Posted by lex, on November 15th, 2011
The Chief of Naval Education and Training has a new challenge aboard the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier – toilet training:
It may seem like a trivial inconvenience in the scheme of things, but it’s become routine enough that some sailors aboard the Norfolk-based aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush say it’s affecting their morale, their health and their job performance: Since the ship left for its maiden combat deployment in May, its toilet system has suffered outages so frequently that crew members sometimes can’t find a single working commode.
Over the weekend, the mother of one Bush sailor became so upset by her son’s repeated reports of widespread toilet outages that she blasted a news release about it to reporters across the country.
“The sailors aboard the USS George H.W. Bush have already endured nearly six months with an unhealthy ‘inconvenience’ that most civilians would not tolerate for six hours,” Mary Brotherton wrote. “The taxpayers are outraged over the living conditions of the men and women onboard.”
In written responses to questions from The Virginian-Pilot, the Navy command that oversees Atlantic-based aircraft carriers said the majority of the outages – and those that usually take the longest to repair – have been caused by sailors flushing “inappropriate material or items” down the ship’s toilets.
The Bush has experienced toilet breakdowns since it was commissioned two years ago, the Navy said, but the service does not view the issue as a construction flaw.
“When used properly, the system works as designed,” the Navy said. “Ongoing education is a key part of the solution, ensuring that all hands understand the appropriate use of the system.”
The Navy’s statement said sailors have spent more than 10,000 hours maintaining the vacuum system since the Bush left Norfolk – the equivalent of 10 sailors spending 40 hours a week doing nothing but working on the toilets for the entire deployment.
One more job I wouldn’t want.
“No man will be a sailor who has contrivance enough to get himself into jail; for being in a ship is being in a jail, with the chance of being drowned.” — Dr. Samuel Johnson