Monday, August 13, 2012

They Say That In the Navy #2

Well, I've made it to the second one.  Hopefully some of you have.  Bouncing around the chronology yet again, I'd like to discuss the nature of coffee and it's purpose in the United States Navy.  Coffee in the navy is a more useful tool to keeping a ship afloat than the fire teams and people driving the ship.  If naval vessels were suddenly deprived of coffee, the whole damned system would collapse.

It's true.  You've got a job where on a lengthy deployment there can be thousands of people out to sea on just one vessel.  Many of us getting up at odd hours for watches and things like that.  Look at it this way.  You know when you hear that noise at three in the morning and you get up and look outside to see if it was just the wind, a badger going through your garbage, or some guy breaking into the neighbor's car?  Military folks have to power through that same feeling and then immediately go operate a multi-million dollar piece of equipment.  Or for those that get assigned lookout watch, stand there and point out other things in the water. Which can be just as rough of a job as maneuvering a ship, but I digress.

Coffee.  The lifeblood of the American naval fleet.  Like a great many things that we received on board, it would come to us during underway replenishments in giant containers that would make the folks at Sam's Club and Costco cower in fear.  I still have a problem to this day with a toe on my right foot from dropping a can of spiced ham or something like that on my foot.  Must have been the size of a bowling ball.  Sailors are first introduced to the concept of Navy coffee when we are at our tech schools.  It's usually cold, been sitting there for several hours and there's no cream or sugar to be seen.  So you drink it without any embellishment whatsoever.  This coffee isn't designed to warm you up.  It's designed to wake you up!  So you trudge through this dark, muddy water and miraculously the caffeine hits you.  By the way, don't even ask about decaf.  I was in the navy for four years and do not think I once saw decaf served on or in a government installation.  My lack of knowledge of decaf coffee by the way, continues to some time ago when my wife and I purchased a Keurig machine and one of the sample packs we got with it had a small pack of decaf K-Cups.  Much to my surprise drinking the decaf didn't turn me into a reverse vampire.

However, when you get to your duty station the coffee situation changes drastically.  You, yes you, can actually drink it while it still has some degree of warmth to it!  And you can put cream and sugar in it to get that USDA "Approved For Human Consumption" taste out of your mouth!  The cream and sugar in this situation really helps out.  On its own, even properly heated Navy coffee can be a beast that's quite formidable to contend with.  Remember, this isn't like brewing a pot at home or even at the office.  Most times, this stuff is brewed in obnoxiously large pots, and they don't make any new coffee until the last of the old stuff is gone.  So during certain times of the day, you can have coffee slow cooking for several hours until it's essentially a thin paste.  So it's not designed to taste good, however I think that was one of the things that was explicitly stated on the enlistment contract.

Well, that's all for now.  Hope you all enjoyed and be sure to spread this around however you can.  

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