WWII (1943-46)

“Refueling at Sea” — A Funny Story About a New Sailor

Memory from: Seaman 2nd class James P. Takitch

Setting the Scene

Seaman 2nd class James P. Takitch, in this interview with curator Timothy C. Rizzuto and KIDD historian Fred G. Benton, Jr., gives an example of a dirty, yet humorous, learning experience as a young sailor on his first wartime sea cruise.

The Recollection

Tim Rizzuto: What would you say was the funniest thing that happened to you when you were aboard the ship? Can you think of any humorous stories? Jim Takitch: Yes. I told Fred. The funniest thing is—and some of the sailors, I’m sure, can remember—me, being a little green at the thing, a new sailor aboard, somewhere out in the Pacific, we were taking oil. I think, for sure, we were tied up to a tanker, but we were on the move. They had the hoses over and secured already. They had the hose over the railing, up toward where you go down into the Mess Hall. The hoses secured into the oil tank with ropes and so forth. I was on the oiling detail. I just happened to walk up and glanced at the hose where it came over the railing. I thought the hose looked like it was stretching. Well, being a new sailor aboard, I didn’t think I wanted to say anything. So I turned around. As soon as I turned around, something knocked me flat down. It was the hose bursting. The oil was all over the place. It knocked me down flat. There I was. I was all black with this black strap oil that they used at the time. I took my dungarees and t-shirt off and threw them overboard because they were just so filled with oil, went down belowdecks and washed myself off with diesel fuel, then came back up and tried to take a shower in salt water. I felt like I had glue on me for about a week.

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