The Navy Times has a tale of serious toilet woe aboard the USS George HW Bush aircraft carrier, which is currently deployed to the Persian Gulf. The $6.2 billion carrier has 130 bathrooms with 423 commodes, but many of those commodes are frequently on the fritz at any one time. Some choice details:
- At least twice since the ship deployed in May, all 423 commodes were out of service simultaneously. Most times, it's just sections that go down.
- Sailors blame the ship's vacuum system; the Navy blames sailors flushing everything from clothes to hygiene products.
- Sailors say they sometimes have to walk an hour to find a bathroom, or, failing that, get creative; women sometimes have to commandeer a men's room and post a sentry at the door.
- The Navy says it has spent 10,000 man hours fixing the toilet system on this deployment, about 25 service calls per week.
- Sailors say they're limiting food and liquids and developing health problems such as urinary tract infections from trying to hold it too long.
- One poor guy was formally reprimanded for "urinating on a sponson." (Yeah, we had to look it up, too; it's something mounted on the side of a ship to help with stability or maybe hold up a lifeboat. Kind of disappointing, actually.)
- The story came to light because a sailor's mom blogged about it here.
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