"For anyone who has worn the oakleaf, been a JO in an afloat wardroom, served on an amphibious ship, done a “WESTPAC,” or plied the brown-water rivers during the Vietnam era, there is plenty in this book to reminisce about. Long Slow Target, Porkchop Chest Candy, by Larry Allen Lindsey is a whimsical walk down memory lane with enough sea-stories to fill a seabag.
Lindsey, a retired Supply Corps Officer, begins with his decision to join the Navy and the BQC in Athens, including his fateful “orders reading.” Once aboard USS HAMPSHIRE COUNTY (LST 819), he walks you through his relieving process.
“I’d inherited a light-fingered workforce that quite possibly would get me thrown in jail; a galley with two cantankerous ovens that on occasion turned out nothing but fossilized carbon; a grill that refused to work on Tuesdays; three boilers that could produce anything but steam; a laundry with a leaky washer and an overpowered dryer that ran on two settings – Burn and Scorch; and two storerooms that flooded on a regular basis.”
This brought me back to my first tour and the shock of transitioning from theory at NSCS, to practice, in the Fleet. His humorous style serves him well, touching on topics such as inter-departmental feuds, working the grey areas to get things done, and even recalling the atmosphere in port visits to Bangkok, Guam, Yokosuka, Hong Kong, and Olongapo.
The subtitle, The True Story of Life on Board the Slowest, Ugliest, Worst Riding Ship in the US Navy, or Any Navy for that Matter, provides the reader an inclination for what is in store, but don’t be fooled. By the end of the 250 pages, just like the author, you will develop a love-hate relationship with not only the ship, but it’s mission and quirky crew.