More sea duty!

by The Boatswain | February 11th, 2006

After leaving the island, I was shipped back to San Francisco and found myself assigned to the USS Alshain, an AKA, which is a navy supply vessel. She was in the shipyard at Hunter’s Point undergoing routine maintenance.

USSAlshain

Since she’d be in port for sometime and then operate from the Oakland supply depot, I called Ellen and told her to pack up the car and Bobby and I’d come home to fetch them. I grabbed a train and headed east. I arrived in Fall River after what seemed like an endless train ride (in coach!) we had only 8 days left of my leave to make it back!

Off we went and we averaged about 700 miles a day, even with NO super highways and only 2 lane roads in most places.  We had to replace ALL the tires at a Montgomery Wards store in Pittsburgh, I remember, as we found ourselves sliding around on bald tires in a rain storm!

We arrived at the shipyard, where I’d been assigned to quarters in a half a Quonset hut, fully furnished, including MANY roaches!! The shipyard personnel would spray for them, but that only moved them around!

Since the ship would be home ported on the Oakland side of the bay, we searched across there for housing and got a nice BUG-FREE furnished apartment in Richmond, just a few miles north of the Oakland port.  When the Alshain left the shipyard and started loading for her next voyage, Ellen settled in and met a lot of nice neighbors.

I was still only a First Class Petty Officer but was appointed as the ship’s Chief Master-at-Arms, which is a fancy name for the Chief of Police, supposedly to maintain order and take care of the brig. The nice part was that my combined office/stateroom was in the deck house on the main deck, right next to the ship’s bakery. Since sailing on the Pacific and in Tropical waters can get mighty warm in the daytime, our baker would bake mostly at night and the smell was outstanding!

Bobby was kept in a harness when he visited the ship.

Bobby was kept in a harness when he visited the ship.

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The United States Navy rating of Boatswain's Mate is a designation given to enlisted members who are rated as a deck seaman. The colloquial form of address for a boatswain's mate is 'Boats'.

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