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Memories

While emptying a box, I discovered notes from my C school back in 1991, when I was an ET2 (E-5). I look at them as proof that it was signing all of those PQS books on USS SAMUEL GOMPERS that killed my handwriting. I don't see any need to keep training schematics and notes for equipment that was obsolete when I was learning it.

They do, however, remind me of when I was a very bad student. The HF transmitter classroom instructor had a stuffed ET (yes, I SAID it was 1991) that his wife had given him prior to leaving on deployment. We, the bored students waiting for our turn in the lab to troubleshoot, decided to put a toilet paper diaper on it with a brown skid mark on the back. Then, somehow the stuffed thing ended up bound, gagged, and hanging from a cord in the front of the room. Instead of being irritable, the instructor just laughed and told us that there was nothing we could do that hadn't been done before to a small stuffed bunny in the receiver lab. It had been stuffed into switchboards, he said, and hung, bound, gagged, squished, squashed, thrown in the trash can, stuck under workbenches...anything students could think of, so there wasn't anything new that could be done.

I looked at one of the ET1 students in the course, and he smiled. As soon as the instructor went back into the lab with the next student, he smiled again. "That sounded like a challenge," he'd said, and I agreed. We became partners in plotting.

A week later, when we saw the bunny in the receiver lab, ET1 had the idea. I was to search for a similar bunny, and bring it to class. He would kidnap the bunny from the lab, and we'd skin the substitute.

Did I mention that it was near Easter?

So we carried out the plan, and flayed the substitute bunny right there in the receiver classroom while waiting for our turn at the lab. We put the pelt on the whiteboard, then pulled the screen down. We stuck one ear on the end of the wooden pointer, and another we dangled from the overhead projector. The head was hidden in my bag with the stuffing, because the bunnies didn't look that much alike.

The instructor - yes, he was an E-7, and if you're a Chief you know what that means - was one of those Filipino fellows that smiled when he was angry.

That man was positively beaming. He taught the lesson, then made us stay in the classroom while he went to check on his bunny. "This had better not be my bunny!"

Of course, his was missing.

We had labs to do, so he put us on break and told us to come to the receiver lab when the break was over. And he wanted to know who did it.

Of course, ET1 and I are very amused, but the guys straight out of A school are about to crap their pants. I figured we couldn't draw out our game, because at least one of them was going to rat us out.

So we file into the lab, and ET1 is ahead of me. "Here's your bunny, Chief," he says in his most condescending tone.

"Yeah," I add. "We counted on you not knowing your bunny well enough to notice that the tail was the wrong color."

And of course, he couldn't fail us. Perhaps if it had been the transmitter section we would have got the real hard faults to find, but receivers were easy. Heck, I could still sketch out the module layout for an R-1051B.

Oddly enough, when I went back for instructor duty two years later, the hubby was still teaching the course - he'd just been starting when I was a student - and he told me that the staff had been laughing for weeks over that.

Made me smile, it did.

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