Almost missed sailing with the ship – Subic

The ship was set to sail at midnight. If you didn’t make It back by midnight, you missed the ship and were AWOL. Of course you had to make the most of what time you had, so you make plans to party right up to the last minute. Unfortunately, I didn’t last that long. I passed out well before midnight.

I suddenly became aware that I had been out cold. Oh no! It was almost midnight right now! I jumped out of bed and dressed on the run. As soon as I hit the street I looked for a Jeepney. It would be the fastest way back to base. There was one just down the street so I ran for it. He said he was happy to take me to the main gate. As we pulled out, 4 or 5 men also jumped onto the Jeepney. I figured that they had just been waiting for a free ride and I didn’t care. It was only like 3 pesos for the ride, about 50 cents, big deal.

The driver did not take the main road, but headed down to the road along the canal (where I had been mugged earlier). By then my suspicions were already up and I started analyzing the situation. Missing the ship moved to second on my list of concerns.

As we came around the last bend, the bridge to the Main Gate came into view. I began to think it was just my imagination. Then the driver hit the brakes. The men jumped out and tried to surround me in the passenger seat, but I had jumped out as well. The men inside the Jeepney had no leverage and the ones surrounding me were all shorter than I was. I was a combat Marine and I had already been mugged once that week! I got mad. They demanded money and I pulled out a 5 peso note. I threw it at the driver and told him it was more than he deserved but that was all they were getting.

I shoved my was past them and walked towards the bridge. I still didn’t want anything to happen, but I was most certainly ready for it. They decided to pile back into the Jeepney and drive off back in the direction we had come from.

I made the gate and caught a ride back to the docks. It was almost 12:30 by then and I knew I was in trouble. Much to my surprise, the ship was still there and the gangplank was still down! I managed to get on board before the gangplank was raised and the ship finally got underway.

Turns out that the ships engines were having problems and they hadn’t finished fixing them. So they took the Filipino Engineers on board to continue working on the engines.

Although those bad engines saved my hide that time, more than once they left us dead in the water off the coast of Vietnam. The rest of the Fleet would have to leave us behind so as not to become targets themselves. It was always tense until the ship managed to get underway again.

When they were done, the Engineers were transferred to another ship using one of those chairs suspended from a cable strung between the ships. Just like in the movies.

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