Sea Stories

Painting the E's

QM2(SW) Christy Judd

On my last ship, an LSD, we QMs were in charge of painting the Battle E's. They were located just below the bridgewing on the side of the ship.

One Friday afternoon we were notified that we had to paint a red E ASAP. We got the homemade stencil out and brought up the red paint from the paint locker, ready to knock it out so we could get a head start on our weekend. As we were reluctantly getting the boatswain's chair ready, one of the QM3s mentioned that she had duty and could get one of the seamen from deck to help her, and she could use the man lift, so we could all go home. Excellent! Now we had to ask our QMC if the plan sounded good. He agreed, a bit cautiously, but we were happily sent home.

Being the LPO, I stayed behind to make sure she got the help she hoped for from deck. As I walked off the pier, watching her being raised in the man lift, I yelled up to be careful. If I had only known what I would see on Monday, I would've stayed behind!

Monday morning as I rounded the corner to the pier, I saw the captain's gig, which had just been completely overhauled and freshly painted, covered in red paint! I stopped, frozen to the pier, mortified. I was afraid to look up. As I lifted my head, my heart dropped and my stomach tightened. From the bridgewing to the captain's gig below was a huge line of red paint! I quickly went to the ship, and was met by the wrathful eyes of the OOD, who happened to be a BM1.

My QM3 spent the next two weeks restoring the captain's gig, and I stayed behind for all painting of the battle E's from then on. We all get a big laugh from it now, but then....I couldn't look a BM in the eye for weeks!

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