The Midnight Surfer and Subic Bay

When we were at Fort Irwin, I found out that I had been appointed the Special Weapons Officer and I had a week to get a team ready for the evaluation.  I went to the First Sergeant and asked to see the files of the battery.  I picked the five or six smartest guys in the unit for my team.  One guy, "Stubbs" stood out above the others with an IQ so high, I had never seen one that high.  He was a pretty nice guy and Fit in with the other guys so we started training the next day.   About the time my roster went to Battalion, I got a call telling me to remove Stubbs from the training and bring  him over to Battalion Headquarters.  There in the S-2 or Intelligence Officers office he was told to forget that he ever was told one classified piece of Information under threat of going to Leavenworth as Permanent party.  I was told that the National Agency Check results showed Stubbs to be very unstable and they could not give him a Favorable rating so he was out of the Special Weapons program. 

On the way back to the battery, I asked Stubbs what the hell was that all about.  He said it probably was based on his experience with the Peace Corps.  He had joined to avoid combat and they sent him to Nigeria as an aid team to help the farmers.  When he got there, he found that the people were very proud and didn't want our help.  He went to his team leader and asked for a transfer.  He was told that the only way for him to leave was for him to be declared unfit.  He said he went back to his room, removed his clothes, smeared mud all over and went outside  and ran around until they caught him.  He was sent not to a new location, but home where the Draft Board was waiting.  He said he didn't think he was unstable but he was in the Army for two years none the less.

On the last night before we got to Subic Bay on the Boat, we were awakened at 3 AM and told to report to our boat station.  There, a report was taken and everyone accounted for.  It appears there was a man over board and until they had everyone accounted for we could stand there and wait.  As we were standing there, I saw them lower a boat and then raise it back up.  The rumor mill started gathering information and at breakfast I got the entire story.

It appears that Stubbs only needed about three hours of sleep a night and he also wandered the boat decks.  On one of his trips around the deck, he found a 100 foot rope.  No just how much trouble could he get into with that damned rope?  No, he didn't want to hang himself, he wanted to Body surf. Late one night he planned to take that rope and lower himself out of one of the port holes in the latrine and see what he could do hanging there on that damned rope.   I went to sick call to have an ingrown toenail looked at and I got the story from Stubbs on what happened.  He said all went well until he got about half way down that rope.  It seems that the spray made the rope slick and he slid down too fast until the rope came up under his arm and dislocated his shoulder.  The good news was that he had tied the rope to his wrist and when he hit the water he was still attached to the ship.  He said that he relaxed and the body surfing went fairly well until he decided he needed to stop.  He was unable to lift himself back up the rope so he hollered Man Overboard until one of the fire guards on the deck told the officer of the deck.  The boat went immediately into a turn and during that turn Stubbs said the barnacles on the side of the ship just about took all the skin off his side.  The boat that was lowered to get him almost hit him and all they had to do was put him in the boat and come back up.  Stubbs was dubbed the Midnight surfer right there.  He also went in to Subic Bay on a stretcher and  I never saw him after that.

When we got into Subic, we were told that only E6's and above would be allowed off the boat.  It was not any big deal for me but the poor guy that drew Duty Officer wanted to get off the boat and see Subic Bay.  I told him that I would go into Subic and see what it was like and would come back to let him go in four hours.  I saw all I wanted to see in about three hours and went back to let my friend go into town.  To stop the complete boredom from setting in, I decided to go see what the enlisted guys had for dinner.  It is normal that the duty officer in the Army would go eat in the mess hall and make a short report.  I found the cooks worksheet and saw what was supposed to be on the menu.  Most of it was just poorly prepared slop but it would not kill anyone.  About half way down the chow line, I saw the Barley Soup.  I asked the server there if anyone ate any of the soup.  He said no and I asked for a bowl just to taste it.  he said not to stir it up to get any of the barley out of the pot because of the weevils.  Sure enough he was right and instead of pepper the barley was full of bugs.  I called over one of the cooks and had him throw out the barley soup.  When I got back up to the main deck I wrote the event down. 

The next day I got a message to report to the Captain of the ship.  When I got there, he had three of his officers and the first cook there standing at Parade Rest.   I reported and the Captain asked me about the report of bugs.  I calmly told him that the Army Duty Officer always ate in the mess hall and I found weevils in the barley.  One of the officers said that couldn't be right.  I asked him if there was any reason in hell that he could think up why I would submit a false report.  I told him that in the Army it was a courts' Martial offense to make a false report and even a worse offense to call a fellow officer a liar without proof.  The Captain called that exchange to a halt and told me I was excused. As I left the Captain's office I heard the Captain shouting that he would not stand for this thing.....  He was pissed and I got the hell out of the area.  I made a report to the Battalion Commander about what happened and he reported it to the Senior Army Officer.  I'm sure they all had a good laugh about that. 

In a day or two later, we docked at Quoin Yon harbor and got off the boat.  It was there on that dock where with all the diesel smoke and the stable deck that I almost got sick. 

Tomorrow, our training and first day in the field.

MUD, in the Nam

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