Black Balls. Yes, we must talk about it.

We do need to talk about black balls — don’t worry guys, not that kind!  This is a “sea story” and like sea shanties, such stories are often full of fantasy … but this one is true.

The setting is 1968, sometime roughly around the time of the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, and we’re on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. Yankee Station is merely a dot on a chart in the Gulf, some 35 miles in diameter and marked into three equal pie-shaped operating areas for aircraft carriers.  We’re aboard the Super Carrier, U.S.S. Kitty Hawk — the last of the conventionally powered carriers, and which was decommissioned in 2008 after 49 years of service. (details on the ‘Hawk here) Continue reading “Black Balls. Yes, we must talk about it.”