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I Kept I Out Of The Water, Gunny!


Subdeacon Joe

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When I was a kid the few times my Dad took me shooting he said “Do not drop it!” in a very stern voice and uttered some colorful explanations as to what might happen if I did when I was handling firearms. He was a Marine. 
 

Years later we were in rough seas and had to recover a drone. “Away the motor whale boat!”. I was the Duty Gunner’s Mate assigned the motor whale boat during flight quarters and rescue operations, including rescuing drones. 
We had 15’ waves with 20’ swells.

I carried an M14 to ward off sharks when divers were in the water. 
We launched and retrieved the drone. 
When they tried to bring the motor whale boat back aboard things got interesting. The swells made it a dangerous ballet to get the lines from the davits secured and keep the lines and everything from getting tangled as well as keeping slacks so as not to rip the davits from their mounts should the full weight of the whale boat dropping in a swell shock them loose. At some point the boat came up almost even with the main deck then the boat dropped. I got my leg tangled in a monkey line and the next thing I know I am hanging upside down looking at the engine cover of the motor whale boat 20’ below me. The ocean swelled, the boat started to rise and at the same time I became untangled and fell. I met the motor whale boat engine cover half way and everything went black. 
 

I came to sitting on the main deck with a Corpsman hovering over me. I looked up and saw my Chief, my Division Officer and some of my mates. They were all smiling at me and the Chief was saying “Now that man is a Gunner’s Mate. He never let go of the rifle, even now.”

He was trying to remove the rifle from the death grip I had on it. 
I looked and across my chest was “my” M14 and my knuckles were white from gripping it. I say “my M14” because that day it became mine, until I left the ship. :D

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