View Full Version : Once I was a Navy Man...
6th April 2007, 02:27 AM
"ONCE I WAS A NAVY MAN"
I like the Navy. I like standing on deck on a long voyage with the sea in my face and ocean winds whipping in from everywhere - the feel of the giant steel ship beneath me, it's engines driving against the sea.
I like the Navy. I like the clang of steel, the ringing of the bell, the foghorns, and the strong laughter of Navy men at work. I like the ships of the Navy - nervous darting destroyers, sleek cruisers, majestic battleships, and steady solid carriers.
I like the names of Navy ships: MIDWAY, HORNET, ENTERPRISE, SEAWOLF, IWO JIMA, WASP, SHANGRI-LA, and CONSTITUTION - majestic ships of the line.
I like the bounce of Navy music, the tempo of a Navy Band, Liberty Whites, and the spicy scent of a foreign port. I like the shipmates I've sailed with . . . the kid from the Iowa cornfield, a pal from New York's East Side, an Irishman from Boston, the boogie-boarders of California, and of course the drawling friendly Texan. From all parts of the land they came - the farms of the Midwest, the small towns of New England - from the cities, the mountains, and the prairies. All are Americans. All are comrades in arms. All are men of the sea.
I like the feeling of adventure in my heart when the ship puts out to sea, and I like the electric thrill of sailing home again to the waving hands of family and friends waiting ashore. The work is hard, the going rough, but there's the companionship of robust Navy laughter and the devil-may-care philosophy of the sea.
After a day of hard duty there is the serenity of the sea at dusk, with white caps dancing on the ocean waves. The sea at night is mysterious. I like the lights of the Navy in darkness - the masthead lights, and red and green sidelights, and the stern lights. They cut through the night and look like a mirror of stars in the darkness. There is the quiet of the midwatch when the ghosts of all the sailors of the world stand with you. There is the aroma of fresh coffee from the galley.
I like the legends of the Navy and the men who made them. I like the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut, John Paul Jones. A man can find much in the Navy: comrades in arms, pride in country, and himself.
In years to come, when the sailor is home from the sea, he will still remember with fondness the ocean spray on his face when the sea is angry. There will still come a faint aroma of fresh paint in his nostrils, and the echo of hearty laughter of the seafaring men who were once his close companions.
Locked on land, he will grow wistful of his Navy days, when the seas belonged to him and a new port of call was always over the horizon. Remembering this, he will stand taller and say,
"ONCE I WAS A NAVY MAN."
16th April 2007, 01:06 PM
In The Beginning:
In the beginning was the word, and the word was God and all else was
darkness and void and without form. So God created the heavens and
the earth. He created the sun and the moon and the stars, so that their
light might pierce the darkness. And the earth, God divided between the
land and the sea, and these He filled with many assorted creatures.
And from the slime, in a land called Lympstone, God made dark, salty
creatures, that inhabited the seashore. He called them Marines, He
dressed them accordingly, in bright colors so that their betters may more
easily find them in the holes and burrows that they'd scoured out of the
ground. And God said, "Whilst at their appointed labors they will devour
worms, maggots, C and K rations and all creatures that creep or crawl.
The flighty creatures of the air, He called Airdales, and these He clothed
in uniforms which were ruffled, perfumed, and pretty. He gave them great
floating cities with flat roofs in which to live, where they gathered and
formed huge multitudes. They carried out heathen rites and ceremonies
by day and by night upon the roof amids thunderous noise. They were
given God's blue sky and their existence was on the backs of others.
And the surface creatures of the sea, God called Skimmers, who
supported the Airdales and with a twinkle in His eye and a sense of
humor only He could have. He gave them all gedunks, polluted with much
stickywater, to drink. God gave them big grey "targets" to go to sea in. He
gave them many splendid uniforms to wear. And He gave them all the
world's exotic and wonderful places to visit. He gave them pen and
paper so that they could write home every week, and He gave them rope
yarn Sunday at sea and a laundry so they could clean and polish their
splendid uniforms. (When you are God it is very easy to get carried away
with your own great and wonderous benevolence). And on the seventh
day, as you know, God rested from his labors.
And on the eighth day at 0755, just before colors, God looked down upon
the earth and He was not a happy man. God knew He had not quite
achieved perfection, so He thought about his labors, and in His
infinite wisdom, He created a divine creature, His masterpiece, and this
He called a SUBMARINER. A child of heaven. And these Submariners,
whom God created in His own image, and to whom He gave his most
cherished gift, great intelligence, were to be of the deep, and to them He
gave more of his greatest gifts. He gave them black steel messengers of
death called the "Attack Boat" class in which to roam the depths of his
oceans, and He gave them His arrows and slingshots, the Mark 14
torpedo of burnished brass and black, and the Mark 48 of green, to wage
war against the forces of Satan and all evil. He heaped great knowledge
and understanding upon them, in order that they may more easily win
their greatest challenge, to pass their Qualification Test and be skilled in
the great works God had charged them with. He gave His Submariners
hotels in which to live when they were exhausted and weary from doing
God's will. He gave them fortitude to consume vast quantities of beer and
booze, to sustain them in their arduous tasks, performed in His name. He
gave them great food, submarine pay and occasionally, subsistence so
that they might entertain the Ladies of the "Starlight", "White Hat", and
the "Horse and Cow" on Saturday nights and impress the hell out of the
creatures He called Skimmers, Airdales and Jar Heads. And at the end
of the eighth day, God again looked down upon the earth and saw all was
good in His realm. But God was not happy because, in the course of His
mighty labors He had forgotten one thing. He had not kept a pair of
"Dolphins" for Himself. But He thought about it and considered it and
finally He consoled himself, in the certain knowledge that - - -
NOT JUST ANYBODY CAN BE A SUBMARINER
Author: Submarine Captain
16th April 2007, 02:31 PM
That wouldn't happen to be the captain of the sub that rammed that Japanese trawler, would it? :wink:
16th April 2007, 03:09 PM
Two of my favorites
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.
You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He walks the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.
You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He doesn't get to eat today.
Your wife makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.
You go to the mall and get your hair done.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.
You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months.
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.
You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.
You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded.
You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the broken bodies lying around him.
You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does exactly what he is told.
You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep,and eat.
You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.
He crawls under a tank for shade and a 5 minute nap, only to be woken by gunfire.
He was getting old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion telling stories of his past
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies~~they were heroes, every one.
And tho' sometimes to his neighbours, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke
But we'll hear his tales no longer, for old Bill has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer, for a soldier died today.
He won't be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary, quick and uneventful life
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way
And the world won't note his passing, tho' a soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great,
Papers tell their life stories from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.
In the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
One guy breaks his promises and cons his fellow man
But the ordinary fellow, who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country and offers up his life.
A politician's stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives
While the ordinary soldier who offered up his all
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps a pension small.
It's so easy to forget them, for it was so long ago
That the old Bills of our country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys
Who won for us the freedom that our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger with your enemies at hand
Would you want a politician with his ever~shifting stand
Or would you prefer a soldier who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and country and would fight right to the end?
He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin
But his presence should remind us we may need his likes again.
For when countries are in conflict then we find the soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honour while he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage at the ending of his days
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, FOR A SOLDIER DIED TODAY"
16th April 2007, 03:19 PM
Very cool, Zman. :cool: Thanks for sharing. :thumb:
8th August 2007, 03:19 AM
We recently received this via e-mail:
I am sending you this note in hopes of correcting an authorship problem of
an article posted on your site in April of this year. The article is “Once I Was A Navyman”, which I wrote when I attended Denver University in 1958, after my first hitch in the Navy. This short essay was to help meet the course requirements of English 102. My Professor was none to pleased with my essay; she said it lacked proper construction and the hyphen, the way I had used it was not allowed in the English language. She also told me that Navyman was two words. But she mentioned to me that her brother who was just recently out of the Navy thought it sounded right at home for Sailors. She submitted my essay to the annual freshman literary competition, and with the faults this essay had it did not receive any honors. My work did get plenty of exposure though and that is probably how it ended up on the internet, a lot of individuals that saw this essay noticed that it was not credited to any author so they changed the names of ships, and the class of ships along with a few other things including the name of work and sent that to most every Navy site on the internet.
I reenlisted in the Navy within the next few months and stayed another 20 years and then retired. Before I retired I updated my original essay to include more Navymen that I had the privilege to meet, some ships they served on and the area of the United States that these Navymen came from. There are also a few other changes that I have made over the years and I will send you my latest version for your consideration of incorporation to your website.
It is not my intent to put you to a great deal of work but if you will Goggle “Once I Was A Navyman” I do believe that will enlighten you. By the way I was not a Commissioned Officer in the United States Navy and certainly did not go to the USNA but I helped raise a lot of those Midshipmen in my time. I was advanced to Master Chief Fire Control Technician (SS) in my career and as COB on the Tecumseh I had a great deal to do with their training when they made their summer cruises onboard her.
E. A. Hughes, FTCM (SS)
Once I Was A Navyman
I like the Navy. I like standing on deck during a long voyage with sea spray in my face and ocean winds whipping in from everywhere - The feel of the giant steel ship beneath me, it's engines driving against the sea is almost beyond understanding - It’s immense power makes the Navyman feel so insignificant but yet proud to be a small part of this ship - A small part of Her mission.
I like the Navy. I like the sound of taps over the ships announcing system, the ringing of the ships bell, the foghorns and strong laughter of Navy men at work. I like the ships of the Navy; Nervous darting Destroyers, sleek proud Cruisers, majestic Battle Ships, steady solid Carriers, the essential Fleet Auxiliaries and silent hidden Submarines - I like the workhorse tugboats with their proud Indian names: Iroquois, Apache, Kiawah and Sioux - Each stealthy powerful Tug safely guiding the warships to safe deep waters from all harbors.
I like the historic names of other proud Navy Ships: Midway, Hornet, Princeton, Saribachi and Saratoga. The Ozark, Hunley, William R. Rush and Turner, the Contitution, Missouri, Wichita, Iowa, Arizona and Manchester, as well as The Sullivans, Enterprise, Tecumseh, Cole, New Jersey and Nautilus too - all majestic ships of the line - Each ship commanding the respect of all Navymen that have known Her - or were privileged to be a part of Her crew.
I like the bounce of Navy music and the tempo of a Navy Band, "Liberty Whites", “13 Button Blues”, the rare 72 hour liberty and the spice scent of a foreign port - I like Shipmates I've sailed with, worked with, served with or have known: The Gunners Mate from the Iowa cornfields; a Sonarman from the Colorado mountain country; a pal from Cairo, Alabama; an Italian from near Boston; some boogie boarders of California; and of course, a drawling friendly Oklahoma lad that hailed from Muskogee; and a very congenial Engineman from the Tennessee hills.
From all parts of the land they came - Farms of the Midwest, small towns of New England - The red clay area and small towns of the South - The mountain and high prairie towns of the West - The beachfront towns of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Gulf - All are American; all are comrades in arms - All are men of the sea and all are men of honor.
I like the adventure in my heart when the ship puts out to sea, and I like the electric thrill of sailing home again, with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends, waiting on shore - The extended time at sea drags; the going is rough on occasion. But there's the companionship of robust Navy laughter, the devil-may-care philosophy of the sea. This helps the Navyman - The remembrances of past shipmates fill the mind and restore the memory with images of other ships, other ports, and other cruises long past - Some memories are good, some are not so good, but all are etched in the mind of the Navyman - And most will be there forever.
I like the sea, and after a day of work, there is the serenity of the sea at dusk. As white caps dance on the ocean waves, the sunset creates flaming clouds that float in folds over the horizon - As if painted there by a master. The darkness follows soon and is mysterious. The ship’s wake in darkness has a hypnotic effect, with foamy white froth and luminescence that forms never ending patterns in the turbulent waters - I like the lights of the ship in the dark of night - The masthead lights, the red and green sidelights and stern lights. They cut through the night and appear as a mirror of stars in darkness - There are rough stormy nights, and calm, quiet, still nights where the quiet of the mid-watch allows the ghosts of all the Sailors of the world to stand watch with you. They are abundant and unreachable, but ever apparent - And there is always the aroma of fresh coffee from the galley.
I like the legends of the Navy and the Navymen that created those legends - I like the proud names of Navy Heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Beach, Farragut, Rickover and John Paul Jones. A man can find much in this Navy - Comrades in arms, pride in his country - A man can find himself and can revel in this experience.
In years to come, when the Sailor is home from the sea, he will still recall with fondness the ocean spray on his face when the sea is angry - There will come a faint aroma of fresh paint in his nostrils, the echo of hearty laughter of the seafaring men who once were close companions - Now landlocked, he will grow wistful of his Navy days, when the seas were the largest part of him and a new port of call was always just over the horizon.
Recalling those days and times, he will stand taller and say: "ONCE I WAS A NAVYMAN !”
E. A. Hughes, FTCM (SS) USN (Retired)
Copyright, 1958, 1978
No way of knowing for sure if this is true, but I'll admit it certainly sounds more plausible than it does suspicious, so I've posted it here.
If FTCM Hughes is, in fact, the author of the work, then he deserves respect and recognition for writing it. No matter what version you read, it's awesome. :smile:
29th October 2007, 03:36 PM
I recently lost a shipmate and one of the guys on the boat sent this out to the ship's site. I'm not entirely certain if this one has surfaced here but I thought I'd share it.
AN OLE SAILOR'S ODE
Let There Be No Moaning at The Bar...
OLD SAILORS SIT AND CHEW THE FAT
ABOUT THINGS THAT USED TO BE,
OF THE THINGS THEY'VE SEEN,
THE PLACES THEY'VE BEEN,
WHEN THEY VENTURED OUT TO SEA.
THEY REMEMBERED FRIENDS FROM LONG AGO,
THE TIMES THEY HAD BACK THEN.
THE MONEY THEY SPENT,
THE BEER THEY DRANK,
IN THEIR DAYS AS SAILING MEN.
THEIR LIVES ARE LIVED IN DAYS GONE BY,
WITH THOUGHTS THAT FOREVER LAST.
OF BELL BOTTOM BLUES,
WINGED WHITE HATS,
AND GOOD TIMES IN THEIR PAST.
THEY RECALL LONG NIGHTS WITH A MOON SO BRIGHT
FAR OUT ON A LONELY SEA.
THE THOUGHTS THEY HAD
AS YOUTHFUL LADS,
WHEN THEIR LIVES WERE WILD AND FREE.
THEY KNEW SO WELL HOW THEIR HEARTS WOULD SWELL
WHEN OLD GLORY FLUTTERED PROUD AND FREE.
THE UNDERWAY PENNANT
SUCH A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT
AS THEY PLOWED THROUGH AN ANGRY SEA.
THEY TALKED OF THE CHOW OL' COOKIE WOULD MAKE
AND THE SHRILL OF THE BOSUN'S PIPE.
HOW SALT SPRAY WOULD FALL
LIKE SPARKS FROM HELL
WHEN A STORM STRUCK IN THE NIGHT.
THEY REMEMBER OLD SHIPMATES ALREADY GONE
WHO FOREVER HOLD A SPOT IN THEIR HEART,
WHEN SAILORS WERE BOLD,
AND FRIENDSHIPS WOULD HOLD,
UNTIL DEATH RIPPED THEM APART.
THEY SPEAK OF NIGHTS SPENT IN BAWDY HOUSES
ON MANY A FOREIGN SHORE,
OF THE BEER THEY'D DOWN
AS GATHERING AROUND,
TELLING JOKES WITH A BUSTY (lady of the evening).
THEIR SAILING DAYS ARE GONE AWAY,
NEVER AGAIN WILL THEY CROSS THE BROW.
THEY HAVE NO REGRETS,
THEY KNOW THEY ARE BLESSED,
FOR HONORING A SACRED VOW.
THEIR NUMBERS GROW LESS WITH EACH PASSING DAY
AS THE FINAL MUSTER BEGINS,
THERE'S NOTHING TO LOSE,
ALL HAVE PAID THEIR DUES,
AND THEY'LL SAIL WITH SHIPMATES AGAIN.
I'VE HEARD THEM SAY BEFORE GETTING UNDERWAY
THAT THERE'S STILL SOME SAILING TO DO,
THEY'LL SAY WITH A GRIN
THAT THEIR SHIP HAS COME IN
AND THE LORD IS COMMANDING THE CREW
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