Restriction gave me a cyst

13 03 2008

Something I’ve mentioned before is the idea of “restriction.” If I haven’t mentioned it, it doesn’t matter because I’m going to explain it now.

When you got in trouble, went to Captain’s Mast, and got your “award,” there was a 99% chance that one of those “awards” was an arbitrary (usually 45) number of days of being on “restriction.”

I say “award” because thats what it was called. Since Captain’s Mast was part of the process of “non-judicial punishment,” you wouldn’t be “sentenced” to restriction, you were “awarded” restriction, as well as any other punishments. It’s a little play on words that the Navy liked to use to mess with our minds. I knew a guy that got “awarded” 10 days in the brig with only bread and water. Yeah, they can still do shit like that. They can even “award” people 10 days hard labor, smashing rocks with sledgehammers. Some pretty barbaric stuff, I know.

(By the way, the guy that got bread and water was on restriction and getting dishonorably discharged for smoking pot. He got sent to the brig because he got caught smoking pot on the ship while on restriction awaiting his discharge. That’s a real pothead right there.)

Anyway, being on restriction meant that you were not allowed to leave the ship for ordinary reasons. You were restricted to the ship and the ship only, hence the term “restriction.”

Are you with me so far?

The only reason you could leave the ship is if you had some sort of medical emergency that the ship couldn’t handle, or if you had to go to a civilian court for whatever you got in trouble for. That, of course, is only if you got in trouble and put on restriction for some sort of illegal activity that got non-military law enforcement involved. It happens.

For example, a sailor might get a DUI, or get arrested for being drunk in public, theft, assault, or something like that. What makes these kinds of issues worse is that your time spent in a civilian jail counts as being “UA” or “Unauthorized Absence” (The more familiar term is AWOL) counts against you. Basically, if you get arrested off base and get thrown in civilian jail for 10 days, you are UA for 10 days, and that is added to the charges you have to deal with at Captain’s Mast.

I remember one time I was on restriction for…something…and I had to leave the ship because we were about to depart for a six month deployment. I was allowed to leave to go to my apartment and get some items, as well as make sure my car was left in a safe location. That’s some unusual circumstances though, and of course it was required that I have an escort (my boy Jack, who I wish I could catch up with one of these days).

I say unusual circumstances because pretty much all people that end up on restriction are young, junior sailors that don’t have apartments or property that need to be dealt with before leaving for a deployment. As usual, I was the exception.

When on restriction, you have to wear a plastic orange badge that has all relevant information (name, division, etc), including when the restriction begins and ends. If you lose the badge, you got up to five days extra restriction depending on why you lost it.

If you lose it because you misplaced it, thats five days for sure. If you lost it because you were fighting a fire and it melted or it fell overboard as you were painting the side of the ship, I would imagine they wouldn’t punish you to bad. None of those extreme circumstances has ever happened, so I’m not sure. I just remember guys losing their badges because they were idiots so they got more restriction time.

Although I’m sure it’s not mandatory, when you are on restriction you get awarded extra duty for the duration. I’ve never heard of anybody JUST getting restriction, but I do recall somebody getting their restriction extended but not having to do extra duty on the five days that were added. So there is probably no regulation saying that restriction requires one to do extra duty, but that’s not the issue. Either way, restriction meant extra duty.

Extra duty is a bitch, for the most part, which is the idea. What extra duty means is that at 1800 (6pm) you would have to go work for somebody doing whatever they wanted you to do. Not like “anything” they wanted you to do, but something that needed to be done. You couldn’t get extra duty performing sexual favors, although that would have been interesting.

Generally it was some kind of shitty manual labor like stripping and waxing floors, painting, cleaning, and so on.

There was one good part about extra duty, if you had friends on the ship. Your friend (assuming he or she was an E-5 or above) could pick you up for extra duty, claiming he or she needed something done. When you get picked up, your friend could then tell you that there is really nothing to do, so you just pretend to be doing something for 2 hours.  Also, every now and then you would get picked up for a task that took like 20 minutes, so once you were done you were done (as long as the MA’s didn’t know, of course).

Stay tuned…




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