Look for a link to a free Amazon download of Boat Sailors at the bottom of this post, beginning at midnight tonight (meaning Friday, June 19, 2015.) Remember, you can read your Amazon books on most any electronic device, you don’t need a Kindle.
Boat Sailors (65,000 words) (Vietnam War action by fleet submarines) (male POV) Fresh from the farm, Brice Wesley Moser, 17, will leave his loved ones behind, pay his dues in bootcamp, then Class A Weapons School where he’ll experience more life in 9 weeks then his whole 17 years before, become a Torpedoman’s Mate, Seaman Apprentice, and soon will discover his rating covers much more than torpedoes.
In the mid-nineteen-sixties some conventional fleet submarines were refitted to carry small teams of combat swimmers (Underwater Demolition Teams [UDT] and Sea, Land and Air teams [SEALs]) for a variety of combat operations. Their primary mission was beach reconnaissance. Subic Bay provided the main base for operations and was known as Detachment Alpha. Det Charlie operated from the USS Perch APSS 313, and later the USS Grayback LPSS 574, and USS Tunny LPSS 282.
All three submarines were left over from World War II, but all were still plenty spirited.
Many of the Perch’s operations consisted of Search and Rescue, and training—besides UDT and SEALs—U.S. Marine’s Amphibious Recon Battalion, Army Special Forces, also British commando forces and ROK Republic of Korea, Philippine, and Nationalist Chinese Special Forces. She participated in the operations Jungle Drum III, Dagger Thrust, Double Eagle, Deck House II, and Deck House IV.
(The USS Perch and her crew form the basis of this fictional novel)
Here’s a little more about the main character:
Brice Wesley Moser needed to get away from the farm for awhile, sow some wild oats as his dad and uncles called it. So he joined the navy. Just a few days from saying ‘I do’ he was on his way to San Diego, California, boot camp, weapons school, then shore duty. Well, shore duty wasn’t a lot more exciting then throwing bales and milking cows back in Iowa, so he volunteered for submarines. With the Vietnam War heating up, things would soon get a bit more interesting.
This absolute neophyte to the ways of the navy—and especially to the submarine navy—would need a mentor:
Second Class Electronics Technician Richards, hailing from Texas, had already been in the navy for five years, and his boat, as boat-sailors fondly referred to their home submarines, had just gotten orders to steam from Pearl Harbor, into the western Pacific and their new home port of Subic Bay, the Philippine Islands. There they would take on Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) and Sea, Land and Air teams (SEALs) for beach reconnaissance and other special operations.
Here is a short excerpt, the entire chapter 19 “Ode to Mercy.”
The next morning after quarters, Moser, returning to the After Troop Space hatch, was joined by Richards, “So, how was it?”
“How was what…?” Moser had no idea.
“Well, for about a half hour the guys talked about nothing except you leaving the bar with that cute little girl and then not returning. The scuttlebutt was that you lost your cherry last night.”
Moser felt himself turn ten shades of red, and he had no idea how to answer.
Richards slapped his shoulder, “Don’t worry about it. We all have to lose it eventually—so, did you?”
“Yes, but not with the girl I wanted.”
“Well, that’s something we all have to deal with too, Moser. We rarely get the girl we want, and I think I know who you wanted…that same one you sat with all night the last time we were in port. Right? And then didn’t go home with her, right?”
“Right. Her name is Mercy.”
Richards shook his head in a knowing manner, “I saw you leave last night, my friend, and I saw you look back at your Mercy, but you had better decide to decide right now that that’s how it’s going to be. Those girls are prostitutes. That’s how they make their living.”
“But I saw a girl on the street last night—she couldn’t have been more than twelve, man! And it looked like she was being sold by some old man—“
Richards stopped them back on the fantail and faced him, “Listen to me, Moser, that’s how it works. We’re not in America, OK? Although I’m sure it happens there too, just not probably so often and so openly. That old man you saw was probably her daddy. That little girl maybe is their only way of earning money, and he probably feels lucky that she is so pretty—she was pretty, right?”
“She was gorgeous. The cab driver pointed her out, like he even knew.”
“If you had approached the old man the cabbie might even have gotten part of the money. You probably even thought about it, right?”
“Don’t even answer, Moser. I know you did. It would have been less than male if you hadn’t, but most of us, I believe, stay away from the real young girls, but not all of us, and even if you didn’t actually think about it, the thought absolutely raged through the back of your head.”
He knew Richards was right. The thought had passed the back of his head, but so quickly as to be almost deniable. What passed the front of his head was his twelve-year-old niece at home, but also just for a few seconds. The two girls were not comparable. His niece back in Iowa was safe, protected by her loving dad, her loving mother, her loving grandparents, her teachers and preachers, but this young Filipino girl evidently—probably—had nobody.
“But you didn’t act on that thought, Moser! And that’s what separates us—guys like you and me—from the barbarians.”
Moser stared at his friend and nodded, “Yes, I guess so.”
“To get back to your Mercy. You thought you were in love with her, didn’t you?”
“And that happens to some of us again and again. This is my third Westpac cruise, and I have fallen in love at least thirty times, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It means I cared for those girls. Not enough to marry any of them, no, but enough to treat them all like a lady, and they are all ladies, Moser.” Richards stopped talking, evidently had reached the end of his lecture.
And Moser appreciated the lecture, “Yes, sir.” He hoped he could adopt at least some of Richards’ philosophies.
“One more thing in closing, Moser. I found this out from the bar owner. That first night you were with Mercy, that also was her first night of working as a bar maid, and young girls are no different from young boys, you know, and first encounters are always the important ones. You gave her a good first encounter, my friend, and I’m sure she will never forget you.”
The following video from Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt For Red October” (one of my favorite movies) has little to do with this blog post, except they both portray submarine duty. (I spent most of my 4-year navy career on two submarine duty stations, and loved it.) The video also shows Sean Connery as the captain of Russia’s new submarine, the Red October, meant as a first-strike weapon. If only we had such a man in our White House….