So we pulled into Bahrain again… which was unexpected but nice. This time it did not turn into a casualty thank the lord. Instead we prepared to give the tour of our ship to 3 flag officers (admirals) and the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) of the Saudi Arabia Navy. It is crazy that I have now met the CNO of Saudi Arabia but not the CNO of America (Admiral Roughead). The first day we pulled in, it was very busy. I had a lot going on and when they called liberty I was not ready to go. No one felt like waiting for me so I had no liberty buddy.
This was not the end of the world because for this trip you could go without a liberty buddy but you could not leave the naval base and you could not drink. I wanted to drink a little bit so I was very frustrated, and the XO saved the day. He told me to sign out with him and the Captain. I agreed to. The best part was getting a ride from the CO’s sedan. I didn’t have to wait for the bus at all. I got to walk right off the ship and get in the car and we drove over to the base and I saw about 50 people waiting for the bus. That was pretty nice since it was already late evening and we would only have a few hours before liberty expiration.
When we arrived at the base, the CO and XO were going to some meeting, which I reluctantly attended. It did not seem like a fun time and when we arrived we were already the outcasts because everyone was wearing their uniforms and we were in civilian clothing. Everyone there was a lieutenant commander or higher so I did not fit in at all (I’m just a measly ensign). It was a typical SWO function. I’ve never enjoyed a SWO function yet. Well actually that’s not true. The best SWO function I ever attended was the SWO Christmas party at baby SWOS right after OCS. They let all of the ensigns stay very late with a keg of beer and we were just obnoxious. That was fun. This was not.
We immediately were segregated. There were only about 10 people there and there were definitely supposed to be at least 30. We were also the only ones drinking(I mean there was a keg, what else were we supposed to do?). Then about 10 minutes after we arrived Admiral G arrived. It was shocking to meet him since he was a person I had been studying for my SWO pin just a few days earlier. He is the deputy Commander for 5th fleet, 5th fleet = Bahrain. He’s kind of a big deal if you know what I mean. Of course everyone jumped up to greet him. We on the other hand, just stood in our group and kept talking.
Just a few minutes later he migrated over to us and it was very funny. We completely stole the show. My Captain apparently knew him from XO school and so they talked and then he turned to me and said, “You look familiar, have we met?” hahaha, yeah okay. I shook his hand and said, “No sir.” He then asked me my commission source and I told him OCS. He said, “O, which college?” I said, “West Virginia University.” He said, “O, where is that located?” Now if an admiral asks me that question the last answer I’m thinking he wants to hear is Morgantown, so I said, “West Virginia.” The captain and XO have not stopped making fun of me for that one. The admiral gave me some SWO advice and then he started talking to the captain.
We had quite an interesting conversation that I was actually happy to be a part of. It’s mostly classified but they did start talking about the engines and he asked the captain what kind of power our generators have. The captain looked at me since I have just been studying and should know the answer. I replied 4,800, but I didn’t say which units. I had been talking AMPS. He replied, “Wow, 4,800 KW, that’s a huge difference!” Instantly I knew that I was doomed. I had misinterpreted the question and given him the wrong information, but how do I correct myself to an admiral??? Of course I kept my mouth shut. As soon as he walked away, I turned to the captain and said, “I’m sorry!!!! I was wrong, I was thinking amps.” The CO and XO were dying laughing and told me I should correct myself if I get a chance. I never did.
The next day after the tour with the Saudi Arabians the captain came and found me and said, “I could have killed you. I was in the middle of giving the tour and Admiral G turned to the CNO of the Saudi Arabi Navy and said, “You’ll be excited to know that this ship is rated at 4,800 KW.” Ahh! I have caused a catastrophe. An admiral listened to my false information and told the CNO of Saudi Arabia! Sometimes its hard to be a SWO.
P.S. I sent this email to my dad right after it happened and he replied, “Way to go honey, never hesitate to confuse them about what’s under the hood!” haha.