Electronic Magic

We were sitting around the Forward ET Shop, our feet up on the work benches, telling jokes and trying to figure out new ways to torture the Chief, when the phone rang. It was RM1 Zamora in Main Comm, and he was frantic. They were minutes away from the start of an important communications drill when suddenly a whole bank of radio equipment failed! I was the junior ET3 of the group, so the shop supervisor told me to go see what was up.

With a screwdriver and a few spare fuses in my pocket, I took off. At the door on the ‘O6 I punched in the combination and entered…pandemonium. There were RMs and Zeros bustling about, teletype printers banging away and facsimile machines zipping their pens to and fro. This was normal of course, Main Comm was always pandemonium. I worked my way into the back and among the di-dah’s of Morse and the bleeps of Baudot I found RM1 Zamora.

Zamora spotted me and, without removing the telephone from his ear, pointed towards the wall of radio receivers and RTTY demodulators. "Fix it" he commanded. "OK" I said, and strolled over to the indicated equipment. Sure enough an entire column of equipment, floor to ceiling (oops, I mean deck to overhead), was dead. Well this was a no-brainer for a budding young rocket-scientist like me! I looked down at the air-filter panel on the bottom of the rack and noticed the master switch was turned off. Kicked off, I speculated, by a clumsy RM3.

I decided to have some fun, so I waited until I was sure Zamora was watching. I slowly walked up to the equipment, laid the palms of my hands gently on its face, leaned my head back, closed my eyes and loudly wailed,


And I kicked the main switch back on with my toe. Varrrrrooommmm, the fans started blowing, panels lit up, lights started flashing, needles started swinging against their meter faces -- and Zamora’s jaw dropped. He’d been had. He knew he’d been had, but he couldn’t see how. I quickly slipped out, an insufferably smug look on my face, before he could figure out what I did.

Later, I got the standard lecture from ET1 Candage, about how I should not intentionally embarrass first class petty officers. But I was too young to pay much heed.

Ah, we mock the thing we are to be!

Joe DiPietro

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