Sunday, January 25, 2009

Super Bowl Prize Pack Contest Winners: Love, Wood & War

Second Runner-Up (Love) and Winner of HHR Big Game T-Shirt, Dugefresh (Love):

"Dear HHR Penthouse, I never thought it would happen to me, but . . .

It was just a mere 3 years ago. Following an improbable run as the sixth seed the steelers made the super bowl, on top of this I found out my wife was pregnant, the cherry on top would be a win by the steelers.

Well, it happened, but during the whole game I sat rocking back and forth watching the game, I could not enjoy it until the final ticks. Everytime I watch the replays my body goes back into that mode. I expect the same come super bowl sunday this year as well."

First Runner-Up and Winner of HHR Big Game T-Shirt, Iceman Eddie (Wood):

"dear HHR Heres a super bowl story...last year the giants beats the bucs cowboys packers and pats...i still have a boner...its like a diamond in an ice storm."

Winner of HHR's Penthouse Forum /Pepsi Super Bowl Prize Pack, MoonDog (War):

(You can't top a guy being shot at in Iraq who choses to write a novel about it.)

"The year was 1990 and I was scheduled to be discharged from the USN on January 29. As was customary, most of us had acquired at least 60 days leave and we would sell 30 days back to the Navy and use the other 30 days prior to the discharge date. This process was known as taking terminal leave.

In August of 1989 Iraq invaded Kuwait, and by early January of 1990 former President George Bush gave the Iraqi's a January 15 deadline to either withdraw from Kuwait or suffer the consequences.

Even though I was scheduled to be discharged on the 29th, the Navy asked me (and I'm sure everyone else scheduled to be discharged around that time) if I would remain in the service until the conflict was concluded.

In late December my ship was deployed to the Persian Gulf. I was aboard the USS Sampson (DDG-10) and it was my second deployment to the Middle East. I was aboard the Sampson during it's first deployment to the Persian Gulf between October 1986 and April 1987, and it was at that time the Iran-Iraq war was at its height.

Suffice it to say, I was acclimated to being at sea in a hazardous environment. The only skirmishes we encountered were with Iraqi patrol boats that would test us, getting within seven miles or so of the ship. Generally all it took to ward them off was to point one of the 5-inch guns at them and away they went.

There were other times when some fanatic would climb atop an oil derrick with a hand-held missile and think if the ship got within range, he might actually cause some damage. Of course, our long-range radar would pick up the single and we could "accidentally" fire a volley at the base of the oil derrick and as you might imagine, end any threat.

Super Bowl XXIV was scheduled for January 28 - one day prior to my discharge date. I was really looking forward to being home to watch the game. I hadn't been able to watch any Super Bowls live for six years during my time in the service. Usually, if we were lucky, we could see the game a day or two later when the tape was sent out to all of the ships at sea and to bases around the globe.

That year the 49ers and Broncos made it to the big game. I wasn't a fan of either team but hey, this was the Super Bowl. There I was on January 28 aboard a ship sailing in the waters of the Persian Gulf thanks to idiot boy Saddam Hussein. On the day of the game, it was announced that we would be able to watch it live, but considering there was a nine or ten hour time difference, we wouldn't be able to watch it until 0400 the following morning. That was fine by me. Getting a chance to watch the game regardless of the time it aired was of no concern.

So as it turned out, since we were 10 hours ahead of U.S. time, I was going to watch the game on the day I was supposed to be discharged. Now there's one minor detail I haven't made note of that proved to be detrimental to our ability to watch the game.

During the Iran-Iraq war both nations had laid old WWII type mines in the waters in the Persian Gulf. They looked like over-sized cannon balls - imagine painting a rubber glove black, blowing it up and multiply that vision by 200 and that's basically what they looked like. They floated near the surface and were anchored with a long chain, essentially just floating around the waters. In other words, they weren't stationary.

After the Iran-Iraq war came to an end, some of those mines remained in the waters of the Persian Gulf. Even though there weren't many, you had to stay vigilant because if one of those things hit the ship, it would ruin your day.

Considering the low profile, radar and sonar really couldn't pick them up too well. Since they were painted black, it was hard to spot them in the dark waters, obviously at night being the most difficult time to spot them.

What we would do is place some poor bastard in the bulls nose (the forward most point of the ship on the main deck) and arm him with an M-14, a 20-round clip, a flack jacket and a sound-powered phone. That was your defense against the mines. If one was spotted, we would literally slow down, turn the ship either port or starboard depending on the mine's location relative to the ship, and the guy in the bulls nose had to bust caps at it hoping to detonate it.

Now the bastard in the bulls nose was usually a junior enlisted man. Somebody that was an E-3 or E-4 and had at least the basic weapons training. But since it was Super Bowl Sunday (Monday in our case) the really junior enlisted guys had to stand all of the worst watches.

So at 0200 on the morning of January 29, 1990 aboard the USS Sampson on station in the Persian Gulf, just two hours from watching the Super Bowl live for the first time in six years, the bastard in the bulls nose, some kid that had been in the fleet for about 15 minutes, thought he spotted a mine.

Instead of dealing with the situation calmly, he started busting caps. All hell broke loose. "General Quarters, General Quarters, all hands man their battle stations, this is not a drill."


I rush to my General Quarters station. I'm thinking damn, one of those old mines has floated into our path and the kid up in the bulls nose has panicked and we're going to hit this thing and we're all going to die.

Sure enough the kid had panicked, letting loose with a solid 10 rounds just blindly pouring led into the dark, cold waters of the Persian Gulf. As the ship was maneuvered about 5 degrees to the starboard (the right), others had rushed to the bridge and to the forward most part of the ship in an effort to locate the mine.

After about three minutes, POW! We hit something! Oh shit! We've hit this mine and we're going to be in deep shit now. Five seconds, 10 seconds, nothing. Oh shit! This thing has a delayed detonator. 15 seconds, 20 seconds, nothing. Wait a minute...what the fuck is going on?

Do you know what the kid shot?

A fucking whale.

He shot a whale and then we hit the thing. A whale isn't a small creature and you might think even a 4500 ton ship wouldn't be a match for the whale, but it still caused some damage below the ship's water line.

I actually kind of felt sorry for the kid because he really didn't have any business being up there. He probably hadn't been in the Navy more than six months and had been aboard for about one month. He wasn't the guy we needed up there that night but the older guys, those of us of higher rank, weren't about to be stuck up there or anywhere else for that matter on the day the Super Bowl was to be played.

As things turned out, we had to make steam for Bahrain to put in to port so we could affect repairs to the ship - and didn't get to see the Super Bowl either.

So that's my story of Super Bowl XXIV on January 28-29, 1990, aboard the USS Sampson (DDG-10) on station in the Persian Gulf.

A fucking whale."


Yeah, he didn't actually "watch" the game, but you tell him his story wasn't good enough.

Thanks to all our entrants, and thanks to Pepsi for the prize pack.

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