Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Crimson Tide


“The three most powerful men in the world: the President of the United States of America; the President of the Russian Republic; and the Captain of a United States ballistic missile submarine.” – Crimson Tide
Ten years ago, I was the Captain of the USS OHIO, the lead ship of our country’s fleet of ballistic missile submarines. Commanding a nuclear powered submarine, armed with 24 intercontinental ballistic missiles, has a tendency to inflate one’s ego, but my wife, Kellie, was usually there, pin in hand, to burst my bubble.

As I was unpacking my sea bag aboard the ship one morning, I discovered that I had overlooked one important item: I didn’t bring any underwear. This was going to be somewhat of a problem since we were getting underway in an hour for a two-month deployment. Within minutes, I was on the phone with Kellie, explaining my predicament. We didn’t live far from the base, and there was more than enough time for her to make it down to the pier with my skivvies. 
If Kellie didn’t arrive in time, I’d be forced to hand wash my sole pair of under shorts or go commando. The inconvenience would be tolerable, but it wouldn’t take long before the sailor who did my wash noticed that one particular clothing item was conspicuously absent from the Captain’s laundry. I was fairly certain that that little tidbit of knowledge would quickly spread throughout the ship. It was the sort of scuttlebutt that I would have preferred to do without.
I went to the bridge to oversee the final preparations for getting underway. It was close to our departure time and there was still no sight of Kellie. The Commodore (my boss) and his staff arrived on the pier to see us off – just what I needed.  Twenty or so crew members were topside to take in the lines that held the ship in place. When the appointed hour arrived, I gave the order to get the ship underway. As the last line was cast off and we were slowing slipping away from our mooring, I spotted Kellie running down the pier, waving a white shopping bag and screaming at the ship to wait. Horrified, I tried to wave her off. I held my index finger across my lips, signaling to her to keep quiet, but Kellie was blowing off third most powerful man in the world. “I can make it,” she screamed. She picked out a receiver aboard the ship. I had a vision of the bag coming open and scattering my tighty-whities across the pier, ship, and water. 
The Chief of the Boat, the ship’s senior enlisted crew member, was supervising the line handlers topside. He recognized Kellie and shouted to her. “What is it?” 

Kellie looked up towards the bridge, we locked eyes, my gaze clearly pleading for her to cease and desist. She smiled and looked back towards the Chief of the Boat.
“Joe forgot his underwear,” she yelled.  All military decorum topside and on the pier immediately melted away as everyone within earshot started laughing uncontrollably. I cringed. Kellie hesitated. The ship was now almost 10 feet from the pier and the odds of a successful toss were quickly diminishing. A chorus of crew members were shouting encouragement. Kellie hurled the bag. She made a typical girly throw, but the Chief of the Boat managed to snag my skivvies without falling in the water himself. Everyone cheered.
I learned an important lesson that day. The most powerful people on Earth are not the men who control the nuclear weapons, it’s the women who control their underwear.


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Crimson Tide was entered in the Yeah Write #60 weekly writing challenge. 














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53 comments:

  1. Absolutely hilarious. I bet you turned a shade of "Crimson Tide". I'm glad i never had to do that with Jude, although running after an aircraft would have been a lot more difficult.

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    1. ...and a few other colors too.

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  2. OH MY GAWD!!! Once again you and Kellie made me laugh out loud! D3 even came to my room to ask what was so funny!!!
    Best last line EVER!!!!

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    1. Thanks Emma. It wasn't that funny at the time.

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  3. Awesome,,, u brought a smile to my face in prison!! TX

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    1. Just so folks don't think that my friends are incarcerated, Jude WORKS in a prison.

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  4. Bahahahahahaha!!! That's funny. I'm surprised she provided you with your tighty-whities as Kellie has always been the Commando Queen!

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    Replies
    1. She was much more sensitive back then.

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  5. HAHAHHAHAHA that is a great story. Glad she made it!

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  6. Bahahahaha. That made me crack up. I said it last week and I'm saying it again, your wife is freaking hilarious!

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    1. Yes, Carrie, she's a laugh a minute.

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  7. Replies
    1. I didn't think so at the time.

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  8. That is awesome!
    I can only imagine all the other people trying to stay all navy-serious and then busting up laughing...
    I bet you got some "looks" and giggles behind your back during that trip!

    Also, thanks for commenting on my blog. I find it hard to believe that a navy captain likes to dabble ;), but maybe that's what retired third most powerful men like to do ;).
    Really like your blog!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kerstin, I even dabbled back in my captain days, making modifications to the ship's computer networks because the navy was sometimes a bit slow in implementing the latest technology. My innovations were not always appreciated and had to be removed. The navy is funny that way.

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  9. Oh my word. That is awesome. I love Kellie. A lot. Hahahahaha!

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    1. Since I started this blog, many have told me they love Kellie. Obviously, people are not feeling my pain, or maybe they enjoy seeing me suffer.

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  10. LOL! Underwear is always the first thing I pack :)

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  11. Loved this post and love that you can laugh at yourself.

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    1. I have to laugh, the alternative is crying.

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  12. Oh this was hilarious!!! HILARIOUS!!
    Such a funny story, and it was told very well!

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  13. i got a pier head jump joe and went for six weeks with the clothes on my back and a toothbrush! Good dit though

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  14. hysterical!!! sounds like Kellie deserves the Skivvy medal.

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  15. At first, I thought this was going to be a post about "that time of the month". Not sure if I should be relieved or disappointed that it was only about your underwear. Either way, it was still funny!

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    1. I could write a post on that topic, but Kellie would kill me.

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  16. Sharing this one with my Captain. Too too funny! And happens oh so often around my neck of the woods!

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  17. Ha, ha, ha!! That was hysterical and the ending totally made it! :)

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  18. Awesome. I loved this story and I loved the way you wrapped it all up!

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  19. They don't have little shops aboard nuclear subs that purvey items such as razors, deodorant and boxers? Such a pity. Need to drop the Joint Chiefs of Staff on that national emergency immediately.

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    1. Little shops on submarines? That's precious; they're usually right next to the screen door.

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  20. Too funny!! I could picture the whole thing!

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  21. And that...is THE most important lesson you will ever learn. I am SO glad you now have a clear understanding. LOL this was hilarious!

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  22. You expertly wove this tale. Hilarious! And you killed with this closing line: "The most powerful people on Earth are not the men who control the nuclear weapons, it’s the women who control their underwear." Amen brother. Ellen

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  23. Oh holy cow!! It sounds like she relished the idea of one of the most important men in the world needing to rely on her :D

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  24. Oh this is awesome! But I have to say, I would have done the same thing!

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  25. Haha! So funny! I love how you tied it in with the super-duper seriousness of missiles and Commodores.

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  26. That is like the funniest post ever. I love it!!!

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  27. OH MY GOD somehow I skipped this post and I swore I read them all!! Fantastic. Hilarious! Great great storyr.

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  28. Ahahaha...talk about keeping your ego in check. I love how your wife persisted even though you would have been perfectly content for her to just turn around and force you to go commando for two months on a nuke sub.

    And as far as you being a submarine captain, I have two things to say:

    1. Awesome!
    2. Thanks you for your service, sir!

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    Replies
    1. 1. Yes, it was awesome.
      2. Thank you.

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  29. My husband is asking me why I am laughing but I am laughing too much to tell him. Thanks for the good laugh Joe.

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  30. Men can't find anything. Why is that? Where are my socks? They ask, holding their socks.

    Nice job!!

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  31. Awesome story! I loved it. Laugh out loud, and you are a great guy for telling it.

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  32. Great story! It's good to know what really inspires the leaders of our country! And as an Ohio native, it's good to know that the most important ship in the country was named for my home state.

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  33. Kellie rules the world. She is TOO PERFECT.

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  34. I wish you would email this to my 77 year old mom who laughed as I retold this story badly. My dad was CO of USS Sunfish (SSN649) and I am a retired submariner too so we all all understand the reality, horror and humor of this story.

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