Practical Jokes

When I (Ray Wong) was on board the Towers, we had one practical joker prankster in
R-Division which sticks to my mind. He was HT3 St. Bernard.

I remember three incidents:

A few months before the '72 Westpac cruise, St. Bernard had an U/I FA
who just graduated from HT "A" school assigned to him and was showing
him around the ship. I was the R Division Duty Section P.O. at the time.
At supper time, St. Bernard approached me and wanted to play a joke on
the "boot". He told me he would bring the U/I FA to the IC shop and just
prior to them arriving and at a predetermine time, about 1900 hours, I'm
going to set off alarms and bells. The IC shop sounded like a carnival
with all the raucous and flashing lights. St. Bernard soon arrived with
the U/I and asked, "what the hell is going on!!" "I remarked we're going through
a severe power shortage and the turbine generators can't keep up with the load".
"The ship is going to lose power any moment". Towers engineering plant was
on cold iron status with shore power and pier side
services. St. Bernard asked, "what must be done?". I told them they must
secure all unnecessary power usage. The U/I took off running with St.
Bernard to impose "darken ship" throughout the ship. About 20 minutes
into the prank, St. Bernard called the IC shop and told me we had secure
from the prank but I had to convince the U/I he did a fantastic job and
was a hero. Apparently what happend was the U/I and several of the
crewmembers got into a heated argument when he tried to turn off the
mess deck T.V. They told the U/I he was crazy to believe the nonsense.
When St. Bernard and the U/I arrived at the IC shop, the IC shop was
quiet and in a normal, routine status, we shook the U/I hands and
congratulated him on a great job. Afterwards, he even bragged about his
accomplishment to other R-Division crewmembers. The name of the U/I
escapes me. If St. Bernard sees this sea story, maybe he can fill us in.

Few months later while on the '72 Westpac, I became a subject of  St. Bernard's pranks.
The Towers was in a foreign liberty port. We were in Kaohsiung or Bankok
and the Towers was nested outboard another ship. I was coming back on
the liberty boat and St. Bernard was also on board. I was one of the
last ones off the liberty boat. When I reached the Q.D. of the first
ship, the POOW and Messenger detained me and confiscated my ID card.
At which time, the OOD was called to the Q.D. on the 1MC. The POOW asked
all sorts of questions like "where did you get this ID card?", "what's
your country of citizenship?" About this time, several shipmates was
talking to their OOD. The OOD informed the POOW and Messenger to release
me and give me back my ID card. They said it was a case of mistaken
identity. I asked what was that all about. The OOD informed me that
shortly before I arrived at the QD, someone from the Towers informed
them that a foreigner matching my description wanted to pay a large sum
of money for a US military ID card. After being detained at the Q.D.,
several Towers crewmembers positively IDed me as a Towers crewmember and
it wasn't necessary to call for someone from the Towers Q.D. to report
in person. When I got back to the R-Division compartment, there was St. Bernard
with a silly smirk. I accused him of instigating the prank. He denied
any knowledge. I still think he have something to do with it.

Several weeks later, another St. Bernard prank was played on me. Since
we were in the waters off the coast of North Vietnam. G.Q. can be
sounded at any time. That day, I had the mid-watch along with several
others decided to turn in early, about 2000. Unknown to me, St. Bernard
had a taped recording of the G.Q. alarm along with the voice announcing,
"General Quarters, General Quarters all hands to your battle stations"
Hearing the announcement startled me out of my sleep and I jump out of
my rack put on my dungarees and shoes. I noticed the rest of the guys
standing around laughing. I told them to get serious, it's G.Q. and get
their asses moving. Several of them told me I was a victim of a prank
and even played the G.Q. tape to prove it. My instant reaction was to
break that damn tape recorder but my second thought had me taking the
prank in good spirit since I was also known to play pranks on others as

I hope my shipmates find these sea stories interesting.
I hope you guys who served with me also remembered these incidents.
There are many more Towers stories and I hope some of you will send your
stories to share with the rest of us. I surely enjoy reading a good Towers
shipmates' sea story.


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