January 1, 1962

January 1, 1962

Happy New Year! There wasn’t much to it and by 10 past midnight it was all over. As duty officer, I mustered the crew topside and at Midnight the youngest man aboard rang 12 bells (Normally ship’s bells don’t go past 8). All the other ships sounded their whistles and sirens, and flashed searchlights in the air. It was cold topside and I authorized the medical corpsman to issue whiskey to all hands for exposure, so we ‘spliced the main brace’ in the control room. My only remaining duty was the writing of the first log of the year in rhyme, another nautical tradition:

“Amidst the crowded harbor, filled with ships of gray

Archerfish is lying this chilly New Year’s day.

Yokosuka is the port o’ call on the island of Japan

and Berth One in the Naval Base is where we’re moored to land.

We’re not alone as tied here, we’re in a nest of three,

with Coucal to our port side and Greenfish next to the sea.

Units of the Pac Fleet, yard and harbor craft,

comprise the ships here present, down to the smallest raft.

The Commander of Seventh Fleet is senior here afloat,

in Oklahoma City a cruiser of some note.

We’ve seen the old year vanish, now we’ll do what we can do

to make the world a better place all the new year through.

We were having our first day of bad weather since arriving. Too bad it was New Years, as New Years is a very important holiday for the Japanese. Most places shut down anywhere from three days to an entire week and everyone did their best to enjoy themselves.

C. Lee Walker


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