Thursday, December 10, 2009

Artifacts Part 1

These are things that I have laying around here from my past that are interesting and mainly speak to my days in the Navy.

My Flight Deck Cranial Helmet.

This first one is a "special" done for me by one of the Shop First Class that was a budding artist. I can't remember his name right now and I am not inclined to dig it up as he turned out to be an assHat. He once responded to my comment about getting stabbed in the back that he only put "sugar coated" knives in my back. Now, he did caricatures for many of us in the shop and in the squadron. I was known as kind of both a geek and a warmonger. I was in love with the Nuke, felt that it was not used enough (still do by the way). This helmet shows both, I was the Squadrons go-to-man for Computer repair, it was the single most complicated piece of gear in our jet and really made it possible for us to do with 4 crewman what the P-3 did with 16. I wore this helmet for quite a long time making numerous cruises onboard the USS Independence but when we first went onto the USS Eisenhower (CVN-69) these helmets were banned because of the famous "Eat Pussy" affair.

This is the helmet cover I wore after that:

Now, you want to know what the "Eat Pussy" affair was all about. Well, when we were onboard the Eike we had a lot of VIP's come aboard to you know look around the newest and most advanced ship in the Navy. One of these, not sure if it was SECNAV or SECDEF was taking a free ride in one of our S-3's which was a big deal since we had two full sets of flight controls so you could put a real pilot on and take a VIP out and actually let them fly the plane. So we saw a bunch of them, VIP's, we even had a special crew that would fly with VIP's all specially screened and good looking like. To make a good impression. Well, this one day we are launching this VIP out on a quick flight and we do our thing. The Cat Hook-up guy strolls up to hook the mighty Viking to the Catapult and here he is wearing on his helmet in great big letters "Eat Pussy". That's reflective too oh by the way, you could see it 20 feet away in the dark!
Well, this VIP gets on the radio and says something like "That's something you do see every day!" and before he returns for his obligatory arrested landing the Ship has come out with a proclamation regarding helmet markings. And we had to change them post haste. The funny thing is that the Boat thought it was one of us in the Squadron with the 'offensive' helmet and only mandated those of us in VS-31 change out, all the while the Cat Hook-up guy strode around advertising his favorite shish kabob meat (how else do you cat). Anyway, several VIP's later and he was toast too.
This is the last surviving Flight Deck Jersey I own, this is a green one. You can see how they fade in the laundry and the black stripe that meant we were members of a Squadron, not Ships Company. Of course the great big VS-31 helps with that id as well. I also wore white ones with a checkerboard on it but none of the survived. You will please note without comment on the size, no way will that fit on me today. Same for this next item:
Genuine gabardine navy pants. Original buttons too. Size, well let's just say they are way smaller than me today.

This is a "Piddle pack".

Used by male aviators that have to relieve themselves while flying. You can see the long neck and the compressed sponges to absorb and contain the uh, fluid. I kept this one, it was part of my small flight back that I kept for when I went flying (still have the flight suit but we have seen enough items that don't fit me). We actually had a storage box in the aircraft to store these. Once Females started flying in high numbers the Navy got rid of these, issuing instead these things that are by all rights and intent – adult diapers.

This is my TL-29 with belt holder.

The TL-29 was a wireman's knife and had the screwdriver blade (which is deployed) and an actual knife blade. We used these pretty much every day. They came out later with an improved version, the TL-31 but I never changed over. I was happy with the old one and carry to this day a knife on my hip; a Leatherman Serge along with a flashlight and my cell phone. Some habits you just don't shake.

Next item is a Hook Point. This is the business end of the tail hook of an S-3 Viking. The thing is huge and very heavy. They are actually removed after every 100 traps and tossed out, so they are big collector's items. Problem is they are very heavy maybe around 50 pounds. I put a slide rule in the picture for scale. You can see the abrading that occurs by the arresting wire in the maw of the hook, the braiding pattern is actually scored into the metal.

Finally, here is my Journal.

This was given to me on the evening I graduated High School by my Folks. They knew I would be leaving and that I loved to write. It was the perfect gift, it went to boot camp, Memphis and technical training, Jacksonville Florida and it survived all the many trips to sea (two different ships) and even the big move to Pennsylvania. It is more than three quarters full with my many stories, little notes, ad's I clipped from newspapers and notices that struck my fancy.

The last entry is immediately before I got married back in 1982. Nothing since.

BT: Jimmy T sends.


ASM826 said...

That is a fine post, with hints of sea stories untold, and perhaps yet to come. I am going to have to break out my journals and give it a go.
Semper Fi, Swabbie.

JimmyT said...

ASM, thanks. I took it out for air and I have been writing ever since.

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Bag Blog said...

Very cool items and story. I love the pic of the young kid from NM.

My daughter would kill for some of those Navy pants - very chic.

JimmyT said...

Lou, thans. Yeah those pants were almost lost when my daughter found them and had designs for them, I put them up in the attic to 'protect' them!!

BT: Jimmy T sends.

Buck said...

Very cool. I'm envious... as I've mentioned beofre, nearly all my military mementos have gone missing over the years. But I DO have a TL-29! It sits in the coffee cup by the door, which serves as a car keys/loose change repository, among other things. The TL-29 has been replaced by a Victorinox Executive as my everyday carry... but gets lotsa use when "real" work's gotta be done.

JimmyT said...

Buck, I have one of those Victorinox too but for some odd reason never bonded to it like the TL-29 or my Leatherman. I pull that Leatherman out several times a day and the flashlight I carry gets quite the workout too.

BT: Jimmy T sends.