After Baffle Sample
by Don Dove
One of my most vivid memories was one that was the result of some back-aft humor.
I don't remember why I was standing LOS because at the time control was my normal watchstation - as COW. However it came to pass, as I was sitting there I noticed this big yellow thing come into view. I turned and there was a sight meant to freeze anyone who has ever dealt with nucs, weapons or reactors: someone in full Anti-C's. The only thing missing was an EAB.
In one hand was a slip of paper and in the other was a beaker with a really neat looking solution (which happened to be fuel oil and water). I managed to blurt out, "What in the #$*% are you doing?" He replied in a manner which was completely calm, "I have the after baffle sample for the Engineers inspection." I mean it was liked the kid had practiced saying it.
Well what could I do but stifle a guffaw and send him on his way through launcher. I later heard that the Engineer was in the wardroom with the Bull-nuc, the CO, and a rider from SUBGROUP 2. I am not sure how the CO would have reacted if the rider had not been there, but his reaction certainly was not one of mirth. While I enjoyed it, the aft section had reason to regret it - they were all relieved and the CO had a royal butt chewing party.
SubSpeak (for the casual visitor):
Nuc: nuclear trained person
COW: Chief of the watch
Anti-C: Anti-contamination clothing. Typically a full-body coverall with gloves and hood, yellow in color with only the face showing. Also called a "banana suit" or "Chiquitas."
EAB: Emergency Air-breathing Device. Submarines are typically equipped with compressed air piping throughout the ship. Outlets, usually in groups of four, are available in specific locations where crew can "plug in" their masks and breathe fresh air during conditions where there is smoke or other toxic vapors in the boat's atmosphere.
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