This piece was published in the October 16, 1969 issue of the OK City
Times, published aboard the USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5). (We have no idea who wrote it- I'd appreciate that info if anyone knows..) The friendly folks on the OK City passed the papers along to us during an unrep. Here's the OK City web page for you cruiser fans. A Life Magazine Photo of OK City firing on Vietcong positions in 1965.
There is always a watch, for the ship is like an infant,
needing continuous care and round- the -clock attention. So there
is always a time when you must wake in the middle of the night,
move blindly to your station and stand your watch- which is four
hours long and an eternity wide There are, on a ship, just as in a fine
pawnshop, all kinds of watches.
There are lookout watches and messenger watches and anchor watches and
fire watches, office watches and signal watches, engine order telegraph
watches and fog whistle watches. And the most dreaded of all watches
is the MID WATCH ... which falls between the happy laughing hours of
0000 to 0400. It is then that you must leave your oven-warm sack and
grope your way through the cold black night. It is then you are to say
to the watch you are relieving, "I am ready to relieve you." It is then
you pray that God will forgive you for this shocking lie, because
the last thing in the world you are ready to do is to relieve this sailor, who miraculously returns from
the depths of depression as soon as he sees you, his savior and
redeemer, his midnight mirage turned to flesh and blood.