I received this classic story from BM1 (ret) Brian Walls. I enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d share it (he said it was OK).
When I was a young Sailor, I once went on leave, and having a great time didn’t want to go back once it was over. So, like the brilliant Boatswain Mate I was, I decided to ahh, “extend” my own leave.
Soooo, while I was gone, the ship had moved up its schedule, and gone down to West Palm Beach, Florida for some R and R before deploying to the Middle East (unbeknownst to me). So on top of being u/a I had missed ship’s movement as well. Upon my return, I was of course flabbergasted at this turn of events. So I checked myself in to the OOD at Navsta Norfolk. I told them I had forgotten my leave papers at home and to my surprise (at least that much was true), the ship was gone when I returned! So they checked me in, and for the next few days I was assigned mundane tasks and given liberty about noon everyday (beat the hell out of what I would have received had I been more forthwith).
Anyway, at my subsequent Captain’s Mast, as I stood before the CO while he reviewed my service jacket, he asked me why I had been u/a. He was still looking at my service jacket as he asked me this question, and not at me. Standing at full attention and staring straight ahead, I replied:
“Because sir, I was having a good time and didn’t want to come back.”
At this point, he raised his eyes over his horn rimmed glasses that sat on the end of his nose, and looked at me for the first time. Now as you know, when you stand Captain’s Mast your Division Officer, CPO, Master at Arms, and others are standing on the bridge with you. They were all trying not to laugh, and taking note of this, the Captain replied: “Despite some here, I am not amused.” (I really wasn’t trying to be funny, just truthful.) As I was told long before, that would be my best line of defense should I ever find myself at mast (it was my first time).
In the end he did go easy on me, considering my offences. 1/2 months pay for 1 month, 30/30, no bust. It’s funny now, but it wasn’t then.
After 20 years in the Navy, I got a million stories. Maybe that’s why I never made Chief… Keep up the good work, you bring a smile to a lot of weary Sailors.
So do you, Boats. Thanks for the great story!