The following posts are a sampling of what we lucky few experienced on the island of Taiwan, Republic of China. There are too many stories to be told here, some can’t be told here, and some shouldn’t be told here (although Don Price has pushed the envelope). It’s interesting how the human mind recalls events from our distant past, not so much with respect to a specific day, month, year, but the sensory details; what we saw, heard, smelled, touched, and the emotions we felt. Some will say these are exaggerations from sailors whose memories are clouded by too much alcohol, and are known prevaricators of the truth. Keep in mind that these stories come from men that over 40 years ago were given Top Secret security clearances by the NSA because of their trustworthiness, high integrity, superior moral character, and ……….. well maybe not that last one, but you get the picture. As the post credits to many movies say “this story is based on actual events”. The only difference here is that names have not been changed to protect the guilty.
An attempt has been made to arrange these stories in an order that was chronologically followed by young men that experienced a 15 month tour of duty at Shu Linkou. You might think that the first event experienced by an enlisted serviceman arriving at an overseas shore station would be related to that base’s specific military mission and their work assignment. Not so in our case. Within a few hours of first arriving in the Republic of China we were taken under someone’s wing on a Liberty bus down a winding mountain road, across flat lands surrounded by rice paddies, over the Tam-shui River and into a strange city called Taipei to experience leisure time activities instead of work. There was a feeling of excitement along with some anxiety over what awaited us on that first visit. It would be natural to be apprehensive about this strange place; strange sights, strange smells, strange food, strange women ……… we couldn’t wait to get there!
Rich Cincotta, aka The Red Header, was the one who convinced me to go to Taiwan. We were both stationed in Edzell, Scotland at Christmas time 1970, when the decision was made to cut the base back from 500 to 300 personnel. I had recently been transferred from the ditty bopping division to traffic analysis. My old division had put my name on the list for transfer but my new division had decided to keep me. By the time I found out about all of this I had orders to Taiwan, as did Cincotta. My new division told me that they could get the orders cancelled which meant that I was in the rare position of being able to decide whether to go or not. Rich told me that he’d heard that Taiwan was the best duty in Asia and we had just had nine months of what everyone told us was the best duty in Europe. CTRs usually did two overseas tours before they had one in the States and I was very aware of where people stationed at Edzell tended to go after a tour there—places like Adak or Midway. Taiwan started sounding really good to me.
I arrived in Taipei a couple of weeks after Cincotta, on Valentine’s Day 1971. I still remember stepping out the door of the plane and wanting to know “What the fuck is that smell?” It was, as all of you know, the aroma of the river that was really just one giant benjou. They loaded us onto a bus driven by a Chinese army sergeant for the trip up the hill. I made the mistake of sitting on the right hand side by the window—the perfect spot to look out the window and see nothing but air—where you expected to see a shoulder—as our driver headed up the hill like we were in a grand prix race.
Having lived through the bus ride and being totally exhausted from an 18-hour flight, I dumped my belongings in the room they assigned me and walked across the hall to the dayroom where some guys were playing cards. One of the first people I met was a guy from Des Arc, Arkansas, a town 35 miles from my home town of Searcy. I knew Des Arc well because it was the home of the Sportman’s One Stop, a liquor store that sold to me for at least two years before my 21st birthday. The guy from Des Arc decides that I need to get back on the bus and go downtown that night and since Cincotta had duty that night, he’d take it upon himself to show me around. What I didn’t know was that he was supposed to already have left the island for the Canal Zone but he (a) had the clap and (b) didn’t want to leave so he was going down town every night and drinking away the effectiveness of his medical treatments. I’ve heard that they shipped him out with the clap but the way I remember it is they restricted him to base to get him well enough to ship out. I don’t think he was the one on whose room they put guards to keep him from getting on the bus but he might have been. For those of you who didn’t know or remember him, Jim Gage or Gaggy was my first night tour guide. I was told the nickname was from some hammer’s attempt to pronounce his name after seeing it written out.
My first stop with Gaggy was the Sea Dragon, the navy enlisted men’s club that closed not too long after I arrived—I think it was the only time I went there. Gage’s reason for going there was that the drinks were cheaper that the 50 cents you paid in the clubs so we could load up before my first trip to the King’s Club. I wasn’t ready for Gage. He was counting my drinks and continually telling how many I was behind. He finally gave up on me and turned me over to another guy who I think was named Snaith or something like that. My new guide and I shortly left for the King’s Club but we stopped to get a bottle of Ooh Mei Jiyou for the trip, a distance of only a few blocks. I don’t think we drank the whole bottle but I do remember that he disposed of the bottle by tossing it over a stone or cinder block wall and bouncing it off a building—a building in front of which was flying the flag of the country of Spain. I expected to be arrested at any moment (remember I’d only been on the island for a few hours).
We, nonetheless, arrived safely at the King’s Club and I was given a seat at the bar between two older Americans who asked me the usual questions about where I was from and the like. One of them even bought me a drink. Nice guys. They also waited until I seemed to be fading and gave me wet-willies in both ears. I had just met Dirty Dan and Uncle Harry, the two senior enlisted men at Linkou Navy. Nice guys. They decided that I needed to be introduced to my first Chinese girl so, at their urging, I asked one of the best-looking girls behind the bar her name. She leaned over close and replied “Lisa (*#%#* expletive deleted).” Nice girl. All of this fun eventually led to my being poured into a Yu-Long taxi for my first of many drunken rides up the hill.
On day two, Cincotta was off duty and decided that it was high time that I went to Johnny’s New Life Hotel in Peitou. I’ve got to admit that this place beat the hell out of Gaggy, Snaith, Dirty Dan, and Uncle Harry! It was at the end of a row of hotels that catered mainly to Japanese businessmen. We drank Taiwan beer (it only came in quarts) and had quite a party. It was a night like none I had ever experienced. We took a break sometime that night for a hot spring bath that Peitou is noted for. I had such a good time that I had trouble standing up straight the next morning. I still remember the price—750 NT or $18.75 American.
On day 3, I reported for work.
This story is a composite of the first few trips down the hill. I don’t have a clear recollection of the chronological order in which they happened, or if certain events happened on the same sked or different ones. This isn’t because I’m getting old, (I am) it’s because we were always hammered. I have clearer recollections of events that happened at work, when we only had a mild buzz on.
I arrived February 21st, 1971. I came in on a Northwest Orient MAC flight with a few other Navy guys and a bunch of Zoomies (Airmen) that filled the bus that picked us up at ShungShan Airport. I recall our Commanding Officer, CMDR Edwin Stein being there to greet us. There was a Zoomie SSGT on the bus that was acting as a tour guide on the way up the hill. He was coming back for his 2nd or 3rd tour, and it was obvious he had run the Taipei clubs. He pointed out a few Clubs on the way up the hill with such passion that I wanted to get off the bus right there. We pulled into Shu Linkou AS in front of the NCO club and another Zoomie SGT got on and gave directions for checking in, finishing his welcome aboard address with directions to stay on the base until we were all checked in which would take a few days. I was bummed. The Zoomies got off, but he told the Navy personnel to stay on. The bus took us around to the Navy Barracks where CT2 Pee Wee got on board. Pee Wee was a tall thin African-American that wore his hair in a huge afro with his hat seemingly pinned to the top of it not coming in contact with his skull. He welcomed us aboard, told us to take our time checking in, and have a good time. When I asked him about being restricted to the base until we got checked in, he said “Shiiiiit No man! That’s for the Zoomies. Go on downtown and get aquantied.” This was my first indication that “NSGA Taiwan” was going to be more like McHale’s Navy than the US Navy.
PeeWee advised going down with someone that could show me around and get me back. I ran into a few guys that I knew from NCTC Pensacola “A” school and tried to find someone to take me downtown. The few guys I knew were either working or broke, so I talked a guy named Gus (real name was Carl but I can’t remember his last name) into showing me around if I bought the beers. The first place he took me was the China Night. I was greeted by the girl sitting on Paul Harbours knee in the picture at the end of this post; “Delta Sked – China Night”. I think her name was Julie. She asked me the usual new guy stuff. “What’s your name, branch of service, and where stationed?” I was awe struck with the mini skirt and those legs, and was half paying attention to the line of questions. When I told her I was at Linkou she said “Oh Really” except, to me, it sounded like “Are you ready?” Maybe that’s what I wanted to hear, but as it turned out she wasn’t.
On my second trip into Taipei I was escorted by my roommate, Gary ‘snake’ Snaith, who I had just met. The liberty bus dropped us off near one of the main intersections of Taipei; Chung-shan North Rd, and Min-chuan Rd. near the Florida Bakery and OK Bar. It was around 7 pm. After crossing to the west side of Chung-Shan North Road from the liberty bus stop Gary stopped in front of a leather goods shop. He was telling me the guys that run this shop make really good quality leather goods, boots, belts, vests, etc. He said he wanted to take a look to see if there was anything new in the window. The shop had a recessed doorway off the main sidewalk giving the shop a lot of display-window space. The recess between the show-windows was wide and there were several bicycles parked there. One of the main modes of transportation in Taiwan was the bicycle. I was minding my business looking at the leather goods on display and converting the price tags to US dollars. It was fairly easy, as the US dollar equaled 40 NT (New Taiwanese) Dollars.
As I was thinking this stuff isn’t that cheap, I don’t anticipate buying any boots in the near future on my E-3 pay, I noticed Gary out of the corner of my eye giving the row of parked bicycles a swift kick knocking them all down like falling dominoes, and then he ran North on Chung-Shan Rd. The falling bikes made a loud clatter which caught the attention of about 4 or 5 Chinese men inside the shop. Of course when they looked out the doorway I was the only one standing there. They came charging out at me yelling in Chinese. My first reaction was to run, as I had no idea if I would be able to explain to them who did the damage. I took off in the same direction Gary had. Once out on the sidewalk and heading north I had already lost sight of Gary and I could hear several sets of footsteps running behind me. Within a few steps there was a narrow street off to my left where I caught site of Gary running like a madman. I made a quick left and sprinted down that street and followed Gary down an even narrower alley. Gary jumped into a darkened doorway that led up a narrow flight of stairs to a landing and dark hallway. It was an old building. There were doorways along the dimly lit hallway and you could hear an occasional voice speaking in Chinese. Gary motioned for me to be quiet. Apparently we were in an apartment building. We didn’t know if we lost our pursuers. Gary pulled open some heavy curtains or drapes that hung along the hallway and discovered a small room, not much bigger than a closet. Inside there was a small bed and someone’s personal belongings. Gary went in and motioned for me to come in also and then closed the drapes. He whispered that we should hide out here for a few minutes to make sure the guys from the leather shop weren’t still looking for us. I looked at him like he was nuts, what if the person that lives here comes in and finds us. I shook my head and quietly left the same way we had come in. I slowly stuck my head out the doorway into the alley and didn’t see anyone. Gary followed me and I asked him what the hell was wrong with him? He just laughed. “Where to now?”, I asked him, not really wanting to go anywhere with him, but I was totally lost in this dark alley.
He never explained why he did it, just that it was one hell of an adrenalin rush, which I didn’t care for all that much. When we got back to the narrow street that runs off Chung-Shan North Rd. he turned left instead of heading back to the main drag. There were a few smaller clubs on this street and we went in one, I think it was the Queen’s Club. We ordered a mixed drink. Each club in Taipei had rock glasses with the club logo on them. Before we had finished our drinks Gary suggested we leave. He said to take the glasses, they’re souvenirs.
When we got back out on the side street Gary said he was trying to collect a rock glass from every club in Taipei and he didn’t have this one yet. At about that point the military PMO squad was walking up the street. The PMO is like the Navy Shore Patrol, but here it was a four man crew, one US Sailor, one US Airman, one US Soldier, and one Chinese Military Policeman. They were approaching us from the direction of the leather goods store; probably called by the proprietor to complain about us. They stopped us because of the glasses. You’re not supposed to be drinking on the street, and you’re not supposed to be “stealing” them from the clubs. They made us dump the drinks and took the glasses from us. I was grateful that they let it go at that. I wasn’t back in town for half an hour and this snake I was with had put me at risk of getting “run-in” with the local authorities twice. We took another narrow side street heading south that led to Min-chuan West Rd.
The next stop was the Kings Club, which was probably a different night because everyone was there, so it must have been after payday. The Kings Club girls were different as it was about the only club where you weren’t greeted as a valued customer. In fact you could usually count on being insulted. I was given the usual new guy 3rd degree but with far less tact. She wasn’t at all interested in my name so she didn’t ask. It was a simple “You’re new, Are you Navy?” I said yes. She looked at who I came in with and asked “Are you Linkou Navy?”. With pride I said yes, to which she responded “Linkou Navy sucks!” and walked away.
Delta Section was celebrating the departure of CT1 ‘Wally’ Wallace, one of Fatman’s buddies. A former Linkou Navy named Tom Cribbs was back on the ROC visiting his former Bravo Section buddies including Larry Johnson and Steve Carpener at the Kings Club that night. For some reason Fatman felt that the Bravo Section reunion for Tom Cribbs was interfering with Wally’s farewell ‘sked’. Words were exchanged and Fatman decided to get into it with Cribbs. Gary was at the end of the bar closest to the door and Cribbs was up toward the unisex bathroom. Sitting between them at the bar were a mixed bunch of Linkou Navy. One of them, Steve Carpenter I think, had the enviable talent of being able to puke any time he felt like it. It really impressed the girls. As Fatman was charging up the aisle to crack Cribbs, Carpenter upchucked on the floor just ahead of him. Fatman had his fist cocked and was just letting loose with a viscious right cross when he slipped on the barf and went down smashing his knuckles on the floor. I think he broke it, his hand, not the floor. All the Kings Club girls seemed to be having a great time and enjoying the show. I was thinking this is nuts, I’ve got to get out of here. I had gotten in a little AWOL trouble at Pensacola (another story), stood a mast, and didn’t want to risk any more problems. As I was about to leave one of the girls told me I was a chicken shit. So I stuck around. Next thing I know someone yells out “Anyone that can’t tap dance on the bar is queer.” I’m not the quickest guy after a few beers, so before I had a chance to get clarification on that last announcement I realized I was the only one on the floor. Everyone else was tap dancing on the bar, so up I went, wondering why Papa San Johnny wan’t mad. I guess it wasn’t his bar. Man, what a three ring circus we could create.
Afterwards Larry Tinker asked Fatman why he went after Cribbs. Gary said “Cribbs had his time (on the ROC), and his time was gone.” Our time on the ROC was sacred.
Linkou Navy Delta Sked in front of the China Night.
This took place about the first month I was on Taiwan, so the date had to be late May – July. My first room mate was a guy by the name of Joe Prisk from Alpha section. He took me downtown about the 1st day I was there. He brought me up to the San Francisco Club and introduced me to Peanuts. It seems this was quite a tradition when I got there. And as most of us did, I fell in love at first site.
Peanuts – Photo by Steve Callis.
Peanuts was quite a gal, that really liked us Linkou Navy guys a lot. In latter months this was not available for us to do, since Delta section was kicked out of the San Francisco club for good around the end of 1971.
Earl Axe has updated us with that story. The San Francisco Club was located on the second floor of No. 1 Min Chuan West Road.
Business Card Scan courtesy of Larry Johnson, Bravo Beggar 1970-71.
The story behind the reason for Delta section being banned from the club is that someone from Delta Section, possibly ‘Skinny’ Dan Norvell pushed the ABC Club’s juke box down the stairs. Those that knew Dan would find that out of character for Dan, a normally quiet and reserved young man (totally out of character with the rest of Delta Section). Is it possible that the juke box pushed Dan down?
“Get some time on the ROC!” was one of Dennis Bass’ favorite retorts. Well everyone of us was a NUG at some point. And until someone else came along to take your place, it seemed that you would never get enough time and would continue to be the victim of some creative practical jokes. I arrived on the ROC in Feb of 1971.
I think I was also the victim of the more elaborate EMHO Log pranks. Ron Fulcher assigned me to take the EMHO log to every intercept operator in the house about 0300 one mid watch. This included NSA, ASA, and Zoomie positions. In addition to having each operator record wave-length and band width, (which seemed to vary between 6″ x 1″ and 8″ x 2″) they would describe their contact in terms such as throbbing, and pulsing. I was also directed to calculate the average frequency for every R390A receiver in the joint, which was quite a few. Now keep in mind that was 1971, when the closest thing to an electronic calculator around was the Chinese abacus Chou Di-Di used to tally up beers tossed during the deusch parties at the Kings Club. The final assignment I was given was to have the EMHO Log signed and approved by the ranking officer of the watch. This happened to be a very stern looking Lt. WAF (female officer), who seemed pretty annoyed at my request for her autograph. “Sorry, Just following orders Ma’m”.
On another watch I was told to go around the section and take donut orders. “Donut orders?” I asked. Yeah, donut orders, you know plain, glazed, jelly filled, Boston cream. Many of the crew were bewildered with my request “what kind of donuts do you want?”. But I took their orders just the same. I went to the security shack and waited……, waited….., waited……… Finally the Air Force Security guard asked me why I was hanging around and I told him I was waiting for the donut truck. He said he never heard of such a thing. Busted again. There is a story of a NUG actually coming back to the watch section with donuts.
My butt was set on fire at least once, my ball cap’s brim folded in half and stapled together, with holes punched in it.
The only time I got even was when a higher ranking member of the section ‘ordered’ me to make coffee. I didn’t drink coffee at the time and saw no reason why I should make it. But, I followed orders and made the worst batch of coffee anyone had ever tasted. I wasn’t allowed to make coffee again.
Instead of relating a story or specific episode, I would simply like to do a memory flash back of an unforgettable friend. Most of the guys on this website will remember him. Most of you skedded with him. Anbd I can say without any reservation that most of you liked him. He was known as Panza, Fat Man, or simply Gary. To the best of my recolection he arrived on the ROC around late summer or early fall of 1970. I think that Dennis “Pennis” Bass, Dennis “Smoking Penis” Griffin, Ron “Ras” Rasmussen, and myself had just been transferred to Delta from Charlie section so that the basketball team could all be in the same section. My first impression of him was not favorable. He was loud, arrogant, and presumptuous. He acted as if had been on the ROC longer than anyone. Being a 1st Class, he didn’t even get the traditional “Get some time on the ROC” from Dennis Bass. Of course, it didn’t take long to realize that all these negative attributes didn’t apply to the “Fat Man”. He was simply being Gary. Delta section at this time (to the best of my fading memory) consisted of Penis, Smoke, Ras, myself, plus Gary “Seb” Sebranek, Denny “The Kid” Haley, Doug “Pete” Peterson, Doug King, Carl “Georgie” Wallace, Greg “Groucho” Ardire (this guy really looked like Groucho Marx, and he hated the nickname.) and “Wally” Wallace, 1st Class. I’m not sure if Ron Fulcher, 2nd Class, had arrived yet. This is the section that would, in the winter of 1970, comprise the cast of that famous, (or infamous) episode in Linkou Navy history, “The Great Sad Buddha Sacrilegious, Glad We Weren’t Arrested, Boat Race.” (That story follows this one, make sure you read it.) Like all sections, some guys skedded more than others and Delta was no exception, but Gary skedded with anyone and everyone. I’ve seen mean skedders, destructive skedders, very active tap dancing skedders, cry-in-your-beer skedders, ball-sucking skedders (usually reserved for the USAF), but “Fat Man” was a happy skedder. His personality and appearance would have it no other way. People smiled when he walked by. Little kids would follow him. Club girls gleefuylly yelled his name when he entered a club. (They never yelled my name.) And they loved him. Jim Valkwitch says that he wished he had kept a journal. I agree, Jim. The next best thing is of course, pictrures. And although I didn’t save money, buy stereo gear, of ship home Oriental furniture, I did buy a $20 Olympus half-frame camera (at the urging of Larry Johnson and Steve Carpenter). And I proceeded to take many slides. The images that I have very recently relived have brought a great deal of joy to me. With this Ihave also discovered that a great deal of the images captured were images of Gary Hughes. It was easy to take pictures of him because it was as if he were always posing. He loved life, and it showed, and he was an easy target. So f you see pictures from me on the website, be prepared t view the “Fat Man”. Coming off a mid watch, the routine was to get a room at the King’s Hotel and make the King’s Club our base of operations. Of course the King’s Club was home. We would run the bars, periodically checking in at the King’s until we couldn’t go anymore. Then sleep for a few hours and start again. I loved skedding off a mid. I ran the clubs with “Fat Man” from Fall of 1970 until he left TAD to Vietnam with Ron Anderson, Jim Valkwitch,Chuck Fredrick, Rodger Olson, and others. I saw him off at the airport that day and told him that I would see him later. He said that I wouldn’t and he was right. So here’s to you, Gary, I raise my beer in a Linkou salute to you remembering all the great times we had. And if by chance you should discover this website, I’m sure that there are some choice stories that you could share with us all.
Tink and Fat Man
During my 15 glorious months on the ROC, I ventured out of Taipei three times. These were, of course, section sheds. And as I look back, the single question arises in my mind. Why?
Why leave the familiar surroundings and girls of Taipei? The consensus among Delta section was always the same. What are we doing here? Wish I were back at the King’s Club checking out Lisa’s legs . (I loved Lisa’s legs, among other parts of her body.)
This was basically the opinion of the majority of Delta section as we arrived in Tai Chung in December of 1970. Early in the day we had visited the happy Buddha. And for a very brief time we became embroiled in the fascinating, multifaceted culture of our host country. Of course, a little culture goes a long way, so by the time we reached the site of the sad Buddha, we had absorbed enough culture. It was time to do what we do best: make complete fools of ourselves.
I’m not sure how it started, but I’m sure it had to do with a well-placed “dare” coupled with ingredients such as a sacred pool, paddle boats, and Delta section. Out of this came a challenge, and thus, the stage was set for the start of “The Great Sacrilegious Sad Buddha, Glad We Weren’t Arrested, Boat Race.” The teams consisted of Fat Man & Doug King, Ron Rasmussen & Georgie Wallace, Dennis Bass & Gary Sebranek, and Ron Fulcher & Dennis “Smoke” Griffin. It took only seconds to go over the rules as of course, there weren’t any.
The tourists that came that day to view a religious shrine went home with stories that they would later tell their grandchildren. Future generations to visit the religious site would be told stories about a great race that took place one December afternoon in 1970. Facts, of course would become distorted. Deeds would undoubtedly become heroic. Legends would be created.
Surely, a statue or plaque would be erected commemorating the great event. The Sad Buddha himself would probably become a secondary attraction.
How do we separate truth from myth? We can draw our own conclusions about that fateful day from the following pictures. So gentlemen, start your engines.
(Left to right) Georgie Wallace, Ron Rasmussen, Ron Fulcher,and Dennis
Griffin – Ras and Georgie take an early lead.
(Teams from near to far) Seb and Penis, Smoking Penis and Fulcher, Ras
and Georgie, and Fatman and Dougie King.
Ras and Georgie continue to hold the lead.
The captain (Fatman) gives instrucions to his crew (Dougie)
(L to R) Ras, Georgie, Fatman, Dougie, Smoke and Ron Fulcher.
L to R) Smoke, Fulcher, Dougie, Fatman – Smoke and Ron seem to be
having trouble with their boat.
Ras jockeying for position. (Notice the many spectators.)
Fatman trying to sabotage Ras and George’s boat.
An almost fatal accident as George struggles to stay upright. (helping
are Fulcher and Smoke who have retired from the race)
Ras returning the favor to Doug and Fatman’s boat.
Fatman still trying to capsize Ras and George’s vessel.
Ras trying to ready his boat to finish the race.
(L to R) Dennis Bass, Ron Fulcher, Smoking Penis, and Georgie getting
ready to reenter the race.
Fatman looking for his boat.
Dennis Bass being tossed by Ras and others.
Dennis Bass resurfacing.
The winners!!! Georgie and Ras
(l to r) Dennis Bass, Fatman, Georgie Wallace, Ron Rasmussen –
Winners being congratulated by two other racers.
Well the time has come to tell the story of the guy who for 13 months had to run, hide and hold his bowels in check by holding back the need to take a shit. In case you have never experienced what it feels like to be seating down with your favorite reading material and start taking a dump, only to have some asshole throw a cup of water over the stall onto you. Don’t know where it started, but for the next 13 months it was an all out war to any and every one of us. No place was safe. We tried to learn to shit while having our legs straight out in front of us so they couldn’t look under the stalls and see your feet. We tried RUNNING 2 miles to the NCO club while on watch only to have someone get you 2 seconds into your shit. Day or night, while in the spaces, barracks, NCO club, OR downtown. No place was safe. The ONLY place I found was the shiiter in the Imperial club, because it had no windows AND a good lock on the door so no one could get to you. NOW as bad as that all sounds (I still have nightmares!), it gets even worse. Remember what we would do toward the end of pay period when we didn’t have money? That’s right we went to drinking Umajoe because you could get a whole bottle for about 35 cents and could sneak it into the clubs. Well now you have the picture, drinking plum wine and not being able to take a dry shit. Not once but EVERYTIME you had to take a shit. It was down right cruel. Don’t think we’ll ever have anyone fess up to being the originator of this practice, but they hopefully have never taken a solid shit the rest of their life!!
One mid watch while seating around with little to do, but cause havoc, someone came up with an idea to lock our seats together and become a rowing team that rowed around the spaces as if we were going down a river. I remember Harry Hobbs was the guy with his hat on backgrounds and a drinking cup with the bottom out of it so that he could yell STROKE, STROKE over and over again. We started in the NSA area rowing around and you just knew we had to share this with our Zoomie friends. Well a couple of minutes later we took off to their area and proceeded to row up and down all of their stations a couple of times. Then it was off to the army and do the same thing to them. Then back to our area. I would think all total we were rowing for well over 30 minutes around the whole building. But it doesn’t end there. Because of the success of this activity several months later the “Rowing Team” was altered to include Chuck Fredricks as Santa and the rest of us as elves and we starting throwing Christmas packages (bags of shredding) to all of zoomies on the way by. The thing I remember the most about both of these incidents are the fact that we never even got talked to from someone. It just goes to show you the great group we had on the Rock including most of the officers, etc.
On a mid-watch one night, some of us with “time on the ROC” were lamenting the tendency of every NUG to, on their first trip down the hill, get off the bus, walk into the first club they saw,—usually the China Night—fall instantly in love and be rooted to the spot for the first month or so. We decided that they needed to be introduced to the pleasures of the island and that the best way to do this was an initiation that required them to visit every club that we could name at least once during their first month on the island. We spent the rest of the watch coming up with a list of every club any of us knew, all 44 of them. We had all of the Linkou Navy hangouts, all of the back-alley places, all of businessman’s row, the row of four clubs around the corner from the compound (across the side street from where so many of had jackets made by the tailor shop on the corner), and at least one Japanese businessman club. The initiation was this: the NUG was given a list with a blank beside the club’s name that had to be signed by a club girl in each of the 44 clubs. When we were sure that the list was complete (as complete as we could make it), some idiot—I believe it was Don Price—decided that we, having so much time on the ROC, should be to able to do it in one night.
The night began where all good nights began, at the King’s Club, with everyone agreeing to have one drink (remember how small those glasses were) in each club. Before I had gotten my first Scotch (Long John was the standard bar Scotch), a couple of guys were ready to go. They were ordering ice and splashing some Ooh Mei Jiou over it and heading for the next club. I don’t remember how I kept up but we lost a number of guys along the way to the GiGi Club, number 40 on the list. Why would I remember the GiGi Club, a club I only went into once? They had a great time with my list and one of the girls kept it. The home stretch was the four clubs in a row on the crossing street just around the corner from the compound. In the first club, one the survivors started giving me shit about losing my list and how no one was going believe that I’d made it to all 44 if I didn’t have the list. I even went back to the GiGi Club (ok, technically I went there twice) and tried to get my list back. They laughed and told me they didn’t know what I was talking about. Fompi! I continued running clubs and got more shit in the next bar only to reach the point where I was convinced that no one was going to believe that I had hit all 44–even if I did finish. I walked out of club number 42, went straight the curb, got in a cab, and said “Jienton.” I was told that one person actually had a drink in all 44 clubs. That didn’t help my hangover very much.
Just a few of the 44.