The Green Stripe

During our overhaul, the USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN 685) was in new construction.  As she approached her sea trials date, the boats in the yard became all a-twitter over the possibility that “the Admiral” would visit them when he came to ride the Lipscomb.

The week before Lipcomb’s sea trial date, Captain Overhaul was visiting the USS Dace’s barge for some reason, and noticed that they had neatly painted a dark green baseboard-like stripe on the bottom of all of their lime green walls.  This was a crisis!  His barge did not have these dark green baseboards, and that could be the differentiating factor between his command and the Dace. 

So for the rest of the week, all hands turned to and painted the “Green Stripe”.  In typical bubblehead fashion, we organized into teams and attacked our assignment with gusto.  The “clearing team” would follow the walls around, moving all interference items (desks, chairs etc.) to provide unobstructed access to the bottoms of our lime green walls.  For those of you who were fortunate enough NEVER to have visited the barge at EB, all the walls were slime green.  The “taping team” installed masking tape on the floor and the wall to define the area to be painted.  The “painting team” applied (read: slopped on copious amounts of) dark green paint: The Green Stripe.  Finally, the “wiping team” followed and smeared around any drips and overruns of fresh paint with Kimwipes. 

The day before the Admiral’s arrival, everyone pulled up masking tape.  The finished Green Stripe followed the base of the walls, more or less.  It was four inches high, plus or minus an inch or so, more or less.  We were ready, but we definitely were not going to be featured in the home decorating section of Good Housekeeping magazine.   

Around midnight, the Admiral arrived at EB and went directly to Lipscomb, which had been singled up and steaming by the pier since early afternoon.  With the Admiral onboard, she headed down river for builder’s trails.  On Lipscomb’s return several days later, the Admiral transferred to a tug in the river, and went directly to the sub base, while Lipscomb moored at EB.   

Nonetheless, we had our Green Stripe. 

Charlie Winterfeldt

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