Same here, on 1950s Fleet Boats in Key West, FL. The routine was for the deck watch to hand the belt holstered M1911 over to your replacement. It had a loaded magazine, but the chamber was clear.
I had the midwatch one night, came topside, and saw the guy near the stern, gun in hand. I hailed him as I approached and he handed me the belt and pistol, saying "Be careful, it's loaded." I gingerly checked it out - hammer was back but the safety was on. Still, I nearly crapped, and asked why.
Talk about weird. We were the seventh boat out, moored alongside the tender, no moon and quiet as a tomb. There was a distant floodlight off the tender, but that was it. The guy said he was near the stern and heard a woman softly moan. With neck hair standing up straight, he unbuttoned the flap on the holster and went all the way aft. Another moan. He said he could almost hear the Twilight Zone music, so he took gun in hand.
Third moan, almost at his feet, and the guy racks the slide, going on full alert. There's a splash along side and in the faint light from the tender, he sees a porpoise breaching and moaning as it expels the air. Major comic relief.
I asked him why he didn't unload the pistol and he said he was afraid that in the dark, the round would fall in between the wooden deck slats. He was headed towards the conning tower to clear it in the light when I came on duty. I never thought about it until later but he was SO spooked, he might have shot me.
>>Same here, on 1950s Fleet Boats in Key West, FL.
LOL. Similar story from 1987. I’m on a Skipjack boat in Groton and the topside watch heard a noise at night and chambered a round. It turned out be nothing, so he went to unchamber the round: pulled the mag, racked the slide, and the round hits the deck.
The VERY curved deck of an SSN. Splash. Not a good night for the CDO.