Welcome to the Quarterdeck
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"The Lone Sailor" ® by Stanley Bleifield
I Love The Navy
I like standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in
face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe,
the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her through the sea.
I like the sounds of the Navy: the piercing trill of the boatswain's pipe, the
syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck,
the harsh squawk of the 1MC and the strong language and laughter of sailors at work.
I like vessels of the Navy, nervous darting destroyers, plodding Fleet
auxiliaries, sleek submarines and steady solid carriers.
I like the proud sonorous names of Navy capital ships:
Midway, Lexington, Saratoga, and Coral Sea -- memorials of great battles won.
I like the lean angular names of Navy 'tin-cans':
Barney, Dahlgren, Mullinix, McCloy -- mementos of heroes who went before us.
I like the tempo of a Navy band blaring through the topside speakers
as we pull away from the oiler after refueling at sea.
I like liberty call and the spicy scent of a foreign port.
I even like all hands working parties as my ship fills herself
with the multitude of supplies both mundane and exotic
which she needs to cut her ties to the land and carry out her mission
anywhere on the globe where there is water to float her.
I like sailors, men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest,
small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains and the prairies,
from all walks of life.
I trust and depend on them as they trust and depend on me,
for professional competence, for comradeship, for courage.
In a word, they are shipmates.
I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed
"Now station the special sea and anchor detail;
all hands to quarters for leaving port,"
and I like the infectious thrill of sighting home again,
with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting pier side.
The work is hard and dangerous, the going rough at times,
the parting from loved ones painful,
but the companionship of robust Navy laughter,
the 'all for one and one for all' philosophy of the sea is ever present.
I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work,
as flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset gives way to night.
I like the feel of the Navy in darkness the masthead lights,
the red and green navigation lights and stern light,
the pulsating phosphorescence of radar repeaters
as they cut through the dusk and join with the mirror of stars overhead.
And I like drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad noises large and small
that tell me that my ship is alive and well, and that my shipmates on watch
will keep me safe.
I like quiet mid-watches with the aroma of strong coffee,
the lifeblood of the Navy, permeating everywhere.
And I like hectic watches when the exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes
racing at flank speed keeps all hands on a razor edge of alertness.
I like the sudden electricity of "General quarters, general quarters,
all hands man your battle stations,"
followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders
and the resounding thumps of watertight doors
as the ship transforms herself in a few brief seconds
from a peaceful work place to a weapon of war ready for anything.
And I like the sight of space age equipment
manned by youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones
that their grandfathers would still recognize.
I like the traditions of the Navy and the men and woman who made them.
I like the proud names of Navy heroes:
Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, and John Paul Jones.
A sailor can find much in the Navy:
comrades-in-arms, pride in self and country, mastery of the seamen's trade.
An adolescent can find adulthood.
In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea,
they will still remember with fondness and respect
the ocean in all its moods -- the impossible shimmering mirror calm
and the storm-tossed green water surging over the bow.
And then there will come again a faint whiff of stack gas,
a faint echo of engine and rudder orders,
a vision of the bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm,
a refrain of hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief's quarters and mess decks.
Gone ashore for good they will grow wistful about their Navy days,
when the seas belonged to them and a new port of call was always over the horizon.
Remembering this, they will stand taller and say:
"I WAS A SAILOR, I WAS PART OF THE NAVY
& THE NAVY WILL ALWAYS BE PART OF ME"
THE OLD OUTFIT
Come gather around me lads and I'll tell you a thing or two
about the way we ran the Navy in nineteen fifty 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 old 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 never allowed.
Now when a ship puts out to sea, I'll tell you son it hurts!
When suddenly you notice that half the crew is wearing skirts.
And it's hard for me to imagine a female boatswain's mate.
Stopping on the Quarterdeck to make sure her stockings are straight.
What happened to the KiYi brush and the old salt water bath?
Holy stoning the decks at night - cause you stirred old Bosn's wrath.
We always had our gedunk stand and lots of pogey bait.
And it took a hitch or two to make a rate.
In your seabag all your skivvies were neatly stopped and rolled.
And the blankets on your sack had better have a three inch fold.
Your little ditty bag...it is 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 SOS.
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 Dave Jones, Shellbacks or Polliwogs,
and you never splice the main brace 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 of 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 the UCMJ.
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 someday 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 nineteen-fifty two".
THE AVERAGE U.S. NAVY CHIEF
The Chief doesn't sleep with a night light. The Chief isn't afraid of
the dark. The dark is afraid of the Chief.
The Chief's tears can cure cancer. Too bad he's never cried.
The Chief once counted to infinity . . . twice!
The Chief frequently donates blood to the Red Cross, just never his own.
Superman owns a pair of Chief pajamas.
If the Chief is late, then time had damn well better slow down.
When the Chief was in middle school, his English teacher assigned an
essay: "What is courage?" The Chief received an A+ for turning in a
blank page with only his name at the top.
The Chief actually died four years ago, but the Grim Reaper can't get
up the courage to tell him.
The Chief clogs the toilet even when he pisses.
The Chief refers to himself in the fourth person.
The Chief can divide by zero.
If the Chief ever calls your house, be in! The Chief doesn't leave
messages; he leaves warnings.
The Chief is one-eighth Cherokee. This has nothing to do with his
ancestry. The man once ate an Indian.
The Chief can slam a revolving door.
The Chief was sending an email one day, when he realized that it would
be faster to run.
When the Incredible Hulk gets angry, he transforms into the Chief.
Jesus' Birthday isn't December 25th, but the Chief once sent him a
birthday card for that day and Jesus was too scared to tell him the
truth. That's why we celebrate Christmas in December.
When the Chief exercises, the machine gets stronger.
Bullets dodge the Chief.
The Chief once took an entire bottle of sleeping pills. They made him
blink . . . once.
The first lunar eclipse took place after the Chief challenged the sun
to a staring contest. The sun blinked first.
The Chief never used a question mark in his entire life. He believes
that the interrogative tense is a sign of weakness.
There is no one on earth more modest and humble than the Chief.