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On watch

When I was in the Navy, we would periodically have women on board, usually reserve units. Back in those days, women were not normally present onboard combat ships. Whenever they were aboard, they were housed in a berthing compartment that had its own head, as well as having only one easily guarded entrance. A lucky petty officer was then posted at that entrance to make sure that no males entered. One of them was on this watch when a friend saw him just standing there in the middle of the passageway. The conversation that ensued was very much like this:

Passerby: “What are you doing, standing here in the way?”

Person on watch: “I am on the pussy watch.”

Well, one of the females housed in the aforementioned compartment overheard the exchange and filed a complaint for sexual harassment. The petty officer was brought to Captain’s Mast for punishment. It went like this:

Captain: “Why did you refer to your assignment like that?”

Petty Officer: “Well, when I am on duty caring for the ship’s generator, I am on Ship’s Generator watch. When I am caring for the steering gear, I am on steering watch. I was guarding the pussy, so I figured I was on the pussy watch.”

The Captain reduced him one full paygrade, took half of his pay for two months, and confined him to the ship on extra duty for 45 days. In other words, he got the maximum punishment permitted without a courts martial.

Can you imagine how that would go today?

7 replies on “On watch”

Before women were allowed to be stationed on ships, I did my carrier quals and got stuck overnight because my A-4 broke down. The aircraft carrier was returning from a deployment, and had a full contingent of men plus me, so I got stuck in medical quarantine. There was no ‘watch’ to protect me. Back then men acted like men with honor, not like jihadis with no self control.

I don’t think rape was the problem that the watch was intended to solve. I think the watch was there to prevent mutual trysts. The Navy has (or at least had) a problem with women getting pregnant to avoid deployment.

Yes that is a huge issue, sex drives with both genders, not just getting pregnant . One of the guys I flew with (OP Honors) ended up XO of an aircraft carrier, and boy did they have problems, not just with men and women. He did a satire on it and got the 50 pound hammer. Actually, I left in 97 because of the moral climate back then, I can’t imagine now.

Yeah, today heads would explode.

Back in the day (30+ years ago) on an SSBN, we spent some time after the patrol doing various exercises and tests down in the Bahamas. One of the tests was some super cool James Bond stuff (so it was said) and they brought in some scientists for a few days to stay onboard and do stuff with their special gear while tests were being run. One of the scientists was a woman and supposedly it went waaaay up the chain of command to have her able to stay onboard for a few days. She got the XOs stateroom.

The scientists were invited to dine in the wardroom but wanted to be egalitarian I guess so they chose to eat in the crew’s mess. Oops. Guess you could say the crew wasn’t in the habit of filtering their conversation and the woman I think was sorry to be crammed into the messdecks hearing guys talk about what they were going to do with/to their girlfriends in a couple weeks when we pulled back in to port.

The only one better than that was some of the JO’s wives apparently were not exactly women’s libbers but they did lean kind of, “mouthy” about the subject shall we say. Until one time we were tied up next to an ARDM (floating dry dock) that had junior enlisted women sailors on it. Five minutes standing on the pier listening to the enlisted women saying the same kind of gutter-locker room talk about their weekends left the JO wives who were standing nearby listening a bit shocked and less sure about how women were being kept down in the Navy.

Mmmm. Strictly speaking, it was a response unbecoming of someone in uniform.

That being said, the captain was a pussy.

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