27 September 2005

Stupid Nuke Tricks

A recent post by Bubblehead sent me into reverie land about all the stupid things nukes do to pass the weary hours in the engine room. So, I thought I’d put up some of my favorites, and see if anyone had others they would care to share. All hearsay, of course, as no one here would actually ever disturb plant operations.

My stroll down memory lane focused mostly on materiel pranks and stunts, like the tree of lights mentioned in the linked post. People doing things to other people, well, there are a lot of those kinds of stories. What about what we did to the -boat-? (And no, I am not referring to the San Juan, destroying equipment kind of acts).

Alarm light patterns were always a favorite of mine. Getting one half of the 2TM panel blinking out of phase with the other was always brain-aggravating (taking some to test, some to cutout)

Another fun one was using a laser-pointer to illuminate the 2TM light on the new microprocessor RPCP. It was an LED light, and the only one that did not set off an audible alarm, so if you hit it with the laser pointer just right, it looked like there was a 2TM alarm. Of course, if you do it with an RO who is standing his very first underway watch, you might very well end up with a closed surge line, but then, that is just knowing your watchstanders…

As one of Bubblehead’s commenters made mention of, writing on the back of label plates was a common pastime. Various label plates had various things behind them – such as SNOB dates, recording holidays spent underway, or, for our old boat, under the poly covering for the EOOW’s desk, the dates and one-line descriptions for each incident in the yards, and who got disqualified for them ;-) If you didn’t get DQ’d at least once by uptight NRRO monitors, you obviously weren't standing enough duty.

All the little hidey-holes behind panels were also a source of much amusement. Often reading material (strictly verboten) was stashed there, often of a risqué nature. This was also a fairly poorly-kept secret. So much so that when one of the squadron deputies was riding us (had to keep his sea-pay, don’t you know), he wandered back to Maneuvering, to our surprise, chatted up the EOOW for a few minutes, then turned, opened one of the more obviously available panels, took out the Penthouse, winked to the watchstanders, and went back forward. The most inventive place that we put this diversionary material, though, was the reactor compartment. Taped in such a location that you would see it only if you were doing a thorough bilge inspection, it was often how EDO’s caught under-instructions doing an incomplete closeout-
At the Decon station:
EDO: “So, what color was her hair?”
U/I: “Huh, whose?”
EDO: “Get back in there and do a proper close-out inspection!” [The answer: Brunette]
Of note: Our various Engineers over the years either never noticed, or never mentioned our training tool.

However, the coup de grace of material shenanigans had to be the disgruntled E-Div'er who, in a fit of anger directed at the entire goat locker, re-wired their MJ phone so that station 16 (answer) was the only station that operated as it was supposed to. However, if they tried to whoop Crew’s Mess, they got Maneuvering, if they tried to whoop the Wardroom, they got the aft of Control, and, worst of all, if they tried to whoop the BCP, they got the CO’s stateroom. It took them well over a week to figure that one out.

Ahhh, nukes. And the folks here wonder why I take such glee in carrying out similar attacks. It was in my training ;-)


At 9/27/2005, Blogger Brainy435 said...

We hat a DRT bi*ch, too. A few, if I remember correctly. My favorite odd ritual was the voodoo dance we had for starting the 1.6K distiller. We had a ghost, chicken bones, a washable marker for face marking and dance steps. That was how a large group of us met my last Eng. He came up from ERLL to find a group of MM's with their overalls tied around their waists, t-shirts on their heads, all marked up 1 wearing chicken bones, 1 holding a TP ghost and the other twirling around doing some kind of war whoop. LOL! He went back down to ERLL and never mentioned the incident.

At 9/27/2005, Blogger PigBoatSailor said...

Ahh yes, praying to the still. Our ceremony involved lots of chanting and bowing.

We had a similar ritual for the diesel - we had a little Hindu-type multi-armed god figurine (which we called jo-boo) mounted on one of the bolts at the front of the diesel, and a mobile of chicken bones hanging over it. Unfortunately, for our first ORSE out of the yards, we remembered to take down the chicken bones, but we forgot jo-boo. When one of the inspectors asked the room watch what that was, the rather junior AMR watch replied matter-of-factly, "That? That's Jo-boo!" in that, what do you mean, "What is that?" kind of way. Yeah, that was the first of several formality hits...

At 9/27/2005, Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

We managed to almost give the Squadron Eng a heart attack on our first underway following a WestPac.
During WestPac, we had a lot of nukes cross qualify at various watch-stations out of sheer boredom, something like 50 quals for the whole Dept. We got wind of a tour aft during our watch, so we had the AEA(EM2SS) relieve AMR2UL(ET1SS, me), I relieved the EO/BCE(EM1SS) as we had a charge going, the EO relieved the Throttleman(MM3SS) who became the AEA. To top it off, we had the EOOW do his tour, leaving the EWS(ETCSS) in maneuvering. When the CO and squadron Eng looked through the door to maneuvering during the tour, the looks on their faces was priceless! I think if we could have found 1 more RC div person to come back aft for a "head-call" for the Throttleman, we could have had "Critical Mass" in maneuvering. As it was the CO called the EOOW to maneuvering and said he didn't ever want to see that many RC div'rs on watch in maneuvering ever again!

At 9/27/2005, Blogger Bubblehead said...

We used to have fun with guys doing their first SRW; on the D2W boats, they had to take logs on the RC div gear just outside Maneuvering. They'd be worried about having to touch the "twidget" gear, so as soon as they turned the first switch, the SRO would "normalize" the PLO Low Pressure Alarm... we got one guy on that one twice before he figured out what was going on!

At 9/27/2005, Blogger Rob said...

OK, now I'm back on a boat and these are bringing back some real good memories.

There's the rubber duckie that is a fixture in the 10K chem add tank (it was a "Devil Duckie" on my first boat).

We had "signout logs" for RC Div on the back of the RPCP label plate, and for E Div on the back of the EPCP one. The shim switch had a picture of...well, let's just say the hole for the shim switch was a hole on the other side, too.

Most of our label plates had some sort of smut under them, until we got word from the brother of an EM1(SS) on my first boat (his brother was an EMC(SS) on another boat in Pearl) that NRRO was on the warpath for label plate porn. Frantic aft duty section muster and cleansing, finished about 30 minutes before NRRO hit the brow. Of course by the end of the next underway it was all back...

I was on shore duty and "de-milling" RPCP's pulled off boats getting microprocessor. One good one I found was a Battleshort labelplate (from the old analog panel, where to actually get the label plate off you had to go into an energized panel). There was a long narrative in grease pencil about how it must take real balls to remove the label plate...but how the author had beaten everyone to it. Then it was signed by him, the EO, TH, and EOOW, with date/time and plant conditions (they were underway, critical, on the midwatch). That took some balls...or stupidity. Or both.

Somewhere in TUCSON's RC is a Polaroid (encased in protective film, then in heat resistant material), showing all of us in RC Div from the commissioning crew and signed on the back by all. There's a similar picture in the deep darks of the PPIC if the one in the RC doesn't make it.

Some of what I found on panel labels when tearing them down was like a time capsule. Records of every RO who'd caused a SCRAM on one (with dates/times), a SNOB turnover log under another, and on one boat a record of an officer who did three tours on the same boat (one as an ET2, one as an ENS/LTJG, and his last as LCDR/XO).

And I can neither confirm nor deny that my name is engraved in the inside of the starboard SVFC's on TUCSON (I did a field change on them after I went to shore duty, and since it had been my first boat and I was a plankowner I figured I was entitled).

We once had NRRO catch an SRO doing the RPCP "rig for Christmas" on standdown. Surprisingly, he didn't say a word to anyone but the SRO, who he told "I'll be back in one hour, and if it's fixed nothing will be said". Christmas spirit...

Second boat had the signatures of everyone who'd caused a reportable incident next to the boot on the port SSTG (I never figured out the significance, but the Engineer enforced the tradition, even making the EDMC crawl down there when his duty section jacked the mains without PLO for 10 hours...)

Oh, there was the "Get Out Of Field Day" chits on my first boat that our first CO (a real short, skinny guy) would hide throughout the boat in really tight places. I found one over 2 years after he'd been relieved, and managed to get it with a bilge picker. I figured it was no good, as the new CO didn't do that game, but he honored it (I got the next field day in the goat locker watching a movie instead of bilge diving in TGLO bay...)

At 9/27/2005, Blogger Rob said...

Oh, yeah, Joel reminded me of the day we did an RC Div setup on watch. The RO, EO, TH, AEA, RT, EWS were all RC Divvers (my ETC was RO, I was EWS to make it funnier). The RCA was EOOW. And yes, we were doing a charge, the ET2 at EO was qualified BCE.

The look on the ENG's face was classic...if only cameras were allowed aft. He actually started to grumble but we pointed out that he was the one who wanted all the E Divvers relieved for E Div training...

Then there was the EM2 who qualified EWS. During one proficiency, he was in maneuvering (EOOW was touring) with the EMC standing EO and the ETC standing RO for proficiencies. The EDMC (an MMCS) was ERS for his proficiency. In fact, EM2 was the youngest and most junior guy in the engineroom (the EOOW was even an engineer qualified LT), and yet the EM2 was in charge of maneuvering. He took perverse pleasure in telling the two chiefs and his leading EM1 (the TH) to "mind your panel!". And he did a lot of cleaning after watch that day...

At 9/28/2005, Blogger ART (The Anti-Retention Team) said...

I always liked 2JV Trivial Pursuit. The cards were stashed somewhere safe in maneuvering, and all the watchstanders held the phone handsets to play.

Easy to avoid detection, because to get to maneuvering, "Bogey One" and "Bogey Two" would have to pass by a watchstander with a phone.

Being a mechanical-type, I also have a fondness for the ERS "Guess what I just did out there" game. (commence frantic scanning of SPCP gages and TM panels)

At 9/28/2005, Blogger Bubblehead said...

The ballsiest under-switch grease pencil graffiti I ever heard about was under an RCLIV switch: "If you had a fast leak right now, you'd be (screwed)." Also heard about a grease pencil tick mark by the scram switch marking how far the balliest (or stupidest) RO on the 755 had rotated the switch while critical without the contacts making.

At 9/29/2005, Blogger Rob said...

I heard about the scram switch game, too...and the guy who (without moving the switch) put a mark way past where it would make. The next RO, not to be outdone, tried to go to/past that mark, and mustered the scram group rods on the bottom. :)

At 9/29/2005, Blogger ex-nuke bubblehead said...

Hahaha! We were underway, on the midwatch at a head flank and I was in manuvering standing RO on the BOSTON at the time where this certain EO was well known for falling asleep on watch! So this certain mid-watch I picked-up a bottle of Wite-out and carefully (so no to wake him) warmed it up in my hands and then proceeded to put wite-out first on the bridge of his nose, (he was still asleep!) then over the less sensitive areas of his ears, his chin, his moustash, his forehead and finally I covered his glasses with the stuff!

The poor EOOW and Throttleman were nearly bustin' their spleens trying not to laugh and keep quiet, finally the EWS leaned over the chain and spoiled our fun by yelling in the guys ear "WAKE-UP!!"

He jumped up and must have thought he was blinded for a second, because he jumped up he started yelling obsenities and then he heard us all bust out laughing, then he angerly got up and left manuvering cursing!

The EOOW picks up the 2MC and softly announces: "Electrical operator, report to manuvering" ...while all you hear is laughing in the background!

I still don't know how in hell he explained himself when he went forward! We had to call someone else from E-Div in to finish his watch. To this day, I still don't know how in hell, he wasn't put on report for sleeping, or how he explained how his face looked when he went forward, but I think he made a bee-line for the head!! It was a riot!!

At 9/29/2005, Blogger Brainy435 said...

This one isn't really engine room related, but one underway M-div stole the XO's door a week before halfway day. We hid it good, too, as his many forays into the ER proved fruitless. Then on halfway day we gave an ungodly sum to the ships party fund and won the CO's stateroom for the night. We took the XO's door out of the ER and played cards on it, in the CO's stateroom, for hours. The XO was a good sport about it, thankfully.

At 10/02/2005, Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

Hmmm....XO door tricks, I have a 1st hand story, told to me by one of the individuals directly involved who shall remain nameless.

The hated XO on a certain now decommed boomer had his SR door stolen by a couple of intrepid M-Divr's and was well hidden in the ER. Repeated attempts at "Field-day-till-you-find-it" failed to turn up said door. In the meantime, the XO had installed a curtain in place of the door for privacy. The XO also had a nasty habit of being too well prepared for certain drills (ie: having his OBA on and waiting in his SR for the fire to be called away). One drill day, the crew decided he needed his door back. Not long after the XO went to his SR to "prepare" for a fire drill, his door miraculously re-appeared, on the OUTSIDE of the curtain. When the XO whipped aside the curtain to come storming out of his SR, he instead came face-to-face (quite literally!) with his missing door. The drill was cancelled, and the Corpsman was called up to assess the injuries. The stunned XO came away with a bloody nose and bruised face from the incident, and the crew was of course "rewarded" for the return of the door with an extra ration of field-day and drills.

At 11/13/2005, Blogger Darth Stygeon said...

nice story. brings back many memeories of of my time aboard SSN-764 as a nuke.

At 12/31/2005, Anonymous ET2 - PearlHarbor said...

On the TypeI uP RPCP the RCLIV indications are small square LED lights. In the hours of bordom underway, with a small tool/fingers, you can pry these LED lights off their seats. Thus the lights go out. With a sneaky hand you can remove the open RCLIV indication and hollar "STBD RCLIVs Indicate Intermediate."

Many an EOOW crap themselves. This is one of those where your TH/EO guard the MC circuits.

For the more advanced users. You can actually remove the LED lights and switch them with the shut indication. Thus the Orange shut indications will be lit..... "STBD RCLIVs indicate shut!"

RO - SSN721

At 8/09/2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who can ever forget rigging manuvering for Christmas. On the 658 we had a cetain EOOW who regularly fell asleep on watch. By taking all of the RPCP switches to cutout (blinking red), hanging flashlights by strings from the overhead with red lenses and spinning them, then everyone in manuvering stepped outside of the manuvering curtain, killing the manuvering lights, then as the RO would leave, turning the RPCP siren on. When the EOOW busted out of his slumber he about had a heart attack and screamed for everyone to return to manuvering! Needless to say anyone present in the engineroom was busting out laughing, he wasn't in a position to be giving orders!

At 5/07/2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had an EO whose hairline was way behind his ears. I mention this only because it made the following even funner. As SRO he had the annoying habit of snoozing at the panel, and many's the SRW who woke his ass up. But the best ever was when he rested his bald forehead right on the shim switch. since we were shut down this had little risk.. Still unsat, though. EDPO touring at midnight found him sitting up awake at the panel...with a little tiny arrow shape embedded in the center of his forehead. It uncannily matched the raised-relief, embossd arrowhead on the handle of the shim switch...and the guffaws went on for weeks.


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