Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Shellback

I'm posting a 2-fer today!

The initiation for crossing the Equator has been an honored tradition in the US Navy (and probably all the other ones, too!) for hundreds of years.

In 1995, I was stationed here.....
USS Abraham Lincoln CVN-72

We were on West Pac, which is a tour of the Western Pacific Ocean.  The original plan had been to visit Hong Kong (check!), Singapore (check!), the Persian Gulf (check!), then head south to Australia & Tasmania. Sadly - that last 2 didn't happen (and there's a void in my life ~sniff~)  Tensions had heated up in the Gulf and we had to stay there until the next carrier group arrived.  But we visited Jebal Ali 5 times !!

However, Captain Willard (useless trivia - as a junior officer was one of the Mig pilots in Top Gun) was an awesome guy and he gave orders for our route home to take us far enough south that we could take part in this ageless tradition.
 One day - I received a subpoena from King Neptune and Davy Jones.   
The un-initiated are slimy Pollywogs, so as the senior female working in the post office - I was the senior postal Pollywog-ette. 

They called me the Beachmaster, since out of the 3 months we were on patrol in the Gulf, I spent half that time working "Beach Det" or detachment in Bahrain, loading mail onto helicopters to send out to the ship.  I was charged with "knowingly & willfully slimed up Bahrain, Fujairah and the USS Canopus.  On the way to the Lincoln slimed everything she touched across the United States." My first ship, the Canopus had been stationed in Georgia and the Lincoln in California, so I drove across the US. And my second charge - the big one - was "knowingly crossed the Equator on her way to and from Diego Garcia without being properly initiated".  In my own defense - I didn't know I'd crossed the equator until I was looking at a map in tiny little DG airport waiting to fly back to the Lincoln, trying to figure out where in the world I was!

I don't have many photos from that day, since I wasn't sure what to expect, but was certain I didn't want my camera messed up!  The uniform of the day was inside out & backwards. Honestly, it was nothing like my recruiter had told me - he had to crawl thru old food - gross!  But there was a lot of water and yelling and for us - singing!  The post office and disbursing office did the initiation together, due to being smaller offices.  And the disbursing officer felt it would be funner to stay with the enlisted people instead of the officers, so she basically hung out with us and at one point let us hide out in her office to have a break from the festivities!  We had various activities to do, including skipping thru passageways singing Christmas carols, crawling thru boxes lined with plastic and piped full of water, so it felt like slime and lying on our bellies in a circle around a padeye (a depression in the deck with a metal cross to chain aircraft to) with everyone trying to blow the water out of it.

We went from the hanger bay of the ship to the flight deck on one of the aircraft elevators and those already deemed worthy stood on deck with fire hoses and "cleansed" us.  We had to go in front of the Royal Court, ate a breakfast of cold spaghetti noodles dyed green, filled with lima beans and such (we got into a food fight and the disbursing officer got the brunt of it!)  You were at the mercy of whatever the Shellbacks in your department could dream up!  Finally, there were these giant crates that F-14 engines came in.  They were easily 15 feet long and 6 feet across - filled with sea water.  You had to get in, duck underwater &  push yourself to the other end without coming up.  When you did - someone was there in your face, asking/yelling what you were.  Heaven forbid you say you were still a pollywog!  They sent you back to do the tank swim again.  The proper answer was Shellback!  Then you were handed a glass of O'Douls fake beer and you had to chug it, then tradition stated you take off all your clothes and throw them off the back of the ship.  (smart people wore bathing suits under their clothes!)

It was a day that will live on in my memories forever!

Part 2.....

This shows I have been deemed worthy to consume!

I've been wanting to find this rum since I saw pics posted of it in a Facebook group I belong to. 

The little blurb below the 80 proof is the signature of Neptunus Rex and says "inspected and found worthy"

I love the last sentence....
"For in the end, we are all the sum of our experiences".

Compass rose on the bottom of the bottle. 

I have to confess - I'm a lightweight in regards to my alcohol consumption since Miss Angela was born and had to mix it with Coke Zero.  Still...good stuff !!


  1. Oh. Excellent. PHOTOS! What a life. I'm not much of a drinker either but I do like rum, LOL.

    1. Thanks! I keep forgetting I have it in the cabinet. When I do remember, I don't want to have it because I need to drive somewhere later. Vicious circle!


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