Repel Boarders on the Daniel Boone
on Christmas Eve
Shipmates, I'll tell you a story of Christmas 1977: (very true .... names withheld to protect the guilty) In the yards at Portsmouth.
Nice Christmas party going on the working barge for all the guys that had the duty. Lucky me, I'm the EDPO, stuck on the boat, hull cuts everywhere. The engineroom is a mess, the front of the boat is gutted. We slept on mattresses thrown in the ward room. No food, no water, nothing.
I'm in the engineroom about 2200 when the guys from the barge call and say, "Hey, can Santa come down to the boat and pass out a few gifts? Sure, why not was my answer. What a mistake. Santa, and his two very skimpily dressed helpers, show up at the after trunk. Santa wants to go from the back to the front, I guess. Really didn't have time to find out.
Got us a brand new ensign, so dry he's still puke yellow every time he comes aft. Santa's number one helper, sets foot at the bottom of the ladder into the engineroom. (Trunk was open cause we had super shore power through a cut in machinery two) As if the worst thing in the world could not possibly happen? Our brand new forward duty officer, Ensign you know who, steps into the engineroom at the same time as Helper #1. Santa and Helper #2 are still top side.
The Ensign panics, he's not more than 22 years old to begin with, and doesn't know how to handle the boat much less a very scantily clad "intruder". Ensign begins to run around and scream and shout. I look at him with almost unbelieveable shock, as he bounces off the work bench between the TG's. Helper #1 looks at me, I shrug and say, time for Santa to go to the North Pole. She gets the message, scurries back up the ladder, tells Santa the problem and I guess the sleigh out of the yards must have been waiting on the wing wall, cause they got off the shipyard in record time.
I heard later that they took the duty truck straight off the base. The real fun is still going on though. Ensign runs around trying to find a telephone that works, the one between the TGs in the ER was dead. So he trys to throw himself into the AMR 2, bounces off all the cables and hoses going through the hatch but does make it through into the AMR. I'm walking along behind him, wondering what the hell is going on. He gets to the phone in the AMR, calls Base Security, "Says USS Daniel Boone has been boarded by intruders", get the depth of what he did? "Shipyard Repel Boaders" full security alert called out. Next thing we know the rent-a-cops were streaking around the shipyard security fence, in their pickups, red lights flashing, sirens going off.
On Christmas Eve guess where all the important folks are? You got it, at the Base Commander's home, the full-dress Annual Christmas Party. Guess where everyone has to go for a "Shipyard Security Alert (This is NOT A DRILL)? You got it, to heir "Shipyard Security Alert" stations of duty. So there were three other boats besides us in the yard and all the officers for each that was at the big wingding were now on their way to their boats. Guess what all the other boats do? They have to man their Repel Boarders Stations. The best part was the Base Marine Detachment.They are having their party also. In guess what, "Full Dress". So we had Marines in their finest attire, manning the rail all around the Boone, with those long pointy things, called M16's pointing at the boat. After all, the "Boarders" are already on the Boone.
The scary part was that I was supposed to go topside aft, their was a large wooden/canvas hut built over the hull cuts and all the missle hatches were open, so good old me, I was supposed to go topside by the after hatch with a "heavy weapon". Ever had an M16 locked and loaded on you on Christmas Eve, all because Santa visited? Christmas Day, No Turkey for this Turkey. No, No, No. Got to visit the Base Commander. He was not happy. Of course my Old Man, he wasn't smiling either. They tried to write me up for allowing "unauthorized" visitors. No words about Santa and his helpers were in any of the paper work, I really can not imagine why. I avoided it by telling the Old Man that if he wrote me up I would have the right to respond in the paper work with my side of the story and of course my side would be sure to discuss Santa and the Reindeer.
End result, me I'm shit, the old man is shit, the boat is shit, the story even today is one that I can hardly believe. But it is true. I didn't know then whether to laugh myself to death of just jump into the dock. I hope you find this funny, because now to me it is one of the funniest things that happened to me in the Navy.
[This story was sent to me by Ken "Pig" Henry who recalls saving it from, perhaps, a BBS long ago. If anyone can identify the author, please let me know - Ed.]