Four Months Ago:
Kelly Drosin, M.D. Kelly was enthralled that she had finally completed her residency-training program and was now a full-fledged physician able to practice medicine on her own. No more of that idiot "Chief" resident assigning her "scut work" day in and day out. No sir, now she could practice medicine as she saw fit. And no hospitals either, Kelly wanted her own private practice and wanted to do it right here in Tacoma, Washington.
Well, there was that little matter of the two years she owed to Uncle Sam's Navy. After all, she reasoned, the U.S. Navy had footed her bill for medical school with the proviso that she would pay them back giving the Navy three years of her life. Kelly assumed that she would be practicing medicine in one of the many fine Naval Hospital around the world. Actually, she was looking forward to three years of relatively easy duty, taking care of a generally health population of servicemen and women and their dependents. Kelly glanced up at the clock and saw that it was almost four on a Friday afternoon. Time to head home and relax, after all it was the weekend and she didn't have to report to the Armed Forces Reserve Station until Monday morning, so she deserved a nice relaxing weekend. Maybe she would go down to the lake.
Lieutenant Kelly Drosin, MC, USNR. Well Kelly was now a Navy physician alright, but she certainly wasn't going to one of the nice Naval Hospitals, oh no, Kelly had been assigned to the USS Wilson, a guided missile destroyer out of San Diego. When she was at the Medical Officer's orientation course in Newport, Rhode Island she had discovered that the Navy had a need for medical officers on medium sized and bigger ships and now that the Navy was co-ed they always had a need for female medical officers. Kelly would be stationed aboard the Wilson but would be medically responsible for the health care of the entire six ship flotilla that sails in the company of Wilson, a total of over 1400 men and women.
LT Drosin stood at the head of Pier 5 at the 32nd Street Naval Station in San Diego and watched the Wilson as it prepared to dock from its latest four days of sea trials. Kelly waited and watched as the, "yard birds," the civilian shipyard workers, set the ships gangway in place and the crew went ashore. As the sailors departed the ship Kelly studied their faces and thought to her self that these were mostly all kids. They looked like they had all just gotten out of high school, then she remembered that the average age of a sailor aboard ship was 20, so most of these men and women were probably just fresh from high schools across the nation. Kelly tugged and straightened her dress blues and climbed the gangway. At the top she stopped, face the American flag flying on the stern, saluted then turned to the Officer of the Deck (OOD), saluted and requested permission to come aboard.
"LT Drosin reporting, permission to come aboard?" she intoned.
The OOD, a good-looking Ensign, saluted back, "Permission granted." He said. Then he extended his hand and shook hers. "Ensign George Corn LT pleased to have you on-board. The Executive Officer has been expecting you so you might want to scoot down to his cabin and report in. And again, good to have you on-board."
"Uh, George, how do I find the XO's cabin?"
"Oh, sorry. Head up the port side until you see the hatch marked "Operations". Go through that hatch, down the first ladderwell you come to and then up that passageway towards the bow. The XO's cabin is on your right and clearly marked."
"Thanks again George," Kelly said, as she started up the port side of the ship.
Kelly fumbled her way around the ship until she found the XO's cabin. It had a highly polished brass sign that read:
Commander David Prosser, USN
Kelly knocked on the door and waited for an answer. In just a second she heard a gruff voice saying "Enter!"
Kelly opened the door and entered the Executive Officer's stateroom. She saluted and said, "LT Drossin, Medical Corps, reporting for duty sir."
"Good afternoon doc," the XO replied. "Take a seat."
Kelly sat down on the small couch adjacent to CDR Prosser's desk. Prosser looked up from his paperwork, gave her a thin smile and said;
"Well doc. First thing is, you don't salute indoors, only the Army and Air Force salute indoors. Second, we just got your stateroom ready for occupancy - you are the ONLY female officer in my crew and thirdly, I am "old Navy" and that means I don't believe that women belong on ships. Oh, I know that isn't the conventional wisdom of the "new Navy" but I grew up with the motto that "men belong on ships and ships belong at sea." Oh, and women belong at home having babies and taking care of their children. Any questions?
"Ah, no sir, I don't." Kelly was amazed at his boldness. Women at home having babies? This is just great I have a Neanderthal for a XO. Oh good grief she thought, this tour aboard Wilson ought to be a ton of fun. "Well sir, if there is nothing else, I guess I had better get to may cabin and stow my gear."
"Yes, doc, that's a good idea. Your cabin is the one next to mine. Dismissed." Commander Prosser turned towards his desk and started back on his paperwork.
Kelly left the XO's cabin and walked back down the passageway and saw an open door with a blue and white plastic sign which read:
LT Drosin, MC, USNR
She admired the plaque for just a second then entered her cabin. She closed the door and saw that the sailors had taken her two bags and put them into her cabin. She opened up the aluminum double doors to her locker and started putting away her uniforms. Once the task of getting settled in the cabin was done, she washed her hands and decided to try and find the ship's Sick Bay. Kelly had just stepped out of her cabin and almost ran over another Navy officer. "Oh, excuse me sir." She said.
LT James Frew looked startled for a moment, then smiled at Kelly, "Hi, I'm Jim Frew, the ships supply officer. You must be our new doc. Welcome aboard."
"Thanks Jim, I'm Kelly, Pleased to meet you."
"I see that your just getting settled, but if you need anything just let me know."
"Well, actually" Kelly said, "could you direct me to Sick Bay?"
"Better that that Kelly, I'll walk you there." And with that Jim towed Kelly down the passageway aft, through a couple of hatches until they came to a cross passageway, made a right and walked into a space labeled "Sick Bay."
"There you go Kelly, and once again, Welcome Aboard."
"Thanks Jim, I appreciate your help."
Kelly entered the Sick Bay and was introduced to the three assigned Hospital Corpsman, two males and a female. She reviewed their training records so she would be familiar with their capabilities and then they discussed the general health of the ships' crew. She was told that there were 13 officers and 276 enlisted stationed aboard Wilson and that there were 34 females in the crew. The female crewmembers had a specially designated berthing area just forward of the missile launching compartment. Kelly puttered around Sick Bay for a while, then she headed back down to her berthing area. She located her cabin without any difficulty, entered and sat on her back and surveyed her living space.
The cabin in which Kelly would spend her next two years looked to be about 20 feet deep and maybe 15 feet wide. It had a single lower bunk, an aluminum-clothing closet with hanging space on top and three drawers below. The room also had a small desk with a wall-mounted safe and a chair for the desk. In the right rear corner of her cabin stood a sink and a small shower. Not much to look at, but it was home. Well time to explore the rest of the ship.
It was just around 10 in the evening when Kelly got back to her cabin. She had dined in the Officer's Mess, met most of the ship's officers and stayed around for coffee and a movie. She entered her cabin and decided that because she was in port she could take a nice long, hot shower. She stripped down to her bra and panties, washed her face and then took off her underwear and stepped into the telephone booth sized shower. She let the hot water cascade down her body and massage her skin after a long first day aboard ship. She stepped out of the shower and began to dry off. She looked at her reflection in the mirror and saw a 5'9", 125 pound, 32B, dishwater blonde woman staring back at her. Kelly knew that she wasn't the prettiest woman in the Navy, maybe not even on the ship, but she wasn't a ugly duckling either. She had a number of relationships between college and her residency training program and had even been engaged, albeit only for a short period of time, like after finding him with her roommate one Sunday afternoon. It was after she broke off her engagement that she had a short fling with another female student. She didn't think that she was gay, most probably she just had some bi-sexual tendencies.
After drying off and putting her hair curlers in place Kelly walked over to bunk and sat down. She started thinking about that last weekend before the Navy had called her up. She had driven down to Olympia and to a secluded lake just outside of town. Her original plans were to just relax by herself for the weekend, but after getting her tent setup and fixing some dinner she had met a great looking guy across from the canoe racks. He was an easy 6'4" and a hunk. They had hit it off immediately and she ended up spending the majority of the weekend inside her sleeping bag, with him!
.... There is more of this story ...