you either are one or you're a Wog.

Most of us are just regular Shellbacks crossing the equator, There are Golden Shellbacks who cross the equator at the dateline. It's more like a Mosch Pit then a dance party, without giving details.

Thanks for all this information, it’s extremely interesting. I’ve never even heard about shellbacks prior to this! If I think of anything else I’ll have to ask here.

I'd be lying if I said it didn't affect me. I had talked him into joining with me and so I felt some responsibility for what happened. He was his mom and dads only son, he had 4 sisters. As the only son he would not have even been drafted in time of war yet he signed up. He was the apple of his dads eye. Darn shame him dying like that. They never did recover his body, he's spending eternity with the fishes.

That really is such a shame. It must’ve been so hard on everyone involved. Hopefully he is in a much better place, a place where they don’t even need a navy because there is so war or pain there.
 

Pescado_Verde

Brother I think anyone that has served some time has lost a friend or someone they knew. It always has an effect on us.
Agreed. I'm pretty sure that every ship I was ever on lost at least one person during my time due to accident, suicide or murder. Some of them I knew well, others just in passing. All were shipmates though and even the ones I barely knew, it affects a crew when you lose someone.
 

max h

Thank you for the answers max! Poor BM’s lol

That really is such a shame. It must’ve been so hard on everyone involved. Hopefully he is in a much better place, a place where they don’t even need a navy because there is so war or pain there.

We all have nicknames for the people doing different jobs onboard, that's all in good fun.

As long as there are bad people leading countries we will always have Armed Forces. We actually do more Humanitarian work then combat related work. On Aircraft Carrier can supply power and water to places where natural disasters have taken place. Plus with the right ships we can supply a lot of medical capabilities.
 

max h

Agreed. I'm pretty sure that every ship I was ever on lost at least one person during my time due to accident, suicide or murder. Some of them I knew well, others just in passing. All were shipmates though and even the ones I barely knew, it affects a crew when you lose someone.

I lost my squadron CO, a pilot, and an enlisted sensor operator in one day. I'll leave it at that.
 

Mary765

This should be interesting! I'll be back when I have some good questions!
 

Pescado_Verde

Can't have this AMA without some pics, right? Here's my little ship alongside a carrier during an unrep.


108ikvo.jpg
 

Pescado_Verde

Hey, max , you recognize that carrier?
 

max h

Hey, max , you recognize that carrier?

I sure do the most famous carrier in the fleet. Both as CV-6 "The Grey Ghost" and CVN-65 'The Big E".
 

Platylover

We all have nicknames for the people doing different jobs onboard, that's all in good fun.

As long as there are bad people leading countries we will always have Armed Forces. We actually do more Humanitarian work then combat related work. On Aircraft Carrier can supply power and water to places where natural disasters have taken place. Plus with the right ships we can supply a lot of medical capabilities.

Yes, it’s unfortunate and awful really. It’d be nice if everything could just be peaceful, wouldn’t it? It truly is great the amount of help your able to offer others. That is very much needed in our world.
 

max h

Yes, it’s unfortunate and awful really. It’d be nice if everything could just be peaceful, wouldn’t it? It truly is great the amount of help your able to offer others. That is very much needed in our world.

Yes it is unfortunate, we are out there doing our job just like anyone else does. We just get a bunch of cool toys to play with along the way.
 

NavyChief20

Hmm... ok ok, let’s see here.
1. Are you allowed to keep fish on bored
2. Do you ever fish from the boats
3. In your spare time, are you ever like, “you know what, let’s have a dance party!”
4. Is there a library on board
5. Are there any animals on board
6. Do you use fishlore on board

May be odd questions, but I’m genuinely interested in the answers. I figure most these are no’s, but why not ask right?
1. No lol
2. Yes I have off a fast attack and trident
3. I wanna say yes but no
4. Yep every boat
5. Yes they are called Nav ETs, filthy creatures
6. Cant due to bandwidth

Almost 20 years USN submariner.
 

NavyChief20

were you ever on any submarines or aircraft carriers? where were you stationed and where did you train? my dad retired from the navy a few years ago, he retired as a captain. he was mostly in the reserves but was on active duty in iraq for a year and on an aircraft carrier right after 9/11.

also, best thing about the navy exchange.
Submarines my whole career. Stationed in Kings Bay Georgia, south Carolina, Portsmouth NH, Groton CT. Plus a lot of overseas time. I don't go to the NEX unless my girlfriend wants to get something.
 

NavyChief20

I was going to say for the non-Navy individuals the Rate or Rating is what the persons basic job was in the Navy, for example I was a Hospital Corpsmen by Rating.
Wow! I didn't know you were a "PChecker" ! MMNC (SS) here. You FMF?
 

max h

Submarines my whole career. Stationed in Kings Bay Georgia, south Carolina, Portsmouth NH, Groton CT. Plus a lot of overseas time. I don't go to the NEX unless my girlfriend wants to get something.

Welcome aboard Chief, nice to see a Bubble Head in the discussion. I knew you would join in sooner or latter.
 

NavyChief20

Welcome aboard Chief, nice to see a Bubble Head in the discussion. I knew you would join in sooner or latter.
Yeah been supervising field day at mI casa.
 

Pescado_Verde

I sure do the most famous carrier in the fleet. Both as CV-6 "The Grey Ghost" and CVN-65 'The Big E".
That picture had to have been taken after I got off the Sirius because the hangar on the backend of the ship was added while it was in the yards after I left. She was bought from the British in 1980, I was a plank owner on her. The Brits were still on board when I arrived and they remained for the better part of the first year doing a turnover, teaching us Yanks the ins and outs of the ship. Unlike US ships it was a diesel powered vessel. It had an 8 cylinder inline Wallsend-Sulzer engine. It vibrated something awful at times, lol.
 

Platylover

1. No lol
2. Yes I have off a fast attack and trident
3. I wanna say yes but no
4. Yep every boat
5. Yes they are called Nav ETs, filthy creatures
6. Cant due to bandwidth

Almost 20 years USN submariner.
Hey, if your still serving you could still make a dance party happen.
 

max h

Wow! I didn't know you were a "PChecker" ! MMNC (SS) here. You FMF?

FMF/NAC type. I spent most of my career training pilots and aircrew and not doing sickcall. I was good at sickcall when I did it, still am. My Marines get a hold of me when they have something wrong to this day.
 

max h

Hey, if your still serving you could still make a dance party happen.

There's no room on the sub, but those guys eat great. So do the guys that work offshore on the oil platforms. I did some training for Shell Oil for a few years.
 

NavyChief20

FMF/NAC type. I spent most of my career training pilots and aircrew and not doing sickcall. I was good at sickcall when I did it, still am. My Marines get a hold of me when they have something wrong to this day.
Lol hey Doc I need you to look at something. I have a bunch of buddies that are Docs most FMF. Diffrent breed.
 

Pescado_Verde

Chief will tell you that there are two types of ships, submarines...and targets.
 

max h

Lol hey Doc I need you to look at something. I have a bunch of buddies that are Docs most FMF. Diffrent breed.

We are definitely a different breed, I did both the Blue and Green side. We can be your best friend or worst enemy. I loved it because I got to go to the range more then the Marines did. They always need one of us there.
 

Platylover

There's no room on the sub, but those guys eat great. So do the guys that work offshore on the oil platforms. I did some training for Shell Oil for a few years.
Maybe it’s befause they have a subway on board. Ok, bad pun, I’ll leave.
 

NavyChief20

Some pics. The battle flag is feom the USS San Juan. Yeah its the Jolly Panther. I made that 4 years ago and they still sail under the black.
20170923_202743.jpg
WP_20160111_17_23_33_Pro.jpg
FB_IMG_1502932934181.jpg
 

NavyChief20

Chief will tell you that there are two types of ships, submarines...and targets.
Fact
 

max h

Maybe it’s befause they have a subway on board. Ok, bad pun, I’ll leave.

No worries, we give each other a hard time within the Navy, and within the Armed Forces. But I can tell you if we ever meet somewhere, you would probably think we had know each other for a long time. The military is a brotherhood, that does include the women that have served too.
 

NavyChief20

Lisbon and Bahrain
WP_20131028_002.jpg
WP_20131028_001.jpg
WP_20131205_002.jpg
 

max h


It use to be different when we had the S-3 Viking in the fleet, the subs only got thru on no fly days.
 

NavyChief20

No worries, we give each other a hard time within the Navy, and within the Armed Forces. But I can tell you if we ever meet somewhere, you would probably think we had know each other for a long time. The military is a brotherhood, that does include the women that have served too.
max h is right. I actually had to edit my nickname for his rate cause its not really family friendly. It still amazes my mermaid when I can point out military in civilian clothes. "How do you always know?" Its the way we walk and look at things and how we talk, what we wear.
 

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