So No Joke, There I Was

Everything makes a mess with bloody things. Dust. Soot, ticket machines, legs.



This is my baby, and it’s one of the tools that I find most indispensable for my work. It’s not particularly dangerous compared to some of the others. Needs a strong, steady hand though!
We use it to cut pavers to size.

The blade has some weight to it, and it goes really fook’n fast. So the machine tends to put out a little gyroscopic precession. Those big gas powered fokkers, thats even worse, bigger blade, at least as fast. Plus the machine is heavier, noisier and puts out extra fumes. Illegitimate sons those.

I haven’t met the paver my cute little electric baby couldn’t chew through, and it’s still light enough that ee can be very precise with it.

I love its little brother even more:

That baby is so versatile. It can cut, grind, buff, sand, polish, anything!


I haven’t used a hacksaw ever since I have been able to get cutting discs for my angle grinder :slight_smile:


Back to the “the tank’s on fire” post…

…so there I was, standing Command Duty Officer (CDO) onboard the Mighty USS GUAM (no, not an acronym for “Going Under Any Minute”). We are pier side at Yorktown Naval Weapons Station doing our pre-deployment weapons load. Literally, our hangar deck is full of all the weapons for the Marine Battalion Landing Team (BLT). Everything from crates of small arms ammo, through grenades, mortar rounds, TOW missiles, Sidewinder Missiles (for the USMC AH-1s)…to Mk-82’s (just incase a Harrier stops by and wants some). I’ve got a few fork lifts running around taking pallets of ammo to the correct (we hope) weapons elevators to take them down to the magazines…and a bunch of guys with clipboards…organized chaos.

I had just gone off to check something unrelated…was just off the hangar deck…when they “call away” (announce) an emergency over the ship’s public address system (the 1 MC) “White Smoke! White Smoke” and accompanying bells …i.e. probably a fire…from the galley…just one deck directly below the hangar…where all that ammo is…

Like @Harry_Bumcrack , I do not remember getting back to the Quarter Deck (just off the hangar deck where you control daily operations in port)…just arriving there where I was met by the ship’s Damage Control Assistant (DCA) - the guy in charge of the ship’s fire fighting, etc. - who, like me had just sort of “instantly appeared”. Under his guidance, we got the correct fire party called away and in a few minutes everything was “secured” - fire, such as it was, extinguished.

Seems that somebody had decided to do some “hot work” - which is welding, grinding, etc.; in this case some pipe welding. Why that was approved while we were loading ammo, I never did find out.


space GIF

Sorry! Somebody had to…


Fires get out of hand very quickly. The scene is an army base inside Northern Ireland, within it is a further secure compound which was such that what went on inside could not be observed from the outside. Visitors from outside our unit were never allowed in as much classified material and equipment were lurking around the place.

We were visited by a liason officer at least weekly.

Somone had decided that this officers regular visits put him at risk so he had just been issued with a civilian briefcase modified so that if opened normally a thermite charge went off inside it, incinerating the classfied documents within. After showing off his new gadget he re opened it inside his car without the required procedures causing a bright flash and an intense fire to start in his case. He jumped out of the car having first thrown the case onto the passenger seat. The car then caught fire with much excitement and chaotic amusement from all.

Our OC ruled that we would deal with the fire ourselves. We had already removed all of our own cars away from the scene of the fire.

The bell on the compound gate rang. I was dispatched to answer. The camp fire unit, the main camp duty officer and sundry spectators were all there wanting to fight the fire and told me the local civilian fire brigade was summoned.

“What fire” I said as black smoke billowed from our compound for all to see. “You had better send the fire brigade back, no one is allowed in here.”

(@Harry_Bumcrack )


@Hangar200 i have deeply missed your sea stories my friend. This was great to see and made my day


Hilarious! Thank you for sharing. I don’t mean to come across the wrong way, but so many of these stories would be perfect for a British-humor black comedy miniseries.

Maybe too political for MS

I guess it might not play well with certain audiences who were/are sympathetic to the other side (they did have quite a propaganda campaign here in the US, and frankly better music). I will always cringe when I see someone wearing a Che Guevara shirt, and suspect you have similar feelings on similar issues on your side of the pond.


Aka the British Army


I spent quite a few years after my time in the Army as a civvy working, when we were in the office, in a SAP (Special Access Protected) facility which was within a SCIF (Special Compartmented Information Facility).

Also housed in the SCIF was a training area for another agency and there was a regular turnover of ‘bright young things’ who had just completed an undergraduate degree and been recruited from various Universities.

Anyway, we were quite an eclectic bunch; a combination of civilians, Army and RAAF. One of the RAAFies was an EOD Flight Sergeant (about E7 equivalent) who had probably forgotten more about disarming bombs and blowing stuff up than most people will ever know, but he was also one of the funniest buggers I have ever met and had a wicked sense of humour. We were both a similar age, had similar interests and got on like a house on fire.

One day he overheard a bunch of trainees speculating about what went on behind the green door on the XX floor (our SAPF) - yes, very cliche but the boss at the time when it was built insisted that it be painted green!

There was no way that we weren’t going to have some fun with this. The story was concocted and we bided our time until just the right moment to deliver it.

We got in the elevator one day and there were four trainees already on board. As the doors closed we heard one of them whisper to his friends ‘those guys work behind the green door’… My mate gave me a wink and it was game on:

Me: “So how are we going to get rid of the bodies from the latest crash site”.

FSGT: “Effed if I know, if the boffins from DSTO hadn’t broken the disintegrator we recovered from the Species 47 crash when they were trying to pull it apart, we could have used that”

Me: “Well, we could…” at this point we pretend to notice the trainees in the elevator, hit the emergency stop and turned to face them.

FSGT: (he was a big guy) Glared at them and with a pointed finger said “You lot heard nothing”

OMG it was all I could do not to lose it. These poor things all went as white as sheets, whispered tremulously “yes sir” and couldn’t get off at the next floor fast enough.

I’m sure that I also smelled a little bit of pee.


That’s a great one HB.

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Did I ever tell y’all about the exploding circuit breakers we dealt with?


Can’t recall you ever did, good Sir, please do :smiley:


I’ve dealt with exploding capacitors in a PC before, shrapnel flying around and out of the case at us. Not fun.
Can’t imagine breakers are any less fun…


Please tell.

I had exploding isolators on an antenna mast above Flax St Mill Belfast. Turned out we were being sniped at (badly aimed)


So, for Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, power generated or coming in from shore power is 4160V, 3 phase. This is stepped down at loadcenters (this is an example) located around the ship to distribute to various loads in their respective areas. (DISCLAIMER: all the information discussed here is readily available with a bit of Googling). As you can see from the link, those loadcenters are made up of a series of circuit breakers that feed various electrical panels, loads, transformers, etc.

So, this all happened when we were in the yards still under construction. We were in the midst of a pretty heavy testing schedule, as was the shipyard, and were still working rotating shiftwork to match the construction schedule.

It all started when we came in night to start the mid shift, and the shift test engineer informed us that there had been an incident where a shipyard worker had had part of a loadcenter blow up in his face- he lived, but apparently had gotten pretty singed in the face, and when we stopped in the electrical room of said loadcenter, we could see the outline of the guy on the bulkhead opposite where he’d stood- including where he’d obviously thrown his arms up in front of his face when the plasma ball came rolling out.

Maybe a week or so later, we were on shift when a call came in that one of our loadcenters in the propulsion plant was on fire, so of course we high-tail it down from our makeshift training room back towards the aft to the plant. Open up the panels on the back, and it’s very easy to trace where the plasma ball had bounced around through the various sections of the loadcenter, carving up circuit breakers, bus bars, and control and instrumentation.

Oh, and did I mention that we were supposed to be starting testing that would require pretty much the entire thing intact?

So, faced with two similar explosions in the space of a week and no clue as yet of the cause, the shipyard and command passed down a new standing order: ANY circuit breaker operations in ANY loadcenter would have the person operating the breaker wearing 15kV rated electrical safety gloves, standing on an electrically safe mat, wearing a flash-proof rated faceshield (of the type used before arc flash suits came along), have a safety rope man behind them ready to pull them free, AND would crouch down to a level below and to the side of the breaker to be operated, and reach up above head level to operate the breaker.

This lasted for about a week, until finally word came down from other shops about a possible cause- the contractor for all the molded case circuit breakers had sent mostly older breakers, instead of brand new ones- and they’d not been refurbished.

What followed was a flurry of working with a team of techs from the manufacturer, pulling out every single breaker one by one, taking them apart and inspecting main and arcing contactors, springs, and other parts, and either replacing them altogether or having the techs replace internal components. For every. Single. Circuit. Breaker. On every. Single. Loadcenter we owned. That was a fun couple of weeks. But hey, that’s what you get sometimes with buying parts from the lowest bidder.


Cheating the navy is a practice as old as Adam’s- well, you know…

Sheeesh! Used circuit breakers. Yikes.

We’ve seen the same thing happen with aviation parts, due to COVID supply chain disruptions, but it’s not exactly the same as a brand new USN flagship. :open_mouth:


I was’t there but…(perhaps a new thread?)

Reminds me of the time that some guy from USS Boat (a west coast carrier) decided to do some liason work with the US Embassy in…I think Thailand. He rents a car from the city where USS Boat is making a port visit and drives to the capital of (maybe) Thailand.

He is running late and cannot find a parking spot at the Embassy. He does find a couple of what would be awesome parking spots adjacent to the embassy / embassy wall, but unfortunately they are marked as “No Parking”…the story here sometimes is “Strictly No Parking”.

Running late, he parks there anyway and heads into the embassy.

At some point in his meeting, a loud explosion is heard. Strange that. The meeting continues.

He leaves the embassy to discover much police and fire department personnel and vehicles surrounding is rental car…rather…the smoking ruin of his rental car which has been subjected to a deliberate controlled explosion by the Thailand (I’m pretty sure) bomb squad.

They evidently really, really, really didn’t want people to park there for anti-terrorist attack reasons.

My personal lesson learned: Aside from “Obey all signage regarding parking”, just call the embassy ahead of time and they will send a car and driver to pick you up…on DOS’s dime.


Of course you weren’t…

…no, we believe you!
Don’t we, guys?



Of course we do :wink: :shushing_face: