Maritime Extinction

Maritime Extinction

By: Robert “Okie Bob” Layton

Let me be clear I’m not talking about the endangered Marine species such as Whales, Manatees, Sea Turtles and Sharks. That’s a whole different subject. What I’m concerned about is the elimination of the United States Sailor the “USN Blue Jacket”.

Well looks like the Navy has shit canned its 91 enlisted ratings in favor of a gender neutral Navy. The change was approved by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. It began by a directive from Mabus to find gender-neutral ratings titles that stripped the word “man” from the rating IE “Corpsman”. Remember POTUS had a hard time pronouncing the word Corpsman!
In an effort to be more inclusive to women sailors Mabus issued a directive to strip the word “man”.

What a bunch of hypocrites are we going to replace the word woman because its got the word “man” in it, or maybe female because it’s got “male” in it? How about the commending term “Shipmate”?

Jesus fucking Christ!!!– when is this PC shit going to stop? Maybe we can be like schools and have neutral heads onboard ship. We already are giving birth on board! I’m sure our commander in chief and Mabus applauds to that!
The almost 8 years of Purging out the military has made sure that only the best liberal thinking cronies are holding top jobs.

Am I old and fear change? Could be

Like the sailors before me do I perceive changes as Bad for the Navy? Maybe

Will my beloved Navy sink into the depths of political correctness? We are going to have to do some serious bailing!

As a retired Master Chief thirty years removed from my service, ignored for being antiquated, unwanted like a broken-down athlete, and muted because of inappropriate dialogue. I can only observe– for I am not longer in the decision making process.
I feel my Nautical uniqueness among my military brethren has been stolen away by official Navy Policy change.

I am fearful that the future sailors will have lost identities. No heritage, and like a bastard child no parental guidance!

The exclusivity of being a sailor will be forever lost. New expressions invented to portray all-inclusive military with a one world goal.

I worry that our nautical heritage is doomed for extinction.

A hundred years from now will the old sailors of my day be looked back on as the unenlightened? We can only guess!

Passing on of the traditions of the sea have been the mainstay of the US Navy.
Those distinctive customs unique only to the Navy instilled pride in the Blue Jacket.
Our uniform, our talk, our way of life, our mission is distinctively different from the other services!

That was our arrogance, our reason for becoming a sailor.

The bean counters in Washington have no clue as to the mind set of true sea going sailors for they have not stood the watches and faced the ocean tempest.

Putting on the dress blues, bell bottom pants, thirteen buttons with wallet over the top, cigarettes in your socks, spit shined shoes, white piping tight jumper, liberty cuffs, rolled neckerchief and topped with tilted rolled white hat was standard issue for the sea going sailors of my day.

One thing that made the distinctiveness was the Petty Officer Crow with the rating insignia over the chevron. Be it crossed Guns for Gunner’s Mate or Wings and Propeller for Aviation Machinist’s Mate, add a red or gold hash marks and Navy unit identification mark on the shoulder [USS Haze Gray and underway] gave it that special swagger for any sailor hitting the beach.

Stripping away the distinctive Sailor Ratings is just a step to put all the services into one big bag. A Shit Bag!!!

Fifty years ago as an undesignated striker I worked hard to earn the title of Aviation Machinist’s Mate Jet Engine Mechanic [ADJ3]. Years later after I was promoted to Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman [AFCM] I still identified myself with the old designation for I earned the right to call myself an “Aviation Machinist’s Mate”.

No bean counting, brown nose, suck up SOB, in Washington can ever touch that. If they want to reinvent themselves and do away with Naval designations and become gender neutral let em have it. This is not what I remember the US Navy as being. I would most certainly not recommend the present Navy to any red blooded American Male or Female.

As for me? when ask what I was in the Navy? I always answer unhesitating first—– “I was an Aviation Machinist’s Mate”

The salt gets in your soul and can change a rural farm boy into a shipmate forever!

Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman
Robert L Layton USN Ret.


Navy Ratings

Navy Ratings
Pay Grades

Rating Structure
The U.S. Navy rating structure is confusing to most people outside the organization. A brief overview of Navy enlisted rate and ratings follows. Two similar sounding terms are used to describe Navy enlisted status – rate and rating. Rate equates to military pay grade and rating is one’s occupational specialty. Petty officer third class (PO3) is a rate. Boatswain Mate is a rating. Used in combination, Boatswain Mate Third Class (BM3), defines both the rate, petty officer third class, and rating Boatswain Mate.
Pay Grade
Pay grade constitutes a numbering system from junior to senior, and is linear across all five branches of the U.S. military. The lowest military enlisted pay grade is E-1 and the highest E-9 in the Army as well as the Navy. Officer pay grades include W-1 through W-5 for warrant officers and O-1 through O-10 for officers. Enlisted personnel may be promoted from enlisted to warrant officer status and in some cases directly to officer status. In example, this writer served as an E-1 through E-7, W-1 through W-4, and O-2 through O-6, sixteen different pay grades in a four decade career.

Rate or rank?
Rate, such as First Class Petty Officer, describes the Navy enlisted pay grade E-6. Officers do not have rates but are said to have rank. Lieutenant (rank) describes a Naval officer of pay grade O-3. The officer’s occupational specialty is described in a numerical code.

A Navy rating is defined as an occupation that consists of specific skills and abilities. Each rating has its own specialty badge which is worn on the left sleeve by all qualified men and women in that field. In the Navy and Coast Guard, pay grades E-4 through E-9 fall within a rating and reflect a distinct level of achievement within the promotion pyramid.

General ratings. Broad occupational fields such as Electronics Technician, Machinist Mate or Electrician are general ratings. During World War I the Navy survived with but thirteen ratings. Through the years the Navy has used over 100 ratings with 60+ remaining in use today. In some cases ratings combine at the Senior Chief Petty Officer (E-8) or Master Chief Petty Officer (E-9) level. In example, CU Constructionman combines the Builder (BU), Engineering Aide (EA and) Steelworker (SW) Seabee ratings at the Senior Chief and Master Chief Petty Officer levels.

Service ratings. Service ratings are sub categories of general ratings that require further specialized training and qualifications. They are established and deleted with service requirements and changes in personnel management philosophy. In example, Gunner’s Mate, a general rating, has been at times divided into the service ratings of Gunner’s Mate Guns (GMG) and Gunner’s Mate Missiles (GMM). Service ratings are most used in the E-4 and E-5 pay grade with the ratings merging at the senior Petty Officer level.

Navy Enlisted Classifications (NEC). Numerical codes appended to a rating are heavily used in the modern Navy to indicate specialized qualifications. For example, a Master-at-Arms First Class with a specialty of handling drug detecting dogs, is a MA1 (9542). A list of these NEC codes is provided in the Navy Personnel Command’s reference library in NAVPERS 180086F. (pdf file located off site).

Emergency ratings. Emergency ratings may be established in time of war. World War Two saw twenty-two Navy Specialist ratings and the Coast Guard used six additional Specialist ratings. The term Specialist evolved to Emergency Service Rating and finally to Emergency Rating in the thirty-two years of use. Emergency rating badges are distinguished by a letter of the alphabet enclosed in a diamond below the eagle. One example is Welfare & Recreation Leader, a “W” inside a diamond. This emergency rating most often worked with the chaplain. The rate was discontinued following World War Two. For a number of years the chaplain’s assistant was a Yeoman with NEC 2525. The YN (2525) became a full fledged rating in 1979 as the present day Religious Program Specialist, RP.

Non rate
A non rate (not rated) is one serving in pay grade E-1 to E-3. The non rate is further subdivided by a general career path, aviation (airman), deck (seaman), engineering (fireman), construction (constructionman), and medical (hospitalman).

Many bluejackets enter advanced training schools following recruit training to complete the entry level requirements for a career field. Graduates are designated in an occupational specialty even though they have not achieved Petty Officer status of pay grade E-4 and up. CSSN Jane P. Jones has passed the specific career field qualifications for entry into the general rating of Culinary Specialist, but is not a petty officer. CS denotes the career field of Culinary Specialist and SN is the abbreviation for Seaman, the non rated E-3 pay grade.

Sailors who go directly to a station, ship or squadron without specialized school training following recruit training are encouraged to select a career field. Through correspondence courses provided for self study and on-the-job training (OJT), they may qualify for entry into a rating. This path is called “striking for rate.” A seaman working in the deck department of a ship will by work assignment find herself most often in training for the deck rating of Boatswain Mate. Many “strikers” will venture into other departments to become a Yeoman, Damage Controlman or other rating as openings occur. Many technical ratings are restricted to formal school graduates and thereby closed to “strikers.” Having experienced the width and depth of Navy life, most “strikers” become excellent petty officers.

Pay Grades

Non Rated Rated
Seaman Recruit (SR)
Fireman Recruit (FR)
Airman Recruit (AR)
Construction Recruit (CR)
Hospital Recruit (HR) No insiginia E-4:
Petty Officer Third Class (PO3)
Seaman Apprentice (SA) white
Hospital Apprentice (HA) white
Fireman Apprentice (FA) red
Airman Apprentice (AA) green
Construction Apprentice (CA) blue E-5:
Petty Officer Second Class (PO2)
Seaman (SN) white
Hospitalman (HN) white
Fireman (FN) red
Airman (AN) green
Constructionman (CN) blue
Petty Officer First Class (PO1)
Chief Petty Officer (CPO)
Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO)
Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO)

Master Chief Petty Officer
of the Navy (MCPON)
1. E-1 formerly issued one stripe insignia white for SR, HR, DR, TR; red for FR; green for AR; and blue for CR.
2. Steward (TR, TA & TN) leading to the rating Steward (SD) discontinued in 1975.
3. Dental (DR, DA & DN) leading to the rating Dental Technician (DT) discontinued in 2005.
4. Petty officer ratings shown are BM3, BM2, BM1, QMC, QMCS, QMCM
5. One Master Chief Petty Officer is selected as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (Gold star in rating badge).

General Ratings.
Ratings may have evolved through several names to reflect changes in skill sets. Most of these ratings no longer exist. Logos indicate an active rating.

Service Ratings.
Service ratings are subspecialties under general ratings. Service ratings generally merge into a single rating at the E-6 to E-9 level. Most of the service ratings listed no longer exist.
ABM Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (1944-1948)
(AB Rate subdivided 1948 to service ratings >)
ABCM Master Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (E-9 only) ABH Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Aircraft Handling
ABF Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Fuels
ABE Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Launch & Recovery Equipment
ABU Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Utility

AC Air Controlman (1948-1977)
AC Air Traffic Controller (1977- ) ACT Aircontrolman Tower
ACW Aircontrolman Early Warning
ACM Aviation Carpenter’s Mate (1921-1940) (to AM)

AD Aviation Machinist’s Mate (1948- ) ADE Aviation Machinist’s Mate Engine Mechanic
ADF Aviation Machinist’s Mate Flight Engineer
ADG Aviation Machinist’s Mate Carburetor Mechanic
ADJ Aviation Machinist’s Mate Jet Engine Mechanic
ADR Aviation Machinist’s Mate Reciprocating Engine Mechanic
ADP Aviation Machinist’s Mate Propeller Mechanic

AEM Aviation Electrician’s Mate (1942-1948)
AE Aviation Electrician’s Mate (1948- )
AF Photographer’s Mate (1948-1950) (to PH)
AFCM Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman (E-9 only) (1963- )

Aerog Aerographer (1923-1942)
AerM Aerographer’s Mate (1942-1948)
AG Aerographer’s Mate (1948- )
AK Aviation Storekeeper (1948-2003) (to SK)
AL Aviation Electronicsman (1948-1959) (to AT)

AM Aviation Metalsmith (1921-1948)
(AM Rate subdivided 1948 to service ratings >)
AM Aviation Structural Mechanic (E-8 only) AMH Aviation Structural Mechanic Hydraulic Mechanic (1948-2001)(to AM)
AME Aviation Structural Mechanic Safety Equipment
AMS Aviation Structural Mechanic Structures (1948-2001)(to AM)
MMA Machinist’s Mate (Aviation) (1917-1921)
AMM Aviation Machinist’s Mate (1921-1948) (to AD) AMMC Aviation Machinist’s Mate Carburetor Mechanic
AMMF Aviation Machinist’s Mate Flight Engineer
AMMH Aviation Machinist’s Mate Hydraulic Mechanic
AMMI Aviation Machinist’s Mate Instrument Mechanic
AMMP Aviation Machinist’s Mate Propeller Mechanic
AMMT Aviation Machinist’s Mate Gas Turbine Mechanic

AOM Aviation Ordnanceman (1921-1948)
AO Aviation Ordnanceman (1948- ) AOMB Aviation Bombsight Mechanic (1943-1944)
AOMB Aviation Bombsight and Fire Control Mechanic (1944- )
AOMT Aviation Ordnanceman Turrets
AOF Aviation Ordnanceman Fire Control
AOT Aviation Ordnanceman Turrets
AOU Aviation Ordnanceman Utility
AQ Aviation Fire Control Technician (1954-1991) (to AT) AQB Aviation Fire Control Technician Bomb Director
AQF Aviation Fire Control Technician Fire Control
AP Aviation Pilot (1924-1933) (1942-1948)
(Naval Aviation Pilot (NAP) & AP History) CAP Chief Aviation Pilot (1924-1933)
AP First Class Aviation Pilot (1927-1933)
APA Aviation Pilot Airship
AR Quartermaster (Aviation) (1917-1921)
AR Aviation Rigger (1921-1927)
AR Airship Rigger (1943-1948) (to AM)
ARM Aviation Radioman (1942-1948) (to AL)

AS Aviation Support Equipment Technician (1966- ) ASE Aviation Support Equipment Technician Electrical
ASH Aviation Support Equipment Technician Hydraulics and Structure
ASM Aviation Support Equipment Technician Mechanical

ART Aviation Radio Technician (1942-1945)
AETM Aviation Electronic Technician’s Mate (1945-1948)
AT Aviation Electronics Technician (1948- ) ATA Aviation Electronics Technician Aircraft Equipment
ATG Aviation Electronics Technician Ground Equipment
ATN Aviation Electronics Technician Radio & Radio Navigation Equipment
ATO Aviation Electronics Technician Ordnance
ATR Aviation Electronics Technician Radar and Radar Navigation Equipment
ATW Aviation Electronics Technician Airborne CIC Equipment
AVCM Master Chief Avionics Technician (E-9 only)

AW Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Operator (1968-1993)
AW Aviation Warfare Systems Operator (1993 -2008)
AW Master Chief Naval Aircrewman (2008- ) (E-9 only) AWF Naval Aircrewman Mechanical
AWO Naval Aircrewman Operator
AWS Naval Aircrewman Helicopter
AWR Naval Aircrewman Tactical Helicopter
AWV Naval Aircrewman Avionics
AX Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Technician (1962-1991) (to AT)

AZ Aviation Maintenance Administrationman (1964- )

BM Boatswain’s Mate (1893- ) BMA Boatswain’s Mate Master-at-Arms
BMB Boatswain’s Mate Seabee
BMG Boatswain’s Mate Shipboard
BMK Boatswain’s Mate Canvasman
BMR Boatswain’s Mate Rigger
BMS Boatswain’s Mate Stevedore
BMSTR Bandmaster
B Boilermaker
BR Boilermaker (1956-1971)
BT Boilerman (to WT Watertender)
BT Boiler Tender
BT Boiler Technician (1976-1996) (to MM) BTG Shipboard Boilerman
BTR Boiler Repairman
BUG Bugler (1871-1948)
BUGMSTR Buglemaster (1927-1948)

BU Builder (1948- ) BUR Builder Concrete
BUH Builder Heavy
BUL Builder Light

CE Construction Electrician’s Mate (1948-1958)
CE Construction Electrician (1958- ) CEG Construction Electrician General
CEL Construction Electrician Communications Lineman
CEP Construction Electrician Power Lineman
CES Construction Electrician Shop
CET Construction Electrician Telephone
CEW Construction Electrician Wiring
CM Carpenter’s Mate (1885-1948) (to DC)

CMA Carpenter’s Mate Aviation
CMCBB Carpenter’s Mate Construction Battalion Builder
CMCBD Carpenter’s Mate Construction Battalion Draftsman
CMCBE Carpenter’s Mate Construction Battalion Excavation Foreman
CMCBS Carpenter’s Mate Construction Battalion Surveyor
CMPx Carpenter’s Mate Painter
CMPx Carpenter’s Mate Patternmaker
CMPx Carpenter’s Mate Plumber Fitter
CMSRB Carpenter’s Mate Ship Repair Boatbuilders Wood
CMSRC Carpenter’s Mate Ship Repair Carpenters
CMSRJ Carpenter’s Mate Ship Repair Joiners
CMSRN Carpenter’s Mate Ship Repair Cement Workers
CMSRK Carpenter’s Mate Ship Repair Caulkers Boats
CMSRS Carpenter’s Mate Ship Repair Shipwrights

CM Construction Mechanic (1958- ) CMA Construction Mechanic Automotive
CMD Construction Mechanic Diesel Engine
CMG Construction Mechanic Gasoline Engine
CMH Construction Mechanic Construction
CMC Command Master Chief (E-9 only) CMDCM Command Master Chief Petty Officer
CNOCM CNO Directed Command Master Chief
FLTCM Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer
FORCM Force Master Chief Petty Officer
MCPON Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

CS Commissary Steward (1902-1948)
CS Commissaryman (1948-1974) (to MS)
CS Culinary Specialist (2004- ) CSB Commissaryman Butcher
CSG Commissaryman Ship’s Cooks
CSR Commissaryman Bakers

CT Communication Technician (1948-1976)
CT Cryptologic Technician (1976- )
CTA Communications Technician Administration (1948-1976)
CTA Cryptologic Technician Administration (1976-2008) (to YN)
CTI Communications Technician Interpretive (1948-1976)
CTI Cryptologic Technician Interpretive (1976- )
CTM Communications Technician Maintenance (1948-1976)
CTM Cryptologic Technician Maintenance (1976- )
CTN Cryptologic Technician Networks (2004- )
CTO Communications Technician Communications (1948-1976)
CTO Cryptologic Technician Communications (1976-2006) (to IT)
CTR Communications Technician Collection (1948-1976)
CTR Cryptologic Technician Collection (1976- )
CTS Communications Technician Special Devices Operator (1948-?)
(to MA – Machine Accountant)
CTT Communications Technician Technical (1948-1976)
CTT Cryptologic Technician Technical (1976- )
CTY Communications Technician Clerk (1948-1976) (to CTA)
CU Constructionman (E-8, E-9 only) (from BUC, EAC, SWC)

DC Damage Controlman (1948-1972) (to HT) (19??- ) DCG Damage Controlman Shipboard
DCP Damage Controlman Painter
DCW Damage Controlman Carpenter
DK Disbursing Clerk (1948-2005) (to PS)
DM Illustrator Draftsman (1961-2006) (to MC) DME Draftsman Electrical
DMI Draftsman Illustrator
DML Draftsman Lithographic
DMM Draftsman Mechanical
DMS Draftsman Structural
DMT Draftsman Topographic
DP Data Processing Technician (1967-1998) (to RM)
DS Data Systems Technician (1961-1998) (to ET or FC)
DT Dental Technician (1948-2005) (to HM) DTG Dental Technician General
DTP Dental Technician Prosthetic
DTR Dental Technician Repair

EA Engineering Aide (1961- ) EAD Engineering Aids Draftsman
EAS Engineering Aids Surveyor

EM Electrician Mate (1921- ) EMCBC Electrician’s Mate Construction Battalion Communication
EMCBD Electrician’s Mate Construction Battalion Draftsman
EMCBG Electrician’s Mate Construction Battalion General
EMCBL Electrician’s Mate Construction Battalion Line and Station
EMSRG Electrician’s Mate Ship Repair General Electrician
EMSRS Electrician’s Mate Ship Repair Shop Electrician
EMSRT Electrician’s Mate Ship Repair Interior Communications Repairman
EMP Electrician’s Mate Power and Light
EMS Electrician’s Mate Shop

EN Engineman (1948- ) ENA Engineman Aviation
END Engineman Diesel
ENG Engineman Gasoline

EO Equipment Operator (1958- ) EON Equipment Operator Construction Equipment
EOH Equipment Operator Hauling

EOD Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician (2006- )
EQCM Master Chief Equipmentman (E-9 only)
EW Electronic Warfare Technician (1971-2003) (to CTT)

ET Electronics Technician (1948- ) ETN Electronics Technician Communications
ETN Electronics Technician Navigation (Ballistic Missile Submarine (to c1980)
ETR Electronics Technician Radar
ETS Electronics Technician Sonar
FC Fire Controlman (1921-1955)
FT Fire Control Technician (1955-1985) (split to FC FT)

FC Fire Controlman (1985 – ) [Surface]

FT Fire Control Technician (1985- ) [Submarine] FCO Fire Controlman Operator
FCR Fire Controlman Range Finder
FCS Fire Controlman Surface (to 1948)
FCS Fire Controlman Submarine (from 1948)
FCU Fire Controlman Underwater Weapons
FTA Fire Control Technician Automatic Directors
FTB Fire Control Technician Ballistic Missile Fire Control
FTG Fire Control Technician Gun Fire Control
FTM Fire Control Technician Surface Missile Fire Control
FTU Fire Control Technician Underwater
FP Pipefitter (1948-1958) (to SF) FPB Pipefitter Coppersmith
FPG Pipefitter Shipboard
FPP Pipefitter Plumber
FPS Pipefitter Steamfitter
GF Aviation Guided Missleman (1953-1960)

GM Gunner’s Mate (1885- ) (E-7 to E-9 only) GMA Gunner’s Mate Aviation (to 1926)
GMCB Gunner’s Mate Construction Battalion
GMCBG Gunner’s Mate Construction Battalion Armorer
GMCBP Gunner’s Mate Construction Battalion Powderman
GMSRP Gunner’s Mate Ship Repair Powderman
GMA Gunner’s Mate Armorers (1948-?)
GMM Gunner’s Mate Mounts (to 1957)
GMM Gunner’s Mate Missiles (1957-present)
GMT Gunner’s Mate Torpedo (to 1921)
GMT – Gunner’s Mate (Turrets) (1922-1952)
GMT Gunner’s Mate Technician (1962-1986)
GMG Gunner’s Mate Guns ( -present)
GS Guided Missileman (1953-1961) (to MT)

GS Gas Turbine System Technician (1978- ) GSE Gas Turbine System Technician Electrical
GSM Gas Turbine System Technician Mechanical

HM Hospital Corpsman (1948- )
Hospital Corpsman History

HT Hull Technician (1972- )

IC Interior Communications Electrician (1948- )
IM Instrumentman (1961-1999) (to IC, EM, ET or AT) IMI Instrumentman Instrument Repair
IMO Instrumentman Office Machine Repairman
IMW Instrumentman Watch and Clock Repairman

IT Information Systems Technician (1999- ) ITS Information Systems Technician Submarines (2011- )

IS Intelligence Specialist (1975- )
JO Journalist (1948-2006) (to MC)
LI Lithographer (1948-2006) (to MC) LIP Lithographer Pressman
LIT Lithographer Cameraman and Platemaker

LN Legalman (1973- )

LS Logistics Specialist (2009- )

MA Master-at-Arms
MA Machine Accountant (1948-1967) (to DP)

MC Mass Communications Specialist (2006- )
ML Molder (1917-1929) (1943-??) MLSRC Molder Ship Repair Cupola Tenders
MLSRF Molder Ship Repair Foundryman
MLSRM Molder Ship Repair Molder
MldrA Molder Aviation

MoMM Motor Machinist’s Mate
MM Machinist’s Mate (1893- ) MoMMSRD Motor Machinist’s Mate Ship Repair Diesel Engine Mechanic
MoMMSRG Motor Machinist’s Mate Ship Repair Gasoline Engine Mechanic
MMA Machinist’s Mate Aviation
MMAGE Machinist’s Mate Aviation Bombing
MMAH Machinist’s Mate Aviation Hydrogen
MMAP Machinist’s Mate Aviation Photographic
MMCBE Machinist’s Mate Construction Battalion Equipment Operator
MMMB Machinist’s Mate Motor Boat
MMO Machinist’s Mate Optician
MMSRE Machinist’s Mate Ship Repair Engine Operator
MMSRI Machinist’s Mate Ship Repair Instrument Maker
MMSRO Machinist’s Mate Ship Repair Outside Machinist
MMSRS Machinist’s Mate Ship Repair Inside Machinist
MMW Machinist’s Mate Watchmaker
MME Machinist’s Mate Engineman
MMG Machinist’s Mate Industrial Gas Generating
MML Machinist’s Mate General
MMR Machinist’s Mate Refrigeration Mechanic
MMS Machinist’s Mate Shop Mechanic
MMA Machinists Mate Non-Nuclear, Submarine Auxiliary
MMW Machinists Mate, Non-Nuclear, Submarine Weapons
MMN Machinists Mate, Nuclear Power

MN Mineman (1943-1947) (1948- )

MR Machinery Repairman (1948- )
MS Mess Management Specialist (1974-2004) (to CS)
M Metalsmith
ME Metalsmith MSRB Metalsmith Ship Repair Blacksmith
MSRC Metalsmith Ship Repair Coppersmith
MSRF Metalsmith Ship Repair Forgers Anglesmiths
MSRS Metalsmith Ship Repair Sheet Metal Workers
MEB Metalsmith Blacksmith
MEG Metalsmith Shipboard
MES Metalsmith Sheet Metal Worker
MEW Metalsmith Welder

MT Missile Technician (1961- )

MU Musician (1948- )

NC Navy Counselor NC(CRF) Navy Counselor (Career Recruiter Force)
NC(FC) Navy Counselor (Fleet Counselor)
NCC Navy Counselor Career
NCR Navy Counselor Recruiter

ND Navy Diver (2006- )
NW Nuclear Weaponsman (to GMT, WT)
OM Opticalman (1948-2004)

OS Operations Specialists (1972- )
OT Ocean Systems Technician (E-9 only) (1970-??) to ? OTA Ocean Systems Technician Analyst
OTM Ocean Systems Technician Maintainer
PC Postal Clerk (1959-2010) (to LS)
P Photographer (1921-1942)
PhoM Photographer’s Mate (1942-1948)
AF Photographer’s Mate (1948-1950)
PH Photographer’s Mate (1950-2006) (to MC) APH Aviation Photographers Mate (1948-52)
PHG Photographer’s Mate Cameraman
PHL Photographer’s Mate Laboratory Technician
PHM Photographer’s Mate Microfilm Photographer
PhM Pharmacist’s Mate (to HM) (1916-1948)
PI Printer (see LI)
PICM Master Chief Precision Instrumentman (E-9 only)
PM Patternmaker ( -2007) PMSRP Patternmaker Ship Repair Patternmaker
PN Personnelman ( -2005) (to PS) PNA Personnelman Records Clerk
PNI Personnelman Classification Interviewer
PNR Personnelman Recruiter
PNS Personnelman Personal Supervisor Women’s Reserve
PNT Personnelman Training Assistant
PNW Personnelman Chaplain’s Assistant

PR Parachute Rigger (1942-1965)
PR Aircrew Survival Equipmentman (1965- )

PS Personnel Specialist (2005- )
PT Photo Intelligenceman (1957-1975) (to IS)

QM Quartermaster QMD Quartermaster Dirigible
QML Quartermaster Listening
QMN Quartermaster Navigation
QMP Quartermaster Pigeon
QMQ Quartermaster Quartermaster
QMS Quartermaster Signal
RD Radarman (1943-1972) (to OS)
RM Radioman (1921-1999) (to IT) RMN Radioman Radioman
RMT Radioman Telegrapher
CYN Communications Yeoman (1964-c1974) (E-4 only)

RP Religious Program Specialist (1979- )
RT Radio Technician (to ET) RTSR Radio Technician Ship Repair
SA Special Artificer (to 1948)
SAD Special Artificer Special Devices
SADMG Special Artificer Special Devices Machine Gun Trainer
SAI Special Artificer Instrument
SAITR Special Artificer Typewriter and Office Equipment
SAIWR Special Artificer Watch Repairman
SAO Special Artificer Optical

SB Special Warfare Boat Operator (2006- )
SC Ship’s Cook (1893-1948) (to CS) SCB Ship’s Cook Butcher
St Steward
StM Steward’s Mate
SD Steward (1943-1975) (to MS) SDG Steward Cook
SDS Steward Stateroom
SF Shipfitter (1901-1948) (to ME, FP) (1958-?) SFA Shipfitter Aviation
SFCBB Shipfitter Construction Battalion Blacksmith
SFCBM Shipfitter Construction Battalion Mechanical Draftsman
SFCBP Shipfitter Construction Battalion Pipefitter and Plumber
SFCBR Shipfitter Construction Battalion Rigger
SFCBS Shipfitter Construction Battalion Steelworker
SFCBW Shipfitter Construction Battalion Welder
SFSRP Shipfitter Ship Repair Pipefitter and Plumber
SFSRR Shipfitter Ship Repair Riveters
SFSRS -Shipfitter Ship Repair Shipfitter
SFSRW Shipfitter Ship Repair Welder
SFM Shipfitter Metalsmith
SFP Shipfitter Pipefitter ( -1948) (to FP)

SH Ship’s Serviceman (1943- ) SSMB Ship’s Service Man Barber
SSMC Ship’s Service Man Cobbler
SSML Ship’s Service Man Laundryman
SSMT Ship’s Service Man Tailor
SK Storekeeper (1916- 2009) (to LS) SKD Disbursing Storekeeper ( -1948) (to DK)
SKV Aviation Storekeeper (1943-1948) (to AK)
SK(CBS) – Storekeeper (Construction Battalion) (Stevedore)
SKE Storekeeper Engineer
SKG Storekeeper General
SKT Storekeeper Technical
SM Signalman (1921-1948 (to QM) (1956-2003) (to QM)
SPCM Master Chief Steam Propulsionman (E-9 only)

SO Special Warfare Operator (2006- )

SoM Soundman
SO Sonarman (1943-1964)
ST Sonar Technician (1964- ) SOG Sonarman Sonar
SOH Sonarman Harbor Defense
SOMH Sonarman Harbor Defense
STS Sonar Technician Submarine
STG Sonar Technician Surface
SV Surveyor (1948-1959) (to EA)

SW Steelworker (1948- ) SWE Steelworker Erector
SWF Steelworker Fabricator
SWR Steelworker Construction Rigger
SWS Steelworker Structural
T Telegrapher (1926-1948) (to TE)
TC Turret Captain (1903-1948) (to GM)
TD Tradevman (Training Devicesman) (1948-1984) TDI Tradevman Instructor Non-Aviation
TDR Tradevman Repairman Non-Aviation
TDU Tradevman Instructor Aviation
TDV Tradevman Repairman Aviation
TE Teleman (1948-1962) (to RM or YN) TEL Teleman Communications Clerk
TEM Teleman Mailman
TEP Teleman Registered Publications Clerk
TEQ Teleman Cryptographer
TET Teleman Teletypist
TM Torpedoman (1921-1942)
TM Torpedoman’s Mate (1942-2007) (to MM or GM) TME Torpedoman’s Mate Electrical
TMO Torpedoman’s Mate Operator
TMS Torpedoman’s Mate Special Torpedoes
TMT Torpedoman’s Mate Technician
TMV Torpedoman’s Mate Aviation

UT Utilitiesman (1948- ) UTA Utilitiesman Air Conditioning
UTB Utilitiesman Boilerman
UTP Utilitiesman Plumber
UTW Utilitiesman Water and Sanitation
WT Watertender (1884-1948) to BT WTCB Water Tender Construction Battalion
WT Weapons Technician (1986-1995)

Y Yeoman
YN Yeoman YNS Yeoman Stenographer
YNT Yeoman Typist


Petty Officer What?

Petty Officer What?

By Garland Davis


The Navy deep-sixed all of its 91 enlisted ratings titles Thursday, marking the beginning of an overhaul of the rigid career structure that has existed since the Continental Navy in a radical shift sure to reverberate through the fleet and the veterans community beyond.

Sailors will no longer be identified by their job title, say, Fire Controlman 1st Class Joe Sailor, effective immediately. Instead, that would be Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Sailor.

“We’re going to immediately do away with rating titles and address each other by just our rank as the other services do,” said Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke in a Sept. 19 interview. “We recognize that’s going to be a large cultural change, it’s not going to happen overnight, but the direction is to start exercising that now.”

The three paragraphs above were excerpted from an article in Navy Times dated September 29, 2016.  Shipmates it looks as if the social engineers are going to win.  First, they fuck with the uniforms trying to develop unisex attire that looks good on women regardless of the fact that men and women are of two distinct body types.  Now they are removing all references to men in Naval Ratings by just eliminating the ratings.

I loved our Navy when I could meet another sailor and just a quick glance at the crow and rating device would tell me just about all I needed to know about him.  I knew what type of duties he performed, I knew in what area of the ship he worked, I knew where his berthing area is located, and the patch on the opposite shoulder told me where he served.

If you have ever been around a group of soldiers, you hear things like “What’s your MOS, Eleven Bravo?” Soldiers wear devices on their dress uniforms that signify whether they are medics, infantry, engineers, quartermaster corps, etc.  The Navy and the Coast Guard were the two services that identified the particular specialty.

Another of the differences that made us unique from the other services gone.

As an old Commanding Officer once told me, “Chief, it’s an ever-changing Navy!”


What is the Navy?

What is the Navy?

Written by:
Boats Thompson
Deck Department LPO
USS San Diego LPD 22

The Navy is the Commander in Chief asking where the nearest aircraft carrier is, and a scrubby boatswain’s mate sitting on a pair of bits teaching a young seaman how to splice line. A tobacco-chewing gunner standing a sharp watch in a far-off land. That’s the Navy. And so is the big, fat engineer who can make a diesel engine run better just by standing next to it.

There’s a man in San Francisco who remembers the USS Missouri made port there in the autumn of ’61. That’s the Navy. So is the recruiter who accepted a young man from Long Beach, California for master-at-arms training named Michael Monsoor who would go on to be a Medal of Honor recipient. The Navy is a spirited rivalry of humankind against the ocean, skill against nature, a daily struggle. Everything is measured and evaluated. Every heroic, every failing is seen and congratulated or counseled.

In the Navy democracy shines its clearest. The only race that matters is the race to roll a firehose. The creed is our very own. Color merely something to distinguish one flight deck job from another.

The Navy is a recruit. His experience no bigger than the lump in his throat as he begins basic training. It’s a veteran too, a tired old man of forty-five hoping that those aching muscles can pull him through one last deployment. Nicknames are the Navy, names like Boats and Wheels and Guns, and Bull, and Cowboy, and Sparky, and A-Gang.

The Navy is the cool, clear eyes of Arleigh Burke, the flashing heroism of Alan Shephard, the true grit of Carl Brashear.

The Navy is service, as simple as muster, instruction, and inspection, yet as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes – a lifestyle, a business, and sometimes almost even a religion.

Why the tale of John Paul Jones engaging an English ship in foreign waters and then having the tenacity to declare “I have not yet begun to fight.” That’s the Navy. So is the bravado of a doomed Captain James Lawrence saying, “Don’t give up the ship. Fight her ’till she sinks.”

The Navy is the damage control locker, general quarters, the boatswain’s locker, tiger cruises, The Chief’s Mess, Anchors Aweigh, and the Star Spangled Banner.

The Navy is a tongue-tied kid from every small town and massive city growing up to be a Chief Petty Officer or mustang or ships’s captain and praising Neptune for showing him the way around the globe and back again. This is a Navy for America. Still a Navy for America. Always a Navy for America.

Written by:
Boats Thompson
Deck Department LPO
USS San Diego LPD 22


The Surabayan Liberty Incident

The Surabayan Liberty Incident

By: David ‘Mac’ McAllister

As I stood in the log room staring at the shit growing in the Petri dish the HMC just brought in, wondering if we even had enough Calcium Hypochlorite on board to make what passed for potable water here safe to drink, I was concerned about a far greater potential catastrophe. Berthed at a shallow water pier meant that at low tide the ship could settle into the mud, fouling cooling water sea chests for the ships service generators. I thought: “If the world had armpits one of them must be here – Surabaya, Indonesia”.

It was August 1977 and the 7th fleet flagship had just arrived for a two-day protocol visit following ops with the Indonesian Navy. For those not familiar with flagship ops, protocol visits were a show the flag event jammed with various activities including receptions hosted by the Admiral or local dignitaries. On this occasion in addition to civic action projects, ship tours and athletic contests the staff and ship’s company officers would be hosted at a reception on the pier by the Admiral of the Indonesian Armada. These receptions were noted for being “Command Performances” or mandatory attendance; losing electrical power would be an intolerable event.

My Division Officer, a recently promoted CWO4, had assumed a somewhat caretaker attitude leaving the business of running “M” division up to me. As he breezed through the log room in his liberty regalia, peered into the Petri dish wishing me “Lot’s of luck on that Chief”, he was obviously heading ashore to get ready for the afternoon reception.

After multiple chlorination’s, ensuring that the generator sea chests were rigged with steam blowouts and the duty section was well settled into auxiliary steaming, I set out to find a little of Surabaya myself. Jumping into a cab all I said was Bin tang, within minutes I was walking into a combination bar/skivvy house. To my surprise half of “M” Div, including CWO4, was there and already well underway. In addition to the girls the entertainment consisted of shooters of Batavia rum chased with bottles of Bin tang beer.

As is customary, I immediately ordered a round. CWO4, not at all bashful in the face of booze, tossed his shot of rum back just as someone proposed a toast to his recent promotion. Without missing a beat he spit the rum back into the shot glass, hoisted it and joined the toast to his own good fortune. After a few such rounds the hour drew near for both low tide and the Admirals reception. Wanting to be around during low tide, I shared a cab back to the ship with CWO4.

Emerging from the cab onto the awning rigged pier we noted that the tide had ebbed. The ship was breasted off the pier by camels and that distance was now a mud flat barely covered with water. Parting ways at the Quarter Deck CWO4 set off, with a definite bit of left rudder in his gait, to shift into his glad rags while I went below to check on the generators and the watch.

CWO4’s glad rags for this gala event would be Protocol Tropical White Long consisting of: tropical white short sleeved shirt, long white pants, white shoes, and gold cumber bun with miniature medals. Not as bad as it sounds, the uniform looked remarkably sharp on a slim profile. However, the years had not been so kind to CWO4 and what, at one time, could have been perhaps a barrel chest had gravitated to the south and east. This gave him a unique shape similar to Baby Huey; needless to say, rigging out in this particular uniform was a lesson in stress testing of both body and fabric.

Leaving the ship in the normal fashion is usually a painless ceremony consisting of a salute to the OOD, requesting permission to leave the ship, a 90° turn to face the ensign flying at the fantail, another salute, another 90° turn and you are on your way down the brow. CWO4 decked out in his sartorial splendor, stood before the OOD saluted and made the proper request. I don’t know whether it was the brand new leather soled and heeled white shoes from Hong Kong, the hot Sun, something slick on the brow, the shots of Batavia rum, bottles, and bottles of Bin tang beer or a combination of all of the above; what happened next can only be described as a cross between Mary Lou Retton gymnastics and Greg Louganis high diving. CWO4’s next ninety turned into a 270° pirouette culminating in a headlong death-defying plunge over the brow; although to his credit, CWO4 did get off a salute to the ensign as he passed the appropriate 90° mark. In opposition to the laws of gravity, he landed like a dart head first in the mud below clear up to the gold cummerbund; little fat legs flailing about as if in answer to some mental backing bell his brain had rung up in order to extricate him from this unintentional grounding.

Well not to ponder a point, the flying squad was called away and CWO4 was shortly extracted unscathed from the mud below and brought back aboard; naturally by way of the, by now, dignitary infested pier. Let it not be said that the Indonesians do not have a sense of humor; for although initially appalled, they did consider the incident entertaining and awarded CWO4 a grade of 10 for form and style, 9 for execution and perseverance under pressure however only a 1 for timing and decorum.

The next morning CWO4 sat in the log room; the Chief Engineer entered. In a sarcastic tone, as only an Academy puke is capable of whined, “And what have you to say for yourself this morning”.

Without missing a lick CWO4 looked at him through terribly bloodshot eyes and said “Better than twenty-six in; they don’t make W5’s”.

Without another peep the Engineer went into his office and slammed the door, and you ask me why I became a Warrant!?!


Keurig Qualifications or the K-Cup

Keurig Qualifications or the K-Cup

By:  Garland Davis


It will be a sad day for sailors in our new, modern, diverse, better Navy.  They will miss the joy of getting up a 0330 for the four to eight watch and having to drink the mess deck coffee that has burned and scorched since it was made shortly before midrats.  Or the Chief who has to make the tough decision whether to make a fresh pot and wait the interminable time for it to finish or to drink the dregs of the last pot made.  Or the officer who has to go without coffee because there is no one to make him a pot or fetch it for him.

What? You ask, will deprive sailors of stale coffee, the traditional drink of those who inhabit the early hours of the morning or wander through the ship at night.   The answer is the single service coffee POD or K-cup.  I have heard that they will soon be made available in the supply system.

The only early morning watch standers enjoying good coffee, if you consider “Black Gang” coffee good, are the snipes because the off going  watch always makes a fresh pot, otherwise the oncoming EEOW will kill them.

AUTHORS NOTE:  I learned as a night baker that I could trade pastries to the snipes for a good cup of coffee. Actually it wasn’t that good but it was fresher than any other and it saved me from making a pot and depriving sailors wandering around in the night the joy of drinking skunky coffee. END NOTE

Soon Wardrooms everywhere will be equipped with single serve coffee makers.  They are simple enough that even officers can operate them.  Officers will no longer be forced to drink old coffee because they couldn’t find a CS or Mess Attendant to make a pot for them.  They will be able to do it themselves.  Probably will become a requirement for their Warfare Qualifications.  Or, they may create a special qualification and a shiny new pin to wear.  We could call it the Keurig Qualification Device. A corresponding Enlisted qualification and device could also be authorized. It could be worn above their warfare device.

And of course a Keurig machine would be installed in the CPO Mess. No Chief would ever again have to drink stale coffee.

But soon after installation in the Wardroom and the  CPO Mess they would have to fall back to the old Bunn coffee maker, because the 3MC would discover that the machines weren’t covered by the PMS program and the machines would be tagged out while a comprehensive PMS program was developed for them.


Who We Are

Who We Are

By:  Garland Davis

During a discussion, on FaceBook, with some shipmates regarding political issues I made the following post: “Our benefits, Retirement Pensions, Cola Increases, Tri-Care, Veterans Administration medical care and disability benefits, and etc. are always top of my mind. I can waiver and compromise on other issues, but not those that we earned in some of the God Damnedest situations and conditions asked of a man. We laugh and tell the sea stories about the good times but there is nothing funny about the times between the good times.”

We spend time telling each other sea stories about the good times, about the liberties, about the drinks, about the girls, and about old shipmates.  I am going to take a while to talk about some of the bad times.

We didn’t realize the bad in recruit training.  We were numb most of the time.  Half proud of our uniforms and our newfound skills marching and learning of the Navy and, half regretting enlisting if this was what we faced for the next four years.

My first tour at NAS Lemoore was basically easy.  I don’t recall any really bad times there unless you count being a broke, seventeen-year-old Seaman living in the Barracks without any place to go even if I had the money.  The Station Library and Theatre were a godsend and got me through many idle hours in the barracks.

The day I reported to my first ship, I was stuck into a gear locker with a chipping hammer and shown how to use it.  I was to chip all the paint off the interior bulkheads while another, more fortunate, sailor was chipping on the external bulkheads.  Hearing protection?  I don’t think it existed in the “Old Navy.”  I figure I am fortunate to be able to hear myself fart.

There were things I didn’t understand.  Returning from emergency leave, I spent a couple of days at Treasure Island waiting for my ship. One night another sailor and I were issued 45 caliber pistols and assigned the duty of guarding a couple Dempster Dumpsters about two hundred yards apart.  That was the longest, coldest and loneliest night I can recall.

I remember many hours on more ships than I wish to list wearing an OBA,  carrying and dragging fire hoses, and humping a “Handy Billy” (How many of you remember those Mother Fuckers) and eductors up and down ladders.

I don’t know how many nights I spent trying to sleep when the AC was out and the ventilation seemed to be drawing from the uptakes.  The only thing you could hope was  the fartsack and mattress dried out before time to crawl back into the rack.  Then there were the fart odors from the dozens of others living in your bedroom.  All you could do was ignore the smell and add your contribution to the miasma.

Now seems to be a good time to bring up water hours.  Fucked up evaporators seemed to coincide with fucked up air conditioning.  Not only was I miserable, I was dirty, stinking miserable.  With water hours came no Laundry service, which eventually meant no clean clothes.  Everyone had almost terminal cases of crotch rot. Being a cook, I was one of the few, granted permission to take a shower every three days.  It had to be a fast shower, the Master at Arms was there with a stopwatch, ready to turn the water off.

With the Viet Nam war, the operational tempo picked up.  Ships, Carriers, Cruisers, Destroyers and the Auxiliaries routinely did ninety days or longer deployments off the coast of South Viet Nam,  providing gunfire support to the Army and Marines fighting ashore, or in the Gulf of Tonkin, escorting the Aircraft Carriers. Although I was a cook and baker, I agree with my shipmates that, often, due to sporadic availability, missed replenishments, and yes, incompetent cooks the food was, very often, extremely poor.  After a few weeks, meals became monotonous and sailors became unconscious of what was being served and just ate.

There were the all night General Quarters and moving in close ashore to engage an enemy battery or making three nightly runs into Haiphong to shoot up the shipping.  There was the sound of enemy artillery rounds exploding close aboard.  And the next day there was rearming to replace the rounds fired during the night and refueling to bring the bunkers back to one hundred percent.  And then, if the ship was fortunate, there would be the stores ship to replenish food and other consumables.  Luck might give a person a couple of hours sleep before going back on watch or preparing for the night’s General Quarters and doing it all over again.

There was the night we ran into Haiphong in company with USS Goldsborough.  They took a hit into the Chief Petty Officers Mess.  Repair three staging area was in the mess.  The locker leader, an HTC, and the phone talker were in the mess with the other members of the repair party staged in the passageway.  The Chief had taken the phones to allow the talker to go to the head.  The HTC, a drinking acquaintance, was the only casualty.  I feel bad that I cannot remember his name.

Z-Grams promulgated by Admiral Zumwalt, Chief of Naval Operations, to the Navy took a toll on the Command structure and the Chain of Command of many units.  All too often, the Z-gram detailed drastic changes to shipboard conditions, uniform and civilian clothes regulations and, personal appearance without any preparatory advice.  The lowest Seaman Recruit received the information regarding Zumwalt’s directives at the same time as the unit commanders did.  I remember a Seaman who moved his civilian wardrobe out of the locker club, stored them in his locker and left his uniforms on his bunk.  These were collected as gear adrift.  He was irate, waving the Z-gram around because it said that he could have civilian clothes aboard.  He was a pretty good Seaman up to that point but ended up with a less than honorable discharge.

The shooting ended in 1973 and the war in 1975.  The Carter administration, like the Obama administration, set out to pay for social programs at a cost to military funding.  Many ship’s names disappeared as they were decommissioned and little or no new construction was planned.  I remember unending weeks of in port time because there wasn’t money for fuel. I remember “Fast Cruises” sitting alongside with the gangway in pretending we were at sea.  I was on one ship that did half of a RefTra tied to the pier.  A tanker loaded with fuel, but none to get underway with.

During those years after Viet Nam, racial tensions in the country were high.  These tensions found their way into the fleet.  There were race riots and near race riots on a few ships.  Many good sailors of all races were lost to these problems.  The Navy turned the solution to many racial problems and a perceived abuse of alcohol over to contract psychologists and social engineers who had no conception of life in the Navy.  These “problem solvers” contributed to many failed Navy careers.

Uniforms were changing faster than one could keep track of.  I calculated at one time that with all the “new” and “grandfathered” working uniforms there was a fourteen-year period when I could not muster my whole division and require them to be in the same uniform.  I don’t know if the newer Navy has gotten any better.  From what I see on my infrequent trips to the base, they are still “churning” the seabag.

With 1979 and the Iran hostage crisis came endless Indian Ocean cruises.  There were few liberty ports near the operating areas, so most of the time was spent staying on station and running drills.  There were refueling and replenishments, but not the night long GQ’s of the Viet Nam war. The big exception to this was the flight deck on the carriers.  They launched and recovered aircraft night and day. The “Roof Rats” earned their Flight Deck Pay.

For the four, twenty, or thirty years of our Navy life, we stood duty.  Every third day, every fourth if we were lucky, we stayed aboard and stood watches maintaining the ship and standing ready for whatever was asked of us.  My Army and Air Force acquaintances have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept of spending every third or fourth day working and then having to work a normal day.

Throughout the whole period, there was the monotony of being at sea or the extreme discomfort of rough weather or losing time with loved ones because of typhoon evasion.  And endless days of rolling and pitching.  I was never prone to seasickness, so I dodged that bullet.  I am sure those of you who did suffer were much more miserable than I was.

Then there were the separations from our families. I married when I had barely four years in the Navy.  During the next twenty-six years of Navy life, my wife and I were often separated due to deployments and the operating tempo of the Yokosuka-based forward deployed ships.  My wife kept track of the deployments and once told me that she calculated that we were apart for eleven of those twenty-six years, and she didn’t count duty days. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” was first published in Francis Davison’s Poetical Rhapsody in 1602, where the words appear as the first phrase of a poem in the edition.  Something made us work for more than fifty years.

Thirty years of a life that those who lived and worked ashore have no conception of nor ability to comprehend.  I was always told that a retired sailor didn’t live a long time.  I have concluded that a short life after retiring is a falsehood.  We are tough because we had to be and the old ships, the turbulent times, and some pretty bad conditions made us Mean Mother Fuckers who don’t quit.

With all this being said, I would willingly do it all over again if for nothing more than the companionship of the hundreds of shipmates who contributed to and shared the hard times and made the fun times.  My brief thirty years in the Navy was an adventurous and fulfilling time in my life.

To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.

A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and service-connected Disabled Veteran.


Nuke Boats and Smokeboats

Nuke Boats and Smokeboats

by Bob ‘Dex’ Armstrong

Someday I’m gonna go into a bar and some nuke sailor is going to buy me a beer and prove that nukes are actually human beings and I am going to have to knock off this bull shit. They never did… And that possibility gets more remote with every passing day. So I will continue to tie cans to their tails and paint their fannies with turpentine… That is what smokeboat sailors do.

There is nothing prettier than a fleet snorkel boat slicing through saltwater. Anyone who fails to recognize the sheer beauty of that has a malfunctioning eyeball-to-brain interconnect.

In a flat sea, a fleet bow cuts through the water like a barber’s razor… Neat and surgically clean… Leaving a narrow wake. Ships are supposed to do that. It was ordained by God and damn near every naval architect since Noah started collecting lumber to build his ark.

Somewhere some ingenious bastard added diesel smoke to make the picture appealing to one’s nose as well as one’s eyes. It is very difficult to improve on absolute perfection, but the clown who added the aroma of Fairbanks smoke did it… Kinda makes you wonder what the Mona Lisa would look like if someone turned her loose with the Avon lady.

Fleetboats were a work of sublime beauty. Any man who rode one still gets a lump in his throat when he catches sight of one in a late night T.V. movie… You see one of the old girls and turn on a little Victory at Sea music in your head and wade knee-deep in wonderful memories.

Nuke boats, on the other hand, are some of the ugliest stuff ever created in the mind of man. One of the reasons that ‘Hyman The Horrible’ built the damn things to stay under water all the time is that the sonuvabitches are seagoing eyesores. They are fat, black and ugly. They push a bow wave the size of Chicago and leave a Grand Canyon wake.

If you put a toaster on a hippo’s back and dragged him through the water by his gahdam tail you would have a nuke boat.

Sometimes progress sucks.


“Special Liberty”

“Special Liberty”

By:  Garland Davis

He was a fireman, and I’ll call him Shoetree.  He was sent to the Food Service Division to perform Mess Cooking (Crank) duties for three months.  Although a good worker, he was loquacious, let’s face it, the boy had enough mouth on him for two sets of teeth.

My office was just off the mess decks, and I could hear Shoetree continually expounding on one subject or another.  There was no subject on which didn’t have an opinion. He was always willing to share his opinion, ad nasuem.

Shoetree and another Crank were discussing Special Liberty.  The other fellow told him that when you are mess cooking, you can forget about special liberty.  At sea cranks work twelve to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. In port, they get every other afternoon and every other weekend off.  He also told him that Chief Davis never approves special liberty for cranks.  He immediately answered that he bet he could convince me to give him special liberty.

It was his afternoon off.  After completing his work and being released by the Mess Deck MAA, he came to me and asked if he could have special liberty the next afternoon.  I told him that I had heard every reason possible for special liberty and his request was disapproved.  He told me that he bet he could come up with an excuse I had never heard.

I told him, “If you can give me an excuse I have never heard at twelve fifty-five tomorrow, I will give you special liberty, commencing at thirteen hundred. You only have one chance.  I am not going to listen to but one excuse. So you better make it a good one.”

He says, “All you have to do is say that you have already heard it and deny me special liberty.”

I promised that I would be honest, and if he came up with an original excuse, I would grant the liberty.  I also told him that I didn’t want to overhear him trying out stories the next morning.

The next morning he was quieter than most days. He conducted some semi-whispered conversations with the other mess cooks, testing possible excuses, I presume.

Finally, the appointed time arrived.  FN Shoetree knocks on the bulkhead by my door.

“Yes,” from me.

“Chief can I have special liberty this afternoon?”

“Fireman Shoetree, you know our agreement.  If I have heard your reason before, no special liberty.”

He took a deep breath and said. “Yeah, Chief.  Well here goes.  My brother is arriving at Honolulu Airport at three o’clock, and I need to meet him.”

“I’ve heard it before no liberty.”

“Wait a minute Chief; there’s more. You see, my brother is an amputee. He only has one arm.  He has two suitcases and needs my help to carry one.”

Through my laughter, I told Shoetree to get the fuck off the ship.

Never underestimate the ingenuity of the North American Blue Jacket when it comes to “Special Liberty.”

To follow Tales of an Asia Sailor and get e-mail notifications of new posts, click on the three white lines in the red rectangle above, then click on the follow button.

A native of North Carolina, Garland Davis has lived in Hawaii since 1987. He always had a penchant for writing but did not seriously pursue it until recently. He is a graduate of Hawaii Pacific University, where he majored in Business Management. Garland is a thirty-year Navy retiree and Service-connected Disabled Veteran.


Brer Rabbit

Brer Rabbit or Throw Me In That Briar Patch

By:  Robert “Okie Bob” Layton


NAS Miramar

It was late 1970 I had about four months left on my shore duty. In my squadron was a second class aviation metalsmith by the name of James Hare AMS2. With a name like Hare sailors naturally nicknamed him “Rabbit.”
Hare had come to the squadron out of the fleet and was yearning to get back. Every day, all day he would go on and on about liberty in Westpac, in particular, the PI [Philippine Islands] and Subic Bay.

A single bachelor Rabbit was hankering for that Po city liberty. He would make statements like “Man if I could just get back to the PI I would never leave” He had tried to terminate his shore duty but was not able to do so. The Rabbit was stuck in the states an unhappy sailor!

USS Oriskany
May 1971

I had transferred to VF-194 in March 1971, and we were now underway headed for Vietnam. About a week before our departure AMS2 Hare checked into our squadron. He had managed to reenlist and get orders on the next Carrier headed west VF-194 USS Oriskany.

Rabbit was assigned to Airframes and shared the same space as my shop, Power plants. Having served with him for two years, I was weary of his stories of the PI.
Rabbit was wound-up about the expectation of returning to the PI and was bending anyone’s ear about the rewards of liberty in the PI. He tried to wrangle a slot onto the beach Det [detachment] at Cubi Point, but being new to the squadron that was not going to happen.

We pulled into Cubi Point, tied up to the pier, liberty call sounded. Rabbit was first in line to go ashore. I remember how the sailors in the shop were all kidding him about returning to the PI.

“Hey Rabbit what you going to do in Olongapo” someone would ask

“I’m going to run amuck drink beer and chase women” he loudly declared

“Just throw me in that Brier-Patch” he vociferously announced” Lifting a page from Uncle Remus folklore, Rabbit was ingenious and conniving more like Brer Fox

A few days later we pulled out and headed for the Tonkin Gulf minus one AMS2 James ‘Rabbit” Hare, Rabbit had missed ships movement and was AWOL.

The opinion was Rabbit more than likely got drunk and overslept. He would report into the Beach Det in Cubi and catch a COD flight out in a day or so we all thought.

30 days later when we pulled back in—still no Rabbit. After a short in port, back to the gulf we returned.

Once back out at sea, We discovered that Rabbit had come aboard the ship late at night while in port gone to the Ready room where the beach Det checks were kept. He told the Petty officer on duty he was part of the Beach Det and needed his check which he gave him; Rabbit went back ashore, and we pulled out. Rabbit was still in that Brier-patch!

We did another line period pulled back into Cubi by this time Rabbit was out of everyone’s mind no one gave him any thought.

Well, that rascally Rabbit did it again! While in port Hare came on the ship and picked up another paycheck! Everyone was amused at the sheer audacity Rabbit displayed in getting funded while being AWOL

Back at sea, the senior squadron duty officer was holding training for the assistant duty officers [enlisted E-5’s] on how to catch a Rabbit!

For the 3rd time, we pulled in. The trap was set for the Rabbit. I guess by that time the Brierpatch was growing its own carrots for we never seen AMS2 James “Rabbit” Hare again.

I often wonder if Rabbit is still hopping around in the PI?

Okie Bob

“Please, Br’er Fox, don’t fling me in dat brier-patch,”