What follows is not easily told. I have not shared this "sea story" even with my wife until now.
One evening, at twilight, I had assumed the watch as officer of the deck (OOD) of a destroyer on routine operations in the midst of a fleet exercise. Shortly after taking the deck, my attention was focused on a nearby frigate that was part of the same exercise. I honestly do not remember the exact circumstances that led to what happened next, but the bottom line was that I made an error in assessing what was happening—the frigate was launching or recovering a helicopter and I misread the lights and her intention s such that I allowed our two ships to come dangerously close to one another. The captain was not on the bridge at the time, and the incident occurred so quickly that there was not time to call him before it was over.
Within minutes, a signal light on the frigate began blinking its angry eye at me, and soon my duty signalman was handing me a message from captain of the frigate. It was from captain to captain and said something to the effect of "Please don't do that again; I have enough gray hairs."