Damage control

As an HT, I am usually on a fire party for emergencies.  I am already not afraid of heat or smoke as witnessed by my choice to make a living using heat and fire to build stuff.  As a young HTFN, I got to experience my first real General Quarters(Battle Station) and mass conflag all at once.  At the time, mass conflag was not as exacly defined as today.  The Cole had not yet been bombed.  I was assigned to mess cranking duties on the cruiser, and the generator dropped the load.  We were already trying to evade a typhoon.  The Engineering Officer of the Watch(EOOW) came over the 1MC announcing system(a big PA) and informed us that we had lost power.  A second announcement very shortly after stated the reason- a Class Bravo(flammable liqud) fire in the forward engine room.  Off go the gongs.  Off go all hands to their assigned stations.  Mine was the aft repair locker.  We were the relief hoseteam for the engineering hose team.  Everybody is generally crapping bricks.  As things progress, one guy manages to slam his hand in a fitting closing it.  Our back up generator spikes, and causes an electrical fire in the associated switchboard.  Yes, two fires for the price of one!  Our newest electrical powered phones(IVCS), were now officially useless.  I had been told when I asked, “It is highly improbable that we will lose forward and aft electricity all at once.”  The brand new nugget of a Damage Control Assistant was on the ball.  “Loss of comms.  Reestablish via soundpowered circuit 2JZ.”  Sound powered phones require no electricity whatsoever.  Very much akin to two tin cans on a string.  Our nugget of a locker officer, wasn’t sure where it was, or how to use it.  We managed to unf*&%$ ourselves and get both fires out.  A lot of training later ensued on using basic communication equipment.  Apparently, our nugget wasn’t the only one confused.  As we were given the all clear, the bells started ringing for the Flying Squad, which is the rapid response emergency party.  We thought it was a mistake.  Not so.  This is a good place to reiterate that every single drainage valve and fitting is closed during General Quarters.  A chopper pilot decided that the lack of shower traffic during this emergency meant he could shower.  He opened the deck drain.  As he showered, the water hit the next closed valve, and came back up the way it went in.  This caused the “JO Jungle” set of staterooms, and the Warrant Officer staterooms, to be flooded to about one half inch deep.  By the way, DO NOT PISS OFF A WARRANT OFFICER is in the top five of things not to do in the Navy.  That poor pilot wished he would have paid more attention in Damage Control Familiarization training.  There you have it.  Two fires, one personnel injury, and a flooded space, all while evading a typhoon.  Adventure indeed.

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