US Navy History and Traditions

The US Navy’s history and traditions are divided into two periods: the “Old Navy,” a highly respected force of sailing ships during the American Civil War, and the “New Navy,” a modern and very powerful force in the world.

Asked in History of Maritime, Tattoos and Body Art, US Navy History and Traditions

What were traditional nautical tattoos and piercings sailors got and why?

User Avatar
Traditional Tattoos and Piercings I believe that tattoos originated after James Cooke first arrived on Tahiti. Tattooing was very popular in the South Pacific. Fletcher Christian and George Stewart of Mutiny on the Bounty fame both had stars tattooed on the left of their chests. Perhaps these were early Nautical Stars. FAQ Farmers have offered these: Sailors got their ears pierced because it helps improve eyesight (I think its an acupuncture site). A black pearl earring for survivors of a sinking ship . Golden earrings were used as a means of ensuring they were buried properly should they die at sea or in a foreign port. In modern times a brass earring denoted a survivor of a ship sinking. One left ear piercing for crossing each of the Equator, Artic Circle, and Antarctic Circle. Earrings were thought to keep spirits from entering through the ear, but that's not a purely sailor thing. A sparrow for every 5000 thousand nautical miles traveled,. A sailor would get a swallow tattoo for every 5000 miles he had sailed. A swallow because it will always find its way home. A rooster and pig on the ankles are to prevent a sailor from drowning. The pig and the rooster are tattooed on either the calves or the top of the feet, to prevent a sailor from drowning,. These animals were originally carried on most ships in wooden crates. When a ship goes down these crates would float and then catch currents and wash ashore with the other debris from the ship, making the pigs and roosters often the only souls to survive a shipwreck. A tattoo of a pig on the left knee and a rooster (cock) on the right foot signified "Pig on the knee, safety at sea. A cock on the right, never lose a fight." Tattoos of pigs and chickens were to make sure they always had their ham and eggs so that they never go hungry. A turtle standing on its back legs (shellback) for crossing the equator and being initiated into King Neptune�s Court. A tattoo of King Neptune if you crossed the Equator. Crossed anchors on the web between the thumb and index finger for a bosn�s mate. Royal Navy tattoos of palm trees for the Mediterranean cruises in WWII. Many US sailors have a palm tree or hula girl from Hawaii. The words HOLD and FAST were tattooed on the knuckles to help hold line. Hold Fast across the knuckles to keep them from falling overboard or dropping a line. Anchor tattoo for sailing the Atlantic. Full rigged ship for sailing around Cape Horn. Dragon Tattoo for a sailor who had sailed into port in China A Golden Dragon was for sailors who had crossed the International Date Line. Rope around the wrist for being a dockhand. Two stars to ensure always knowing the way. The anchor usually noted that the sailor was in the merchant marine. Guns or crossed cannon for military naval service. Harpoons for the fishing fleet. Crosses on the soles of one's feet to ward off hungry sharks. A nautical star, or compass rose was to always find your way home. A dagger through a rose signified a willingness to fight and kill even something as fragile as a rose. Many sailors also got pornographic images so that they would always have them with them. I have a very old book c.1910 where an old sailor be moans the end of the sailors tattoo, yea right. he expounds that. " on the forearm the ports you've visited. on the wrist 'bracelets' on the upper arm the girls name or initials. on the lower leg the initials of all the girls you've 'had'." The "MOM" tattoo became popular during WWII as well as the "death before dishonour" dagger piercing the skin. but that's with the USN in the Royal Navy, and presumably the Commonwealth navies,this is my info; full rigged ship (on the back very large) for rounding the horn (cape horn), The anchor (fouled or not) for service in the Atlantic. All remaining tattoos except since 1970 are in this discussion. Many 'modern' sailors have put tattoos of their specility or of the distinctive badge they had earned. like having crossed hammers with wings for aircraft carrier mechanics, or the divers helmet for a diver,etc. As for crossing the line. None of us Shellbacks want to repete this trial! You get a card. but some of us wisely have the longitude and date as well as ship on our upper leg. So if we ever get mistaken for a pollywog we can "show a leg" (naval term for 'get up out of bed!'.). 119deg 6min 54sec East USS SAMUEL GOMPERS 19 SEP 1991
Asked in US Navy, US Navy History and Traditions

What does GMGC US Navy mean?

User Avatar
A GMGC is a Gunner's Mate - there are 2 types of GM's, a GMG, and a GMM. GMG stands for Gunner's Mate (Guns); GMM stands for Gunner's Mate (Missile). The "C" stands for Chief Petty Officer (E-7). The rate/rank therefore stands for Gunner's Mate (Guns) Chief.
Asked in War and Military History, US Navy History and Traditions

What is Crossing the T in Naval Warfare?

User Avatar
"Crossing the T", an obsolete but classic Naval warfare tactic. It refers to the tactic used in the days when a line of ships (then using cannons/guns) would form a line and cross the enemy line of ships. In the case of the crossing line, the ships would be facing the enemy line from the port or starboard side (broadside), while the enemy line would be facing forward (only the forward guns could be brought to bear). As each ship crossed the T, all it guns could fire on the enemy line, while the enemy ships could only use its forward guns. The last time it was used in combat was in 1944 at the Battle of Surigao Strait. Since the tactic requires the ships involved to be in a battle line formation, it fell out of use as the use of aircraft bombs and missiles, as well as ship and submarine launched anti-ship cruise missiles, have essentially rendered naval guns obsolete, at least for surface combatant engagements. The term is also used for navigation, where one vessel is trying to intercept another at a given point - where the T is crossed.
Asked in Coffee, US Navy, US Navy History and Traditions

Why do many navy coffee mugs have no handle?

User Avatar
So you can tell if the liquid is too hot to drink. They were used in WWII and were called "watch mugs" and had no handles to keep the watch sailors' hands warm.
Asked in US Navy, US Military ROTC, US Navy History and Traditions

Can girls join navy after B.sc?

User Avatar
Yes you can go to OCS - Officer Commissioning School and be a Navy Officer or you can choose to enlist as a G.I.
Asked in US Navy History and Traditions

Does a ship have a sonar?

User Avatar
Most modern combat Navy surface vessels have Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) sonar arrays of some type, and at least 1 Aircraft Carrier does as well (newer carriers use their escort vessels for ASW sonar screens). Essentially, that comes down to Cruisers, Destroyers, and Frigates, which make up the bulk of a Carrier Battle Group or Task Force screen to protect the Carrier from submarine threats. However, those ships, as well as Carriers, also use fixed and rotary wing aircraft with deployable (dipping) and expendable (sonobuoys) sonar as well. Ship sonar systems include the main forward sonar arrays, as well as deployable Variable Depth Sonar (VDS) towed sonar systems.
Asked in US Civil War, Battle of Gettysburg, US Navy History and Traditions

Who said 'Damn the torpedoes Full speed ahead'?

User Avatar
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut (1801-1870), the first senior officer of the U.S. Navy at the time of the American Civil War. Aboard Hartford, Farragut entered Mobile Bay, Alabama, 5 August 1864, in two columns, with armored monitors leading and a fleet of wooden ships following. When the lead monitor Tecumseh was demolished by a mine, the wooden ship Brooklyn stopped, and the line drifted in confusion toward Fort Morgan. As disaster seemed imminent, Farragut gave the orders embodied by these famous words. He swung his own ship clear and headed across the mines, which failed to explode. The fleet followed and anchored above the forts, which, now isolated, surrendered one by one. The torpedoes to which Farragut and his contemporaries referred would today be described as tethered mines.
Asked in Science, US Navy History and Traditions

What is a cablegram?

User Avatar
A cablegram is a telegram transmitted via a submarine cable.
Asked in US Navy History and Traditions

Is there a study guide for course 9?

User Avatar
there is one on Ebay in Excel for sale for $5.00.
Asked in World War 2, US Navy History and Traditions, Green Berets, Army Rangers

What task force was the USS Makassar Strait CVE 91 part of on the Invasion of Okinawa?

User Avatar
I just finished printing a report on Makassar Strait CVE-91 From the time her keel was laid at Kaiser Ship Yard until she was decommissioned in August 1946 and the Secretary of The Navy authorized her to be used as a target ship Aug. 28, 1958 It states that she was assigned to TG 50.8 between Feb. 9 1945 and April 8 and protected logistics ships operating in support of the Fast Carrier Task force during devastating airstrikes against enemy targets from the Bonins to the Ryukyus. She was then assigned to a support carrier group on April 8 and began intense fighting on Okinawa.. She also spent time at Kamera Retto then operated between Guam and Saipan. I would be happy to send a copy of this if it would help. I am interested because my brother served on the Makassar Strait. I am not sure but I think it would be Task Force 58. I was a member of Air Group 12 on CV 15 and participated in air strikes against Okinawa. We were in Task Force 58 during this time. We retired from there to Leyte. Our air group was relieved there and we boarded the Makasser Straits for transportation to Guam. We were on our way back to the States. Hope this info helps.Joe Hudson Following are excerpts from the official War Diary ofthe U.S.S. MAKASSAR STRAIT (CVE-91): WAR DIARY - APRIL 1945 8 April 1945 (Zone Minus 9 -Item) Underway from Task Group 50.8 operating area to rendezvous with Task Unit 52.1.2, pursuant to orders of CTG 50.8 and CTG 52.1... TASK ORGANIZATION 52.1.2 Support Carrier Unit TWO - Rear Admiral STUMP, USN, in U.S.S. MARCUS ISLAND (CVE-77). Second in Command - Rear Admiral HENDERSON, USN, in U.S.S. SAGINAW BAY (CVE-82). U.S.S. MAKASSAR STRAIT (CVE-91) Commander RILEY, USN. 8 April 1945 (Zone Minus 9 -Item) Effected rendezvous with Task Unit 52.1.2 for Air Support Operations with Unit Two in OKINAWA invasion.... Position: 2000 24-48 N; 131-47 E
Asked in US Civil War, War and Military History, US Navy History and Traditions

How did battleships influence the US Civil War?

User Avatar
The term of "battleships" as we know of the type of naval warships in the 20th century are now obsolete. The last major usage of these large ships was in the second world war. They had no influence in the US Civil War because they had not been "invented". There were a number of small warships in the Civil War, some were made of wood and some were "ironclads" in that they used protective metal to shield them from enemy cannon fire. A comparison to a 19th or 20th century battleship cannot be made as battleships were huge war vessels with many types of powerful cannons. And petroleum fuels powered their massive engines.
Asked in The Bible, Cruises and Ocean Liners, US Navy History and Traditions

Are there any biblical verses on ships traveling through storms?

User Avatar
Yes in the bible it tells us that Paul was shipwrecked on one of his missionary journeys due to a storm.
Asked in World War 2, Military Awards and Medals, US Navy, US Navy History and Traditions

What are US Navy ocean crossing certificates?

User Avatar
Navy Ocean Crossing Certificates (Unofficial, of course) are many and wide. I'm a Bluenose (twice), but there are many, many others that have ceremonies and certificates that are documented by the Naval Historical Center in Washington (See URL link below). Some other examples are: Order of Magellan - Global Circumnavigation Order of the Rock - Transiting the Straits of Gibraltar (Inchop - Outchop) Order of the Ditch - Transiting the Panama Canal Shellback - Crossing the Equator at any point Golden Dragon - Crossing the International Date Line (180th Meridian) Golden Shellback - Crossing the Equator at the 180th Meridian Emerald Shellback - Crossing the Equator at the Prime Meridian (Greenwich) Order of the Red Nose - Crossing the Antarctic Circle Order of the Spanish Main - Cruising the Caribbean Most are variations on the Golden Dragon or Shellback tradition, the 2 oldest, but each has their own unique ceremony. For example, Blue and Red Nose ceremonies are a "bit colder" than those of the Golden Shellback. Though unofficial, some events are noted in the crewmember's service record, in particular if it coincides with a historic event. Examples are the first cruise of the Nautilus, and the first multi-submarine surfacing at the Geographic North Pole, of which I was privileged to be a part of. Some are just notes that the member participated, as evidence of fact so that the person doesn't have to go through it again. Though not officially required, the decision to not participate in a crew event involving a Navy tradition isn't well received by those who do, and as such most of the crew will go through the ceremony. In some cases where Latitude and Longitude coordinates are entered on the certificate, one may be omitted if the specific crossing location and date is classified. This was the case on both of my Bluenose certificates, where the Latitude was entered (66° 33′ 44″ N), but the Longitude (point where we crossed the Arctic Circle) was purposely omitted since it was classified. Sometimes ceremonies aren't performed at all. I've also been through the Straits of Gibraltar and have been through the Caribbean more times than I can count, but we never did a ceremony for any of them.
Asked in US Navy History and Traditions

When a ship is loaded is it trimmed by the bow or stern?

User Avatar
It depends on the ship, but it's generally trimmed on all 4 points - Bow, Stern, Port and Starboard, making adjustments as the load changes (e.g., weapons usage, food usage, etc.).
Asked in US Navy History and Traditions

What is the Jack staff on a navy ship?

User Avatar
The jack staff on a Navy vessel is essentially a flag pole on the bow of vessel. Unlike the National Ensign (country flag) which flies on the stern flag staff of most ships (on the bridge while underway surfaced on a submarine), the jack staff flies a flag literally called a Jack. Over the years of Navy history, there have been many Navy Jacks flown from the Jack Staff; the current Jack ("Don't Tread On Me" flag) was ordered flown after the 9/11 attacks, replacing the traditional Jack, which was the field of blue with 50 stars (modern), or in years past, a field of blue with stars for every state in the Union. It is this flag from which the term "Union Jack" comes from.
Asked in Technology, US Navy, US Navy History and Traditions

How does a gyro compass work?

User Avatar
Rather than type a long answer - see the related link from Wikipedia for their entry on a gyro-compass.
Asked in Math and Arithmetic, Saudi Arabia, Algebra, US Navy History and Traditions

Which way is mecca from ground zero?

User Avatar
Via the shortest (great circle) route, Mecca is 6,415 miles from the former site of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in lower Manhattan, on a bearing of 58.4 degrees true. (Approximately "North-east by East")
Asked in History of the United States, Spanish-American War, History of Spain, US Navy History and Traditions

Location of Spanish Naval defeat during the Spanish-American War?

User Avatar
Manila Bay was the site of Commodore George Dewey's victory over the Spanish Philippine Fleet. The Spanish Caribbean Fleet was blockaded at Santiago de Cuba until the San Juan Heights had been taken. Because the fleet was then vulnerable to attack by land forces, Admiral Pascual Cervera elected to make a run for the open sea on 3 July 1898. In the first hour of combat, five of the six Spanish ships were out of action and sunk or grounded. Only the Cristobol Colon had a chance at escape and it was finally run aground.
Asked in US Navy History and Traditions

How many US warships have been mutinied or been in the hands of mutineers?

User Avatar
There has never been a mutiny aboard a ship of the United States Navy.
Asked in Pregnancy Symptoms, Narcissism, Abusive Relationships and Domestic Violence, US Navy History and Traditions

Should you confront a narcissist about the way he treats you?

User Avatar
If the relationship is over....leave it and learn from it and grow and fullfil you life without them. If you are still in the relationship....I would find it hard to conceive that this narcissist would even be remotely empathic of their behavior...they could readily move on to someone else. As soon as I started confronting my abuser - the abuse got 10X worse and then physical abuse was added. I have heard and read that this means that they know they are losing control and must try harder to get it back. It depends who is the narcissist. If he has a history of violence, confronting him may not be the best idea. Still, if you can safely put a distance between you and him, I would advise you to warn him of the consequences of his abuse - and, if ignores your warning, to act to punish and to restrain him. Narcissists and psychopaths understand best the language of power and coercion. If he/she is emotionally or verbally abusive, then YES. Confront them but make it about yourself and not about them. Use phrases like "I find name calling unacceptable" or "Manipulation is not something I accept in my life" or "I cannot trust someone who doesn't tell the truth when asked". The narcissist will not respect what you have said and if they do hear it you will likely get some sort of punishment, the silent treatment, a rage, a put down. But after it's over you will know that you stood up for yourself in front of a bully and it will be your voice disputing the abuse you remember as the last word not his/hers dishing it out. Do not tell them that anything they have done has hurt you, that's like throwing blood in the water in front of a shark. The best thing to do is walk away. Its pointless to confront these types. They are smart, they know what they are doing yet they don't care. Remember you are only a source for them, an object and your feelings do not come into consideration. All a confrontation will do is make the N up the anti. They will become enraged, (although they might not let you see that) and they will make some sort of retreat to gather their strength and smarts to come back with a vengenance. They see it as war and they NEVER like to lose. You cannot beg or plead with them to change, this will only feed their ego and confirm in their eyes that you idolize them. The best revenge is to quietly walk away. They will wonder why you did not make a big fuss over them and they will begin wo wonder just how important they are. They will go nuts with wondering and jealousy. Meanwhile, you get on with your life and be happy. If you do confront them, always start with a compliment of some sort or speak in a way that feeds their ego. Never be defensive, accusatory or critical. Say something like, "I respect your intellect...etc, etc BUT I felt hurt when you....etc, etc. Narcissists FEED off any kind of compliments or positive attention. They're starved for it. So if you're going to confront them, first build them up and then tell them the truth but do it in a way that makes them feel they're still superior and in control. This is how therapists and psychologists talk to narcissists when in thearpy.