Thursday, June 18, 2020

Shock of Impact

Naval Station Great Lakes, 1976.  The temporary home of almost all United States Navy sailors at one time or another.  The training center is huge.  From boot camp on one side of the base to advanced training in engineering and electronics on the other.

I was filtering my way through Great Lakes taking Basic Electricity and Electronics (part II) and was assigned to the 200 Barracks.  At the time, the 200 Barracks was the oldest barracks on the base.  I'll describe it for the benefit of other branches, and the younger sailors, as I don't think it exists anymore.  Designed in WWII, they were made out of cinder blocks, with an "Open Bay" architecture.  This meant 4 men to a bay that had no doors.  And one common bathroom per floor.  There was next to no privacy.  It was where the fresh out of boot camp personnel were assigned until they proved worthy to be promoted to their "A" schools, for technical training.  Then they would be assigned to one of the more modern barracks, 300, 400, 500 or 600.  

This may sound awful, but since we all just got out of boot camp, with 80 men to a room, it was actually a step up in the world.

Command building, built in 1906
I lived on the third floor.  One night, after taking an after midnight pee, I observed a late to bed, staggering, and obviously very drunk squid stumbling down the hallway.  He paused next to the water fountain, and passed out.  Slamming his head on the fountain with a resounding crash.  I started to run to his aid, when he got up, and staggered down the hall, where I lost him in the darkness.  

"Well, if he can do that, he must be all right", I thought.

The next morning, I went to get a drink, and saw from the paint lines, that the fountain had moved 4 full inches downward.  It was amazing he walked away for that!

A week goes by, and I was standing the barracks watch, which involved roving around the floors and reporting to the front desk every now and then.  

The second floor fountain had also moved downward, 4 full inches.

My first thought was, "Oh my god, he must have fell on this one too!" 

The second thought was a bit more rational, and I confirmed it a minute later on the first floor.

4 inches.  Yes he moved the plumbing in whole building with his head.


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