Sea Stories

Mail Buoy

Richard (Rick) Neault

Here's one for ya. When I was on the Bonefish (SS-582) back around 1987, we had this newbie that was real nosy about where we were at all times. One day he comes up to me and starts looking at my chart. He sees this buoy and asks me what it was. It was one of those NOAA buoys out in the middle of the Atlantic. While laying our track, we had named the buoy MB for some reason. I was kind of tired of his pestering, so I told him it was a mail buoy.

He didn't believe me at first, but I was able to convince him after the other QMs got into the game. We told him that we were going to be stopping there to pick up the mail in a few days. He eagerly volunteered himself to be the one to suit up and retrieve the mail.

When the time came to "retrieve the mail" I told him he had to suit up with the whole outfit: you know, the cold weather suit, life jacket, safety harness and boat hook. We let him goof around for over an hour trying to get all of that crap on. He was finally all ready to go when I showed up in the crews mess with my camera. We took a couple of snapshots and then broke the news to him.

I don't know what ever happened to those pictures, but that kid caught a ration of crap over that until he finally earned his dolphins. Those were definitely the good old days.

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