Thursday, April 28, 2011

"Sir, you have to talk to your dad!"

When I was Executive Officer (XO), my father, ICC (ret) James A. Schiffman, agreed to come on a "Tiger" cruise and accompany his oldest granddaughter to Hawaii.  For the non-navy types, a tiger cruise usually occurs towards the end of a deployment.  A portion of the crew is sent home early from  your last port prior to reaching homeport.  AND some family and friends are allowed to take their place onboard the ship for the final leg. 

So, my father and daughter flew to Hawaii to meet me on the final leg of deployment from Hawaii to San Diego.  There are so many memories from this week at sea.  But there is one in particular that makes me laugh when I remember it. 

My Master Chief of the Command (CMC) found out my father, a retired Chief, was going to be on the Tiger cruise.  CMC immediately asked if he could email my father personally.  I agreed.  It was a "Chief" thing and CMC wanted to offer my father the honor deserved of a Chief. 

When we made final arrangements for where everyone would be sleeping, I was curious why my father was scheduled to have his bunk in Chief's quarters and not Officer's quarters -- (Officer's quarters being just a bit more comfortable).

"Your father requested to be in Chief's berthing."

"OK", I said with a puzzled look.

"It is a Chief thing, sir."

"Got it, Master Chief."

I would allow my father to be in his element.  We always share a good joke about my being an officer and my father being a chief.  This was just an extension of this ongoing joke. 

Well, we were about three days into our cruise when the CMC approached me with one of his Chiefs in tow. 

"Go on Chief, you tell the XO."

This didn't sound good.  CMC usually handled all Chief's Mess issues himself and didn't involve me in such matters.

"XO.  Sir, you have to talk to your dad!"

"Ok, what would be the subject of that conversation, Chief?"

"Well, XO.  I was in the Chief's berthing taking a shower and when I came out of the shower your dad yelled at me!"

"Ok.  Why would he yell at you?"

"Your dad said, I was taking a hollywood shower."  A Hollywood shower is a lengthy shower without turning off the water while you lathered up.  On a naval vessel which makes its own water, taking "Navy" showers is essential.  It is up to every person onboard the ship to hold each other accountable so we have enough water to go around.

"Were you?"


"Ok.  So, Chief..... you want me to bring my dad, a retired Chief, up here and talk to him about yelling at my Chiefs????  I want to be clear what you are asking me to do."

"Yes, sir!  He was way out of line!"

"So, you are saying you need me the XO to handle a Chief?"

"He is your dad!"

"Yes, but for this cruise, he has chosen to be what he is a Chief. Are you saying you need me to handle this Chief issue?  CMC, is this what I am hearing?"

CMC:  "Sir, I told Chief I would handle it but he insisted you be told."

Me:  "Ok.  I will speak to my dad.  But I am sure he might come discuss the situation with each of you, Chief to Chief.  Sound fair?"

CMC:  "Yes, sir."
Chief: "Yes, sir."

Well, I had that conversation with my father.  I took him down to see the Reverse Osmosis equipment which made enough water to allow for such behavior.  My dad just looked at me and said it still wasn't right.  I agreed, but asked politely if he would try not to yell at my Chiefs. 

My dad laughed and said he would try, but he and CMC and the Chief were going to have a talk.  I am sure they did.   I wasn't privy to the discussion.  It was a Chief thing AND I left it at that.

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