Monitor - 2
Sandy Rhodes arrived "in-country" in Nov 1969, and was assigned to SEA FLOAT where he served as the Engineman Fireman Apprentice on "Monitor-2", a Program 5 Monitor of RIV DIV 131. Sandy writes about the following memorable experience:

The boat captain of M-2 was holding a meeting below prior to starting the day patrol. As the engineman on board, I took this time to go through my daily check engine room routine. The procedure was typical. I first checked the port side engine; checking the oil and freshwater cooling levels, checking the sea strainer, draining accumulated condensate from the fuel tank and making a general check for leaks and loose nuts and bolts. Next I would repeat the procedure on the starboard side.

On this particular morning the starboard engine was idling and in forward gear. We did this when the tide was moving to prevent dragging our anchor out of position. After checking the fluid levels I went to the rear of the starboard transmission. With my left foot I stepped over the turning shaft and coupling as I had done a hundred times before. With my foot placed near the petcock on the bottom of the fuel tank, I began to bend down to open it. At this moment I felt a strange tugging sensation to my left leg. Within an instance I realized the bolt heads on the coupling had snagged my left pants cuff and was proceeding to pull my pants and leg toward the shaft. Shoving my left foot against the edge of the decking, I locked my knee and braced my hands on the exhaust pipe and fuel tank. In this position I was unable to reach the shifting rod to put the transmission in neutral so I stiffened my whole body against the unrelenting shaft. Since my tour in Nam, I had gotten out of the habit of wearing a belt and this helped save my legs. The shaft pulled and ripped the material from my left leg, all the way to the waist. Before I could sigh in relief the tugging started on my right leg. The waist of the pants didn't rip in two so the shaft kept on chewing at the right pants leg. The other thing that saved my legs that day was the pants had been washed in salt water and sun dried enough times to deteriorate the fabric. If the fabric had been in new condition the pants wouldn't have ripped apart as they did and my legs would have wrapped around the shaft.

After my catastrophic adventure was done, I became mad at myself for being so careless; commencing a tirade of profanity. As I stomped out of the engine room into the berthing space, all eyes of my shipmates were focused on me. Their perplexed looks and then giggles and snickers made me realize I was standing there with nothing on but my jungle boots. I had also gotten into the habit of not wearing a shirt and boxers.

Visit Sandy's web site for more about M-2 and his service with SEA FLOAT

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