Flight Skins did have a negative aspect when used illegally which I learned, much to my dismay. The school from which we had just graduated granted Skins to the Petty Officer instructors . However, due to the chicken shit regulations, the POs were not granted time to fly. Their only alternative was to find a willing PO at the air base to fly the time and claim it for the person to whom the Skins were assigned. Higher authority seemed to close their eyes to this procedure until word got out that some unethical air base POs were charging for half of the compensation. Notice was issued that a Captain's Mast or Deck Court awaited the culprit if he was caught.
Bill Hainey, my shipmate agreed to do an instructor a favor and fly his time. However, in the meantime Bill acquired a date in town with what he called a gorgeous creature.
"Coog", he asked, "do me a favor and fly the time. You have duty this weekend."
Coog, never refusing a chance to go up, agreed.
Before the flight, the passenger must sign the Yellow Sheet identifying the flight details. I thought if the flight should fail, the corpse would have a false identity and the wrong mother would be mourning for her son. So, I signed it C Coogan AMM2/C . After the flight I erased my name and signed for the person for whom I flew. A clerk who recorded the take off, noticed the change and from there the feces hit the proverbial fan.
Coog was issued a Captain's Mast. The squadron Co was assigned as the defendant's representative. The CO's pretrial advice was, "Whatever is asked during this trial, remember, no money was involved and don't mention Hainey. This was between you and the lad from across the street. Keep it simple or this could escalate to a Deck Court.
Scared? You can bet your booties I was scared. Dress blues, spit shined shoes and my hat squared to navy regs, the CO and I advanced side by side, front and center before the Captain and his flanking judges. State your name rank and serial number was his first order. Question after question followed.
"Keep starring at that bulkhead sailor", the Captain warned me. "Were you sharing the Skins pay with this person?"
"No sir." My mouth and throat were drier than I could ever remember.
"Why did you do this", he demanded.
"I fly at every opportunity sir. I enjoy flying and I felt I could help this lad."
A long lapse of silence followed my answer. I thought, "thank you lord, I'm off the hook."
Finally, "Did you know this petty officer personally?" That was a hammer blow that hit me between the eyes. "Oh God if I lie, he'll hit me with the book. No Sir," I admitted.
"Well, how did you acquire the Skins", He asked most calmly. "It was through another fellow Sir" My eyes had left the bulkhead and I was starring at the deck.
"What the hell do I have to do, drag this out of you?" I could see he was just warming up. Where the hell did he dig that question from? The CO could not help me now, much as he may have wanted to.
"No Sir", I assured him and went on to relate the agreement between Hainey and me. He turned to the other officers and remarked of the loyalty among sailors. He said this with an air of pride, then turned to me and said, "You are on two weeks restriction. You are not to leave the base, also you'll report to the Master At Arms twice a day. You're excused. Get out of my sight."
I was one lucky sonofabitch!
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