navy admiral – there is only one navy admiral and that was admiral george dewey.
aiguillette – is of French origin and dates back to the use of horses in battle. the general’s aide carried a noose of rope to tie the general’s horse when he dismounted. as a practical approach, helpers would wrap the cord around the buttoned shoulder flap of his shirt. worn today by flag officer aides and training camp company commanders.
ahoy: This old traditional greeting for calling other ships was originally a Viking war cry.
aircraft carrier – first and only sunk in the atlantic – block island (cve 21) date: may 29, 1944. sunk aircraft carrier – cc 3/cv 3 saratoga – used as troop transport in the post war Final wartime displacement over 52,000 tons. Unfit for further service due to age and wear, sunk 25 Jul 1946 at Bikini Atoll in crossroads atomic bomb tests. struck 15 aug 1946. cv 5 yorktown – coral sea severe damage 8 may 1942, temporary repairs at pearl harbor. severely damaged midway by bombs and torpedoes 4 June 1942, towing efforts failed, sunk 7 June 1942 by Japanese submarine. light aircraft carrier wasp yorktown based small aircraft carrier downsized, not a satisfactory design. it had even less underwater protection than the yorktown class. Roughly equivalent to a World War II cve or cvl, but was used as a fleet unit due to a shortage of carriers. sunk before extensive modifications could take place during the war. on 5 aug 1864 adm farragut was commanding the uss monongahela another ship was moored alongside during an attack. What was the name of the ship and company? – the kennebec gunboat commanded by lt. John Russell.
anchors up: music written by the lieutenant band director. zimmerman. in 1906, Lt. Zimmerman was approached by Midshipman 1st Class Alfred Hart Miles with a request for a new gear. As a member of the class of 1907, Miles and his classmates were eager to have a piece of music that was inspiring, one with a swing that could be used as a football march song and live forever.
augusto suboficial – the term augusto (or gust’) means to inspire reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or greatness; majestic. The term Principal Petty Officer Augusto is a description of any CPO; inspiring reverence or admiration; representative of supreme dignity or greatness; majestic.
aviation green uniform: in September 1917, the us forest green uniform. uu. the marine corps was authorized for aviation officers as a winter duty uniform. the first use of the uniform by enlisted men came in 1941, when petty officers designated as naval aviation pilots were authorized to wear the uniform. in November 1985, green uniforms were authorized for women in the aviation community.
deceive: In today’s navy, when you intentionally deceive someone, usually as a joke, you are said to have deceived them. the word was also used on candle days, but hilarity was not intended. hoodwinking was intended to mislead a passing ship as to its ship’s origin or nationality by displaying a different ensign than its own, a common pirate practice.
flared trousers: It is commonly believed that trousers were introduced in 1817 to allow men to roll them up above the knee when washing decks and to make them easier to remove when in a hurry. forced to abandon ship or dragged overboard. the pants can be used as a lifesaver by tying the legs.
between the devil and the abyss – on wooden ships, the devil was the longest seam on the ship. ran from bow to stern. when in the sea and the devil; there was caulking to be done, the sailor sat in a boatswain’s chair to do it. he was suspended between the devil and the sea—the deep—a very precarious position, especially when the ship was underway.
bib: The portion of a Marine enlisted uniform that hangs down the back of the neck. in the wooden navy it was fashionable for sailors to have long hair, but it would be blown about by the wind and caught in rigging or machinery. to counteract this, sailors at sea would braid their hair and dip it in tar (used to seal ship’s boards). when they landed in freedom (as opposed to a longer leave where they would wash the tar out of their hair) they would cut a sackcloth bib and tie it around their necks to prevent tar staining on their one good shirt. the bib eventually became an official part of the enlisted uniform.
log list: Many novice sailors, confusing the words “log” and barnacle, have wondered what their illnesses have to do with crusty growths found on a ship’s hull . your confusion is understandable. Binnacle is defined as the support or housing for the ship’s compass located on the bridge. The term logbook, rather than sick list, originated years ago when ships’ doctors used to post a sick list in the health log. after long practice, it came to be called a log list.
bitter end: As any trained sailor can tell you, a twist of a line around a bollard, those wooden or iron poles that protrude from the deck of a ship, is called a bitter. therefore the last of the line secured to the bollards is known as the bitter end. Nautical usage has somewhat expanded the original definition in that today the end of any line, whether or not secured to bollards, is called the bitter end. The phrases landlubbing stick to the bitter end and true to the bitter end are derivatives of the nautical term and refer to anyone who insists on adhering to a course of action without regard to consequences.
black balls: three black balls hanging in a vertical line on the mast indicate that the ship is beached. – coast guard navigation rules
boatswain: As required by 17th-century law, British warships carried three smaller vessels, the dinghy, the cock-boat, and the skiff. the boat, or calesa, was usually used by the captain to disembark and was the largest of the three. The cock-boat was a very small rowboat used as a dinghy for the ship. the skiff was a light, all-purpose craft. the suffix swain means guardian, so the guardians of the boat, rooster, and skiff were called bosun and bosun (or helmsman).
boatswain’s pipe: no boatswain worth his salt would dare admit that he can’t blow his pipe beyond reproach. This pipe, which is the emblem of the boatswain and his companions, has an ancient and interesting history. in the old rowing galleys, the boatswain used his pipe to call the blow ;. later, because its raucous tune could be heard above most of the shipboard activity, it was used to signal various occurrences, such as imitation and boarding by officers. so essential was this signaling device to the welfare of the ship, that it became a badge of office and honor in the British and American sailing navies.
brass monkey: During the civil war, cannonballs were stacked in pyramids called brass monkeys. when it got really cold, they would pop or break, hence the term cold enough to freeze a bronze monkey’s balls.
bravo zulu: the term originates from the allied signal book (atp 1), which as a whole is for official use only. the signals are sent as letters and/or numbers, which sometimes have meanings on their own or in certain combinations. a single table in atp 1 is called governing groups, that is, all the signal following the governing group must be made according to the governor. the letter b indicates this table and the second letter (a to z) gives more specific information. for example, ba could mean that you have permission to . . . (whatever the rest of the flashing light, flag raising, or radio broadcast says) bz happens to be the last item on the ruling group table. means well done.
Brown Shoes: In 1913, tan leather high tops first appeared in uniform regulations and were authorized for use by airmen wearing khaki. The color changed to reddish brown in 1922. The aviation community’s unique uniforms were abolished in the 1920s and reinstated in the 1930s. The authorized color of aviator shoes has alternated between brown and black since then.
bull – the term given to the senior ensign in an activity.
bully boy: Bully boys, a prominent term in Navy songs and poems, means in its strictest sense, meat-eating sailors. sailors in the colonial navy had a daily menu of an amazingly elastic substance called beef bully, actually beef jerky. the term appeared so frequently in the dining room that it naturally lent its name to the sailors who had to eat it. As an indication of the meat’s texture and chewiness, it was also called scrap salt, alluding to the string used to caulk the ship’s seams.
continue: On sailing days, the deck officer constantly kept an eye on the weather at the slightest change in the wind so that the sails could be reefed or added as needed to ensure the furthest advance. Quick. every time a good breeze blew, he gave himself the order to continue. it meant hoisting up as much canvas as the yards could carry. Pity the poor sailor whose weather eye failed him and the boat was caught partially reefed when a good breeze came along. Over the centuries, the connotation of the term has changed somewhat. today, the bluejackets manual defines carry on as an order to resume work; work not as exhausting as two centuries ago.
Charge Book: During World War II, commanding officers were authorized to advance and promote qualified and deserving seamen to the highest rank of non-commissioned officers. Determining deserving and qualifying could be difficult for the co. the situation also presented challenges for the sailor who was aiming for a boss rating. Out of these dilemmas came the original charge books. bosses began directing po1’s to prepare to take on additional responsibilities. ships’ professional libraries were non-existent or poorly stocked and much had to be learned directly from conversations with the chiefs themselves and written down for later study. In addition to the technical aspects of the various classifications, CPOs also talked to PO1s about leadership, accountability, chain-of-command support, and other topics, often using personal experiences to illustrate how something should (or shouldn’t) be done. . the collection of notes and study material eventually came to be called a charge book perhaps because they were kept by their charges (committed to their care) for professional development or perhaps because the entries included charges (authorized instructions or tasks of a directive nature) .
chew the fat – god made the entrails, but the devil made the cook was a popular saying among sailors in the last century when salted meat was the staple diet on board ships. This tough cured beef, suitable only for long journeys when nothing else was as cheap or kept as well, required prolonged chewing to make it edible. men often chewed a piece for hours, like gum, and referred to this practice as chewing the fat
chief’s bell: is in the navy memorial, naval heritage center, gallery deck. the inscription on the front has an anchor with the words chief petty officer centennial 1893-1993″ around it.
chief petty officers – an executive order issued by president benjamin harrison dated february 25, 1893 and issued as general order no. 409 of February 25, 1893 gave a salary scale for men enlisted in the navy. it was divided into rates and listed chiefs of non-commissioned officers. both the executive and circular no. 1 listed chief petty officers as a separate rate for the first time and both would go into effect on April 1, 1893. It appears this is the date the chief petty officer rate was actually established.
Youngest Chief Petty Officer – Chief Petty Officer at age 19: Leroy Adams Cleaveland born December 30, 1899. Enlisted in the United States Navy March 5, 1917 promoted to electrician (radio) 1st class, e(r)1c aug 1, 1918 advanced to chief electrician (radio), ce(r), june 1, 1919 discharged honours, june 26, 1919 and continued service in the naval reserve. he died on September 1, 1999. complete news
Baseball Hall of Fame Chief Petty Officer: Bob Feller is the only CPO elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. he played for the cleveland indians. he was a pitcher.
chief petty officer stars were introduced with the creation of scpo and mcpo. The reason for the stars pointing a downward beam is unknown, however the indications aim to follow the line officers’ standard.
NCO Collar Devices – The CPO Collar Device is placed on the following uniforms: Khaki – Center the insignia at a point 1 inch from the front and bottom edges of the collar and place the vertical axis of the insignia along an imaginary line that intersects the angle of the point of the collar. green: same as persimmons. summer whites – crown pointing to the corner of the neck. center on vertical axis intersecting usn insignia 1″ from front and bottom edges of collar dress blue: not applicable winter work blue: center insignia 1 inch from front and top edges of collar. winter blue: same as above.
Chief Petty Officer Cap Devices Placement of cap device on the following: Combination: Attach to mounting band with stock indexing arm to wearer’s right. baseball cap: wear flat on head with bottom edge parallel to and 1-1/2 inches above eyebrows. Tropical Helmet: Center a miniature cap device at the front.
Petty Officer Funerals: CPOs have two squadron escorts per Navy regulations.
Chief Petty Officer Uniform Trivia: Conspicuous use of pens/pencils only authorized with washed khaki (working). Cpos may wear uniform sleeves rolled up only in camouflage uniform.
token – a continuing tradition in the navy is the use of the token. it’s a holdover from the days when Hindu merchants used pieces of paper called citthi as money, so they didn’t have to carry heavy bags or gold and silver. British sailors shortened the word chit and applied it to their meal coupons. its most prominent use in the navy today is for payment of pay and a form used to apply for leave and release. but the term is now applied to almost any paper, from a pass to an official letter requesting a privilege.
church flag: the church flag is the only flag authorized to fly above or at the same hoisting point as the national flag, however, it can only be flown at sea and only during the hours of a divine service.
clothes hangers: A small diameter cord, about 12 inches, used to tie clothes to a clothesline. the early navy clothespin. issued in recruit training until 1973.
cock yards – The yards were once filled with roosters and the tackle loosened to show the pain. the colored half-staff is actually a holdover from the days when a disheveled appearance characterized mourning.
three-cornered hat: a hat worn by officers in ceremonial uniforms commonly known as a bow-and-stern hat. during the 1700s the hat was worn parallel to the shoulders, but in the 1800s it was modified to be worn with the points forward and back. the use of the three-cornered hat was discontinued on October 12, 1940.
coffee: Blue jackets use java or jamoke to designate coffee. Some sailors call the coffee Joe, which some say is a derivative of the Foster song Old Black Joe. others call coffee java, jamoke, murk, a shot, or a shot in the arm.
Sea Command Pin: Established in 1960 to recognize the responsibilities assigned to naval officers who command, or have successfully commanded, ships and aircraft squadrons of the fleet. it was determined that the component parts, a commission pennant, anchor and line star, were ideal for a design that would be symbolic in the easy identification of those officers who have earned the highly coveted and responsible title of commanding officer of our commissioned units at sea.
coxcombing: small white rope work, wrapped around stations and railings, mostly in the pre-WWII navy.
crow’s nest the crow (the bird, not the rating badge) was an essential part of early mariners’ sailing gear. these land birds were brought on board to help the navigator determine where the nearest land was when weather made it impossible to see the shoreline visually. in case of poor visibility, a raven was released and the navigator plotted a course that corresponded to that of the birds because he invariably headed for land. the crow’s nest was situated on top of the mainmast where the lookout stood guard. he often shared this lofty position with a raven or two, since the raven cages were kept there; hence the crow’s nest
cup of joe josephus daniels (may 18, 1862 – january 15, 1948) was appointed secretary of the navy by president woodrow wilson in 1913. among his reforms of the navy was the inauguration of the practice of making 100 sailors in the fleet eligible to enter the naval academy, the introduction of women into the service, and the abolition of the officers’ wine room. From then on, the strongest drink aboard navy ships could only be coffee, and over the years a cup of coffee became known as a cup of coffee.
cutlass: A short saber with a cutting and thrusting blade and a large hand guard. Issued to enlisted men as a sidearm and kept in ship’s armories until the start of World War II. The weapons were officially declared obsolete in 1949. The machete was considered an organizational problem item, but was never considered part of the enlisted uniform.
Your Jib Cut: In the days of sailing ships, nationality and rigging could often be distinguished by their jibs. a Spanish ship, for example, had a small jib or none at all. large French ships often had two jibs and English ships typically only had one. of ships, the phrase was expanded to apply to men. the nose, like the jib of a ship coming into port, is the first part of the person to arrive at a designated place. figuratively, it implies the first impression one makes on another person.
davy jones – davy jones and his locker american sailors would rather not talk about davy jones and his infamous locker. they are smart enough to refer to him and his place of residence, but they only leave him with an indefinite and embodied character who stands in his place at the bottom of the sea. pressed, they will profess that they don’t know what he looks like, his locker is to them something like an ordinary sea chest or coffin, always open to catch any sailor unlucky enough to find himself at sea. Some English sailors are inclined to believe that his name is a corruption of Duffer Jones, a clumsy fellow who frequently found himself overboard. The only time Davy comes to life is at the crossing-the-line ceremony. then the smallest sailor on board usually impersonates him, giving him a hump, horns, and a tail, and making his features as ugly as possible. He is a pig, dressed in rags and seaweed, and drags in the footsteps of the sea king, Neptune, playing tricks on his fellow sailors. the old sailors, before speaking of the devil, called him deva, davy or taffy, the thief of the evil spirit; and jones is from jonah, whose locker was the belly of the whale. Jonah was often called Jonas, and as Davy Jones, the enemy of all living sailors, he has become the sailors’ evil angel. to be thrown into the sea and sink is to fall into his locker and open one’s lid. It is generally accepted that the Christian sailor’s body goes to Davy Jones’s locker, but his soul, if he is a good sailor, goes to the fiddlers’ green. from the book a sailor’s treasure by frank shay, copyright 1951.
dead horse – when a sailor pays a debt to command (advance payment, overpayments, etc…) they say that they have paid a dead horse. the saying comes from a tradition of British sailors. British sailors, prone to being ashore and unemployed for considerable periods of time between voyages, generally preferred to live in boarding houses near the docks while they waited for sailing ships to take on crews. during these periods of unrestricted freedom, many ran out of money, so the innkeepers carried them on credit until they were hired for another trip. when a seaman was booked on a ship, a month’s wages were customarily advanced, if necessary, to pay the pension debt. then, while he paid the ship’s captain, he worked for nothing more than salt horses the first few weeks on board. salt horse was the staple diet of early sailors, and it wasn’t exactly tasty cuisine. the salt horse, which consisted of a low-quality beef that had been heavily salted, was difficult to chew and even more difficult to digest. when the debt was paid, the salt horse was said to be dead and it was a time of great celebration among the crew. Typically, an effigy of a horse was fashioned out of junk, set on fire, and then floated to the cheers and hilarity of former debtors.
devil to pay: Today, the expression devil to pay is used primarily as a means of conveying an unpleasant and imminent event. originally this expression denoted a specific task on board the ship, such as caulking the longest seam of the ship. the devil was the longest seam on the wooden sailboat and the caulking was done with pay or pitch. this arduous task of paying the devil was despised by every sailor and the expression came to denote any unpleasant task.
distinguishing marks/qualification badges: In 1841, insignia called distinguishing marks were first prescribed as part of the official uniform. an eagle and anchor emblem, precursor to the rating badge, was the first distinguishing mark. in 1886 qualification badges were established and some 15 special marks were also provided to cover the various qualifications. On April 1, 1893, non-commissioned officers were reclassified and the qualification of chief non-commissioned officer was established. until 1949 rating badges were worn on the right or left sleeve, depending on whether the person in question was on starboard or port watch. since February 1948, all distinguishing marks have been worn on the left sleeve between the shoulder and the elbow.
ditty bags – ditty bog (or box) was originally called a ditto bag because it contained at least two of everything: two needles, two spools of thread, two buttons, etc. over the years the ‘ditto’ was dropped in favor of the ditty and remains so today. Before World War I, the Navy issued ditty boxes made of wood and in the style of footlockers. these carried the personal equipment and some clothing of the sailor. today the small bag is still issued to recruits and contains a sewing kit, toiletries, and personal items such as writing paper and pens.
dog clock – dog clock is the name given to clocks from 1600-1800 and 1800-2000 on board a ship. the four-hour clock of 1600-2000 was even originally divided to prevent men from always having to endure the same clocks every day. as a result, the sailors dodge the same daily routine, so they are dodging guard or doing dodge guard. in his corrupt form, dodge became dog and the procedure is known as dogging the watch or stand the dog watch.
Ship Dress Up: Commissioned ships dress up on Washington’s Birthday and Independence Day, and dress up on other national holidays. when a ship is dressed, the national ensign is flown on the flagstaff and usually on each masthead. when a ship is in full dress, in addition to the ensigns, a rainbow of signal flags is displayed from stem to stern atop the masts, or as close as the ships construction allows. ships that do not sail prepare from 08:00 to sunset; sailing ships do not dress until they anchor during that period.
toast: This term for drinking for one’s health or honor was coined in the early days along the docks, when it was customary to place a small piece of toast in hot punch. and the mulled wine that was popular with sailors at the time.
dungarees: In 1901, regulations authorized the first use of jumpers and blue jeans, and 1913 regulations originally allowed both officers and enlisted men to wear overalls with the hat of the day . the cloth used then was not as well woven or dyed blue, but it served the purpose. the coveralls worn by continental navy sailors were cut directly from old sails and remained tan as they were when filled with wind. after battles, it was the practice in both the American and British navies for captains to report more sail lost in battle than was actually the case so that the crew would have cloth to repair their hammocks and make new clothing. since the cloth was called bib overalls, clothing made from the cloth borrowed the name.
eagle over crows/devices: for many years, us. uu. specified modified forms of the Napoleonic eagle on the devices and insignia used to distinguish the various ranks and classifications of enlisted soldiers and officers. this eagle was usually cast, stamped or embroidered facing left and the navy used the same practice. why the Napoleonic eagle was facing to the left is unknown. in 1941, the navy changed the direction of the eagles to follow heraldic rules that face right toward the bearer’s sword arm. this rule continues to apply and the eagle now faces forward or to the user’s right.
eight bells: This measurement of time originated in the days when a half-hour clock was used to mark four-hour clocks. whenever the sand ran out, the ship’s attendant, whose job it was to turn the glass upside down, would ring a bell to show that he was minding his own business. so, he eight times he turned the glass and eight times he rang the bell.
female enlisted: The first female enlisted uniform consisted of a single-breasted coat, blue in winter and white in summer, long skirts with a gull-wing skirt, and a straight-brimmed sailor hat , of blue felt in winter. and white straw in summer, black shoes and stockings.
ship’s eyes: Most early ships had mythological monster heads or patterns carved into the prow; thus, the terms figure head, the heads, and the term ship’s eyes were derived from the eyes of the figures placed there. Large eyes are still painted on the bows of Chinese junks. Sailors also believe that these eyes help them and their ship through a storm by magically seeing the right of way. the tale of one particular sailor says that the day before he set sail, he bought his wife two beautiful green emeralds for earrings. he was heartbroken when she didn’t like them, so instead he used them as the eyes of the female figure on the prow of her ship. her wife changed her mind that night and, unbeknownst to her husband, she removed the emeralds from the wooden figure. she planned to use them on her return, but he never did. a day after setting sail, his ship veered into a typhoon and sank. some say it was because the ship couldn’t see as his wife had stolen the ship’s eyes. when the wife heard the news, she cried for days until she fell asleep. when she woke up, she was blind… and the two beautiful emeralds were gone.
fathom – fathom was originally a land measurement term derived from the Anglo-Saxon word faetm meaning to embrace. In those days, most measurements were based on the average size of body parts, such as the hand (horses are still measured this way) or the foot (which is why 12 inches is called that). a fathom is the average fingertip-to-fingertip distance of a man’s outstretched arms, about six feet. Since a man stretches out his arms to embrace his beloved, the British parliament declared that the distance should be called a fathom and should be a unit of measurement. a fathom is still six feet. the word was also used to describe taking the measure or plumbing something. today, of course, when you’re trying to figure something out, you’re trying to probe it.
field day: this term originally refers to the military parade. the term was used from the mid-18th century to refer to a day when military units would parade for the public. by the 1820s, it had become any day of exciting events and opportunities. how this turned into shift two field day, no one seems to know. I don’t remember feeling like I was in a parade when I was cleaning the bilges during picnic.
first female CPO – ync loretta perfectus walsh was the first female CPO, 1917
First Admiral: The first Admiral of the Navy was David Glasgow Farragut, appointed on July 25, 1866.
first navy ship named after a soldier – osmond ingram launched in 1919 (dd-255). Osmond Kelly Ingram, born in Pratt City, Alabama, on August 4, 1887, entered the Navy on November 24, 1903. Serving in Cassin when attacked by a German submarine off Ireland on October 16, 1917, the Gunner First Class Ingram saw the approaching torpedo, realized it would hit close to the explosives, thus dooming the ship, and hurried to dispose of the ammunition. He was thrown overboard when the torpedo fell, thus becoming the first enlisted man to be killed in action in World War I while saving his ship and his comrades.
Flat Hats: First authorized in 1852, the flat hat was phased out on April 1, 1963 due to a lack of available materials. the original hats had the unit names on the front, however the unit names were removed in January 1941.
prognosis – the proper pronunciation for this word is fo’ksul. the forecastle is the forward part of the main deck. derives its name from the days of the Viking galleys when wooden castles were built at the front and rear of the main deck from which archers and other combatants could shoot arrows and spears, rocks, etc.
dirty anchor: The dirty anchor naval ensign began as the seal of lord howard of effingham. He was Lord Admiral of England at the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. During this period the personal seal of a great officer of state was adopted as his seal of office. The fouled anchor remains the official seal of the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain. when this office became part of the current board of admiralty, the seal was retained on buttons, official seals, and cap badges. the navy’s adoption of this symbol and many other customs can be directly attributed to the influence of British naval tradition. the dirty anchor is between them.
Friday Superstition: Sailors’ reluctance to sail on Friday reached such epic proportions that many years ago the British government decided to take strong action to prove the fallacy of superstition. They laid the keel on a new ship on a Friday, launched it on a Friday and named it HMS Friday. then she was put under the command of a captain on Friday and sent out to sea on Friday. The plan worked well, with only one snag…the ship and crew were never heard from again.
gadgets: this well-known word was originally the nautical name for hooks and derives from the French gache.
kitchen – the kitchen is the ship’s kitchen. the best explanation as to its origin is that it is a gallery corruption. ancient sailors cooked their meals on a brick or stone gallery set amidships.
geedunk: To most sailors, the word geedunk means ice cream, candy, chips, and assorted other snacks, or even the place where you can buy them. however, no one knows for sure where the term originated, but there are several plausible theories. 1) In the 1920s, a comic strip character named Harold Teen and his friends spent a great deal of time at the pop candy store. the store owner called him a geedunk for reasons never explained. 2) The Chinese word for a place of leisure sounds something like gee dung. 3) geedunk is the sound a vending machine makes when it dispenses a soft drink into a cup. 4) may be derived from the German word tunk which means to dip or soak in sauce or coffee. dipping was a common practice in the days when bread, not always fresh, needed a little swelling to soften it. ge is an unaccented German prefix denoting repetition. over time it may have changed from getunk to geedunk. Whichever theory we use to explain the origin of geedunk, it doesn’t alter the fact that the Navy folks are glad it all started.
george – the term given to the junior ensign at an activity. also starter ensign
goat locker: Free-roaming entertainment took many forms, mostly depending on the coast and opportunity. one incident that became a tradition was at a soccer match between the navy and the army. In the early years of seafaring, cattle traveled on ships, providing the crew with fresh milk, meats, and eggs. as well as serving as ship mascots. A pet, a goat named El Cid (meaning Chief) was the pet aboard the USS New York. When his crew attended the fourth Navy-Army football game in 1893, they brought the CID to the game, resulting in the defeat of the West Pointers. Al Cid (The Chief) was offered shore duty at Annapolis and became the mascot of the Navy. this is believed to be the source of the old naval term, goat locker.
goat locker again: In the early days, cattle were kept aboard ships as a source of food. goats were the only animals that could adapt to life on board a ship and make a living at sea. when the rank of chief was created in the late 1800s, they were entrusted with the care of cattle and goats in their quarters. even after the goats were no longer used as a food source, they were still kept on board as pets/pets. thus, the chief’s berth became known as the goat locker. furthermore, the caciques came to be known as male goats.
goldbrick: The term goldbrick achieved its widest use as military jargon, but has been in common use for many years as a term describing work avoidance or evasion. anything worthless that has been passed down as genuine is also called a gold brick. it originally referred to a worthless bar of metal that had been gilded to look like solid gold.
grog – grog is an expression for watered down rum. In 1740, Admiral Vernon, Rn (nicknamed Old Grog) ordered the rum rations watered down.
gundecking: In the modern navy, the falsification of reports, records, and the like is often referred to as gundecking. The origin of the term is somewhat obscure, but at the risk of misleading, here are two plausible explanations for its modern usage. the deck below the upper deck on British warships was called the gun deck, even though it carried no guns. this fake cover may have been built to mislead enemies as to the amount of weaponry they were carrying, thus the gun cover was a fake. a more plausible explanation may come from the shortcuts the early midshipmen took when taking their navigation lessons. each medium was supposed to take sun lines at noon and star views at night and then go down to the gun deck, perform its calculations and show them to the navigator. however, some of these young people had a special formula for getting the right answers. they would note noon or the latest position on the quarterdeck cross-board and determine the approximate current position by dead reckoning plot. Armed with this information, they proceeded to the gun deck to complete their navigational task by simply working backwards from the dead reckoning position.
Gun salutes: In the days of the cannon, it took up to twenty minutes to load and fire a gun. when a ship fired its cannons in salute, it was helpless for the entire time. by emptying their guns, the ship’s crew showed the shoreline batteries and forts that they were no threat. over time this gesture became a show of respect, with cannon batteries both on land and on ships firing volleys. while many people like to say that the 21-gun salute was a tribute to the american revolution, a number determined as a result of adding the numbers 1+7+7+6, the truth is that the 21-gun salute was a effort to reduce costs. the habit of firing salutes became wasteful, with ships and shore batteries firing shots for hours on end. this was particularly costly for ships, which had limited space to store gunpowder (which spoiled quickly in the salty air). The British Admiralty first dictated the policies now in place as a practical matter of saving powder. the rule was simple, for every volley fired by a ship in salute, a shore battery could return up to three shots. regulations limited ships to a total of seven shots in salute, so the 21-gun salute became the salute used to honor only the most important dignitaries. today, the usa Navy regulations proscribe that only those ships and stations designated by the secretary of the navy may fire cannon salutes. a national 21-gun salute is fired against:
- washington birthday
- commemorative day
- independence day
- to honor the president of the united states
- to honor foreign heads of state.
- admiral-17 guns
- vice admiral-15 guns
- rear admiral (upper half) – 13 guns
- rear admiral (lower half) – 11 guns
In addition, ships may, with the approval of the Secretary of the Navy, provide gun salutes to naval officers on significant occasions, using the following protocol:
Read more: What does it mean when your poop is gray
All weapon salutes are fired at five second intervals. weapon salutes will always add up to an odd number.
hammocks: hanging beds for sailors were first used by Columbus, who discovered their practical use thanks to the natives of the West Indies.
havelock: A protective covering worn by women over the combi cap to provide protection from cold weather. It is sometimes known as the Lawrence of Arabia hat because it came down to the shoulders in the manner of a hood. a rain hood was also issued to provide protection from the rain. discontinued in 1981.
head: The head on board a navy ship is the bathroom. the term comes from the days of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the hull to which the figurehead was attached.
sacred stone: the sandstone that was once used to scrub the decks of ships, got its nickname from a resourceful sailor who declared that its use always brought a man to his knees, surely must be sacred.
homecoming pennant: Since at least the early 19th century, it has been the custom for ships returning from a lengthy overseas deployment to fly an extra-long commission pennant made from any pennant that can be assembled. . In the Royal Navy this is known as the pay pendant because a ship used to be put out of commission and its crew paid at the end of each cruise. In the United States Navy, it is called the Homebound Pennant. Although not officially sanctioned by regulations, the Navy has issued guidelines for the use of this pennant in NTP-13(B), flags, pennants, and customs. The homebound pennant display is limited to ships that have been outside the United States continuously for 270 days or more. It is composed of the crew and is flown in lieu of the normal commission pennant from the time the ship sets sail for a United States port until sunset on the day of arrival in the United States. the pennant is 200 times as long as its width at the hoist. Like the commission pennant, the home-bound pennant consists of white stars on a blue field at the hoist and splits to red on white on the fly. It has one star for the ship’s first nine months continuously outside the United States, plus another star for each additional six months. The length of the pennant is one foot for each member of the crew who has been on duty outside the United States for nine months or more, not to exceed the length of the ship itself. once the ship arrives home, the pennant is divided among the crew, with the captain receiving the blue portion and the rest of the crew sharing the red and white portion equally.
how long have you been in the navy? – all my flourishing life, most honorable superior chief! my mother was a mermaid, my father was king neptune. I was born on the crest of a wave and rocked in the cradle of the abyss. seaweed and barnacles are my clothes. every tooth in my head is a marlinspike; the hair on my head is hemp. Every bone in my body is a stick, and when I spit, I spit tar! i hard, i am, i am, i am!
hunky-dori: This term, meaning all is well, was coined on a street called honki-dori in yokohama. As the inhabitants of this street catered to the pleasures of sailors, one can easily understand why the name of the street became synonymous with anything that is pleasant or satisfying.
Through the hawse: Sometimes we hear an old petty officer claim that he entered the Navy through the hawse and one wonders if he is referring to some early enlistment program. actually, it was a kind of enlistment program; it means that a person is salty and knows the ways of the sea because he began his nautical career at the lowest scale of deck strength. A hawespipe or hawsehole, by the way, is a hole in the bow of the ship through which the anchor chain passes.
jota: the jota is a replica of the star-studded blue field of the national ensign flown by anchored ships from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. m. until sunset. the jack is hoisted on a yardstick when a general court-martial or court of inquiry is in session. it is at half-staff if the flag is at half-staff, but it is not submerged when the flag is submerged.
jacob’s ladder: the jacob’s ladder is a portable ladder made of rope or metal and is primarily used as an aid in boarding a ship. Originally, Jacob’s Ladder was a network of lines leading to the skysail on wooden ships. the name alludes to the biblical jacob, who is said to have dreamed of climbing a ladder to heaven. Anyone who has ever tried to climb Jacob’s Ladder while carrying a duffel bag can appreciate the allusion. it seems that the ascent is long enough to take one to the other world.
Bridge Lapels – The collar originated as a protective covering for the jacket to protect it from grease or dust normally used by sailors to keep their hair in place.
haulhaul – being hauled today is simply receiving a severe reprimand for some infraction of the rules. however, already in the nineteenth century it meant the extreme. it was a terrible and often fatal torture used to punish violators of certain naval laws. one criminal was securely bound hand and foot and had heavy weights strapped to his body. he was then lowered over the side of the ship and slowly dragged under the ship’s hull. if he didn’t drown, which was rare, the barnacles usually tore him apart and bled him to death. all navies stopped this cruel and unusual punishment years ago and today it is banned.
Khaki: Originated in 1845 in India, where British soldiers soaked white uniforms in mud, coffee, and curry powder to blend in with the landscape. Persimmons made their US debut. uu. Navy in 1912 when worn by naval aviators and adopted for submarines in 1931. In 1941, the Navy approved khaki pants for senior officers to wear on station, and shortly thereafter it was authorized for chiefs and pearl officers. harbor to wear khakis on land at liberty. .
not work: stop working suddenly; stop.-it’s time to finish the job.-nautical origin: aboard sailboats, the galleys were rowed to the rhythm of a mallet hitting a wooden block. when the pounding stopped, it was a signal to stop paddling.
knot: The term knot or nautical mile is used throughout the world to indicate one’s speed through water. today, we measure knots with electronic devices, but 200 years ago these devices were unknown. Ingenious sailors devised an easy-to-use and reliable speed-measuring device called a log line. from this method we obtain the knot term. the log line was a rope marked at 47.33-foot intervals with colored knots. at one end a registration chip was fixed; it was in the shape of a sector of a circle and was ballasted with lead at the rounded end. when launched over the stern, it would float pointing straight up and remain relatively stationary. the log line was allowed to run free along the side for 28 seconds and was then brought aboard. the knots that had passed overboard were counted. in this way the speed of the ship was measured.
log book: In the early days of sailing ships, ship logs were written on shingles cut from logs. these tiles were hinged and open like a book. the record was called a logbook. later, when paper was available and bound in books, the record kept his name.
long shot – This is a modern gambling term with an ancient nautical origin. because ship guns in the early days were very inaccurate except in close quarters, only an extremely lucky shot would hit the target at a great distance, hence the inference of luck in the game term.
the bag of luck – the so-called bag of luck was actually a huge locker in which items lost on board the ship were deposited. once a month these items were made and returned to their respective owners. But there was a catch… each lucky recipient of a lost item was given three hits with the cat of nine tails to teach them not to lose anything else.
handling the rails: this custom evolved from the centuries-old practice of handling shipyards. the men aboard the sailing ships stood evenly spaced in all the yards and gave three cheers to honor a distinguished person. now, men and women are stationed along the rails of a ship when honors are paid to the president, heads of a foreign state, or a member of a reigning royal family. the men and women thus placed do not salute. Navy ships often deal with the rails as they enter a port or return to the ship’s home port at the end of a deployment.
marooned – this ancient punishment for mutineers consisted of placing them on an island with a musket, cutlass and breakwater; and leaving them to their fate. It was named after certain Maroon Indians who had been transplanted to the West Indies as cheap labor and, abandoned by their Spanish masters, had been left to starve. the famous draco captain discovered them in a pitiable state and earned the Indian’s eternal gratitude by returning them to his distant home.
mayday – mayday is the internationally recognized voice radio signal for ships and people in serious trouble at sea. made official in 1948, it is an anglicization of French maidenness, help me.
men’s handkerchief: the black handkerchief or handkerchief first appeared in the 16th century and was used as a sweatband and neck closure. black was the predominant color as it was practical and did not easily show dirt. There is no truth to the myth that the black scarf was designed as a sign of mourning for the death of Admiral Nelson.
mcpo and scpo: The e-8 and e-9 pay grades, superior chief and master chief, were created effective June 1, 1958, by virtue of an amendment by 1958 to Career Compensation Act of 1949. Eligibility for promotion to E-8, the senior chief level, was restricted to chiefs (permanent appointment) with a minimum of four years in grade and a total of ten years of service. Promotion from E-7 to Master Chief, E-9, required a minimum of six years of service as a Chief Petty Officer with a total of 13 years of service. levels e-5 through e-9 included all ratings except teleman and printer, which at the time were being phased out of the naval rating structure. people who had those qualifications were absorbed or turned into yeoman or radioman from teleman and mainly lithographer from printer. service-wide examinations for outstanding chiefs were held on August 5, 1958, with the first promotions taking effect on November 16, 1958. A few months later, a second batch of chiefs from the February 1959 examinations It was raised to E-8 and E-9 effective May 16, 1959. The names of the first two selectees are listed in Naval Personnel Office Notices 1430 dated October 17, 1958 and May 20, 1959. It is noted that after the elevations, promotions from May 1959 to E-9 were only through the superior chief.
mcpons gmcm delbert d. black 13jan67 – 01apr71 macm john d. white 01apr71 – 25sep75 oscm robert j. walker 25sep75 – 28sep79 afcm(nac) thomas s. raven 28sep79 – 01oct82 avcm billy c. sanders 01oct82 – 04oct85 rmcm william h. plackett 01 oct 85 – 09 sep 88 avcm(aw) duane r. bushey 09sep88 – 28aug92 etcm(sw) john h. do 28aug92 – 28mar98 mmcm(ss/sw/aw) james l. herd 28mar98 – 22april02 mtcm(ss/aw) terry d. scott Apr 22, 2002 – Jul 2006 hmcm(sw/fmf) joe r. camp, jr. July 6 – December 12, 2008 qmcm(ss/sw) rick west December 12, 2008 – September 28, 2012 afcm (aw/nac) michael stevens September 28, 2012 – September 2, 2016 cttcm(ss ) steven s. giordano sept 216 – june 22 18 iscm(sw/iw/aw) russell l. smith Jun 22, 2018 – Sep 8, 22 bmcm (sw) james honea Sep 8, 22 – ?
watch out for the p’s and q’s: nowadays, a term that means to be on your best behavior. In the old days, sailors serving aboard government ships could always get credit at waterfront taverns until payday. Since they would only pay for those drinks that were noted on the scoreboard, the bartender had to be careful that no pints or quarts had been omitted from the customer list.
navy blue: Blue hasn’t always been navy blue. in fact, it wasn’t until 1745 that the expression navy came to mean anything. In that year several British officers requested the Admiralty to adapt new uniforms for their officers. the first lord asked several officers to model various uniforms under consideration so that the best one could be selected. he then selected several uniforms of various styles and colors to present to king george ii for final decision. King George, unable to decide on style or color, ultimately chose a blue and white because they were the favorite color combinations of the first lord’s wife, the Duchess of Bedford.
navy colors – August 27, 1802 the secretary of the navy signs an instruction that establishes a pattern for the dress of the united states. navy blue and gold.
Navy Gray Uniforms: Gray uniforms in the same style as khaki were first introduced on April 16, 1943 as an officer’s uniform. on June 3, 1943 the uniform was expanded to include chief petty officers. on March 31, 1944 cooks and butlers were allowed to wear the gray uniform. The Navy abolished the use of gray on October 15, 1949.
navy mascots – the name of the navy mascots is bill xxviii (28), there have been 2 cats, 1 dog, 1 carrier pigeon. goats have been a pet since 1904.
Navy Seal – The Navy Seal Department was created in 1957. An official flag of the Navy was authorized by presidential order on April 24, 1959. The design is over a circular background of clear sky and moderate sea with land on sinister base, a three-masted square-rigged ship sailing in a favorable breeze with topsail furled, commission pennant on top of foremast, national insignia on top of main and commodore’s flag atop the mizzen. in front of the ship, a luke-type anchor leaning slightly tilted with its crown resting on the ground and, in front of the spike and behind dexter’s claw, an american bald eagle rising to the left of dexter, with one foot on the ground , the other resting on the anchor near the tiller; all in the right colors. the whole within a blue ring bearing the inscription department of the navy at the top and united states of america at the bottom, separated on each side by a mullet and within a rope-like border; inscription, rope, mullet and ring edges all gold
Handkerchief Square Knot: There is no historical significance to the knot, other than it is a knot widely used by sailors that has a uniform appearance.
no quarter – this is a term, indicative of a fight to the death, it takes its meaning from the reverse of giving quarter, an ancient custom by which officers, by surrendering, could save their lives by paying a ransom of a quarter of his salary.
Officer stars: First approved on line officer uniforms on January 28, 1864. All regulations since 1873 have specified that a lightning bolt would point downward toward the fringe gold on the sleeve The reason for this is unknown.
Ornamental Buttons on Sleeves: The decorative bone buttons now sewn onto many suit jackets, sport coats, and blazers began as an effort by Lord Nelson to prevent young midshipmen from and cabin boys wiped their noses on their sleeves in the days of sailing, boys, often as young as nine, signed up on sailing ships as cabin boys, usually becoming midshipmen as that they grew many, especially on their first voyages, longed for home and tearfully went about their duties in their elegant gentleman’s uniform. that uniform had no pockets for a handkerchief, so the young men, like all young men, wiped their noses on their sleeves. To rid his boys and midshipmen of this ungentlemanly habit, Lord Nelson had large brass buttons sewn into the sleeves of all midshipmen’s and boys’ uniforms. The decorative value of buttons was soon realized, and before long, London tailors were adding decorative buttons to dresses, coats, and tuxedos. although the buttons have become less conspicuous, the practice continues.
pass the hat – to make a collection on behalf of a distressed person or persons. Taken from William Maginn’s Tales of Military Life, 1829 having sent the hat for the benefit of the poor and half petrified. later mentioned by artists and religious artists who used a hat to collect their money. this procedure helped create other hat terms, such as speaking through his hat, hat in hand, and old hat.
passing honors: ships and boats command passing honors when ships, embarked officers, or embarked officers pass (or are passed) close on board: 600 yards for ships, 400 boat yards. Such honors are exchanged between US ships. uu. navy, between navy and coast guard ships, and between the u.s. and most of the foreign navy ships passing nearby on board. attention is sounded and everyone in sight on deck (not in rows) waves.
Pea Coat: Sailors who have to endure pea soup weather often don their pea coats, but the name of the coat is not derived from the weather. The heavy coat that seamen wear when it’s cold and inclement weather was once made of pilot’s cloth: a heavy, thick, sturdy king of blue twill with the nap on one side. the cloth was sometimes called p-cloth after the initial letter of the word and the garment made from it was called p-jacket, later pea coat. the term has been used since 1723 to refer to coats made from that fabric.
portholes: the word porthole originated during the reign of Henry VI of England (1485). king henry insisted on mounting cannons too big for his ship and traditional methods of securing these guns on the forecastle and sterncastle could not be used. a french shipyard named james baker was commissioned to fix the problem. he put small doors in the side of the ship and mounted the cannon inside the ship. these doors protected the barrel from the weather and opened when the barrel was to be used. the French word for door is porte, which later became English port side and later came to mean any opening in the side of the ship, whether for guns or not.
right arm rates – established in 1841 and abolished on April 2, 1949, originally meant men of the seafaring branch. During World War II, these rates included bosun, turret captain, signalman, gunner, fire control, quartermaster, miner, and torpedo boat. other classifications wore fees on their left sleeve.
sally ship: the sally ship was not a ship, but a method of releasing a ship that ran aground due to the mud holding it. In the days before sophisticated navigational equipment, ships ran aground much more often than they do today. a stranded ship could be freed with little or no hull damage if she could pull herself out of her muddy plight. to free her, the order was given to set sail. the crew gathered in a line along one side and then ran from port to starboard and back and forth until the ship began to rock. often the rocking would break the suction of the mud and it could break free and get going.
Salutations: The hand salute is the military custom you’ll learn first and use the most while in the military. it is centuries old and probably originated when men in armor raised the visors on their helmets so they could be identified. greetings are usually given with the right hand, but there are exceptions. a sailor, whose right arm or hand is taped, may salute with the left hand, while people in the army or air force never salute with the left hand.
scuttlebutt: The origin of the word scuttlebutt, which is nautical slang for a rumour, comes from a combination of scuttle (making a hole in the side of the ship causing it to sink) and tope – a barrel or barrel used in the days of wooden ships to hold drinking water; therefore, the term scuttlebutt means a barrel with a hole in it. hatch; describes what most rumors accomplish, if not for the ship, then at least for morale. butt describes the barrel of water where the men naturally congregated, and that’s where most of the rumors begin. the terms top hat thread and mess deck intelligence also mean the spreading of rumours, and many, of course, start in the mess deck
The tradition of presenting a shadow box: The tradition of presenting a shadow box to a retiring sailor stems from ancient British custom. In the days of sailing, when the British ruled the seas, it was considered bad luck for a sailor, when leaving a ship for good, to allow his shadow to strike the quay before he himself left the ship. To ensure that no such misfortune befall their shipmate, the crew would build a box of the finest wood and place inside it all the things that reflected his achievements. only then could the man, with the shadow of himself in his hand, safely leave the ship and disembark once and for all.
introduction: On behalf of your crewmates, we present to you this shadow box. with the shadow box it is the military’s most prized and honored possession, including the flag of the united states of america.
Ship’s Husband: Sometimes when a ship is headed for the shipyards, an old salt says she’s going with her husband now and makes the novices wonder what she’s talking about. a ship’s husband was once a widely used term describing the man in charge of the shipyard responsible for the repair of a particular ship. It wasn’t uncommon to hear sailors on creaking ships lament, ah, she’s been a good ship, boys, but now she needs her husband. in the course of a ship’s life she may have had more than one husband, but this had little bearing on her true affections. Tradition says, his love was kept solely for his sailors.
show leg: Many of our army’s colorful expressions originated as a practical means of communicating vital information. one of those expressions is to show a leg. In the British Navy of King George III and before, many sailors’ wives accompanied them on long voyages. this practice caused a multitude of problems, but an ingenious bosun solved one that tended to make bullseye a dangerous event: distinguishing which bunks had men and which had women. In order not to drag the wrong companions off the rack, the bosun asked everyone to show a leg. if the paw was hairy and tattooed, the owner was forced to turn around. In today’s navy, showing a leg is a signal to Diana’s petty officer that you’ve heard his call and are awake.
sick bay: Ship hospitals were originally known as sick bunks, but since they were usually located in the round sterns of old battle tanks, their outlines suggested a bay, and the latter name was given to them.
side boys: Side boys are part of the quarterdeck ceremonies when an important person or official boards or leaves a ship. the big ships have broadside boys stationed on the quarterdeck from 0800 to sundown. When the side is funneled by the bmow, two to eight side boys, depending on the officer’s rank, will form an aisle on the catwalk. they greet on the first note of the tube and end together on the last note. in sailing days, it was not uncommon for the commanding officers of ships sailing in convoy to meet aboard the flagship for conferences. it was also not uncommon for cos to invite each other to dinner aboard their ships. Unfortunately, there was no easy way to get visitors on and off a ship while it was underway. and it was not dignified for a high-ranking officer to run up or down a rope ladder hanging from the side of a ship. often the boatswain’s chair, a rope and wooden sling, was used to raise and lower the guest from the ship. the bosun’s assistant would control the agitation by sounding the appropriate commands on a whistle known as a bosun’s pipe. the number of strong backs required to carry the visitor aboard depended on the size of the load to be hoisted. somewhere along the line, it was noted that the higher the rank of the visitor, the more sailors were needed to man the broadside. Over time, the need to get visitors on and off navy ships disappeared, but the custom of rounding up sideboys and funneling distinguished visitors aboard remains.
skylarking: Skylarking originally described the antics of young sailors who climbed and slid down the sterns for fun. Since the old word lac means to play and the games started at the top of the masts, the term was skylacing. later, the corruption of the word changed it to skylarking.
smoking lamp: The sea lions that sailed the wooden ships endured hardships that today’s sailors never suffer. cramped quarters, poor and unpleasant food, poor lighting, and boredom were hard facts of marine life. but perhaps a more frustrating problem was finding a fire to light a cigar or tobacco pipe after a hard day’s work. matches were scarce and unreliable, but smoking contributed positively to crew morale, so oil lamps were hung on the focsle and used as matches. boatswains restricted smoking to certain hours of the day. when permitted, smoky lamps were lit and men relaxed with their tobacco. fire was and still is the great enemy of ships at sea. the smoky lamp was centrally located for everyone’s comfort and was the only authorized light on board. it was a handy way to keep open flames away from chargers and other storage areas. In today’s navy, the smoky lamps are gone, but the words smoky lamp are lit in all authorized spaces remain, a remnant of our past.
s.o.s. – contrary to popular notion, the letters s.o.s. don’t stay to save our ship or save our souls. they were selected to indicate distress because, in morse code, these letters and their combination create a distinctive sound pattern.
bells that are rung: By tradition, sixteen bells are rung at midnight on New Years…the oldest person on the ship rings the first 8 regardless of rank (enlisted or admiral or whatever). .second 8 are hit by the youngest person on the boat….
Passing the main brace: Palming the main brace, all hands forward is a call for an extra serving of grog for a job well done. from the book a sailor’s treasure by frank shay, copyright 1951.
square – this means that one is in a satisfactory position for whatever has to be done next. is a borrowed phrase from the days of the square riggers. When a square-rigged ship braced her yards against the wind, she was squared away.
starboard: The Vikings called the side of their ship their board, and they placed the steering oar, the star on the right side of the ship, so that side became known as the steering board. star. it has been that way ever since. and since the oar was on the right side, the ship was moored to the dock on the left side. this was known as the cargo or port side. later, it was decided that port and starboard were too similar, especially when trying to be heard above the roar of a rough sea, so the phrase became which side you moored port or port.
stick in the mud: a colloquial nickname for someone who is stubborn or immovable from a position. James Baker is first mentioned in criminal court sessions when his alias is stuck in the mud, 1733.
Stars and Stripes on Uniforms – On January 18, 1876, Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce recommended a stars and stripes collar as a substitute for the plain collar worn on sailors’ tunics. three stripes on the collar were proposed for all grades, with the stripes on the cuffs at the grade indicated. a dash for e-1, etc.
underwater song shoot her down – (1943) lyrics by irving taylor music by vic mizzy
take it down, take it down, take it down. Beneath the foam is the home of submarines. tear it down, tear it down, tear it down there will be action soon is what that order means. When the target is right in front of us, we have to hit it, send them all the way to Davy Jones’s locker. So tear it down, tear it down, tear it down, tear it down, tear it down.
underwater song down, down under the ocean – (1956) lyrics and music by captain william j. ruhe, usn and r. meter. wall
tar: given to sailors because in the old days, sailors used to tar their clothes to make them waterproof.
tattoos: A tattoo of a pig on one leg of a sailor and a rooster on the other is an amulet against drowning.
the lonely sailor: is a combination of the us. uu. navy blue jacket, past, present and future. The Lone Sailor is the brainchild of Stanley Bleifeld, the U.S. official sculptor of the navy memorials.
the bond that unites: This expression of feeling, related to the blood relation of a similarity of ideals that hold people in a common bond, is generally believed to have been coined for the chain short that ensures and bow yards to their respective masts.
thirteen pants buttons – there is no relationship between the 13 pants buttons and the original 13 colognes. prior to 1894, trousers had only seven buttons, and in the early 1800s they had 15 buttons. It wasn’t until the wide fall front was widened that the 13 buttons were added to the uniform and only then to add symmetry to the design.
to be three leaves in the wind – in the days of sailing ships, this is a phrase referring to the lines used to control the sails of sailing ships. when these sheets are thrown into the wind (let go), it would make old sailboats shudder and wobble. the resulting footprint would be the same as that of a drunken sailor, out of control, and therefore three sheets to the wind.
ringing of the bell: the meaning of the tolling of the ships bell in the navy dance is in memory of our shipmates who gave the supreme sacrifice, their lives. It’s called the Ceremony of the Two Bells, and when done correctly, it can bring a tear to even the toughest of Master Chiefs.
tomich hall – tomich hall is the location of the senior enlisted academy at the naval education and training center, newport, rhode island. It is named after CPO Tomich, who received the Medal of Honor.
tonnage (tunnel): Today, tonnage refers to a ship’s displacement through the water or the gross pounds of cargo it is capable of carrying. in the days of sailing this was not so. tonnage was spelled tunnage and referred to the number of tunnels a ship could carry. A tun was a barrel normally used to transport wine, and the tonnage specified the number of barrels that would fit in the ship’s hold.
he took the wind out of his sails: We often use took the wind out of his sails to describe getting the better of an opponent in an argument. it originally described a sailing ship battle maneuver. a ship would pass close to his adversary and on his windward side. the ship and sails would block the second ship’s wind, causing it to lose its march. losing movement meant losing maneuverability and the ability to continue a fight.
uniform regulations: the first uniform instruction for the us. uu. Navy was issued by the Secretary of War on August 24, 1791. It provided distinctive dress for officers who would command the ships of the Federal Navy. the drill did not include a uniform for the enlisted man, although there was a degree of uniformity. the usual clothing of a sailor was composed of a short jacket, shirt, waistcoat, long pants and a black hat with a low crown.
wardroom – The wardroom was originally known as the locker room, a place where officers kept their spare clothing. it was also the space where any loot obtained from enemy ships was stored. in an effort to have some privacy on a crowded ship, officers sometimes took their meals in the cloakroom. today, the wardroom aboard the ship is where the officers eat, relax, and socialize.
clocks: Traditionally, a 24-hour day is divided into seven clocks. these are: from midnight to 4 a.m. m. [0000-0400], half wake; 4 to 8 a.m. m. [0400-0800], morning watch; 8 am to noon [0800-1200], morning watch; noon to 4 p.m. m. [1200-1600], evening watch; 4 to 6 pm [1600-1800] first dog watch; 6 to 8 pm [1800-2000], second dog watch; and, 8 p.m. m. at midnight [2000-2400], evening watch. The half hour of the clock is struck by striking the bell an appropriate number of times.
what time is it? – “due to the fallacious nature of my chronometer and my brain’s inability to function in the manner of an august NCO, I am unable to determine the correct time in a finicky degree. however, I firmly believe that the correct local time is…”.
white hat: in 1852 a white cover was added to the soft visor except for the blue hat. in 1866 a white sennet straw hat was authorized as an additional item. during the 1880s, the white sailor hat appeared as a low-brimmed, high-domed item made from wedge-shaped pieces of canvas to replace the straw hat. canvas was eventually replaced by cotton as a cheaper and more comfortable material. Many complaints about quality and construction led to modifications that ended in the white hat currently in use.
women in the usn during world war i – women in world war i – 11 275 (December 1, 1918) from current crusader book, marine women since world war i to ebbert and hall’s tail hook.
women’s uniform buttons: how did women’s clothing come to button on the opposite side of men’s clothing? – at one time, buttons were only worn by very well-off people, peasants only wore garments or ropes. this means that well-to-do women had servants to help them dress, while most of their spouses did not. it was easier for servants to button ladies’ clothes if the buttons were on the other side. it was easier because this would put the buttons on the right side of the server, making them easier to manipulate.
Yankee: Americans are known by nicknames from Hong Kong to Timbuktu; one of the most used is yankee. its origin is uncertain, but one belief is that it was given to us by the early Dutch. early American sea captains were known, but not revered, for their ability to negotiate hard. The Dutch, who were also considered extremely frugal, jokingly referred to hard-to-please Americans as Yankers or Wranglers. the nom de plume persists to this day.
z-grams: z-grams were started by adm elmo zumwalt, former chief of naval operations (1970 – 1974). z-55 dealt with human resource management in the navy.