In the following week, I qualified Reactor Operator, which means they let me sit in front of a panel with a bunch of bells and whistles, and a bunch of cool switches whose functions I really can't say too much about. The following Friday, we had a piece of gear break, and we were all there until about 1800 repairing and retesting it. After getting off, I headed up to Mohegan Sun, hearing that Uncle Kracker would be playing a free show in the Wolf Den. I took a seat at one of the blackjack tables near the Den, and quickly got up by a good amount. I seesawed a bit, came back down to my original stake, then got up again, the table was lukewarm for about a hour, and then three and a half hours into play, it caught fire. I split twice, doubling on one of the hands, and the dealer busted, leading to a $100 win on that hand. By the time I finished just after 2300, I had won $550. That money went straight into the bank; after all, I wouldn't be immediately needing it, since we were heading out to sea on Sunday.
The twenty-three day underway that followed was not a particularly bad one; we were taking out senior officers being groomed to command boats. We played a bunch of war games, shooting off the entire supply of torpedoes with which we left port. The one thing that truly sucked was having a giant capacitor in one of our cabinets rupture in the third week. We spent nearly two full days troubleshooting and repairing that thing.
We pulled back into Groton last Monday and have been busy turning the boat around to go out to sea again this Tuesday. I worked until 2000 on Monday, stood duty on Tuesday, and didn't get released until 1600 on Wednesday. As expected, I wasn't able to reserve a ferry from New London to Orient Point for that afternoon, so I'd be driving around the Sound to get home for Thanksgiving.
(To be continued in the next entry...)