Coffee Anyone

I was assigned to the Towers pre-com crew in early December, 1960, Most of the crew was assembled at NavSta San Diego. We moved to Sand Point Naval Air Station as the ship neared completion, and later over to Bremerton Naval Shipyard as the ship neared commissioning. I was a QM3, and stood bridge watches along with SN Holley, and QM2 Marvin Koch. I wasn't old enough to have developed into a coffee drinker yet, and always resented having to make the coffee for the rest of the watch. As the Towers readied for commissioning, we underwent several short sea trials with all kinds of engineers and shipyard people aboard.

One of my first assignments was to find a suitable place for the coffee pot on the bridge. I believe that I installed it under the chart desk on the aft port side of the pilot house. When we took Towers to sea for the first over night trial, I had the midwatch, and we ran out of hot coffee. The OOD ordered a fresh pot made. Without comment, I grabbed the coffee pot, and took off down the ladder to the next deck where there was a closet on the starboard side of the passageway with a deep sink in it. Like all sinks, it had two handles, a left one, and a right one. I didn't know anything about making coffee, but I knew enough to return to the bridge with the coffee pot full of water. I poured the grounds into the basket, and plugged it in.

About 30 minutes later, the Captain came to the bridge with several civilians from Todd Shipyard, BUSHIPS, and who knows where else. The Captain offered coffee to his guests, and the Boatswain of the Watch rounded up enough cups to serve the Captain and his guests. Almost in unison, the Captain and the civilians spit coffee across the pilot house, and started gagging! The OOD was in a panic, and soon discovered that the coffee had been made with salt water. The deep sink had a cold fresh water faucet, and a salt water faucet. Nobody noticed me leave the bridge to fill the coffee pot, and I didn't admit to it.


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