Hot Bunking

Otherwise known as false advertising

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Here’s a marketing tagline for the US Navy to reel in new recruits: “Join to serve your country. Stay for the hot bunking.”

Sounds like a frisky adventure, right? One you’d definitely be interested in signing up for. Alas, it’s false advertising.

I learned what the term ‘hot bunking’ means while touring a submarine. At first, I was like, “Ooh! Tell me more!”

But as soon as I saw the spartan sleeping quarters, I knew that nothing fun was going down there. Ever.

The cramped room contained nothing more than double rows of metal planks — each roughly the size of a morgue table — screwed into the wall. Atop each plank was a thin sliver of mattress, a pillow, and blankets, not unlike a prison cell.

When Joe’s turn in the bunk is up and he has to report for his shift, thereby relieving you, it’s your turn to at long last get some rest. You climb into the hard bed, which would be rather uncomfortable if it weren’t for the welcoming body heat Joe left behind. You snuggle up under those warm blankets, resting your head on the very same pillow. Not only do you smell Joe’s night toots, but you’re also now marked with Jeff’s hair pomade and Gary’s cologne. You’ll leave behind a little residue from your acne cream for Billy, who will use the bed next.

Hence, “hot” bunking. Literally hot, not in a sexy way. I’d imagine that the sleeping quarters are also located on the other side of the engine room, generating additional heat and probably an awful lot of racket.

Not a frisky adventure at all; rather, a tough way to serve one’s country.