In '68 I was a young Lance Corporal assigned to HMM-264 on the U.S.S. Guadalcanal docked in Panama. The infantry battalion we were supporting was enjoying "Jungle School" at Fort Sherman except for a few rear echelon poges and some malingerers. We airwingers had little to do except work on our birds and make sure the grunts and squids didn't steal us blind. Being one of the junior non-rated men, I drew Integrity Watch over the CH-46s on the Hangar Deck. The Junior Officer of the Deck was a crusty old Navy Chief Warrant Officer who had more salt than most admirals.

Back in those days Cinderella liberty in seasonal Service C's was the order of the day. Long about midnight the drunks came staggering back on board., doing their level best to appear more or less sober. One young Marine PFC was playing hell trying to climb the gangplank. For every two steps he went up, he slid back at least one. The most noticeable aspect of his progress was the "clicking" his trousers made each time one leg passed the other. The JOOD was a pretty good head who had probably spent his fair share of time in hack. So when the young Leatherneck finally made it to the quarterdeck, the Gunner stopped him and tapped his shins with a nightstick. "Lad," he said, "I'm going to turn my back, and when I do I want to hear two very distinctive plashes as you get rid of that contraband you are carrying."

The CWO turned away and was rewarded with the required two distinctive splashes. He turned around just in time to see the inventive young Marine run barefoot across the hangar deck and disappear into a convenient hatchway with a bottle of booze in each hand.

The Gunner looked at me and with gurgles of laughter said, "I probably should go find him, but a man with a thirst like that is not to be trifled with."

Semper Fi!