|The Old Outfit
By: A World War Two Sailor
Come gather round me lads and I’ll tell you a thing or two,
about the way we ran the Navy in nineteen and forty two.
When wooden ships and iron men were barely out of sight;
I am going to give you some facts, just to set the record right.
We wore the ole bell bottoms, with a flat hat on our head;
and we always hit the sack at night – we never “went to bed.”
Our uniforms were worn ashore, and we were mighty proud.
Never thought of wearing civvies, in fact they were not allowed.
Now, when a ship puts out to sea, I’ll tell you son it hurts,
when suddenly you notice that half the crew’s wearing skirts!
And it’s hard for me to imagine a female boatswains mate,
stopping on the Quarter deck to make sure her stockings are straight.
What happened to the KiYi brush, and the old salt-water bath?
Holy stoning decks at night, cause you stirred old Bosn’s wrath!
We always had our gedunk stand and lots of pogey bait.
And it always took a hitch or two, just to make a rate.
In your seabag all your skivvies, were neatly rolled and stopped;
and the blankets on your sack had better have a three-inch fold.
Your little ditty bag: it’s hard to believe just how much it held;
and you wouldn’t go ashore with pants that hadn’t been spiked and belled.
We had scullery maids and succotash and good old S.O.S.;
and when you felt like topping off, you headed for the mess.
Oh we had our belly robbers, but there weren’t too many gripes;
for the deck apes were never hungry and there were no starving snipes.
Now, you never hear of Davey Jones, Shellbacks or Polliwogs;
and you never splice the mainbrace to receive your daily grog.
Now you never have to dog a watch or stand the main event.
You even tie your lines today; back in my time they were bent.
We were all two-fisted drinkers – and no one thought you sinned,
if you staggered back aboard your ship, three sheets to the wind!
And with just a couple hours of sleep you regained your usual luster:
bright eyed and bushy tailed, you still made morning muster!
Rocks and shoals have long since gone, and now it’s U.C.M.J.;
Back then the old man handled everything if you should go astray.
Now they steer the ships with dials, and I wouldn’t be surprised,
if some day they sailed the damned things from the beach – computerized.
So when my earthly hitch is over, and the good Lord picks the best,
I’ll walk right up to Him and say, “Sir, I have but one request:
Let me sail the seas of Heaven in a coat of Navy blue,
like I did so long ago on earth, way back in forty two.”