Go Navy!

Discussion in 'VMBB Fire For Effect' started by Guest, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Posts: 36
    (4/12/01 11:03:07 am)
    | Del All Go Navy!
    This one is for all my Navy friends who follow this BBS. If this doesn't bring back memories, there's no hope for you.

    Stan Lambert
    St. Clair Shores, Michigan


    Reflections of a Blackshoe
    by VAdm Harold Koenig, USN (Ret)

    I like the Navy.

    I like standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt
    spray in my face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the
    four quarters of the globe - the ship beneath me feeling
    like a living thing as her engines drive her through the

    I like the sounds of the Navy - the piercing trill of the
    boatswains pipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship's bell
    on the quarterdeck, the harsh squawk of the 1MC and the
    strong language and laughter of sailors at work.

    I like the vessels of the Navy - nervous darting destroyers,
    plodding fleet auxiliaries, sleek submarines and steady
    solid carriers. I like the proud sonorous names of Navy
    capital ships: Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, Coral Sea -
    memorials of great battles won. I like the lean angular
    names of Navy 'tin-cans': Barney, Dahlgren, Mullinix, McCloy
    - mementos of heroes who went before us.

    I like the tempo of a Navy band blaring through the topside
    speakers as we pull away from the oiler after refueling at
    sea. I like liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign
    port. I even like all hands working parties as my ship fills
    herself with the multitude of supplies both mundane and
    exotic which she needs to cut her ties to the land and carry
    out her mission anywhere on the globe where there is water
    to float her.

    I like sailors, men from all parts of the land, farms of the
    Midwest, small towns of New England, from the cities, the
    mountains and the prairies, from all walks of life. I trust
    and depend on them as they trust and depend on me - for
    professional competence, for comradeship, for courage. In a
    word, they are "shipmates."

    I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is
    passed "Now station the special sea and anchor detail - all
    hands to quarters for leaving port", and I like the
    infectious thrill of sighting home again, with the waving
    hands of welcome from family and friends waiting pierside.
    The work is hard and dangerous, the going rough at times,
    the parting from loved ones painful, but the companionship
    of robust Navy laughter, the 'all for one and one for all'
    philosophy of the sea is ever present.

    I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's
    work, as flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset
    gives way to night. I like the feel of the Navy in darkness
    - the masthead lights, the red and green navigation lights
    and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence of radar
    repeaters - they cut through the dusk and join with the
    mirror of stars overhead. And I like drifting off to sleep
    lulled by the myriad noises large and small that tell me
    that my ship is alive and well, and that my shipmates on
    watch will keep me safe.

    I like quiet midwatches with the aroma of strong coffee -
    the lifeblood of the Navy - permeating everywhere. And I
    like hectic watches when the exacting minuet of haze-gray
    shapes racing at flank speed keeps all hands on a razor edge
    of alertness. I like the sudden electricity of "General
    quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle
    stations", followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on
    ladders and the resounding thump of watertight doors as the
    ship transforms herself in a few brief seconds from a
    peaceful workplace to a weapon of war - ready for anything.
    And I like the sight of space-age equipment manned by
    youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that
    their grandfathers would still recognize.

    I like the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who
    made them. I like the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey,
    Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John Paul Jones. A sailor can find
    much in the Navy: comrades-in-arms, pride in self and
    country, mastery of the seaman's trade. An adolescent can
    find adulthood.

    In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, they
    will still remember with fondness and respect the ocean in
    all its moods - the impossible shimmering mirror calm and
    the storm-tossed green water surging over the bow. And then
    there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas, a faint
    echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright
    bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a refrain
    of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief's quarters and
    messdecks. Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about
    their Navy days, when the seas belonged to them and a new
    port of call was ever over the horizon.

    Remembering this, they will stand taller and say,


    Edited by: Misterstan at: 4/12/01 12:04:14 pm

    Posts: 40
    (4/12/01 1:23:08 pm)
    | Del Re: Go Navy!

    Geno G

    Registered User
    Posts: 28
    (4/12/01 9:47:11 pm)
    | Del navy
    Just a random thought.
    My brother, God bless his soul, was a navy man. Proudly served on the carrier the Bennington. How wonderful when late november rolled around and he could cheer for Navy and I for Army on the ol' gridiron!

    Posts: 566
    (4/13/01 3:51:30 pm)
    | Del Re: Go Navy!

    Beautiful post about the NAVY.


    Edited by: oneknight at: 4/13/01 10:36:26 pm

    Posts: 506
    (4/13/01 9:30:50 pm)
    | Del
    Re: Go Navy!
    Thumbs Up Stan!

    The Firearms Forum Vietnam Memories Bulletin Board Contact Administrator

    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 172
    (4/14/01 8:10:14 am)
    | Del Re: Go Navy!
    I bet you'd hold it against me if I didn't put in my two cents about the Navy--almost a third of my lifetime I spent with her--used to say bad things about her but these days I can't recall what they were. Stan, would you tell the troops where the term 'Blackshoe' originated? I have been led to believe it had to do with the Marines and the Seabees--the orphan children of the Navy is what the Blackshoes called us.Wilborn sends.

    Posts: 37
    (4/14/01 12:50:10 pm)
    | Del Re: Go Navy!
    Senior Chief,

    You would be surprised what terms we use today that originated with the Navy. Blackshoe is one I have heard, but cannot find without more research. I'll get back to you on that one.

    In the meantime, here are a few interesting ones:

    Why is a ship referred to as "she?"
    It has always been customary to personify certain inanimate objects and attribute to them characteristics peculiar to living creatures. Thus, things without life are often spoken of as having a sex. Some objects are regarded as masculine. The sun, winter, and death are often personified in this way. Others are regarded as feminine, especially those things that are dear to us. The earth as mother Earth is regarded as the common maternal parent of all life. In languages that use gender for common nouns, boats, ships, and other vehicles almost invariably use a feminine form. Likewise, early seafarers spoke of their ships in the feminine gender for the close dependence they had on their ships for life and sustenance.

    Son of a Gun -
    When in port, and with the crew restricted to the ship for any extended period of time, wives and ladies of easy virtue often were allowed to live aboard along with the crew. Infrequently, but not uncommonly, children were born aboard, and a convenient place for this was between guns on the gun deck. If the child's father was unknown, they were entered in the ship's log as "son of a gun".

    A Square Meal -
    In good weather, crews' mess was a warm meal served on square wooden platters.

    Let the Cat Out of the Bag -
    In the Royal Navy the punishment prescribed for most serious crimes was flogging. This was administered by the Bosun's Mate using a whip called a cat o' nine tails. The "cat" was kept in a leather or baize bag. It was considered bad news indeed when the cat was let out of the bag. Other sources attribute the expression to the old english market scam of selling someone a pig in a poke(bag) when the pig turned out to be a cat instead.

    Start Over with a Clean Slate -
    A slate tablet was kept near the helm on which the watch keeper would record the speeds, distances, headings and tacks during the watch. If there were no problems during the watch, the slate would be wiped clean so that the new watch could start over with a clean slate.

    Give (someone) a Wide Berth -
    To anchor a ship far enough away from another ship so that they did not hit each other when they swung with the wind or tide.

    The Whole Nine Yards -
    Yards are the spars attached at right angles across a mast to support square sails. (Yardarms are either side of a yard.) On a fully-rigged three-masted ship there were three major square sails on each mast. So if the nine major sails were all employed at the same time, the whole nine yards were working.

    Scuttlebutt -
    A butt was a barrel. Scuttle meant to chop a hole in something. The scuttlebutt was a water barrel with a hole cut into it so that sailors could reach in and dip out drinking water. The scuttlebutt was the place where the ship's gossip was exchanged.

    Smoking lamp
    The exact date and origin of the smoking lamp has been lost. However, it probably came into use during the 16th Century when seamen began smoking on board vessels. The smoking lamp was a safety measure. It was devised mainly to keep the fire hazard away from highly combustible woodwork and gunpowder. Most navies established regulations restricting smoking to certain areas. Usually, the lamp was located in the forecastle or the area directly surrounding the galley indicting that smoking was permitted in this area. Even after the invention of matches in the 1830s, the lamp was an item of convenience to the smoker. When particularly hazardous operations or work required that smoking be curtailed, the unlighted lamp relayed the message. "The smoking lamp is lighted" or "the smoking lamp is out' were the expressions indicating that smoking was permitted or forbidden.

    The smoking lamp has survived only as a figure of speech. When the officer of the deck says "the smoking lamp is out" before drills, refueling or taking ammunition, that is the Navy's way of saying "cease smoking."

    Thank goodness for the "copy and paste" technique. I found these definitions in a number of places on the Internet. I just pasted them into a Microsoft Word document as I found them and then "copied and pasted" them into this post.

    I found a few other interesting things in the form of short poems that I will post in another topic later today....

    Happy Easter to all..and don't forget, "Don't keep all your eggs in one basket". (I wonder where that one came from?)

    Stan Lambert
    St. Clair Shores, Michigan

    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 176
    (4/16/01 7:14:03 am)
    | Del Re: Go Navy!
    Stan, what an interesting rundown on the nautical terms. My friend, Cdr. Hal Brown, from the USS Halibut, specializes in those terms--every msg. he sends to me he relates something. Perhaps the term 'blackshoe' has a different meaning but I heard it come from the Marines and Seabees who wore the rough-out leather boondockers--later those shoes for civilians would be called desert boots--the sailors who served on the ships, wore their shing black shoes, hence the blackshoes per Marines and Seabees. It was a derrogertory term as I remember it. Wilborn sends.

    Posts: 39
    (4/16/01 9:12:34 am)
    | Del Re: Go Navy!

    Found a little more info about the "Black Shoe Navy", which seems to have started after WWII. The term referred to men and women of the surface fleet as well as submariners, like your friend Commander Hal C. BROWN. It did not include those who served on Aircraft Carriers, however. They were called "Brown Shoes".

    Here's the info along with the link to my source...

    Black-shoe - Member of the surface or submarine community. Until recently, the only approved footwear for these communities was black in color. More recently, brown footwear is optional, but seldom seen due to tradition

    Brownshoe - Member of the aviation community. Refers to the brown boots or shoes which once were worn by aviation personnel with the Aviation Green uniform. Unauthorized footgear for a while, but recently re-approved for all USN service communities


    Hope this passes for having done my homework.

    Stan Lambert
    St. Clair Shores, Michiga

    Edited by: Misterstan at: 4/16/01 10:15:41 am

    *Senior Chief Moderator*
    Posts: 177
    (4/16/01 10:44:47 am)
    | Del Re: Go Navy!
    Thanks for the info Stan--here I thought all these years they were picking on the 'Bees and the Marines for wearing those ugly old boondockers that made your feet smell so bad!!! Did I ever send you the photo of the ships clock that come off the USS Halibut SSN 587--conned Cdr. H. Brown out of that for doing a favor for him--his boat was mentioned extenesivly in Sherry Sontag's novel of BLIND MAN'S BLUFF. Wilborn sends.