Burnt Fin

A Practical Joke gone wrong, but funny!!

The Tartar / Standard missile we carried on board were 2 colors; "blue" for practice (used for DSOTs; Daily System Operability Tests; contained no rocket motor), and "white" (live 'birds').  Well, since the "blue" practice missiles were 'run up on the rail' once a day, the rear fins (which had to be unfolded each time) had a tendancy to eventually wear out.  Consequently these blue fins were sometimes stored in the Missile Computer Rm.

Well, one of the GMM2's (I'll leave out his name), thought he would play a practical joke on the GMMC.  We were preparing to have a "live" missile shoot at a drone in a few days, and he thought this would be his opportunity.  The idea was this; he would take one of the "blue" practice fins and paint it "white".  Then he took his zippo lighter and "burnt it up" a bit.  The GMMC always went out personaly to check the missile launcher after a live firing, so the GMM2 'planted' the "burnt-up" painted "white" fin in the safety net around the launcher just before the live fire drill.

This is where the plan broke down...  The GMM2 successfully planted the fin in the saftey net, but when we had the missile firing, the launch was a failure, the missile had to be self-destructed because of its erratic flight.  The GMMC went out to check the launcher, he found the planted fin, and naturally thought that the fin had fallen off the real 'bird' and caused the launch failure!  Before he could be stopped, he took the fin up to the bridge to show the Captain, who radioed the Admiral in charge of the test, who messaged..........who knows how far it went up.

Well, eventually the word got out to the Captain about the joke, and the next thing we heard was "Petty Officer (deleted), lay to the bridge!".  We never let our friend live that one down.  Later we heard that the XO has told one of the chiefs that there was some humor there, but the Admiral was not too pleased.  One thing that I always remember about the Towers crew, both officers and enlisted, we stuck together, at sea, in battle, on shore (and in humor!)..


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