What’s In a Name?

What’s In a Name?

By Garland Davis

I became a cook striker in 1962 at NAS Lemoore, Calif. There was a CS2 who worked at the Main Galley named Yokum. There was a cS2 at the Branch Galley named Yoakum. They were known as ‘Mammy’ Yokum and ‘Pappy’ Yoakum.

A Deck Department Leading Seaman named Smith in USS Vesuvius during the ‘62 cruise got into a fight with some sailors from USS Cacapon and whipped about three of them. At CO’s mast, when the Captain asked what happened he replied, “Captain, they were bad-mouthing the Vesuvius and I put some Itai’s on their asses.” He became known as ‘Itai’ Smith.

I served in an Oceangoing Tug with a 44 man crew. The oldest crewmember was an RM1 who was 31. He was known as ‘Pops.’

I knew two twin brothers in San Diego who were named Duty. They were known as ‘Jury’ Duty and ‘Extra’ Duty.

There was a fellow named Jury who became ‘Hung’ Jury.

Jim ‘Hambone’ Hampton told me of a girl he recruited named Sherlock who became ‘No Shit’ Sherlock

I had an MS2 who was from a Deep South state. His middle name, I believe, was supposed to have been Alfred but whoever wrote in on his Birth Certificate spelled it Alfurd. He became known as ‘Furd.’

I had a friend named Muise who was known as ‘Moose.’ He is on perpetual patrol in USS Thresher.

There was a Senior Chief named Hauxhurst who could fart any time he wanted. We called him ‘Windy.’

My baby brother reported as a BM2 to First Lieutenant’s Division at Fleet Activities Yokosuka. The Chief asked his name. He said, “Ray Salmons.” The Chief said you look like a ‘Moon Pie’ to me. He became a Yokosuka and Subic legend as ‘Moon Pie.’

There was a QM named Rudder who carried the name ‘Left Full’ Rudder.

I served with a SM2 whose Japanese girlfriend had a Chihuahua dog. He went to her house after having a few at the PO Club. The dog was barking at him, so he got on his hands and knees and growled at the animal. The little bug-eyed bastard cut his face up. Fourteen stitches. We called him ‘Dog’ after that.

I had an MS3 named White who was African American and an MS3 named Black who was Caucasian. Of course, they were called ‘Whitey’ and ‘Blackie.’ They were overheard using their nicknames greeting each other by an Airdale officer who put them on report for creating a racial incident.

Then there were nicknames that went with a person’s rating:

SM – ‘Flags’; ‘Skivvy Waver’;

BM – ‘Boats’

SH – ‘Skivvy Dipper’

CS/MS – ‘Cookie’; Stewburner’; ‘Gut Robber’; ‘Doughhead’

GM – ‘Muzzle Fucker’; ‘Guns’

RM – ‘Sparks’; ‘Radio Girls’

HM – ‘Peter Machinist’; ‘Dick Smith’; ‘Nurse’; ‘Chancre Mechanic’; ‘Pecker Checker’; and of course, ‘Doc.’

I am sure you can add many other names.


USS Sterett

USS Sterett

The first Sterett, DD-27 (1910 -1919)

The first USS Sterett was a three stack, modified Paulding class destroyer, often referred to as “flivvers”.

She was 293 feet long with a 26-foot beam and 16-foot draft. DD-27 displaced 742 tons. Her oil-fired 12,000 shp (shaft horsepower) power plant consisted of four boilers driving twin screws via steam turbines. DD-27 had a top speed of 29.5 knots and carried a crew of four officers and 82 enlisted men. DD-27 was armed with five three-inch guns, three .50 caliber machine guns and six 18-inch torpedo tubes.

Her distinctive three funnels distinguished her from the rest of the four funnel destroyers of the time.

USS Sterett DD-407 

Sterett DD-407 was one of ten ships of the Benham class, the last of the 1500 ton destroyer classes. The class was a Gibbs and Cox design and the ten ships were constructed at six different shipyards, the Sterett being the only one built at the Charleston Navy Yard. Her keel was laid on December 2, 1936, and she was launched on October 27, 1938. Commissioning was August 15, 1939, with Lt. Cdr. Atherton Macondray her first C.O.She had a length of 341 feet, a beam of 35 feet 6 inches and a mean draft of 11 feet. The three Babcock and Wilcox boilers had uptakes leading to a single stack and powered Westinghouse steam turbines developing 50,000 shaft horsepower for the two screws. With a 483-ton fuel oil capacity, she had a cruising range of 8,730 nautical miles at 12 knots. The original main battery configuration was four 5″/38 dual purpose guns in the new base ring mounts (vs. pedestal mounts) with the forward mounts in gunhouses and the after open mounts. Sixteen torpedo tubes in four quad mounts were amidships, two on each side. The torpedos were the 21″ Mk15 and could be used for surface contacts only. The anti-aircraft battery consisted of four .50 caliber Browning machine guns arranged with two forward of the bridge and two atop the after deckhouse. The anti-submarine battery was two roll-off depth-charge racks mounted on the fantail with a complement of five 600 pound charges each.

Her initial complement was 175 crew and nine officers.

At war’s end, her complement was 235 crew and 16 officers.

USS Sterett DLG-31/CG-31

STERETT earned nine battle stars for her service off the coast of Vietnam.

On 30 June 1975, STERETT was reclassified as a guided-missile cruiser—CG-31. In October of that year, STERETT was deployed to the Western Pacific serving in the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin. During this 8 month deployment, STERETT visited the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Okinawa, Korea, and Japan. STERETT completed the WESTPAC tour in May or 1976 and returned to San Diego. The remainder of 1976 and the first part of 1977 were spent on operations in the SOCAL area.

DDG-104 The fourth US Navy ship named in honor of Andrew Sterett

The Four Sterett’s

Painting by Dale Byhre


USS Sacramento AOE-1

USS Sacramento AOE-1

Sacramento is considered a benchmark in West Coast shipbuilding. The ship and two of her sister ships, Seattle (AOE-3) and Detroit (AOE-4), are the largest ships ever built on the West Coast as of 2005. Only Iowa-class battleships and aircraft carriers have greater displacements than Sacramento.

The ship’s main engines came from the never-completed battleship Kentucky (BB-66) and delivered in excess of 100,000 shaft horsepower (75 MW) to two 23-foot (7 m) screws weighing 19.25 tons each, the largest on any ship in the Navy.

Sacramento was the fastest AOE (fast combat support ship) ever. The Sacramento routinely went head-to-head in speed runs and won against the west coast’s AOE’s, including the Camden (AOE-2) and the Rainier (AOE-7). Sacramento also beat the fastest of the east coast AOE’s, including the Detroit (AOE-4) and the Arctic (AOE-8) in head-to-head competition.

Image may contain: sky, ocean, cloud, outdoor and water


A Sailor You Be-

A Sailor You Be

By Unknown

Have you felt the salt spray, upon your face?

Have you seen the porpoise at the bow, keeping pace?

Have you viewed sea birds, above the wake in flight?

Have you fixed on a star, at sunset burning bright?

Has there been a time, to save a shipmate?

Has the roll of the deck, ever kept you awake?

Has the vastness of the sea, left you feeling alone?

Has a foreign port, made you wish you were home?

If you have weighed anchor, from calm shelter.

If you have crossed the equator, at noon time swelter.

If you have stood your watch, on a pitching deck.

If you have made landfall, on the horizon a speck.

When you have secured the deck, for the night to turn in.

When you have mustered at sunrise, seen a new day begin.

When you have dogged down hatches, in a mountainous sea.

When you have known all these things, a sailor you be.


Boy ‘Howdy’ and Girl Jenkins

Boy ‘Howdy’ and Girl Jenkins

By Garland Davis

Shortly after WWII ended a girl named Jenkins gave birth to twins, a boy and girl in one of those Southern states that only uses A’s for vowels. She died a couple of days afterward without naming the boy and girl nor indicating the name of the father. An overworked clerk in the County office issued birth certificates in the names of Boy Jenkins and Girl Jenkins.

A caseworker from the county placed the children in a short term foster home for babies. They were there until the age of two when a relative of the twin’s mother offered and became the guardian of the twins. Shortly afterward they were moved to the other state with A vowels and the boy was passed on to another relation and the girl to another and she was moved to a Southern state known for peanuts and peaches.


Boy Jenkin’s memory of his childhood was a montage of playing and the farm animals. It was a normal memory of the time leading up to starting school. Shortly before his sixth birthday, another relation came to take him to live on his farm and to make sure he got his schooling. This was the point where his boyhood changed.

As soon as his new “Uncle Rex” got him home, Boy was told that he would be expected to work before and after school and he would be expected to get good grades in school. Uncle Rex said as he took a belt from the top od a dresser, “If’n you don’t do your work or do as you are told, this’ll happen.” He grabbed Boy by one arm and beat him viciously with the belt.

“You understand me Boy? And stop that Goddam crying. Jest ta make sure.” He beat boy again. “Now git yer ass down ta tha barn. We got milkin’ ta do.”

After milking four cows and receiving another beating for takin too long, he was led into the kitchen where he was given a plate of beans and fried potatoes and a hunk of cornbread and a glass of milk by a girl who was probably a little older than Boy.

He asked her, “Who are y’all?” right before the woman who gave him the food slapped him on the side of the head, saying. “Keep yer Goddamn mouth shut, you are here to work not socialize.”

He and the girl were locked into a room for the night.

The next morning at sunrise, he was whipped out of his bed to find the girl already up and frying fatback to make gravy. He was drug off to the barn to milk the cows and then shovel the cow shit and soiled straw to a manure pile. He was told to wash up in the watering trough and get to the house for breakfast. He was whipped again for not moving fast enough. Breakfast was a biscuit a slice of fried fatback and a glop of lumpy gravy. The rest of that first day he shucked dried corn which he would feed to a mechanical sheller turned by the girl. He learned her name was Rachel and she had been there a little over a year

That night, he ran away to a house about three miles away to get help. The next morning, he was awakened by Uncle Rex who, with his belt beat him every step back to the farm. His life settled into hard labor and beatings. The only respite from the torture became school. He quickly learned that poor grades in school meant more whippings.

Aa he approached his seventeenth birthday, Boy determined to join the Navy. He cut school to talk to the recruiter in town. They got all the paperwork completed except for Rex’s signature which was needed unless he was eighteen. He knew the only way Rex would sign was if he was forced to. He determined to make it happen on his seventeenth birthday.

Boy was as tall as Rex and strong from the arduous labor of throwing hay bales, digging holes, and setting fence posts. When they reached the barn that morning, Boy said. “I’m seventeen years old today, I want you to sign for me to go to the Navy.”

Rex laughed and said, “I ain’t signing a Goddam thang, now got yer ass to work before I kick it.”

Boy hit him in the face and then in the stomach, knocking him down. He scrambled to rise, yelling, “You thank you man ‘nough to whup me?”

Boy kicked him in the ribs saying, “I am man enough to put your worthless ass in jail for the rest of your life when I tell the sheriff what you have been doing to Rachel. Now you are going to sign them papers or I’m going to take you to jail.”

“How in fuck da ya thank you gonna get me to town?”

As Rex said that Rachel came around the barn to gather eggs from the hen coop. She didn’t say anything. She kicked him in the ribs, saying. “I am going to kill you, you son of a bitch.” She then asked, “What are you doing Boy?”

” I’m seventeen today. I got all the paper done to go to the Navy. All I need is for him to sign. He will do it or I swear I’ll kill him. I got his pistol. I’ll shoot him full of holes and let his blood run out.”

Rachel kicked him again, yelling, “This is for fucking me and putting your dirty old dick in my mouth you son of a bitch.”

She picked up a stick, hit him in the head with it and said, I’m gonna beat Bertha because she let you do it and watched,” as she turned for the house.

“I’ll get the keys to the truck. I am going to get my stuff. I’m leaving here too.”

Boy showed Rex the pistol and told him to get up and walk to the truck. Rex said, “You ain’t gonna shoot me Boy, “You ain’t got tha balls.”

Boy fired the pistol into the dirt between his feet and told him, “One of two things is going to happen today, you are either going to sign that paper or I am going to jail for shooting you. It’s your choice.”

As they walked around the barn toward the truck parked beside the house, they could hear screaming from the house. Rachel came through the door carrying a carpetbag.

They could hear Bertha screaming, “You ungrateful bitch, we took you in and raised you.” Rachel dropped the bag and went back through the door and Bertha’s scream changed to, “No, don’t hit me no more. I’m sorry.”

Boy sat Rex in the bed of the truck, pulled himself in, and sat opposite him with the pistol in his hand. Rachel drove them into town and stopped at the post office. Boy raised and pointed it at Rex’s head and cocked the hammer and said, “Don’t believe, I won’t shoot you if you don’t sign.”

He uncocked the gun and placed it back in his pocket. They walked into the recruiter’s office and Rex signed the papers without a word, dropped the pen on the desk and walked out the door where he was met by Rachel and the Sheriff. “That’s him. He’s been fucking me since I was fourteen and making me suck his dick since I was eleven.”

Rex tried to run but a deputy was waiting and handcuffed him.

An hour later Boy was waiting with an envelope for a bus to Little Rock where he would fly to Dallas and then on to San Diego for Boot Camp. Rachel came to say goodbye. She told him that she would be living in a rooming house at state expense until after the investigation and trial.

They wished each other luck and said goodbye.


Shortly after two-year-old Girl Jenkins went to live with relatives of her mother she was given up for adoption and was chosen by a highway patrolman and his schoolteacher wife. She lived a normal life as an only child.

Her parents told her that she was adopted and asked if she wanted to change her name from Jenkins to Barnes. They told her she could keep the name Girl or change it to another name. She thought for a while and decided on the name Sara Lee Barnes. So, at four years of age, she became Sara Lee Barnes.

When Sara was seven, her father was hired as an Assistant Chief of Police for Memphis and her mother as an Assistant Principal in the local school system.

Sara grew up as a normal young girl/teenager with a teen’s interests like cheerleading and boys. She rarely dated because the boys were intimidated by the fact that her father was a cop and carried a gun.

In the fall of her eighteenth year, she enrolled in the NROTC program at the University of Memphis. After four years, with a degree in Liberal Arts she boarded a train for Newport News, and on to Newport, RI where she would attend Officer Candidates School and be commissioned an Ensign in the Navy.

Fourteen weeks later, Sara L. Barnes, Ensign, USNR left Newport for fifteen days leave with her family and then on to an assignment as Assistant Personnel Officer at Naval Base Charleston, SC.

After a pleasant visit with her parents and friends, she arrived in Charleston. A taxi from the airport to the base deposited her at the Administration building where the Personnel office was located. As she walked toward the entrance, a Second Class Petty Officer came through the doors walking toward her. He snapped a proper salute and said, “Good Morning Ma’am.” She returned the salute thinking there was something familiar about the sailor.


BM2 Boy ‘Howdy’ Jenkins had completed the two year shore tour in Charleston that the detailer had fucked him with. He had orders to a CLG out of San Diego which was headed for Westpac. He couldn’t wait to get back there.

He saw the female Ensign as he exited the building. He shifted the envelope to his left hand and snapped a salute while, saying, “Good Morning.” He thought for a minute that he knew her but shook his head and thought no way.




By Garland Davis, CSC/MSC, USN(Ret)

A few days ago I posted an article honoring Navy Boiler technicians (BT). I posted the information in a number of Navy Groups on Facebook to bring attention to the Blog posting. I jokingly made a comment in my introduction that BTs were also accomplished thieves. Ninety percent of the FB remarks centered on that. From all the bragging one would think that BTs just emptied the reefers and storerooms and moved everything to the lower level of a fireroom at their whim. Of course, they extolled the epicurean delights that could be cooked on or in a steam drum.

I am sure they did purloin some items and of course, there was a consequence to their actions. Not only was there less food to be served to their shipmates because the cooks did not have the stolen items, but there was also even more that could not be served. The stolen items had to be paid for. Each ship receives a dollar amount per person per day and meals provided have to be within that total number. All food items missing from storerooms and reefers when inventoried must be charged against the Food Service Department food budget.

If an item costing $100 was stolen it meant a $200 cost to the Galley to pay for what was actually used by the cooks and that which was stolen.

You were not stealing from the Galley or the Supply Department, you were stealing from your shipmates.


BT – Boiler Technician

BT – Boiler Technician

Image may contain: one or more people, hat and text

Paul Reuter and Peter T Yeschenko


Trivia: What was a US Navy Boiler Technician and what was the origin of that rate?!

ANSWER: The Boiler Technician aka BT rating traced its roots back to the 19th century and the ascent of steam-powered naval ships at the end of the Age of Sail.

The rating Boilermaker was established in 1869 and was changed to Machinist 2c in 1884, the same year the related Water Tender rating was established and Boilermaker was re-established.

In 1948, both Water Tender and Boilermaker were merged into a new Boilerman rating. This rating lasted for nearly 30 years before being changed to Boiler Technician in 1976.

Boiler Technicians were responsible for the inspection, maintenance, and repair of everything involved in a steam-propulsion system.

Water and fuel inventories had to be maintained at appropriate levels, and fuel required testing to ensure proper quality.

Machining skills were necessary to maintain and repair equipment; failure to do so could cost not only the life of the BT but also the ship’s crew.

Reflecting on the evolution of naval propulsion systems away from steam power, the Boiler Technician rating was disestablished in 1996 and converted to Machinist’s Mate.