Guest Blogging

By Lex, on Mon – February 14, 2005

From a frequent correspondent, and former Navy Sailor, I bring you:


In 1994 I reported for duty to the USS Guam (LPH-9). A venerable old ship to be sure, she had seen many things in her years. From recovering spacecraft to the re-enactment of D-Day and the support of Operation Restore Hope in Somalia (remember BlackHawk Down?). She was also not a small ship. She was designed as a sort of “mini-carrier” for Helicopters and Harriers, and a launching platform for what the Marines call “Verticle Envelopement”. Smaller than the newer LHA’s and LHD’s but still large enough to be the flagship of the Amphibious Readiness Group (ARG).

I arrived just after she returned from a Med Cruise, and was there for only a short bit of workups before she was sent upriver to Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a much needed Maintenance Availability. Most of my time was spent getting qualified for this and that. Most importantly were the qualifications as a watch stander in my shop, on the Quarterdeck, and for Damage Control. I had finished my basic DC qualifications in less than a month (they gave me 3 months, so I was a little proud of myself), when we put the ship up in drydock.

Ever seen a ship in drydock? I hadn’t, and I still can’t believe the size of the screw (prop) on our ship. But with the ship on a floating dock, and the entire hull dry, we did get a good look at what years of sea service will do to a ship.

One afternoon, while I was still on duty, the strangest call went out over the 1MC. “Flooding, flooding, flooding. Flooding in 07tac……”. At about that point I was thoroughly confused. See compartments have Frame Numbers. Frame numbers tell you where on the ship you are, and they do it very succinctly. The first number is where you are from top to bottom, the waterline usually being the starting point. Everything down from there is a “deck” and is numbered 1, 2, 3, and so on. Up from the waterline, everything is a “level” and is numbered 02, 03, 04 etc.

Didn’t lose anyone did I?

So, we had flooding……. 7 decks..pardon, levels, above the waterline………while in a drydock……….with the keel dry.

AHH, I do so miss my days in the Navy.

Turns out a valve was left open when the Firemain was recharged causing 150 gpm to gush out onto the passageway in front of the Captains at sea cabin.

Yeah……good times.

And a great sea dry dock story, thanks Alen!

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