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The day on the Yosemite began with reveille, breakfast, then Morning Muster and an announcement that the Admiral had ordered an inspection of the Ship’s Company. The Yosemite was the Flagship of Admiral Arleigh Burke.

Our lead Petty Officer immediately informed us that we would not only be ready for this inspection, but, we would be the best looking division on the ship. Why?- Because “The first division will always be first. He continued, each man will not only have his uniform in tip top shape, but, each man will wear all the medals that he was awarded.” I said to myself, “Isn’t that nice? Now, I had to stand next to this 1st class Bos’n, who looked as though he had every medal that was ever awarded”. I had two, the Good Conduct and the National Defense Medal. What bothered me was that standing beside him I felt like the guy that just found out that his fly was open.

For the next several days everyone spent time preparing for the forthcoming inspection. Sailors of all rank were busy pressing off their “Liberty Blues”, replacing worn piping and broken buttons or gathering with the guys in the sleeping quarters, learning how to “spit shine” shoes. Almost every day up to the day of the inspection the Division was subjected to a preliminary dress inspection. Everyone wanted to look their best and not miss a thing.

The anticipated day finally arrived with much anxiety that started with reveille an hour earlier than usual because our Captain had scheduled an inspection an hour before the Admiral’s Inspection. Not to be outdone the Division Officer scheduled his own inspection an hour before the Captain’s. It was a hectic morning.

Promptly at the appointed time of Ten Hundred Hours (1000), with the men neatly aligned in ranks, “Attention On Deck “ was called, as Admiral Burke made his appearance. He was followed closely by the Captain, the Executive Officer and a hand full of the Admiral’s aides. The Admiral walked up one row and down the other. When he came to the end, he turned to the 1st class Bos’n mate, and said, “ You have a good looking crew here Bos’n.” The Bos’n replied with enthusiasm, “They are perfect sir”. The Admiral smiled and said, “No, not perfect". He continued, “Are you a betting man?” The Bos’n replied, “Yes sir, I am sir.” Burke then said, “I’ll bet you a buck that there are five men here that are out of uniform. With a twist of his wrist the Bos’n stuck his fingers down into that little front pocket of his dress blues and pulled out a dollar. Burke snatched it, and gave the two bucks to the Exec. He then turned and shouted “Inboard rank, stick out your right leg, and pull up your pants leg”. There was a mild chuckle as Burke went down the line. “There, there and there he said”. One guy had socks that were frayed at the top. Another had socks that were split at the top. What the hell, your socks really don’t show when your standing at attention. But the third idiot was wearing a pair of argyle socks. “That’s three”, said the admiral, with a chuckle. The first class Bos’n was embarrassed and fuming. Now Burke said, “Outboard rank about face - With both hands, pull up your blouse.” Now there was outright laughter. One guy had a couple of holes in his T- shirt, but the neck was perfect. “That’s four,” said Burke. Another sailor had a T-shirt that looked like Swiss cheese, but again, the neck was perfect. “Five”, said Burke. He then came to the lead Petty Officer. He being a portly fellow was laughing so hard that his big belly was shaking up and down. His T- shirt ended just below the breast line, but with a perfect neck.

Burke spun around grabbed the two bucks from the Executive Officer’s hand and sauntered off. The first division was out of control for about a half hour.

Admiral Arleigh Burke was a great Admiral. He was DesLant. He was Thirty 30 Knot Burke. He was the only Commissioned Officer to have a ship named after him while he was still alive.

He was one hell of a nice guy.

Nick Lasorsa

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