A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


"Sir...... Sir........."

I was at the bank's drive through, still in my scrubs, waiting to deposit my paycheck. I had been a long, hard 36 hours, but at least I was off work, and no longer on call. A young man, his arms covered in tattoos was motioning towards my passenger window. He had turned the ignition off of his motorcycle so I could hear him. Crap. Maybe I had a low tire. My pistol was underneath a newspaper on the passenger seat.

I checked my rear view mirror, and then..... I rolled down the window.

Click to enlarge"Were you in the Navy?" he asked.

"Yes, as a matter of fact," I smiled.

"Your cap, it's good to see someone wearing one. I was in the Navy too," he said.

"Thank you for your service." It was his turn to smile.

"Where were you stationed?" I challenged him.

"San Diego, the Nimitz. I was a Bo'swains Mate," came the reply. Suddenly, the tattooed man became a landlocked sailor, a brother of the ocean.

"I was on the Midway, you might have seen her there......."

"Oh yeah, she's a museum now. There's a restaurant on the fantail."

"One day I want to take my family to see her," I mused.

If you are like me, and regret tossing out your old Navy duty station ball cap, there is still hope. At www.priorservice.com you can order ball caps for almost any modern US ship. Take a look. If you have never sailed in Uncle Sugar's Canoe Club, order one for a landlocked salt who has. You never know who it may make smile.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well played, shipmate.

My service cap covers my head unless asleep or indoors in public (USS Toro, SS 422 (1956-1959)).

The US flap holster in the pic is a dandy. I think I'll look around the net for one.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Bob said...

I had a sailor just back from Iraq check into the hotel last night for a reunion with his girlfried, he wanted one of our jacuzzi suites. *laughs*

During my four years in the Navy (1980-1984) I had temporary duty on 7 different ships, most of them now decommissioned. I still have ball caps from about 3 of them.

4:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You really should make the trip to see your old ship. I volunteered on the museum staff when she was opened up. I was never in the navy, but something about old ships does it for me. I volunteered on the safety team, for the express purpose of having access to the non-museum areas. I love that old ship smell.

5:19 PM  
OpenID Gronkoid said...

Hey, thanks! Silly me...I'm a Blue Ridge plankowner without a hat. Now I can fix that...


5:31 PM  
Blogger Corsair, The Mostly Harmless said...


I recently lost the ball cap sent to me by my best friend back in 1988. Thanks to your link, I have a worthy replacement on the way. I'll send you a pic once it gets here.

Larry in Rochester

5:47 PM  
Blogger TheBronze said...

Cool story, X!

5:50 PM  
Blogger Freddyboomboom said...

The wife and I visited the Old Grey Lady last March, for my birthday present...

Lots of ways it was very cool to be back on her, even if I got in trouble for going into a chained off area to climb into my old bunk.

Lots of ways it was sad. The jet shop is now a gift shop. and the holes where there shouldn't be holes, and extra stuff tacked on her...

I know it's to make her more accessible, but it's sad to know she'll never steam under her own power, ever again.

I highly recommend a visit.

Happy Turkey Day, shipmate! Give my love to the wife and kids (including Ilsa)!

7:07 PM  
Blogger Joe Allen said...

Thanks to both of you.


9:10 PM  
Blogger be603 said...

Then VAW-115 should be familiar to you X. Several shipmates came out of the Liberty Bells to our shop on the Connie '85-87.

9:55 PM  
Blogger The Lizard said...

I'm 13 years into my commitment now. A few more left until I get to decide the rest of my future.

I like the link for getting caps. One thing to consider if the ship is still around is contacting the Public Affairs Officer (PAO) or Disbursing Officer (DISBO). Usually they will find a way to get former shipmates a new cap. I know I did as the PAO on my first ship.

10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You might want to see if your old ship has an association. I joined my ships' association and it's good to communicate with old buddies. We've got some guys from WWII who are in their 80's. I'm 57 and they call me 'KID'.
Underway is the only way!

10:26 PM  
Anonymous theotherwaldo said...

I never sailed 'em, only helped build 'em. Sad, though. Most of the ships I worked on are now flying the flags of Egypt, Turkey, and even Poland.

-And the shipyard's gone, too. Now it's just a place to land stuff that comes from China.

No associations for me - or hats, either.

9:07 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

We didn't have hats like that in the Army.

11:18 AM  
Blogger R Ryan said...

My thanks and prayers to all of you who served.

God bless you.

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Joseph said...

I recall buying a USS Wisconsin cap for my father years ago...he really liked it. Both are gone now, but I may get one in his honor.


3:55 PM  
Anonymous Ross from NJ said...

Thanks for the link, Xavier. My wife had gotten me a ballcap from BB-62, the USS New Jersey, when she was down at Cape Canaveral (she works for a Navy contractor).

I never served, but I'm from New Jersey, and I always was proud of our Iowa-class battlewagon. Whenever asked, I am always careful to let the person asking me that I'm not a vet, but want to honor the New Jersey... now serving as a museum in (G-d help her!) Camden, NJ. I did get one vet to smile, though, as he HAD served on her... and was happy to hear why I was wearing the hat.

Alas, somewhere in the last few years, the hat vanished... but now I can replace it. Thanks.

8:53 PM  
Blogger Doc said...

And to think of all the stuff I traded for with those ballcaps and lighters.... I did save one Indy hat though.

2:49 PM  

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