|Mess Cook Messenger Was Captain Babbitt
Once when I was mess cooking and we were serving the evening meal, a steward, whom I
believe was named Purificacion, came up to me and said to please call him when we were
going to use the GDU (Garbage Disposal Unit). If you remember the GDU was like a
miniature torpedo tube, Inner and outer doors, safety lock to prevent both doors being
opened at the same time, and an air supply line with a valve to expel the contents with
compressed air pressure. The inner door was level with the crew's mess sink and the outer
door was below the water line. The mess cooks used it to expel the garbage after each
meal. If an item like a crate was too large to fit into the GDU we would take it to the bridge
and give it the heave-ho. Later when we started to use the GDU I picked up the
inter-compartment phone, put the headset to my ear, turned the dial to Wardroom and spun
the crank. Next I heard, "Wardroom, Captain speaking". Now what to do -- even a boot like
me knew this wasn't proper military protocol, using the Captain to pass on a message from
a mess cook to a steward. My mind was racing to decide the best thing to do. I didn't want
to hang up so I figured the best thing to do was play it straight.
In my best military voice and choice of words I said, "Captain, would you please notify
Purification we are preparing to use the GDU."
Captain Babbitt replied very slowly, "Notify - Purification - you - are - preparing - to - use -
the - G - D - U."
He seemed puzzled.
I said "Yes Sir".
Captain Babbitt still speaking slowly said, "O-K".
Next here comes Purification into the crew's mess, laughing out loud as he approaches me
and says, "Who called the Captain?"