A Sailor’s Thoughts, part 1…

This one came over the transom via the mil-email chain and via JP…

Some random and rambling thoughts accumulated from various quarters over the years. A bit of introspection from an “older” sailor.


A sailor will walk 10 miles in a freezing rain to get a beer but complain mightily about standing a 4 hour quarterdeck watch on a beautiful, balmy spring day.

A sailor will lie and cheat to get off the ship early and then will have no idea where he wants to go.

Sailors are territorial. They have their assigned spaces to clean and maintain. Woe betide the shipmate who tracks through a freshly swabbed deck.

Sailors constantly complain about the food on the mess decks while concurrently going back for second or third helpings.

Some sailors have taken literally the old t-shirt saying that they should “Join the Navy. Sail to distant ports. Catch embarrassing, exotic diseases.”

After a sea cruise, I realized how much I missed being at sea. We are now considering a Med cruise visiting some of my past favorite ports. Of course I’ll have to pony up better than $5,000 for the privilege. To think, Uncle Sam actually had to pay me to visit those same ports 50 years ago.

You can spend two years on a ship and never visit every nook and cranny or even every major space aboard. Yet, you can know all your shipmates.

Campari and soda taken in the warm Spanish sun is an excellent hangover remedy.

E5 is the almost perfect military pay grade. Too senior to catch the crap details, too junior to be blamed if things go awry.

Never be first, never be last and never volunteer for anything.

Almost every port has a “gut.” An area teeming with cheap bars, easy women and partiers. Kind of like Bourbon St., but with foreign currency.

If the Guardia Civil tell you to “Alto,” you’d best alto, right now. Same goes for the Carabinieri, gendarmes and other assorted police forces. You could easily find yourself in that port’s hoosegow. Or shot.

Contrary to popular belief, Chief Petty Officers do not walk on water. They walk just above it.

Sad but true, when visiting even the most exotic ports of call, some sailors only see the inside of the nearest pub.

Also under the category of sad but true, that lithe, sultry Mediterranean beauty you spent those wonderful three days with and have dreamed about ever since, is almost certainly a grandmother now and buying her clothes from Omar the Tent maker.

A sailor can, and will, sleep anywhere, anytime.

Do not eat Mafunga, ever! (Or Balut)…

Yes, it’s true, it does flow downhill.  (Anybody that has ever been to Naples can vouch for that)…

In the traditional “crackerjack” uniform you were recognized as a member of United States Navy, no matter what port you were in. Damn all who want to eliminate or change that uniform.

The Marine dress blue uniform is, by far, the sharpest of all the armed forces.

Most sailors won’t disrespect a shipmate’s mother. On the other hand, it’s not entirely wise to tell them you have a good looking sister.

Sailors and Marines will generally fight one another, and fight together against all comers.

If you can at all help it, never tell anyone that you are seasick.

Check the rear dungaree pockets of a sailor. Right pocket a wallet. Left pocket a book.(ALWAYS a book)

I have always been amazed at the reading material in any squadron or ship I’ve ever encountered, everything from Aristotle to Mack Bolen and everything in between…

More tomorrow!

h/t JP


A Sailor’s Thoughts, part 1… — 18 Comments

  1. Balut! Oooohhhhh, man, not even on my drunkest night! Sooo glad I never had to learn that one the hard way!

  2. “E5 is the almost perfect military pay grade.”….
    Ayup. Ben R Dunnat;

  3. I liked Mack Bolen, but I hadn’t thought about the “Executioner” series in a long time. You brought back a memory.

  4. Always switch duty to be Shore Patrol the first day in port. This way you get to see the places to go (and to avoid).

  5. N91- Sadly I didn’t…

    xS3/CP/Rev- LOL

    Roy- I didn’t either…

    LL- I can imagine!

    tweell- AND you knew which off limits ones were good too! 😉

  6. I was stationed at Capodichino in Naples for three and a half years and learned where all the sh*t streams were. Had a nice little crash pad out in Licola about 20 miles from Napoli. I loved every minute I was there. SIGH

  7. Ev- You had it good and you damn well know it! 😀 Just be glad you’re NOT there now!!!

  8. On my first ship (way back when) we had a twenty year BM-3 that looked just like the illustration. He ran the sail locker and his fancy work should have been on display in a museum.

  9. Forgot to add that he never took the BM-2 test and never wanted too.

  10. Excellent post, there were times I wished I was still a second class, lol.

  11. Jon- Yep they were out there in the 70’s when I came in!

    Senior- Yep, know THAT feeling!!!

    Rick- You’re welcome!

  12. I only wish I could have shared this with my friend Mark Bell, who had served in the Navy.
    Fair winds and following seas, my friends!


  13. They filled in the trough at the #1 Piano Bar, and last time I was there the HeyJoes weren’t lining the main drag. Naples isn’t as…Naples-ish…as it used to be.

    There’s a part of me that is sad about that.