Ship's Laundry vs. the Commanding Officer and Admiral

If you've ever felt you were picked on by the ship's laundry or had button pieces accelerated through your clothes by the button particle cannon, fear not. You were not alone.

During CHICAGO's last WESTPAC cruise in 1979, the ship's laundry, in league with the CO's Mess Management Specialist (MS), accepted the challenge of finding new things to do to clothes and made the CO's and the Admiral's laundry ground zero for its tests.

During our first port visits, CAPT Lewis picked up some newly tailored khakis and blues. It wasn't too long before the khakis were sent to the laundry for washing and "special handling." The results of the first washing were amazing. The khakis - shirts and pants -sported "silver dollar" size splotches of pink. Nothing in that particular wash load was affected - only the Captain's new khakis were decorated with this new camouflage pattern. Nobody could ever determine exactly how the Laundrymen had accomplished this feat.

A month or so later, the Captain's MS, was not to be outdone by the Laundrymen's sole efforts and achievement. Somehow believing that a dry-cleaning plant had been magically installed in the laundry while we were at sea, he included the CO's newly tailored woolen slacks with the wash. Now, Captain Lewis would not have been called a very tall man; but, he certainly was a lot taller than the 23-inch inseam of his newly washed and pressed trousers would have suggested.

Lending credence to the saying that "bad things come in threes", the Laundrymen now focused their attention on the Admiral's whites. While in Pusan, Korea, they somehow ended up getting a press-on Second Class crow on his white shirt. The Ship's Service Officer and his leading Chief commandeered the Captain's gig for a quick trip to the USS RANGER where they bought another pair of whites and effectively "dodged the bullet."

Jan H. Carstanjen

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