Target Practice



“Keep your head down! They’re gonna fire the shot line any second now!”

On a beautiful day for an UNREP, I was on the bridge when the announcement was made. So was our XO, a great officer who insisted on strict adherence to procedures. We ducked down behind the bridge wing and waited. The XO kept a keen eye out to make sure no one stuck his head up too early. “Get down!” “Wait for the shot,” he shouted.

Then, BANG! The shot had hit the bridge wing, and fell back into the sea. “You’d think they were aiming at us,” the XO said with a little chuckle.


“STAND BY FOR SHOT LINES FORWARD!” Try again. We all crouched back down, the XO continuing to keep his eye open for any early risers, and waited.

Nothing. We waited some more.

Eventually, while reproaching us to keep our heads down, the XO cautiously peeked over the bridge wing and…


“BANG!” The XO went down like a mallard in hunting season. Laying near him, incriminatingly, was a pile of orange shot line. “They shot the XO!” For a few seconds, the bridge looked like Tokyo during a Godzilla temper tantrum.

We liked our XO, and it took a lot of discipline to continue the UNREP while he was being carried down to sick bay. But we did, and when it was over, the XO emerged undaunted, albeit with a bandage over his eye. He had to wear an eye patch for awhile (I think he kept it on a little longer than necessary – it was a good look), but recovered fully.

So if you ever get a chance to see an UNREP, do it – you’ll thrill at the experience of it all. Just remember to duck.


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