An Alcholic Captain

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Marshall Ralph Doak Chief Pharmacist's Mate United States Navy

Alcoholic Captain
Captain Gun

About this same time Captain Lee was transferred and I got my orders to go back to the states. I couldn't leave till I got my relief on board. Once he was on the ship, I could turn all my records over and go back. Captain Lee left and he was relieved by another old red-faced Mustang by the name of Aubrey H. Gunn. He was an alcoholic and our problems began when he came aboard. He was a different class of individual. He didn't like Mr. Turak, and never called him by name. Mr. Turak was Jewish and Captain Gunn always referred to him as "Christ Killer" or "Jew Boy." This was on the bridge or no matter where he was on board ship. He'd always use derogatory remarks toward Mr. Turak. He had a dislike for the race and this was one of the things we had to put up with. Also there were certain members of the crew he didn't like. He had many idiosynchrosies that were hard to understand.

Stealing Peaches

Two petty officers had been caught in the jack of the dust locker which is right next to the galley. Food is taken out of the hold of the ship, brought up; and placed in the jack of the dust locker. It's a wired cage to hold food for consumption for the next day or the evening meal. It's brought up and held there. These two chaps had broken the lock to the jack of the dust locker. They sat inside and they'd opened one of these gallon cans of peaches and they were eating them. The Captain caught them or someone did. The Captain was so happy he'd caught these two rascals and he gave them a summary court martial. He charged them for stealing peaches because they didn't belong to them. He also broken them down from Petty Officers to Seamen 2nd. We had no brig on board, so he couldn't put them in there. Everything had to go to JAG in Washington. I was on board when word came back from JAG. I'd never heard so much screamin' and yellin' from his compartment. The instructions from JAG were "You should have charged them for breaking and entering. So many of the peaches were intended for these men. You should have counted the peaches and found out if they'd eaten too many and took other crew members' peaches." The Captain just blew his stack, but there wasn't a thing he could do about it. This was Navy law and he screwed up. Little things like that would happen all the time and it was an unpleasant time while he was there. He was always inebriated and I'll never know how Mr. Turak tolerated him.

Alcoholic Captain

The captain knew that I kept brandy on board. When he came aboard he had a lot of his own alcoholic beverages, but when he ran out he'd come to me or send his messenger to me because he knew I had brandy on board for the divers. I had to account for every ounce of brandy. I could lose morphine syrettes, but I could never be off on a brandy count. I'd use brandy when the deep sea divers were down in cold water and they'd come up out. It was Navy custom that they were entitled to a shot or two of brandy. He said, "I'm Captain of the ship and I can't see why I can't have it." I went to Mr. Turak and he said I shouldn't give it to him. I said, "What am I gonna do? I've got to expend it some way." They only way I could do it would be to use the life rafts. I had brandy on each of the life rafts. I'd go up to the bridge and say, "Captain, I'd like to make a report." He'd say, "What is it Chief?" I'd say, "There's a bottle of brandy missin' off number one life raft." He'd say, "We're gonna catch that S. O.B. and Quartermaster make a notation in the log that there's a bottle of brandy missing off number one life raft." Well, the bottle was in his cabin. With the authority in the notation of the log I could go down and write it out of my logbook that it was thievery and noted in the ship's log, and that the Captain had made a notation as well. This kept going on and one day Mr. Turak was standing there when the messenger came down and I knew what he wanted. Turak had been givin' me hell sayin', "You can't give the Captain brandy. He's stone drunk almost every night." I'd say, "He's gonna find something." So this messenger is standing there with Mr. Tu rak present and I said, "Messenger what do you want?" He said, "Well, the Captain wants more beverage." I said, "All right, Mr. Turak, tell me I can't give it to him." He hemmed and hawed and went through all kinds of contortions. He said, "Damnit all, I guess there's not a damn thing you can do about it. It's impossible." All this time I had my orders to go back to the states, but I couldn't get my relief aboard because we were all over the Pacific Ocean.