I’m not really sure where to start telling this story, perhaps in writin what i just did, I have begun. I cannot say that I did not enjoy my time in the Navy, for the most part, when you overlooked the part fo the scene that you are responsible, directly, indirectly, will god care, for the deaths of many thousands of people, you are part of a big organic, mechanical Floating City of Doom.
I joined the ranks of the disparaged, downtrodden and unfortunate souls right out of highschool, my Suzuki Katana and alcoholic binges had done nothing to get me the grades I needed to continue my life of drunken revelry with the other lushes in Uni or even city college.
So there i was, raising my right hand swearing allegiance to the machine, My name is Chris Bornstein and I hereby do Solemnly swear to be or better yet, I vow to be another brick in the wall.
So I did it. Went on to Navy Intelligence, did very well in my studies and was placed onboard the USS Independence, an aircraft acrrier staioned in Yokosuka, Japan.
It was an old one, commisioned in 1959, the last of it’s kind as it ran on Dinosuar bones and not Nuclear…
Long Story short, I was chosen to learn to be a fire investigator for our general quarters drills, these are when you get the whole ship to play “We’re fucked” and pretend rescuing people, putting out fires, etc etc etc.
I looked into a relatively non-descript room, expecting nothing, actually opening a door for the sake of doing the movement, imagine my suprise when I came upon three, very large, very shiny, stainless steel refrigerators. in my memory, they are so epic in size, the mist of a cold object slowly pouring down and off them.
That part wasnt real.
I opened one fo the fridges and was met with row upon row of neatly lined up boxes of Philadelphia Cream Cheese, now, for me, this was byond a shock for many reasons, one of which was, why is this here, and why does someone have access to condiments when we barely even get decent food to eat, I even turned to the other guys and made a joke about this must be where the money for our food is going.
The I put it back and closed the door, didnt even think about it again….
Oh boy, and to think, unbeknownst to me, shit was just getting warmed up, and in a very major way!
The next day i was informed that my faux paux (feel free to help me with the spelling) had been of such enormity and magnitude that the chain of command had NO CHOICE, but to send me to Captains Mast.
Now, you need an education really quickly to understand and make Civilian the magnitude of what i am writing.
The Captain is the Numero Uno for this ship. This ship had 5,700 plus or minus people at any given time, from 80-90 jets and support craft at any given time and enough armaments to topple a sea board, you need only pick your coast and country and say, “Go”.
It takes, between 1-1.9 million to run my aircraft carrier on a given day. Given all of this, we NOW see the Captain as a person who is in charge of a 650 million dollar per year floating city of death and doom, and this is a number which has been rounded down, far down, afterall, its the US Gov’t…. right=)
I went through the entire bureaucracy, from the most impish of morons to the very top, I fond myself standing before the man who, if he decided he lost his cookies, could do such a horror to the planet that one would wonder why the following would ever come out of his mouth, and that it has come out of his mouth, i can only say that I am honored I was there to see the ABSOLUTE rock bottom of our what our country thinks it stands for, I am here to tell you country, you are very lost with these keepers at your gates.
“Petty Officer Bornstein, Do you know why you are here before m on this day…?”
I am being asked this at a full on Cort at Sea in front of the Captain of a billion dollar a year corporation responsible for doling out doom and woe to any who do not live or look like us here in the States…
“You are here for..”, This part Kills me dead to my funny bone…, “You are here, for CONSPIRACY, to STEAK, ONE BLACK, Philadelphia Brand CREAM CHEESE.”
The slince that followed this statement left quite a mark on ym memory, I remember looking at the faces of everyone present, remember, these are soldiers, nothing enlightened here, so the eyes of everyone were telling me so many stories, even dick and head, the two guys who were watching me, standing a foot from me with M-16’s at the ready should I decide to bring down the Captain of the Good ship Lollipop, all of their eyes told me things. Some thought it was a sham, others felt justice was being divinely served, others felt a little more of their own lives, no, not even their lives, what is left of their soul, slip ever so slightly a little further, just beyond their reach.
I did not know what to expect from this man, whom, in my mind, was crazy at this point, For the chain of command to do this, to anyone, shows such a sever lack of, I don’t even know, All I know is a few things happened when this man asked me if I was going to re-enlist:
A. Peace was the only way, the armed forces of the USA were lost to leadership so far gone from reality that the nightmare we live in all of a sudden made sense, these people weren’t dealing with reality anymore, they had become separated from the truth.
B. I had sold, for the last time, a piece of my life to men who are fools.
C. I would never vote again. It no longer mattered who ran the country as long as this was the primary mode it would be carried out.
I ended up serving 30 dasy restriction on the boat doing a dress uniform inspection every 2 hours of a different uniform.
The restriction only counted while in port, if we were out to see, the clock stopped, we rarely hit port, this was time that i felt the loss of.
I was fined 300 dollars and given a suspended restriction in rank.
To this day, should I actually be able to remember these men responsible for bending me over so nicely, I may have a spontaneous hallelujah moment and go to my dark place.
That is an honest story of 3 months of my life in Yokosuka Japan onboard the USS Independence. This is not a situation relegated to me, this is a common thing. This is what your tax money goes to.
One last note….. I got in a lot of trouble with this and had to do menial chores, clean showers and shitters with toothbrushes, good Navy stuff…
You know what I found regularly when i threw out the trash in the pilots cabins……….
LOTS OF PLASTIC ALCOHOL BOTTLES. Apparently the pure oxygen of the gas mask helps with hangovers, on our non-drinking, no tolerance for dinking ship…….
“In the Navy…!”