Originally Posted by braumeister
One day they were driving along and approached a traffic light. Leona had started to become aware that her own vision was deteriorating, so she asked Mom "Is that light red or green?"
Mom's reply was "What light?"
On one of my submarines in 1992, we had a sailor who'd been in the service in the 1960s. He got out in 1966 and re-enlisted in 1982, so despite his broken service he was close to his pension. He had just turned 50 so the crew called him "Grandpa".
Grandpa had lived a hard life of smokin' & drinkin' & motorcyclin', and there might have been some other Ozzie-Osbourne style neurological damage as well. He was regarded as reliable but limited in his abilities. However by some miracle he'd made Chief Petty Officer on the last promotion cycle, so it was time for him to start qualifying as Diving Officer of the Watch.
One of the practical factors for DOOW is to take the submarine to periscope depth at night. The control room is rigged for black, so that the Officer of the Deck can see out of the periscope without losing his night vision. The only illumination comes from the red-backlit numbers on the various gauges.
Grandpa assumed the "Under Instruction" DOOW (supervised by the qualified DOOW). I was the OOD. I'd done the usual sonar safety search at a depth of 150 feet, briefed all the participants, and everyone was ready to go. Grandpa had needed a little extra time to get his buoyancy trim all tweaked out, but we'd learned long ago not to rush the guy. He'd seen the boat go to PD a million times while standing other watches in the control room (back when I was in kindergarten, too), and he was familiar with the procedure. We rigged control for black, with eerie red numbers floating where the gauges used to be. I phoned the CO and got his permission to go to PD. I raised the periscope and started looking around, and I gave the orders:
Me: "DOOW, make your depth 68 feet."
Grandpa: "Make my depth 68 feet, aye. Stern Planes, two degree up bubble. Helm, make your depth 68 feet."
(20 seconds of silence.)
DOOW: (whispering a hint to Grandpa): "Hey, man, you're supposed to be calling the depths off every 10 feet as we go up."
Grandpa: (Loudly) "Call off the depths? I can't even SEE the depths!"
Me: "DOOW, make your depth 150 feet."
As we headed back down to 150 feet, the CO phoned the conn on the handset: "OOD, WTF is going on in there?"
We eventually decided that Grandpa didn't need to qualify as DOOW. A few months later he finished his sea duty and reached retirement eligibility at a training command... probably with a significant VA disability rating, too.