Al Nofi's CIC
|| Issue #27, March 21, 2001
- Infinite Wisdom
- la Triviata
- Short Rounds
- The Strange Case of the Captain's Skivvies
- Wedding Festivities
- Briefing - Indecent Haste: Demobilization After the Civil War
"A battle is only truly great or small according to its results."
- During the campaign in North Africa in 1942-1943, the U.S. shipped thousands of tons of oranges to the troops there as part of their ration, despite the fact that North Africa was one of the largest producers of oranges in the world, a matter largely due to the influence of members of Congress from certain citrus producing states.
- It was not until 1675 that the French Army firmly established the principle that an officer's bureaucratic rank, not his aristocratic rank, determined precedence in command, which was one reason why Louis XIV's forces began doing much better than most other armies.
- During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries total military mortality from disease was probably about ten times that from combat.
- The Adjutant General of South Carolina, the senior military officer in the state, who ranks as a major general in the National Guard, is the only elected soldier in America, serving a four year term.
- Having fallen into the hands of an anarchistic political faction during a period of revolutionary upheaval, in 1872 the Spanish province of Murcia declared war on Germany, a matter about which the latter power proved wholly unconcerned.
- Scipio Aemilianus, who commanded the Roman army that besieged, captured, and then destroyed Carthage in 146 B.C., wept as his men burned the city.
- Of 72 battleships ordered for the U.S. Navy, of which 61 actually entered service, only one was not named for a state, U.S.S. Kearsarge (BB-6), commissioned in 1899.
- Although long considered a classic of military literature, Marshal Maurice de Saxe's Reveries were actually composed during a bout of insomnia more than a dozen years before he ever commanded troops in battle.
The Strange Case of the Captain's Skivvies
One morning in 1943, Capt. Harold L. Meadows of the escort carrier Natoma Bay, then operating in tropical climes in support of operations against Japanese forces, called up the ship's "GSO" (General Services Officer). When the laundry officer answered, the Captain roared, "Who put the itching powder in my underwear?"
The startled officer expressed doubts that anyone would have the temerity to do so, but the Captain emphasized that such was indeed the case, and ordered the man to apprehend the malefactor immediately.
The GSO promptly headed for the ship's laundry. Lining up the men, he demanded, "Who put the itching powder in the Captain's underwear?"
The assembled men were silent. Then, just as the officer was about to repeat his question, a man in the rear of the assembled laundry workers spoke up, "Do you suppose that's where the fiberglass curtain went?"
Everyone looked at the man in surprise. There was a missing curtain, one of many which had been supplied by the Navy in lieu of more expensive doors. The curtain had become mixed up with the regular laundry. Unfortunately, it was not supposed to be washed using the same water temperature, soap, and bleach used to wash the men's cottons. As a result it had disintegrated, leaving behind a fine, abrasive dust, which was now all over not just the Captain's underwear, but that of the entire crew; the Captain had just had the misfortune to have his laundry delivered before anyone else's.
It took two additional washings before the men of Natoma Bay were able to rid themselves of the itchy fiberglass in their skivvies.