Thursday, September 3, 2015

Knights in Dark Blue Coveralls

Received Sept. 2

Last night was a busy night. We had a personnel issue that took CO and OPS well
into the wee hours of the morning to resolve. My heart and thoughts go out to all
our shipmates who are standing the watch while they have loved ones in crisis ashore.
It is not easy to be away from life-long families and friends while others you care
about are suffering. We do our best with our shipboard families and support networks,
but it is still a difficult and heart-wrenching situation.

OPS and CO worked hard to come up with a great solution that helped one shipmate last
night. Ha - I came up with the title for this post before I wrote it, and am just now
realizing how the title applies more than I thought it did. CO was in his dark blue
coveralls last night; I think OPS may have put his uniform on...or never taken it off
to go to bed -- I'm not sure. Either way, they did great things to assist our
shipmate in response to a crisis at home. They were definitely Knights in Dark Blue
Coveralls.

Anyway, I had a bit part in the efforts that got me up for about an hour at 2:00 am,
and then again for about 5 minutes at 4:30 am. When I was up at 2 am, I latched my
door open, because I knew I'd be up for a bit. When I got up at 4:30, I didn't think
about it, and shut my door behind me as I walked out of my state room.

We installed new handles and locks during the last inport to help simplify our key
management. I'm not sure I'm used to the new equipment yet, because somehow I didn't
realize that the little lock button had been pushed, and when I shut my door, I locked
myself out. My bed was *right **there!!** on the other side of a locked door.
I probably cussed. Out loud. Maybe even loudly out loud.
I ran through my options. I called the bridge to ask if they had keys when I damn well
knew the answer -- the OOD keys are kept in my stateroom underway so everyone knows
where they are. And where they were was behind a locked door.

I contemplated calling the Key Control Officer, who is our 1LT (pronounced "one el-tee,"
our Deck Department Head). But I knew he had just gotten off watch about an hour before
and wasn't getting enough sleep as it was without me calling him with a truly boneheaded
request.

I called Main Control where our engineers stand the engine room watch. I talked to MKC JN,
the Engineer of the Watch (EOW, pronounced "ee-oh-double yu"), to see if they could take
the hinges off my door to get me inside. Until I remembered that the door opens in because
the hinges are on the inside of the door.

However, he did give me the great idea of taking off the kick plate. Kick plates are
installed on doors where there is only one point of egress. A panel comes off at the
bottom of the door so you don't have to open the whole door to get out of a space. I
wasn't really sure how to get the kick plate off, so he offered to send up his Aux
watchstanders (Auxiliary watchstanders -- they make hourly rounds on equipment scattered
throughout the ship to make sure it all operates within appropriate parameters).

MK3 JB and FN JH came to my rescue and yanked off the kick plate from the bottom of my
door, allowing me access back to my room...and my bed so I could sleep for a few more hours.

Definitely also Knights in Dark Blue Coveralls!

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