When I made boomer patrols one of the places I would hang out for some rare down time was in control. I wasn’t into playing cards or watching the Blues Brothers movie on the mess decks for 15th time. It was natural for a NavET to be in control and the navigation center working watchstation quals while off watch. Occasionally while off watch I could even catch a rare periscope liberty when we came to PD just to ventilate and not as part of a drill.
During one quite mid-watch I struck up a conversation with a junior officer JO who was standing the Officer of the Deck OOD. I noticed that when the watch was routine (no drills scheduled) he liked to turn up the passive sonar speaker on the conn and listen to the local biologics. In my conversation with the JO I found out that he had a master’s degree in Oceanography and marine biology. One of the things he liked to do was listen to the biologics and try to identify what was making a specific sound. Being curious I asked if he could teach me to ID a few of the sounds.
After listing to a few clicks, moans and whistles he would identify the species of marine life producing the sound. It was all pretty interesting to me having been an avid salt water fisherman. All of a sudden I hear a series of load *POPS* and immediately asked what made those sounds. The OOD says as a matter of fact “Oh, that was a Milamore fish”. I had never heard of a milamore so I had to ask him to explain what a milamore was. Here’s what I got for my trouble.
“The milamore fish is a long slender fish much like a mackerel and travels in large schools. Occasionally when spooked the lead fish in the school would stop abruptly causing the fish that were following to rear end each other and thereby put their head up the butt of the fish in front of them. When they were able to extricate each other you could here the POP sound for A MILE OR MORE.”
Very funny, he hooked me on that one. Before leaving control, a little less gullible, I promised the OOD the next time he had me as the ESM operator at PD I’d make sure to report all the hammer4 and henweighs I could. What’s a hammer4, to strike nails. What’s a henweigh, about 4 pounds. NATO classifications and naming of Soviet equipment sometimes made about as much sense as henweighs and hammer4s but a fish a named a milamore? I should have heard that one coming, well ah, maybe by a mile or more.