October 8th, 2006


Navy words, or, I wish we could be like Star Trek

Field day.

Not having one's wild way. Not spending time in the great outdoors. A
field day is a major cleaning effort either in one space (Space =
compartment, passageway, vestibule, ladderwell, head, berthing,
workshop-see?) or ship-wide. Sometimes a group of people will conduct
field day, sometimes an individual will be tasked with field day in a
space. Field day is different from sweepers, in which one does light
cleaning to maintain a level of cleanliness. A true field day is a
deep-cleaning event that seeks to eradicate dirt from everywhere.
Corners, cable runs, and all of the little nooks behind equipment get
special attention, brass gets polished, decks get scrubbed and cleaned,
bulkheads (walls) and doors get scuff marks cleaned off-sort of like
spring cleaning, except more often.

If one does a really good field day, then follows up with good sweepers,
one doesn't have to field day as frequently. Most sailors never figure
this out on their own, so it takes supervisors (workcenter supervisors,
leading petty officers, and sometimes the chief) to push them into doing
so. "Inspect what you expect" is the saying that goes along with that.

So how does this tie into Star Trek? Well, when was the last time
Captain Kirk couldn't get through a passageway because it was being
cleaned? Or Scottie said, "You'll be getting a wee bit hot in your
cabin, Captain, while my boys clean the vents." And someone has to
clean that big table that Picard always has his meetings at. Sooner or
later, everyone spills their Earl Grey.

Ships are dirty. It's their nature to be dirty, and we are
always fighting against the natural order. But in space, there's no
dirt, right? Here's what we'd need:

- Clothing and bedding made out of lint-free fabric that doesn't
laminate to one's body when it burns. A lot of the dirt around the
ship, particularly in the berthing areas, is lint. Lint burns. That's
bad. The Navy uses wool blankets, and those things make a lot of lint!
(Tangent: Fire would be even worse on a starship, because in addition
to the smoke and the hazard to airtight integrity, fire would consume
the oxygen.)

- Shoes that never need polishing and that don't make scuff marks, or,
deck and bulkhead finishes that don't scuff or take marks from shoes.
And what about those finishes? They'd have to come up with something
that doesn't wear, or a starship would look pretty ratty in the
high-traffic areas after a short time.

- Ventillation from hell that sucks up all of the hair, skin, and other
things our bodies shed, and then disposes of it in some way. Part of
the problem on ships is that dirt gets into the ventillation and moved
around. And on a starship, the air would be recycled, unlike ships that
suck it in from outside and then blow it back out again. (On a tangent:
Body odor and flatulence would be horrid on a starship. Eeew!)

Wondering what kicked this topic to mind? My watchstation is in dire
need of a field day. And since this is LHD-4, not NCC-1701, we shall
have field day. Soon.