Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 

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USS Sam Houston and The Royal Order of the Bluenos
By MMCM Martin Opem

This was a long time ago when seas were always stormy (state 6 or higher) but our mission was to safe Guard the world regardless of what it took or where we had to go. AS all sea stories, the names are omitted to protect the guilty, as well as the Innocent.   And as all sea stories, start with ‘This is a NO SH - - - ER’ instead of once upon a time.  

I know, this took place on the U S Sam Houston (SSBN-6090 on her 19th patrol. She had gone through Sub Safe overhaul in Portsmouth Naval Yard, Kittery Maine and all of the normal shake downs by both crews and was turned over to us in Holly Lock Scotland by the Blue crew. We completed the normal up keep and sea trials and were starting on transit and our patrol. 

We reached check point Charlie and took the big Sam down and steamed out in to the Irish Sea heading north.  As we steamed North the Sea got rough and then rougher. I was the duty ELT and as such our lab was next to the Yeoman's office. I was surprised to see our chief yeoman and the COB laughing as they were going through the crew’s service records. 

A couple of days latter a memo was posted simply listing a group of us to report to the Yeoman's Office room on Wed at 1300 hrs Zulu time ,and for Leading PO's to make arrangements to cover any watches these sailors were assigned at that time, and that noon meal would be completed early that day.  

We all met at the yeoman's office and were led into the crews mess to meet the Royal Court; Boreas (King of the Arctic), Aurora (Queen of the snows), The Royal Baby, and as I remember Neptune (king of all the seas). Although they were in costumes they all looked very much like some of our crew members. Two stand out in my mind one was Aurora for she looked a lot like our IC 1SS Wit- - - - for she was wearing a full Beard and the Royall Baby looked a lot like An EmC SS Jen--------. The Baby was about 5 feet tall and weighed in around 300 lbs. (This was during the Vietnam War and body standards were not in place.  All that mattered was whether or not the sailor could do His /Her job)   

King Boreas and King Neptune conferred and then handed a large scroll to the Chief Yeoman and instructed him to act as the Scribe and to read our names and the charges against us. Surprisingly there were only about 14 of us. We all were guilty of crossing into Boreas's realm without permission and other things that were all part of being ourselves and normal, like breathing. We were asked how we pleaded, to which all present answered guilty. 

We were instructed to place a large oblong block of ice between our legs and to hold it there until we were done. We were made to do several things, from walking to lower level ops and back, to kiss the Royal Babies Belly. The Baby had smeared his belly with a mixture of what we found out later to be a black Radiation Resistance Grease, Horseradish sauce and other things from the galley.  We were then given a lunch that each of had to eat.  It consisted of a concoction containing things that we were never sure of just what was. Kippers, sardines, smoked oysters, spinach and ??? appeared to be in the mix. We were also given a drink of what I think was lemon aid made with brine. These goodies were served out of the Medical equipment, so use your own imagination. 

The Royal Baby reported to sick bay the following day with chemical burns on his belly as a result of the radiation resistant grease and horseradish plus other galley extras, all of us that had to kiss his belly got to clean it off right away and didn't have any issues.  At the end of the ceremony, we had the tip of our noses smeared with Prussian blue. It took several days to wash it out, even using oil to remove most of it.  

It took only a few hours to become a member of the Royal Order of the Bluenose, but it seemed much longer.


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