On the Line 3.4

by Steve on November 19, 2007

Back to 3.3

Ted reluctantly woke up and lay in his rack listening to the sounds of the ship. His roommate was softly snoring in the bunk below. Checking his watch, Ted decided he might as well get up. His growling stomach reminded him that he had missed dinner the night before. He slid down from his bunk and quietly collected his shower gear in the darkness of the narrow room. On his way to the door he snatched his towel from the overhead steam pipe. Temporarily blinded by the brightness of the passageway, he made his way to the nearest officers’ head. He stepped into the shower wondering if he was about to be scalded or frozen.

The impossibly small size of the shower stalls was by design both for space saving considerations and to keep the occupant from falling if the ship was rocking. Dropping anything within the small space presented a real problem: retrieving the object without pressing bare skin against cold steel was impossible. With a crew of approximately five thousand sailors, the Reagan had to conserve resources wherever possible including water. A regulation navy shower did not allow for constant running water. The valve had to be held open – as soon as it was released, water flow ceased. Hold it open to wet down, soap up, hold it open again to rinse off. Done. Ted got out, toweled off and shaved. Clean but still not really awake, he headed back to his room. His roommate was still snoring and since their schedules were usually polar opposites Ted did his best to get dressed quietly. He pulled on a flight suit and his boots and headed for the dining area frequented by the aviators who referred to it as the Dirty-Shirt Wardroom. The main wardroom down in officer’s country was usually the domain of the ship’s officers, black-shoes as the aviators called them, and much more formal. You had to be in the proper uniform and adhere to more civilized traditions of decorum, etiquette, and manners. The dirty-shirt was closer, easier, and less stressful.

Ted filled a plate with a hearty breakfast of bacon, eggs, hash-browns, and a biscuit. Not seeing any of his squadron present, he dropped into a chair next to some of the guys from the Red Rippers. After the usual round of early morning ribbing he dove into his plate. About halfway through the pile of eggs he looked up to see Cheryl walk in. She grabbed a donut, banana, and coffee to start with and sat down across from Ted.

“Morning Flash.”


“Ah, a morning person I see,” she teased.

“Hey Sis, just don’t get your hands near his mouth. He might mistake your fingers for little sausages,” jabbed one of the fighter pilots as they rose to leave.

Even though she had only been on board Reagan for a few days she was already somewhat of a celebrity. Out of all the squadrons on the ship there were only seven female aviators. That fact plus her early reputation for being a skilled stick around the boat guaranteed her acceptance into the fraternity. She also knew several of the pilots from flight training. Ted finished his plate and leaned back in his chair feeling much better having satisfied his stomach. He wondered if Susan had been accepted as easily as Cheryl. Shake it off buddy you’ve got a mission to fly.

“Have you looked at the schedule yet?” He asked.

“Yeah, looks like we start flying surveillance missions over northern Iraq today. We’re on for eleven hundred.”

“Great. We’ll miss lunch. We’d better swing back through here on our way up and stick some groceries in our helmet bags. What’s the mission?”

“Mainly just monitor the ESM system and see what radars they’ve got up plus check a couple of the old SAM sites to see if they’re rebuilding. We’ve got a couple of Tomcats for escort in case someone decides to come up and play.”

“Don’t get too pumped up. It sounds more exciting than it actually is. I spent months last cruise on these missions. Got really boring. Who do we have in the fighters?”

“I’m not sure. Guess we’ll find out at the briefing.”


{ 1 comment }

ManlyDad November 19, 2007 at 21:09

Ahh. Thanks. Was going to comment (complain) about the very short 3.3, but you did it for me.

Feel much better now. You’re doin good. Keep at it.

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