I found my short timer calendar from late 1973. At the time I was assigned to Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Illinois. I spent just over one year in a pilot program that brought senior second class petty officers from the fleet to serve as Assistant Company Commanders. During that year I worked for 14 different Company Commanders helping them train recruits during their first 2-3 weeks of boot camp. There were about a dozen of us Assistant Company Commanders out there on the streets and grinders and in the barracks and classrooms of RTC. We all became well versed in all phases of training (folding clothes, locker stowage, marching , the 96 count manual of arms, the 16 count manual of arms, etc). We were a Godsends to new company commanders pushing their first company. Our presence with a company also gave the old salts with four or five companies under their belts more regular hours during the first weeks with a company, the most time consuming part.
The photos are of my “wheel book” during that time. It became my short timer calendar. As the day of my discharge grew closer I must have lost interest in the countdown
because the X’s stopped on November 18, 1973 and never started again. I was discharged on December 10, 1973. It didn’t last long. I reenlisted three months later, got married and swept my school teacher bride off to
Hawaii to begin my tour on Conserver and her new role as a Navy wife.
Here’s a blast from the past that I discovered in the bottom of a dresser drawer. MRC(DV) Thoenes had me do the artwork for a T-shirt that he had made for the divers onboard. I rarely wore the shirt given that I wasn’t a Navy Diver and didn’t feel I rated it but MRC(DV) Thoenes gave me one for doing the artwork. Consequently it has weathered the past forty years quite well. It was produced sometime between May 74 and May 77. It may well be the only one that has survived.
One of my memorable days on Conserver was the day I took a short cut to the berthing area.
As a newlywed my wife Thayes and I had very little in the way of furniture. She had been renting a furnished house and I was a single sailor when we married. We had just moved into our quarters at Navy housing in Pearl City. I was granted special liberty to be home with my wife because our personal effects had arrived and were being delivered. They consisted primarily of clothes, kitchen utensils, linens and such, all my stereo equipment and both of our record collections. Not much really, but they were things we missed and would help make our house a bit more homey. The few furniture items we had were loaners provided by PWC.
I had duty the night before. My special liberty started after morning quarters that memorable day in October 1974. Operations Department held quarters on the port side of the main deck near the bow. As soon as QMC Larose dismissed us, I headed for the berthing area to change and get ready to hit the beach. The shortest route was down the forward hatch on the starboard side that led to the armory then aft. It had drizzled early that morning, the hatch had been left open and the ladder treads were slippery.. I stepped over the hatch coaming and that’s the last thing I remember until I came to at the bottom of the ladder.
Doc Hansen swathed my head in bandages to stop the blood flow from a gash on the back of my head. I forget whether I walked to the ambulance that had been called or was transported to it in a stokes stretcher. I had a short ambulance ride to the Medical Clinic near the Makalapa gate where I got eleven stitches. Someone from the ship had called my wife to tell her what had happened and where I was taken. When she got into the ER recovery area I was a mess. Dried blood all over my hair and on my dungaree shirt. They observed me for an hour, prescribed 24 hours of bed rest and some pain killers then released me to my wife.
First thing I did when I got home was take a nap. It lasted only until the shipment came. It was time to open the boxes and find the stereo equipment that had been dearly missed for months. Neither stitches nor the throbbing headache were going to keep me from setting up my stereo system and listening to some tunes.
Taking a head count (sorry) to see how many crew members would purchase one of these. The vendor I’m looking at describes them like this: “5 panel wool blend cap. Has adjustable plastic strap closure. Made in the USA. ”
I’m pricing them out at various quantities to get the best price. The more we order, the lower the price. The preliminary price I got for a quantity of 100 is $18.70. Whatever price I get will only be marked up to cover my shipping and handling costs, first class USPS.
Please comment below with a “yes” or “no” if you would order at least one.
I think a lot about the fact that I had a pretty solid set of running mates while on Conserver. I rented an apartment with a group of guys in Salt Lake — 1128 Ala Napunani — to be exact, not too far from the Hickam gate with easy access to alpha docks.
EM2 Scott Gossler and I were the anchor tenants sharing that three-bedroom, two-bath apartment. EMFN Mike Cone of Baraboo, Wisconsin rounded out the trio for a while after we moved in, but was soon replaced by MM3/DV Roy Sykes. Even though we enjoyed having the younger Mike as a roommate, it seems Roy, Scotty and I, being closer in age and petty officers, just had more in common.
Roy and I shared a home town (St. Louis), and I adopted Scotty’s love for sports cars early on, and the three of us just loved partying and relaxing in our comfortable and clean bachelor pad that allowed us to live like civilians when we were in port, not working or standing the dirty duty.
Underway, on local ops and Westpac cruises, the three of us also hung together along with the likes of MR3 Barry Shooltz, SK3 Russel Wiitala and occasionally others. My other favorite shipmates were QM3 Paul David Muller and YN1 Bob Castro.
My point in all this is that out of all the enlisted men to choose from — the ward room and goat locker seemed to be classes in and of themselves — most of us seemed to choose our running mates and that was it. What makes this interesting, considering the total time the old girl was in the fleet, is how even though we had our cliques and circles of friends, we all share a common allegiance in having been assigned to that vessel, knowing that we worked hard, played hard and all can look back and say, “I’m proud to have served aboard the USS Conserver, ARS-39.
Really enjoyed my time on the Conserver. Had some good times, and some bad times. Have some great memories and sea stories that I have shared over the years with old friends. I especially remember the RUWS project and the “shipyard” time in Singapore with the emergency underway in the middle of the night.
An aircraft lost the back door, or something, we were in Singapore, in a short shipyard repair and had all the anchor chains and anchors off, three engines either torn down or in repair, and a lot of other stuff off loaded. Everybody that was on liberty was in town, they sent the SP and a bus to get us, Doc Hansen and I mustered all the divers and jogged back to the ship. Sent 2/3 of the crew to bed, reloaded what we could, and got underway. Came back to Sing later on and finished.