the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Archive for the tag “Navy”

Book Review – War Ship by Charles D. Taylor

Cheap cut n paste image used as ship...

Well it certainly had a plot – the most powerful vessel in the UN Navy, the Aegis-class destroyer, USS Gettysburg, is ‘hijacked’ by the Vietnamese Navy and interred in Russia’s Pacific Fleet Base. Unlikely? Probably, but nevertheless a gripping novel of the Cold War era.

When a failed attempt by Russian ‘moles’ onboard are caught stealing the secrets of Aegis (a defense computer/system, which is real) a gun fight breaks out off the coast of Vietnam and the shipped is forced into enemy hands, which surprisingly has the Russians concerned, especially as a plane circles off the coast with a nuclear-armed missile to wipe out the base, ship, and it’s crew should the system be compromised.

But one last-ditch effort is allowed by the SEALs led by a guy who is the best, as the book’s characters would have you believe.

The book is a great read, and will be entertaining without needing an intimate knowledge of Cold War history nor naval terminology, although the more you are aware the more flowing the reading comes. And as ex-navy, I loved the whole cloak-and-dagger stuff of the Cold War, and the portrayed coldness of Russians.

But as is so often the case, the book failed in allowing a love story to take place. Why? It had no relevance and just dragged out a painstaking ritual of American authors to have some moral/romantic aspect thrown in…can’t make sense of it.

This aside, I would recommend the book as a bedside table read and while the ending seemed to be played out in double-quick time and leaving you somewhat anti-climatic (was the author required to finish within a number of pages?) it would be one of the better novels I have read on the era/subject, let’s just hope it isn’t turned into a movie with Steven Seagal starring in it (ala Under Siege).


All In a Day’s Work…

Actual shot taken of me that day...

There I was, a used car salesman…at the time there was probably not many professions considered more untrustworthy at the time, but I was good, and my customers did love me and I made money…I had been about a year out of the Navy and still went out with a lot of my old sea-faring mates when the opportunity rose, and this time was no different. I can’t be sure, but I think it was HMNZS Canterbury (F421) that came back into Auckland from a long deployment overseas, and me and my (then) fiancée had some friends on board and went out with them to drink their return. For those who know/remember the scene in the early ’90s, we spent the whole night at The Waterfront down near the viaduct basin. And when I say whole night, I mean it…at one point I was ordering coffees instead of drinks and was falling asleep on the table and when D woke me up we decided that she was in a better state than I and she drove us home. It wasn’t that I was legless, I was so feckin’ tired! I was drunk, I’ll admit to that, but it was the fatigue that got me. Read more…

In The Navy…The Captain’s Chair

If only the Captain's Chair was this comfy!

There is no more sacred place on a warship than the seat on the bridge where the Captain sits on watch…this is generally off-limits to anyone and everyone else unless by invite (as my ‘little brother’ was). Sometimes on night watches when I was on the bridge as Assistant Officer of the Watch (AOOW) and required to maintain visual from the front of the bridge, the officer of the Watch (OOW) used to sit in it giving off the impression he had seniority to do so…lazy pricks…you should have seen them jump on those occasions the Captain did pop up to the bridge unexpected!

Anyway this story is leading somewhere… Read more…

In the Navy – my first…well how do I say this?

Irony; cannot use plastic.

Now that I’ve got your attention, it’s not quite as it sounds…well, sort of.

For those who follow my writings my last naval entry surrounded the pissing incident by my mate at a formal dinner. Well remember how I mentioned he then he ended up in a disciplinary court and lost leave on our pending trip to Asia…right, this is that trip. It was that afternoon after this that we were bundled onto a plane bound for Hong Kong to join up with HMNZ Ships Wellington (F69) and (for the girls) Endeavour (A11) – but first a night’s stopover in Singapore. Read more…

When you gotta go, you just gotta go!

Hang on, there's still beer in that glass!

The recent carry-on with CDR Butcher in the RNZN after a few drinks reminded me of many (read multiple, millions, heaps, shitload) of stories involving incidents on the plonk from when I was in the navy. But if Butcher was lucky to get away with his misdemeanour (although losing command is huge), then my mate Trent was bloody lucky with the punishment dished out with the following incident…

It was during my first year and while still training at Officer Training School (OTS). Every year there was a sports tournament between the three branches (Air Force, Army, Navy) whose participation was limited to Junior Officers which for us included 1st and 2nd Year Midshipmen and Ensigns. It is rotated around the various training schools and in ’91 it was the navy’s turn to host.
Read more…

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