A quick recap of our most epic night in Bahrain. The new XO has just arrived to the ship and we’re going to throw him a party or in military terms “Hail” him. For those of you who don’t know what a hail and farewell is, I will explain. These are mandatory wardroom (all officer) functions in which the wardroom gathers together, throws a shindig (party, small gathering, meeting in the wardroom if underway, etc.), and introduces you the newbie to everyone in the wardroom.
So let me fill you in about a little problem that Bahrain imposed on us and we had to work around. They do not sell any alcohol in Bahrain, you can only buy it at the restaurants that are authorized to sell it, which are few and far between, and on the base at the NEX because that’s considered to be America. But here’s the thing, the navy is very concerned with drunken sailors in Bahrain, so you actually get a card once you arrive which starts collecting points on it for how many days you’ve been stationed over there. These points in turn authorize you to buy so much alcohol.
Our plans for the hail were very limited since we were still restricted to the base, so after doing some research we found a volleyball court with a patio, picnic tables, and this bad ass grille that was awesome. The only thing we were missing was our inability to buy alcohol. It was time to put our heads together on this one.
We are a bunch of naval officer’s so we should be able to make this happen right? Well indeed we did. Shacker, one of the pilots, took the bus to the base in the morning, mostly because he’s a pilot (they never work, haha), and he went straight to the main building where the XO and CO of the base work. He brought a letter from our captain that requested 7 cases of beer for 30 people and asked the XO to approve and sign it so we would have authorization to buy the alcohol at the NEX.
At first we were going to write the number in cans which would be 168, but that just looked like a ridiculous amount of beers, so writing the case number put us in the tens, perfect. The XO did sign it and Shacker ran back to the ship holding it out like he just won a tour of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory. We were ecstatic!
I forgot to tell you that I had been promoted to BULL ensign, which is the most senior ensign onboard, so I get to boss people around, and I was helping set up for the hail so a group of us left early to go buy all of our supplies… And the beer. Airboss, CHENG, Shacker, Heather my roommate, and Elyse all caught a van with 2 huge coolers from the ship and we were taken straight to the front gate of the base where the NEX is. We did all of our shopping and piled everything into 2 shopping carts, then we took it all outside, unpacked it, put all of the beers on ice in the cooler and repackaged everything, then proceeded to push the carts all the way to the volleyball courts to set up for the BBQ. We were just pushing buggy’s down the sidewalk and we had tons of beer and everyone was inquiring where we got all the beer?
The drinking began immediately. We started setting up the grill and all of the food while we waited for everyone else to arrive. MPA was in love with the grill, which was really very nice. It was huge and had all kinds of counter space, with marble, and a sink with running water. We were grilling in no time and I had bought brats, which I absolutely love and had not had all summer long.
When all of the pilots arrived they went to change, which was odd. They had threatened us before but we were not prepared for the ridiculousness that ensued. They all walked out together, slow mo, with jeans, white T-shirts, dog tags, and aviators on, just like top gun. It was absolutely hilarious, but not after 5 games of volleyball in 110 degree heat. They regretted the jeans decision very quickly.
All the pilots with their Top Gun-like appearance and then PB and I.
We were blasting music, playing volleyball, grilling out and just enjoying the evening, and enjoy it we did. It’s nice to relax every once in a while. We partied very hard and diligently tried to finish off all of the beer that we had purchased. What we couldn’t finish we put on the counter and the Bahrain workers were already outside bagging it up before we even left.
As the night proceeded there were many games of volleyball, grilling, and good chatter. The volleyball ended when we were all one big puddle of sweat. We all went back and headed straight for the wardroom with a bag full of shwarma’s and some extra easy mac I keep hidden in my stateroom. Once the food was gone I headed straight to bed.
This concludes my extended vacation in Bahrain. More from the high seas and my adventures as Officer of the Deck to come shortly.
For a complete listing of all of my deployment articles Click the Link: MY FIRST DEPLOYMENT
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