YOKOSUKA, Japan — The commander of the Pacific Fleet is looking forward to his chance to check the USS Antietam for high dust, gear adrift, and fresh paint jobs.
“I could check to see if the ship is battle ready, all the engines are in order, or if the crew is being treated right,” Adm. Harry B. Harris said, “But what I really want to see is if the ship is clean.”
Capt. Michael A. McCartney, commanding officer of Antietam, has been making his crew work hundred-hour weeks for a month to ensure his ship meets the Admiral’s standards of cleanliness. Sailors are busy sweeping the weatherdecks, shining brightwork, and sanding down perfectly-good paint so it can be repainted.
“I’m only going to be on board for ten minutes,” Harris said in an email to Capt. McCartney, “I want to see how clean the forecastle is, smell the heads in the berthings, and ensure there are no stains in the trash room.”
“While you’re at it, I don’t want to see any of your sailors working,” Harris’ email continued. “Make sure everyone onboard is in their dress uniforms, standing at attention in spaces I will never visit. They should stay after working hours to finish up the work they’re neglecting to prepare for my arrival.”
Capt. McCartney has been doing everything he can to ensure he hears his ship “looks good,” a compliment he will receive no matter what his ship looks like.
Adm. Harris was also hoping to hand out coins, shake a few hands, and crack a terrible joke junior sailors will feel obligated to laugh at. “In all,” he said, “It will be a colossal waste of time.”