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Rota Root'in - continued

 

 

Next thing you know beer bottles were flying over the fence and some motorcyclists took tumbles.  Next thing to happen was the shore patrol arriving, having heard from the ejected bar staff and probably from some motorcycle riders too.  The bar was closed and everyone dispatched to their boats.  Next time we came to Rota you could only get beer at the slop chute, probably a decision by the powers that be that the demon rum had caused the problem.  If I remember, a rum and coke was 65 cents and most of that charge was for the coke.  Out in the local bars in the 60s, a shot of brandy was two pesatas (?) and the exchange rate at that time was about 60 pesatas to the American dollar.  That brandy being only a day or two removed from the still and of a quality similar to paint thinner.


The Daedelus (affectionately called the Dildo by US sailors) was there, the Spanish helicopter carrier.  She was a WWI cruiser, maybe the USS Boxer, that had a flight deck installed on it and given to the Spanish at some point.  What a sight to see her get under way, belching black smoke that would make any boiler tender cut his wrists.  That didn’t happen very often so it was quite a sight.  The copters of course were in another part of the country so a coup against Franco couldn’t get both the carrier and the copters in one raid.  The sailors on that ship made about 100 pesatas a month!  First timers to Rota were always told this and urged to buy these guys a drink.  But man we would try and buy them drinks and they would reciprocate no matter how much we protested. Hell we lost more change in the bars than they made in a month.  I remember the hanger deck of that ship had a huge volley ball court and many tens of cases of spirits piled up. 

 

Final drinking story from Rota involved Ed Evering, another MM, who was a great guy.  We went to the PX to get a birthday card for his little son.  He picked out a cute card with a bunny on it.  Walking back we decided to have “one beer” at the Acey/Ducey club.  Well one beer led to another and we left there so pickled we got lost trying to find the piers.  Then Ed discovered he didn’t have the birthday card anymore.  When the shore patrol picked us up, we were on our hands and knees in this grassy stretch of the base.  The shore patrol guy asked Ed what the hell are you doing.  Ed replied he was looking for the “widdle wabbit”.  Into the bed of the shore patrol pickup we went, to be deposited pier side at the Key.  At least some shore patrol guys had a sense of humor I guess.