HOW I GOT MY SEA LEGS

By Charles Eaton

I received official orders from Naval Personnel Center in Norfolk, VA to report to the Commanding Officer, USS Constant (MSO-427) home-ported in Long Beach, CA.  I arrived in Long Beach during February, 1963 and the ship was deployed at sea, so I reported to ComMinRon9 for a few days of TDY while the ship was on the way back to Pier 9.

After reporting aboard and meeting the crew and Captain Murline, I was assigned to the radio shack where I was an RM3 working for the leading Radioman, Mike Ash.  Those days are very vivid in my memory.

I also vividly remember my first time underway on the Constant.  We were heading to Portland, Oregon via the Columbia and Willamette Rivers for a port call during the Rose Festival.  The word came from the bridge to make ready for sea, set the special sea and anchor detail and prepare to get underway.

Capt. Murline gave the order to cast off all lines and we were finally free of our bonds to the pier and at the mercy of the Mighty Pacific.  We left Long Beach and no sooner had we passed the breakwater in the harbor, than I felt this strange sensation deep in the pit of my stomach.  I was finally at sea on a small wooden vessel and I was getting seasick.

Our voyage north only lasted a couple of days before we entered the mouth of the Columbia River but I was terribly sick the whole time.  After we entered the river the water was much calmer and I finally started to recover from my "Mal-de-Mer".

Mike Ash, being the good supervisor that he was, could tell I was hungry from not eating much the past two days and surviving mostly on saltine crackers and water.  He went to the galley and brought me some good old greasy pork chops to eat.  As soon as I saw the pork chops, he said he could see my eyes open wide and I was sick all over again.

That was the time I got my "sea-legs" and I was never seasick again.

 

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