Sunday, October 14, 2018


Engineers are a strange breed they are, a race apart. It’s hard to explain how a man gets to be one, and since they appear to be unable to explain it themselves, the matter remains shrouded in mystery. The normal human beings who inhabit the pure air of the upper decks regard them, when they occasionally emerge from the pit down below, with amazement and curiosity. For though they look and move like other men, they are distinctly different.  Their eyes blink continuously in the unaccustomed light of day. Their skin, when visible beneath the oil stains has a distinctive pallor like that of some ancient cave dweller.  Their walk too, tends to be stooped and shambling, suggesting an earlier and less attractive stage of evolution … as for the uniforms!!!

So runs the opinion of uncouth Deck Apes! But operating and maintaining the Engineering plant of a naval vessel is not a matter of opinion. It is the prime mover of any ship and the only way it succeeds in moving from port to port.  For a ship must not only be capable of high speed, but more than any other ship on the high seas, it has to be battle ready at all times. And the responsibility of keeping these vessels going whether they have to shoot, chase subs, patrol a harbor or deliver goods to other ships falls on the Engineers.  If they fail, everything stops; all motion through the water, power for lights, radars, coffee pots, guns, pimps, etc. etc… the ship still afloat, effectively dies. Which is not nearly just an Engineering Officer’s nightmare. It can happen in this day and age, but it’s the Engineer who keeps the mission on task… keeps the engines burning and the screws turning! So never forget the Engineers!!!

"You Know You've Been In 'ASW' Too Long When..."

I REALIZED just how fully a Navy friend of mine had been indoctrinated in antisubmarine warfare when I asked him whether he knew the sex of the baby his wife was expecting. "We believe it's a boy," he answered, "but that analysis is based solely on low-confidence acoustic intelligence."

"He means," his wife clarified, "I had a sonogram."

Sunday, October 7, 2018

" Making Waves "

Looking back in time, the initiation of the Navy WAVES may seem a bit sexist to some in today’s world, but it was a sign of the times and a fact of life in the days of World War II.

The United States Naval Reserve (Women's Reserve), better known as the WAVES for the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service, was the World War II women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve. It was established on 21 July 1942 by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 July 1942. This authorized the U.S. Navy to accept women into the Naval Reserve as commissioned officers and at the enlisted level, effective for the duration of the war plus six months. The purpose of the law was to release officers and men for sea duty and replace them with women in shore establishments.

Here are some authentic cartoons from the days of old, depicting the Navy WAVES and how they were perceived in those days.  Some of these cartoons were actually printed in All Hands Magazine!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

"Sailor's Little Brother"

The little brother of an Navy Radar Operator asked …

“Jim, tell me how does radar work?”

“The radar transmitter emits brief impulses of electromagnetic waves which are reflected from the target and received by a special receiver. Since the speed at which electromagnetic waves propagate is exactly known and the time they take to travel to the target and back can be determined with a great degree of accuracy it is possible to determine the range to the target as well as the direction to it.”

His little brother pondered a moment, and then said …

“As long as you don’t know, Jim, why don’t you just say so?”

Saturday, September 22, 2018

“At Long Last”

Another Nautical Navy Poem found from a long ago Destroyer.
I hope you shipmates like it ...

What manner of ship is this I see?
With all hands turned to on bended knee?
All of her crew are working hard
While other ships are resting in the yard.

Men painting her guns and painting her sides;
From every position a bos’n chair rides…
It looks like an ant hill covered with ants;
The only difference is bell bottom pants.

Trucks full of chow and some full of gear
Are constantly stepping along the pier.
They’re filling her holds and taking great care;
Could it be that she’s going somewhere?

Snipes are busy checking such things
As diesel generator and main bearing rings.
Everyone’s moving at such a fast pace
That it looks like some fanatical race!

The Yeoman are turned to typing out papers,
While short tiers are doing all kinds of capers.
Disbursing personnel are trying to calculate pay;
Gods even the Doc is painting sick bay.

The Deck Force has gone ape, painting around,
From crack of dawn ‘til the sun goes is drowned.
No matter where you look, from No. 2 stack to keel,
The waiting is over. THIS IS FOR REAL!

What makes a ship act in these strange ways?
It’s easy to figure, only a few more days.
You ask where she’s going, where she will roam?
Nowhere my friends, she’s just going HOME!

Friday, September 21, 2018

"Two For One"

A Navy Sailor in his 20s and a few of his shipmates were at a bar when a pretty woman in her mid-40s sent over a drink and introduced herself. Having never been hit on by a cougar before, the swab was happy to let her buy him a few more drinks. Throughout the evening the woman made it clear that she wanted him to go home with her.

At first the sailor was reluctant, but his shipmates encouraged him. In a final attempt, the woman offered him some mother-daughter action if he would join her. Excited, he accompanied her home, and they soon began to kiss passionately on the couch. Looking around for the daughter and not seeing anyone, the man asked,

“Aren’t you forgetting someone?”

The woman apologized, walked over to the bottom of the stairs and yelled up,

“Hey, Mom, I’ve got one!”

Saturday, September 15, 2018

"Hail To The Chief"

This week we have seen a few more of our new sisters and brethren pinned with the honorable fouled anchors that entitles them to the rights and responsibilities of the Navy Chief Petty Officer. I congratulate you and I salute you on your test, selection and induction into this great fraternity. Not sure who the author is, but here’s an ode to the Chief written by an old sailor from many years ago… I hope you enjoy, as I say again congratulations to the newly selected Chiefs in our Chief’s Mess!!!

One thing we weren't aware of at the time, but became evident as life wore on; was that we learned true leadership from the finest examples any lad was ever given. Qualified CPOs. They were crusty bastards who had done it all and had been forged into men who had been time tested over more years than a lot of us had time on the planet.

The ones I remember wore hydraulic oil stained hats with scratched and dinged-up insignia, faded shirts, some with a Bull Durham tag dangling out of their right-hand pocket or a pipe and tobacco reloads in a worn leather pouch in their hip pockets, and a Zippo that had been everywhere.

Some of them came with tattoos on their forearms that would force them to keep their cuffs buttoned at a Methodist picnic. Most of them were as tough as a boarding house steak. A quality that was required to survive the life they lived. They were and always will be, a breed apart from all other residents of Mother Earth.

They took eighteen year-old idiots and hammered the stupid bastards into seagoing sailors. You knew instinctively it had to be hell on earth to have been born a Chief's kid. God should have given all sons born to Chiefs a return option.

A Chief didn't have to command respect. He got it because there was nothing else you could give them. They were God's designated hitters on earth. We had Chiefs in my day...hard-core bastards, who found nothing out of place with the use of the word 'Japs' to refer to the little sons of Nippon they had littered the floor of the Pacific with, as payback for a little December 7th tea party they gave us in 1941. In those days, 'insensitivity' was not a word in a sailor's lexicon. They remembered lost mates and still cursed the cause of their loss. And they were expert at choosing descriptive adjectives and nouns, none of which their mothers would have endorsed.

At the rare times you saw a Chief topside in dress canvas, you saw rows of hard-earned worn and faded ribbons over his pocket. "Hey Chief, what's that one and that one?" "Oh Hell kid, I can't remember. There was a war on. They gave them to us to keep track of the campaigns. We didn't get a lot of news out where we were. To be honest, we just took their word for it.

Hell son, you couldn't pronounce most of the names of the places we went. They're all depth charge survival geedunk. Listen kid, ribbons don't make you a sailor. We knew who the heroes were and in the final analysis that's all that matters."

Many nights we sat in the after mess deck wrapping ourselves around cups of coffee and listening to their stories. They were light-hearted stories about warm beer shared with their running mates in corrugated metal sheds at re-supply depots, where the only furniture was a few packing crates and a couple of Coleman lamps. Standing in line at a Honolulu cathouse or spending three hours soaking in a tub in Freemantle, smoking cigars and getting loaded. It was our history. And we dreamed of being just like them because they were our heroes.

When they accepted you as their shipmate, it was the highest honor you would ever receive in your life. At least it was clearly that for me. They were not men given to the prerogatives of their position. You would find them with their sleeves rolled up, shoulder-to-shoulder with you in a stores loading party. "Hey Chief, no need for you to be out here tossing' crates in the rain, we can get all this crap aboard."

"Son, the term 'All hands' means all hands." "Yeah Chief, but you're no damn kid anymore, you old coot." "Horsefly, when I'm eighty-five, parked in the stoved-up old bastards' home, I'll still be able to kick your worthless ass from here to fifty feet past the screwguards along with six of your closest friends." And he probably wasn't bullshitting.

They trained us. Not only us, but hundreds more just like us. If it weren't for Chief Petty Officers, there wouldn't be any U.S. Navy. There wasn't any fairy godmother who lived in a hollow tree in the enchanted forest who could wave her magic wand and create a Chief Petty Officer. They were born as hotsacking seamen and matured like good whiskey in steel hulls over many years. Nothing a nineteen year-old jaybird could cook up was original to these old saltwater owls. They had seen E-3 jerks come and go for so many years, they could read you like a book. "Son, I know what you are thinking Just one word of advice. DON'T. It won't be worth it." "Aye Aye, Chief."

Chiefs aren't the kind of guys you thank. Monkeys at the zoo don't spend a lot of time thanking the guy who makes them do tricks for peanuts. Appreciation of what they did and who they were comes with long distance retrospect. No young lad takes time to recognize the worth of his leadership. That comes later when you have experienced poor leadership or let's say, when you have the maturity to recognize what leaders should be, you find that Chiefs are the standard by which you measure all others.

They had no Naval Academy rings to get scratched up. They butchered the King's English. They had become educated at the other end of an anchor chain from Copenhagen to Singapore. They had given their entire lives to the United States Navy. In the progression of the nobility of employment, "U.S. Navy CPO" heads the list.

So, when we ultimately get our final duty station assignments and we get to wherever the big CNO in the sky assigns us, if we are lucky, Marines will be guarding the streets. Well, I don't know about that Marine propaganda bullshit, but there will be an old Chief in a oil-stained hat and a cigar stub clenched in his teeth, standing at the brow to assign us our bunks and tell us where to stow our gear... And we will all be young again and the damn coffee will float a rock.

Life fixes it so that by the time a stupid kid grows old enough and smart enough to recognize who he should have thanked along the way, he no longer can. If I could, I would thank my old Chiefs. If you only knew what you succeeded in pounding in this thick skull, you would be amazed.

So thanks you old casehardened unsalvageable sons’-a-bitches. Save me a rack in that berthing up in heaven!!!

-Author Unknown-