Underway Writers Workshop 2

[from the stabenow.com vaults, 2007]

May 6

SN Dennis R Gordon III

SN Dennis Gordon
I have been on watch for five minutes.
It feels like three hours.
The ocean rocks the 378 like a cradle. Water against the hull, wind whistling through the antenna, the occasional unrecognizable clank or thud.
It is dark. The moon and stars peek from behind the clouds every so often to cast beams of glorious white light on the surface of the water.
The green vision of the NVGs fabricates a world of light in the darkness, mocking me. “Found a go fast yet?”
I check my watch.


Way Down in the Hole
DC2 Shawn Milton

DC2 Shawn Milton

Just when I was getting my sleep on, 0330 I get woke up out of a pretty cool dream.
Great, another call. “What was it this time?” I said, as I put on my overalls.
I take a moment to calm down. Have you have ever slept in a space the size of your average middle income kitchen with 14 other guys? You hear everything in my berthing area, snoring, groaning, and farting. I swear, this place smells like ass and feet. I don’t know sometimes how I ever get any sleep.
I walk the darkened passageway down to the guts of the ship. Yes, my friends, where all the sewage pipes dead end. I climb down the ladder, the dull light trying to penetrate the darkness, reddish brown decks and the grey sides of the ever-loving VCT.
Finally, I’m here, someplace I don’t want to be, Forward Sewage. I try and drain the VCT tank down below halfway before opening the sucker up. Don’t even think of the glass half full on this job.
I put on my glasses and gloves and start to release the vacuum pressure from the tank. Opening one of these suckers up is kind of like opening a Cracker Jack box. You never know what kind of prize is clogging up the system.
I just hope its something different this time, other than the usual paper towels, green pads, or feminine hygiene products.

We are ETs
ET3 Dea Lang

PO Dea Lang
They call us passengers.
They call us Rec Deck 8.
We don’t stand watch. We don’t work in the engine room. We don’t work on the bridge. We don’t clean out forward sewage.
We are ETs. Our real name is Electronics Technicians, but the ones who know us well call us the Everything Techs.
Every BM knows that the boat can function without radars and positioning equipment. But what would happen if our ability to find go-fasts disappeared? What would happen if communications with aircraft, other ships, stations, or the beach went down?
Every ET knows that there are many more important jobs all around us, engineers, support, even deckies, but we take pride in what we do. Every day we deal with our number one problem, operator error. Equipment breaks, we fix it. We set up network LANs, so that the ship can participate in gaming.
We go to school for eight months just to learn the basics. In port, we stay late to update, fix, and install equipment that betters the ship and her crew. We know what we do, and we do it the best we can.
We are ETs.

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Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. All the stories are good: each communicates that person’s personality, experience and viewpoint. SN Dennis Gordon’s piece is particularly evocative. His use of “timestamps,” along with that beautiful description convey his feelings in the situation without any further elaboration. He is a writer.

  2. Enjoying all of the pieces.
    Dennis, I go through that every day with my job, and mine isn’t nearly as interesting as yours! Shawn, bless your heart…now I know that my job’s not that bad, *grin*; and Dea, all I can say is keep up the good work, both on duty and with your writing!


  3. Thank you Carol and Shel. I apreciate the kind words, it isn’t all me though. I had a pretty damn good teacher. I think you’ve heard of her.

  4. I just wanted to say how great all the pieces were and thanks so much for sharing them with all of us. What a treat and thrill to get to sit and learn from Dana, a New York Time’s bestselling author!

    I hope to see some of your names in print some time in the future but in the meantime keep writing!

    Thanks again for all that you all do for us every day.


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