Sea Stories

What's This Dirt?

QM3(SS) Justin Miller

Of course, QMs are responsible for keeping their area clean, and that includes the brass funnel just behind the QM stand on a 688i. Being the expert on polishing on the sub, our funnel was especially bright. If I remember correctly, the funnel is to catch sea water that drains from between a couple of ventilation valves in Control (VH-9 and VH-10, maybe?).

Anyway, I used to dip Copenhagen on the midwatch, which everyone knows is a no-no in the Control Room. I would spit in the funnel and be especially careful to spit inside and not tarnish the outside appearance. One evening on the midwatch, the Nav (for whom I didn't care much as he was not the sharpest tool in the shed) was inspecting our space while standing Officer of the Deck, looking for something to complain about. He walks over to my spittoon funnel and looks inside. He looks back at me with this expression as though he had just found a pot of gold and said, "AH-HA!" Then he takes his finger, rubs it around inside to funnel to get a big wet fingerful of my fresh Copenhagan spit, sticks it up to his nose and sniffs it. Then he said, "What's this, dirt?" I just minded my plot, pretending to check my DR, so I wouldn't bust out laughing, and said, "Looks like worm dirt to me." He told me to make sure the inside was cleaned out, but never caught on to what it was.

This Nav was asked once by one of the inspectors during a Nav Eval what position uncertainty was centered around, and couldn't answer. He turned to me and said "That's a good question, Petty Officer Miller, what is it centered around?" The inspector just looked at him in disbelief that he had passed that one off when it was intended for him.

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