"ONCE I WAS A NAVY MAN" Author Unknown 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."