The Adventures of Fireman Schmuckatelli, Part II

4 03 2008

It was a duty day, we were in our home port, and it was after working hours. I was laying in the rack (bunk) across from mine, which was empty because nobody had claimed it. Anybody thats in the Navy knows that empty racks are for napping. While I wasn’t napping, I was laying down with my CD player (old school). I was wearing my coveralls, which was what you wore when you were laying down in an empty rack. You also wore them all the time, but my point is that if I was just in my underwear, I would have gotten into my own rack.

As luck would have it, my duty section contained my Chief (ICC) and my Second Class (EM2), who both more or less had it out for me. I don’t want to say that they hated me or anything like that, because I don’t think they did. At least not at this point.

What went down was something like this, as far as I recall: EM2 came up to his rack, which was directly above the empty one I was in. He got something out, and told me that I shouldn’t lay in an empty rack, especially in my uniform (Coveralls were/are considered a “uniform”). I didn’t ignore him, but I pretty much implied a “Don’t worry about it.”

Now some of you super sailors might be saying to yourself “Well, its your fault for not getting out of the rack when a Second Class told you to.”

To that I say “Shut up you idiot and let me finish.”

EM2 had been in the Navy for at least 5 years before I went in, and he was a Nuke (A person that works on the nuclear components of larger ships, in his case the electrical components). He got his Nuke rating removed after getting in trouble a few too many times for drinking, which resulted in him missing ships movement or something like that. He also got busted down from an E-5 to an unfrocked E-4 at some point for his boozing, but was now back up to an E-5.

It’s not that I didn’t respect him or his rank, its just that he was something of a “comical asshole.” He would always point out if you were doing something wrong or illegal, because he was a Nuke and knew EVERY rule and regulation because his Nuke brain had no choice but to remember them all (Nukes are of a higher intelligence, or are at least supposed to be, which is why they are eligible to work on Nuclear equipment. This EM2 was very intelligent).

Often, he would point out the stupid little things for a laugh, like saying that your belt buckle was two inches to the left of your pants zipper, which was a uniform violation. So when he told me that it was wrong to lay in an empty rack in my coveralls, I knew he was serious, but I also knew he was just pointing it out for a laugh. As far as I know, I’m right about that fact.

What happened is that he ran into our Chief a few minutes later, who asked where I was. EM2 told him the truth, as he is an honest man, no matter the consequences to himself or others (another aspect of any “comical asshole”). Chief, looking for an excuse to send me to Captain’s Mast, wrote me up. I also remember something about how I disobeyed an order by not getting out the rack when EM2 told me to, or how I didn’t get out of the rack when EM2 told me that Chief was looking for me.

Now I’m not perfect, but I don’t think I was a big enough shit bag to just totally blow off direct orders. And I’m pretty sure that if I knew Chief wanted to see me, I would have gotten up and went to him.

So why did Chief write me up for that? Besides the fact that I was technically breaking rules, he also wanted me to get in trouble in order to knock me down a few notches. Here’s the thing: It’s not that I was a poor Interior Communications Electrician. In fact, I was pretty good at fixing our equipment. That wasn’t the issue, as myself and the people overseeing my non-judicial punishments were always saying. The thing my superiors didn’t like about me had absolutely everything to do with my attitude towards work.

At least three times (I had three different Captain’s, if you’ll recall) I heard a Chief or other character witness say “It’s not that Petty Officer (more often it was “Fireman,” denoting a rank of E-3 or below) Schmuckatelli is incapable of performing his duties, its just that his overall attitude needs improvement”

The response from the Captain would be “So Petty Officer (Fireman) Schmuckatelli is has a problem with respect then?”

Which would be followed up by: “Not really, there is no blatant disrespect towards myself or others above him, and he always addresses everybody properly and uses all the appropriate formalities. It’s just that…well…it’s like if you ask him to do something, he will do it, but he will roll his eyes or complain about it first.”

(Note how I will do those things first, implying that I do what I’m told regardless of how much I bitch about it)

So the first time I got written up, then, was because my superiors didn’t like that I complained about having to do actual work.

(More on my rebuttal concerning that another time)

The first time I went to Captains Mast, I didn’t get reduced in rank, just the arbitrary 45 days of restriction, extra duty, and docked pay.

(I’ll explain what restriction and extra duty is another time as well)

I was an E-3 and the charges weren’t really that serious, they were humorous if anything. It’s something akin to a furniture salesmen getting written up by his boss for eating at a dining room table that was supposed to be for sale but was still sitting in the back storeroom because it hadn’t been moved out to the sales floor yet.

Also, I’m certain that my Chief wasn’t asking for me to get busted down, just punished and humbled. I think that’s why I liked ICC so much, because the dickish move he pulled is probably something I would have done if I was in his position.

So that’s the first time I got in trouble. I only remember my first and last times going to Captain’s Mast, at least concerning what the actual charges were. Like I mentioned before, there are two times when I don’t remember at all what I did wrong, just that I got in trouble for something.

Stay Tuned.




7 responses

6 03 2008
Concerning Fireman Shmuckatelli’s Work Ethnics « MacGyvers Roll of Duct Tape

[…] reason I would “roll my eyes” or “complain” about doing the work was because that meant, generally, that some idiot broke something and now I […]

10 03 2008
Joe Drinker

Great analogy!

10 03 2008
Joe Drinker

Oops, I had also tried to quote the paragraph about the furniture salesman getting in trouble, and referencing that with my “great analogy” remark. Please pay no attention to the pointless post above.

10 03 2008

What’s weird is that on the email WordPress sent to me letting me know I had comments, the quote you put in was included.

But yeah, I got in trouble for improperly using a mattress. Leave it up the military to tell you that you’re resting wrong.

22 03 2008
Restriction gave me a cyst, Part III « MacGyvers Roll of Duct Tape

[…] just about the only type of chair available on a ship.  Also, when I laid down in my rack (or an empty rack), I noticed that my lower back would ache.  By lower back I mean the spot right above where my ass […]

31 07 2008
Terrance Evans

Retired CPO. I read your story with wonder and awe. Has the Navy changed so much since I left? In my day you would have not gone to Mast. Sending you to Mast was an indication that I failed as a leader to reach you. Mast was a last resort. So you would have EMI until your asshole was sucking buttermilk. I am certain that I would have found a way to get you to act motivated, even if you werent. The ship has too many things to do that would help you remember how to carry yourself in a military manner. Example: Make you available to the BM’s. They would probably appreciate someone helping restack those 100lb bags of black blast down in the hold. There’s lots more….

31 07 2008

Yes Chief, the Navy has changed that much. If this were 15 years ago, I would have just gotten EMI. Nowadays, you can’t just get that though. You have to go to Mast and get assigned it. This means that mast happens a lot more often and for less serious reasons. Instead of keeping things within the division or the shop, it goes up the chain of command (especially if you have a reputation for being a shitbag, like I had).

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