DE 1029 Below Decks

Last update 7 June 2010


The Men Who Sailed Below

Now each of us from time to time has gazed upon the sea
And watched the warships pulling out to keep this country free.
And most of us have read book or head a lusty tale
About the men who sail theses ships, through lightining, wind and hail
But there's a place within each ship the ledgend fails to teach.

It's down below the waterline it takes a living toll
A hot metal living hell that sailors call "The Hole".
It houses engines run by oil that makes the shaft go round,
A place of fire, noise and heat that beats your spirit down.
Where engines like a hellish heart, beat until you scream
Are of molded gods without remorse, are a nightmare in a dream.

Whose threat from the engine's roar is like a living doubt
That any minute would like scorn, escape and crush you out.
Where turbines scream like tortured souls alone and lost in hell
As ordered from above somewhere they answer every bell.
And men who keep the fires lit and make the engines run
Are strangers to the world of night and rarely see the sun.

They have no time for man or God, no tolerance for fear
Their aspect pays no living thing the tribute of a tear
For there's not much that men can do that these men haven't done
Beneath the decks deep in the hole to make the engines run.
And every hour of every day they keep the watch in hell 
For if the power ever fails their ship's a useless shell.

When warships converge to have a war upon an angry sea 
The men below  just grimly smile at their fate might be.
They're locked below like men fore doomed who hear no battle cry
It's well assumed that if they're hit the men below will die.
For every day's a war down there when the gages are all red
A loss of oil and bearings seized, thrown rods will kill you dead

So if you ever write your sons or try to tell their tale
Your every word would make them hear a labored engine's wail.
And people as  general rule don't hear the men of steel
So little is heared about the place closest to the keel.
But I can sing of this place and try to make you see
The hardened life of men down there because one of them was me.

I've seen these sweat soaked heroes fight in superheated air
To keep their ship alive and right thought no one knows they're there
And thus they'll for ages on till the warships sail no more
Amid the monster's mighty heat and the engines hellish roar
So when you see a ship pull out to meet a warlike foe, 
Remember faintly if you can "THE MEN WHO SAIL BELOW".

Originally written by
Carl Dize MM3 USS Menges DE 320