Fool Overboard!

This short story involves an incident that happened on the USS Chicago (CG-11) during a Westpac cruise in 1977. We were practicing a man overboard drill somewhere at sea. They had thrown over a bunch of milk carton bladders full of air tied together to retrieve from the motor whale boats.

The operation was going off without a hitch when some genius apparently decided it lacked the realism necessary for such a drill. Before anybody knew it this idiot threw himself over the side and began a graceful backstroke away from the ship. When he was spotted, a line was shot his way with a life ring attached. The ring was soon untethered from the line thus allowing the floater a better, more comfortable view of the operation as it progressed.

Finally, realizing the man overboard had no intention of coming aboard on his own a boat was dispatched and after some maneuvering the jumper was fished out of the water. Once on ship, met by the Master of Arms he was quickly hand cuffed and escorted away. As the genius was about to be taken below decks he made a break for it, handcuffs and all, clearing the rail with no problem and back in the drink he was. Soon he was back aboard and this time more securely guided below decks.

The final retribution for his enthusiasm escapes my recollection but the incident sure made an exciting afternoon of the whole affair.

Robert L. Clark,

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