A lot of the older folk in the navy like to recount stories from their youth. Back when the navy was not as strict as it is now. When men were men and, women were only starting to serve aboard ships. Personally, I haven’t experienced any of these stories myself, but it’s always interesting to hear other sailors spin the yarn and tell me tales of their younger days. Whether they are true or not, it doesn’t matter, as most of the time they’re meant to be retold and exaggerated as the generations continue retelling the tale. Fun, scary, silly, and strange here are some of my favorite sea stories.
The Monkey on a Submarine
Submarines make port calls in some of the strangest places. As one of the smallest type of military vessels, they have the luxury of stopping nearly anywhere they can. During a visit to a tropical island, (which I believe might have been Barbados) a sailor decided to bring a souvenir with him onboard the submarine. He did this by bringing it inside his uniform after knocking the little critter unconscious and then stuffing him inside the supply storage. This, as you might expect, did not sit well with the captain of the submarine, when he found a small monkey sitting inside said location. The captain though, being a reasonable guy announced over the 1MC about his findings. His instructions were clear “I don’t care why or how there is a monkey on the submarine, but I want everyone to get rid of it, and no one will get in trouble”.
Acting quickly the crew decided that the fastest way to get rid of the animal was to shoot it out of the torpedo chutes which are used for both emergency escapes and actually firing torpedoes. This, of course, killed the poor primate, but that was unavoidable as the chute filled up with water in order to build pressure. Yet, the most interesting part was the events that supposedly happened after they shot him off the ship. A few days later during a second port visit they saw a newspaper that spoke of a fisherman that was knocked off his ship and drowned after a “flying monkey” struck him while in the middle of the ocean. The crew quietly left without saying anything about the events, but they claim to have had a good laugh about it afterwards.
The Invisible Basketball
This particular story is short, but has been apparently told since the sixties. An unnamed sailor who did not want to be in the military started dribbling an invisible basketball. He would dribble it all day and night as he went along his work day. He dribbled it while eating, and even while doing laundry. One day his leadership started becoming concerned and took him to the ship’s psychologist. The sailor was deemed unfit to be in the military and sent home. But, before the sailor left the pier, he took one last look at the ship took the invisible ball in his hands, and shot a basket while smiling.
These tales are very much a part of the military culture. It wouldn’t be as colorful as it was without old sailors telling us about them, and the young folks tend to eat them up. These are stories that are told to our children and grandkids for generations to come, they are forever a part of military history. While they can’t be verified to be true, a lot of us hope that they hold some semblance of truth. But, just remember that only those who join will one day perhaps be able to form their own stories…
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.