Let’s overcomplicate things, shall we? Most definitely rhetorical sarcasm. I inquired about some training I need to satisfy an additional duty at work. The answer I received was this: it should only be an hour or two. Well, which is it?! And what do you mean by “only”?
In referencing additional duties – the Navy calls them collateral duties – an argument ensued between my team and an individual over the concept of additional duty vs primary duty. I thought it was self-explanatory but I was wrong. You see, everyone has additional duties. Military, civilian, contractors, all of us. So when someone uses the phrase this is my additional duty, it hits me wrong because we all have them, aka it’s not an excuse to disregard the duty. Next time, I’ll draw pictures.
How to make a corsage. Step 1: don’t. Hire your sister. Or mother. Depends. But this is what she gets for volunteering to make my niece’s prom corsage. Hope she’s keeping notes. Her additional duty.
When I wake up at the butt crack of dawn to finish a paper and discussion post so I can focus on a different paper of a million words and a gazillion pages – that’s a primary duty. Does this require any further explanation?
No questions please. The demonstration is over.
I ask you –
What is the civilian terminology for additional or collateral duties?
Are you creative enough to make a corsage? Definitely not.
Tell me the page length of the longest document you’ve ever written!
Allison of The Broad Running Broad published a great article in early April on the popular InsideTracker. You can check it out here.
Seems all the running influencers are somehow a part of the biomarker and nutrition tracking app, Inside Tracker. The premise is you submit your labwork to them, it’s analyzed for nutritional, hormonal, etc deficiencies and then a customized plan is sent to you detailing how to improve your health. The fine print though. Turns out you can pay upwards of several thousands of dollars per year for their customized plans and labwork costs. Until now I hadn’t heard anyone share the deep, dark details.
And, on that note, the Navy really distorts what health and fitness looks like. Probably all branches but I’m only speaking to my own. Maybe distort isn’t the correct word, but it certainly played into my distorted views. I haven’t looked lately – there’s no reason to – but the height/weight requirements are completely impractical. Truth time. I currently weigh 150 lbs. That’s a lot in my little, distorted, unhealthy mind. I don’t like that number. I don’t like it at all. However, I’m liking how my clothes (still) fit, I can run, I can keep up with mini, I can do my job without restriction, I can LIVE. So what’s the problem? Well, nothing, I guess. Again, it’s just a number! Kel! It’s just a number! Ugh. I hate how society places value on the number on the scale. How many times have I said it doesn’t matter – but that stupid voice inside my head says something is wrong.
Deep breath. I’m trying. There’s a fitness friend I follow along with in social media who also weighs the same. It was a bit of a news flash when she casually stated her weight. It clearly doesn’t define her. But going back over her story, she seemed to have struggled many years ago, too. Hmmm. I’m sensing a pattern here.
Nonetheless, I’m sticking with my plan of “training” for a 10k and strength training 3-4x a week. Last week was the highest mileage week since December…a whopping 8 miles! Tell the press! Or is it hold the presses? Meh. I sincerely feel strong this time around. It’s incredible how much we rely on our back end to propel us forward when running. Of course I knew all this. I just had to break something before being reminded.
Isn’t that always how it goes? The little things creep up on us and, then, BAM. We’re in over our heads with lab work plans and physical therapy and who knows what else. Meh.
I ask you –
Have you heard of InsideTracker? Have you tried it?
What things in your life do you believe you may have a distorted view of?
Tell me your word du-jour! Lately mine is “meh”, but I use “whackadoo” daily.
It doesn’t happen as often as we’d like but occasionally I get to catch up with one of my very best friends, Sam. She and I were inseparable for several years, especially during the formidable early-Navy days. In fact, it was a running joke how if you saw one you would see the other; even around people we’d never met before, our easy banter and knowledge of the other’s life led them to believe we’d been friends since childhood. The military has a way of helping you get to know someone really quickly. Because if you’re going to trust your life with someone, you best know a few things first. Anyway, Sam and I were thick as thieves. No word yet on any actual thievery but admittedly we did a lot of shady stuff. Don’t ask about the 4am inspection. We learned together how to navigate some really tough situations and live to tell about it. Sam was always my go-to for great advice. Even now, our conversations pick back up right where we left them. Those are the friendships I value the most. Can’t forget the Joker. We have countless inside jokes, memories of late nights and even later coffee dates, too many tears, and laughter that can be heard miles away. No matter our distance, a best friend like her is hard to come by. She hails from the great state of Illinois now; however…
Further good news is Sam may be visiting Texas in the upcoming months for some military required training and you know what that means! Batman and Robin Reunited!
Reminiscing about the Navy is like taking a manic car ride down a crowded street in Mexico. Let me improve your image. A clown car overfilled with good idea fairies on a dirt road between overgrown buildings surrounded by pedal carts. A hell bus, if you will. Different story for a different day. Being in the military is like living another life, like having a separate personality, like being one person in a skewed reality. At times, it’s lonely while simultaneously so loud you can’t hear yourself think. There’s no outlet. A constant circus meets board room. So if debilitating anxiety is for you, I’ve found the place!
Unrelated but on an equally uplifting note – Jamaica has a bobsled team for the 1st time in over 20 years!! Check out the full story here.
Everyone knows one of my all-time favorite movies is “Cool Runnings”; which, by the way, is more than 30 years old. Geez, I’m old. You can guarantee I’ll be tuning in to watch Jamaica hurl themselves and their light-as-a-feather bobsled down a sharp concrete chute in February. “It’s bobsled time!!”
I ask you –
What’s your oldest friendship?
Will you be watching the winter Olympics?
Tell me a nickname your friends called you! Clearly, I’m Batman.
My workplace is offering a class on how to deal with stress. Upon discussing possible attendance at said class, my co-worker stated she was offered the same class at a different job, but the class was cancelled. Cue the stress jokes. How does a class on being stress-free get cancelled?! The whole incident just speaks of stress!
I was approached at my desk by a kind woman who was having some computer issues. She explained she is accustomed to using Navy-supported technology resources. Upon further discussion, she explained she’s from Charleston and works with SPAWAR, now known as something else I continue to mispronounce. It was so nice to chat with someone who understands Navy lingo. Toward the end of our conversation, I secretly hoped she would have to use me as a verification source for her account just so we would another opportunity to speak about Navy stuff. I don’t miss it. Just sometimes.
From another source: “I’m sure most of you saw that former member of the Monkees singing group, Michael Nesmith, passed away a few weeks ago. Maybe their heyday was long before many of you were born. The Monkees were the TV answer to the Beatles in the mid-1960’s (I can recall watching each new episode each week); whereas the Beatles were known as the ‘Fab-Four’; the Monkees were the opposite as the ‘Pre-Fab Four’, a made for TV group, and though the Monkess could play instruments, all the songs were written and played by studio wizards like Neil Diamond and Glen Campbell and the Wrecking Crew. When the Monkees got their way to play their instruments on later albums, they fell off the rock-world. Mike Nesmith enlisted in the USAF and took his tech training as a B-52 mechanic here at Sheppard in the 1960 timeframe and was assigned to Clinton-Sherman AFB, OK. As a side note, his mother invented Liquid Paper, the correction fluid used extensively in the typewriter days.”
Never have I ever… considered I would be starting a new year without running. It feels lonely, like watching everyone get on the bus to do something fun and I can’t go. If you’re sick of hearing me talk about how I can’t run for awhile, then keep scrolling. But seriously. I feel genuinely left out. Strava has no problem reminding me of upcoming or current run challenges. The Facebook event tracker rubs it in even more with their stupid ‘your friend is attending race whatever’. Oh, shut up!
And I’m over here with my yoga and walking. Be so jealous. Did that stress-free class ever get rescheduled?
I ask you –
Would you attend a workshop on stress management?
What are you doing for fitness goals in January?
Note: I only posted about the Monkees for the final sentence on liquid paper because it was so random to me.
Yes, I was aware that children, for a short time, were considered mail-able. It seems weird, but doctors used to prescribe cigarettes for pregnant women, so maybe it’s not too weird.
We recently celebrated my elder child’s 30th birthday, and of course I was reminded of the circumstances of how I was alerted to her arrival. For you see, I was cruising around South America at the time and communications between me and the States were irregular and crude.
I knew she would be along pretty soon, and it was after a very long midnight watch up in the gun director that I settled into my rack for a precious 3-hour nap before the endless cycle of events of a warship underway, the next go round of eat, work, and watch. With great surprise my then-Senior Chief (RIP) thrust his hand past the blue-curtain barrier that defined my sacrosanct rack with a just barely not growled “Here! Read this!”
I had been handed, of course, the long awaited for birth announcement. And now, here it was, a telegram for the love of God, sent to me by the Red Cross. Sleep was out of the question, and I walked fore and aft, bilge to bridge making the announcement to anyone who would listen. I finally ran out of people to tell, and I ended up on the port side main deck, smoking a celebratory cigar while watching the wilderness of the Andes Mountains slide aft. I’m sure there are things about that day that I have long since forgotten, but I still have that telegram up in my study where I keep a number of priceless mementos of my life to remind me of that amazing morning.
There’s a wide variety of trinkets and tchotchkes in that cache of memories, an unsurprisingly number amongst them are letters: Honest-to-God, sat-down-with-pen-and-paper letters written at various times and delivered to me (via paths that can only be guessed at) to whatever ship I was on and wherever I was. Those letters are occasionally pulled from storage, their decades-old creases unfolded so that I may again experience an echo of the thrill I enjoyed when I first received them so long ago. A few of them still are redolent of the fuel-oil, paint, and steel smell of a warship underway and it’s that odor that instantly transports me back to a very different time and place.
Today’s Sailors feel they are lucky. E-mails back and forth to the home-front are everyday events, phone calls common, and video chats with loved ones unremarkable. Keeping up with the day-to-day activities of the household and families has never been easier or more immediately possible for the Sailor.
And, I think it safe to say, that very, very few of the Active Duty folks would willingly return to my Morse code and semaphore way of doing things. Hard to blame them, really. If I could have been part of a video call back in 1985, well, let’s just say I might be missing parts of my anatomy. Running your life/marriage via mail that makes it way home via a wandering and unpredictable path (Say, over to an oiler, then to an amphib, and finally over to a series of Air Force Base storage areas) sometimes takes longer than the deployment. Indeed. Stories of mail arriving home after the Sailor used to be very common.
And it is also true that we could on occasion call home by radio, thanks to ham radio operators and long distance phone calls. It was called the MARS system, although it was probably easier to call the planet than it was to call home. MARS was wonderful to have, but weird. We had to use Navy radio techniques (“Over”) which were hard to teach to small children, and there was a very long list of things that were taboo to talk about on the radio. Imagine phoning home and then being prosecuted. Ah, the perils of military life.
But emails and phone calls can’t be kept, cherished, and handed down like the letters and other messages I have from those long-ago days. It might be fun to see a new e-mail in the inbox in the morning, but every morning? I wonder. And, I wonder if that experience can match the intense feelings of anticipation and joy (and sometimes desolation) when the Boatswain’s Mate of the Watch passed “Mail Call!” Remember, that would sometimes happen only twice a month.
It was possible to tell by holding that the letter had power. You were holding something she had held just a while ago. That letter had been in your house! Your daughter can write! All of those things so very far away. A talisman of home, a status hard to convey onto an e-mail.
Mail and its service seems to be failing, albeit slowly, and the whole process is probably doomed. Sad I suppose, but such is the inexorable march of time. I try to remember that everything in the world today will someday be gone and considered either quaint or no longer understood, enigmas from the past like Stonehenge or the Antikythera Mechanism. One of my more ridiculous thoughts is of my great, great grandchildren attempting to decipher those letters found one day moldering away in dusty old box. “Jeez,” I can hear them say, “Who was this guy? Why didn’t he just flash over and see Grammy Lynn instead of doin’ this? And what’s a ‘ship’?” Sic transit Gloria mundi.
 My days in the Navy started before Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Mail services had been archaic/slow for years, but improved drastically after American service members started going to the Middle East in serious numbers. I’m not complaining, it’s just the way it was. And, we could always tell when Oprah or Sally Jesse Raphael had a story about the folks in the Persian Gulf as after those shows, we would receive a mountain of mail on the fantail addressed to Any Sailor/Soldier.
As always, a huge thank you to my friend, Dan, for his sole contribution to this RoF special piece. I know I have many other friends/family with stories for days of their time and I’d love to post them, too. Please contact me if you have a contribution or if you have a story but are unable to put it into words that make sense – I’m hear to listen and write on your behalf. Always! -Kel
My new phone screen! Sometimes we just need a reminder. And a little smile. Amazing what one small change can do to perk us up in this rather dismal world. Not always dismal. Just don’t watch the news.
I read a great quote: don’t mistake my free time for being available. Or something like that. You get the point, right? As a mom, human, type-A personality, it’s easy for me to fall into the trap of fully completing my calendar then dreading all the things I now have to do. Really, I think this is the norm. There lies an expectation to constantly be doing, going, succeeding, moving forward lest we be considered lazy, inconsiderate, sloth-like.
As I mentioned before in this POST, prioritizing what we want and need sometimes means saying no. Haha easier said than done.
Cake reminded me of a few things. Specifically how the Navy has cake for literally every event. Change of command – let’s have cake. Promotion ceremony – the CS’s bake a cake. Suicide awareness month – we’re having cake. Cake makes everything better. Even suicide? Come on. (I am absolutely not making light of very real issues; I am making light of the preponderance of cake available at events dealing with personal trauma.)
As for priorities, sometimes balance is the goal. Other times, we eat cake until we’re stuffed and regret the decision dearly. I can’t be talking only to myself.
I ask you-
When was the last time you changed your phone background?
If you had to choose only one, would you pick cookies, cake, or ice cream? This is hard for me because I adore ice cream, but I think I would have to pick cookies haha
Tell me what balance looks like for you! A cookie in each hand!
Considering this upcoming race. Coincidentally – or is it? – a trip to TN would enable mini to see her dad and family during the Thanksgiving timeframe.
No word yet on Morgan from Oregon’s plans to attend Run the Rail mid-October. Since I got the plague from hell in August, discontinued my run streak, and had to remember how to breathe properly, anything long distance before November is probably a no go.
There’s also Rock ‘n Roll San Antonio. The Stars at Night Half isn’t a viable option this year because it will be the same weekend mini heads back to TN for Christmas break.
Speaking of, I was a few paragraphs back, there was a week in there where I went to the doctor or was on the phone with a doctor at least once a day. They are nice and all, but I try to avoid, know what I mean? Anyway, I began to notice a troubling pattern. They don’t measure how tall adults are anymore. Yes, they ask how tall you are, but they don’t physically verify. Two problems: 1) I could be lying when I say I’m 6 ft (yet she didn’t even blink an eye) and 2) hearing the words “You’ve grown” isn’t exactly a compliment as an adult. Bet she didn’t really write down 6ft on my chart. Hmmmppphhh.
Relatedly, sort of, in the Navy they called shoes “go fasters”. The more I think about it, I realize that was the ‘kind, new Navy’ saying something positive about passing a PRT, etc. because I have never called my new running shoes “go fasters”. Instead, I internally refer to them as the shoes that will kick someone’s a**. I will outrun a cheetah in my new shoes! I am faster than Olympians in my new shoes! There’s a meme circulating on social media that says something like…why doesn’t anyone ask me (as an adult) how fast I can run in my new shoes…and I totally agree. It’s BS. You better ask me!! And I’ll be happy to demonstrate. But sometimes I just ask my shoes to get me home. You know what? That’s ok, too!
Hotter’n Hell Hundred went off without a hitch, to my understanding. More like best guess, Kel. I went to my usual viewing spot and didn’t see a single thing. Not one kit-clad cyclist was located. For a minute, I thought I got the date wrong. Alas, my final thought was since the annual bicyclist event was not held last year, they had an extra year to work on speed and sped through the course in record time. It could also be because I slept in and was approximately 2 hours late to the location. Or I read the map wrong. Really, it’s anyone’s guess what happened. I’m going with extraordinarily fast cyclists though. Just pretend there’s a super awesome photo here of thousands of cyclists.
I ask you –
Any race suggestions? Or know of something I’m missing? Preferably early December.
Does your doctor ask how tall you are or take a measurement?
Participants in Hotter’n Hell Hundred next year – leave your name below so I can get insider information. I need an accountability partner!
Well, it happened. I don’t know yet how I feel about it, but it didn’t wait on me to decide. Kindergarten just sprang up, like a sudden slap in the face. You’re overly dramatic, Kel. Yesterday she was a baby, today is Day 3 of the beginning of her not needing me anymore. Sigh. If she’d just sleep in her own bed, I might not complain so much. Fat chance.
“Remember when you won Bluejacket of the Quarter?” No, actually, I didn’t remember that until you mentioned it. Reminiscing on my time in the Navy can be something else. The Air Force does an event called a Release Party when Airmen promote. I find this interesting because the Navy celebrates everything with cake. I don’t know about you, but I prefer cake to a party any day. I love cake!
So I’ve been sick for weeks now it seems. And as soon as I get well, then someone else in our house gets sick. If we could all just be well at the same time I’d really appreciate it.
My run streak is broken. A tragedy. See above sickness. I could have ran, I know I could have. But I didn’t. I just wanted to get well! In other related news, my running friend, Morgan from Oregon, has an interest in running Run the Rail. In the late 1990’s, two railroads, the Union Pacific and the Chaparral, decided to cease active service and “railbanked” this stretch of rail bed making it available for non-motorized activities, hence the 6th annual Run the Rail Half Marathon. This year will be the first time a marathon distance is offered. I’m considering running with Morgan, but the decision needs to be made like…NOW…because there’s only 6 weeks until this race and I’m currently training at a max 5k distance.
First day of school takeaway: lunch is the best part of the day. Can’t argue. I guess it was so great she left her thermos in the cafeteria and decided to eat school-offered lunch vice taking her own on the second day. In her defense, Friday was pizza day.
Anybody else remember school pizza? It was amazing!
*No offense intended. As a Navy veteran, it is my goal to educate and promulgate the symbolic nature of our Armed Forces and the men and women who dedicate(d) their literal lives to our country. Thank you all for being my heroes.*
O’dark-thirty: after midnight and before daylight; most typically when people would be deep asleep; not a reference to any particular time. Can also reference any time of day. When underway, unless you go outside, it’s always dark.
1MC: the general announcing system on a ship
Air Force Salute: “I don’t know” shrug of the shoulders; also called an Ensign Salute
“Another Fine Navy Day!”: an expression said (in a very cheery manner) on occasions when, in fact, it is not a Fine Navy Day; compared to “Living the dream!” in civilian-speak. Sarcasm at its best.
Aye, aye: yes (I heard the order, I understand the order, and I intend to obey/carry out the order). “I understand and will comply.”
Battle Group (BG): group of warships and supply ships centered around a large deck aircraft carrier and that carrier’s airwing; usually consists of one cruiser, one supply ship, and one or two destroyers, frigates, and submarines; recently referred to as a Carrier Strike Group (CSG). Ever heard of a battle flag? During ship exercises, if your ship defeated the Battle Group, it was awarded the honor of flying the battle flag. It was huge!
Battle rattle: body armor and helmet. Except it didn’t quite fit 5’4″ females (or most females really) and at the end of watch your spine was collapsing on itself.
Battle Stations: manning condition involving all hands. Assignments are planned out prior to setting the underway watch and posted in the Watch, Quarter, and Station Bill. Assigned personnel go to their assigned stations to do their assigned task in support of fighting the ship in a battle or when there is a credible threat of attack for which the ship must be prepared to fight against. I went through “Battle Stations” at boot camp and it was exhilarating. A true Battle Stations scenario at sea is terrifying. I wish to never relive it.
Beer Day: on many navy ships, even present day, all hands are given 2 beers if they are underway without a port call for a given period of time — generally 45 days; both beers are opened when they are given to the crew member to prevent them from being hoarded
Bravo Zulu: “BZ” was a signal meaning “Well Done.”; it is sometimes used by seniors praising subordinates. In my lofty opinion, it’s not used enough.
Captain’s Mast: Navy term for non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Depending on the rank of the commanding officer involved, the name of the procedure may change to Admiral’s Mast, OIC’s Mast, etc.; “Mast” for short. Make no mistake. Mast is not something you want your name attached to because it can result in you getting kicked out of the Navy.
Carry on: officer’s reply to a junior person’s call to “attention on deck”, meaning all present rise and come to attention as a sign of respect; “Carry on” allows personnel to continue whatever they were doing; also used in a derogatory form once out of the Navy
Chit: document a sailor fills out to make various types of special request (i.e. for emergency leave, or to move off base to civilian housing)
Chow: food. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it wasn’t. However, I was great friends with one of the CS’s (Culinary Specialists) who qualified me as a “Night Bake” so I could bake with him while underway!
Cleaning Stations: an hour-long field day evolution in which everyone drops what they’re doing and cleans their spaces; see “XO’s Happy Hour.” I have a hilarious story re: XO’s Happy Hour but can only tell it in person.
Cover: term for any sort of headgear worn with a uniform
Fan Room: room with a fan or blower; a “closed” space which is often utilized for general mischief away from watchful eyes
Field Day: all hands clean-up; usually lasts on a good day about 3-4 hours (30 min of cleaning and 2-4 hours of mischief/not working)
Killer Tomato: large reddish-orange inflated ball used in gunnery practice at sea
Knee-knockers: passageway opening through a bulkhead – the lower lip of the opening sits at shin height
Mandatory Fun: any command sponsored social event that everyone HAS to attend, or get into big trouble. Not fun. I repeat, not fun.
Mess Decks: Chow Hall or eating establishment on board. Where all the fun stuff happened, like Bingo, when underway. Or illicit poker games.
Midnight Ops: best time to get something done when there are not as many witnesses around. A time of dirty dealings. Also when ladies and gentlemen would sneak out of their racks for mischievous acts.
Mid-Rats: short for midnight rations; food served to the midwatch. Punishment for being on the 0000-0400 watch. Mid-rats was not portion controlled so you could eat as much as you wanted!
Mid-Watch: watch from 0000-0400 (2345-0345), usually results in no sleep before or after this watch. Best part: it was only a 4 hour watch vs the usual 6 hours. Unless it was Daylight Savings Time.
POD (Plan of the Day): official document issued by a command that states all activities occurring that day, from 0000 to 2359; contains the Uniform of the Day. Also called the Possibilities of the Day or Plan of Deception because the plan can change without notice. To get something in the POD took an act of Congress; it was ridiculous.
Port: left side of the boat or ship (when facing the bow); place of arrival for ships
Port and Starboard: a rotation of two duty sections or watch teams, one designated port and the other starboard; generally not considered to be a good situation. (Usually six hours on duty, six hours off duty – during the six hours off you eat and sleep. The usual cycle is: get up, eat, go on watch, get off watch, eat, go to bed. This results in about four hours of sleep per cycle.)
Port and Report: A watch stood without relief. One designated Port, and the other… there is no other, only Port once again, hence the term re-Port
PRT: Physical Readiness Test; a sailor is required to perform a certain number of situps, pushups, and a 1.5-mile run in a given time (which varies based on age and gender); replaced with the PFA. As a Command Fitness Leader, this was my time to lead/coach/train crewmembers to pass the PFA.
PT: Physical Training; a required exercise regimen
Quarterdeck: ceremonial area of the ship used while in port for either boarding, or disembarking the ship, usually found at the main deck level, mid-ship
Quarters: a gathering of all the people in the organization – Quarters can be for the entire command, or just the department, division, or branch. Quarters is used to present awards, pass information, and make every sailor squeeze into their ill-fitting, rarely-worn uniforms at least once a year. “Quarters” also refers to the daily morning muster for each division, announced as “Quarters…Quarters…All hands to Quarters for muster, instruction, and inspection.” Often held outside on the weather decks when not raining. But even sometimes when it did rain.
RAS: (Replenishment At Sea) – the act or process of moving cargo and fuel from a supply ship to a warship via cable while underway I loved RAS’s because, as a Ship-to-Ship Phone talker, I was able to communicate with the supply ship.
Reveille: an announcement over the 1MC at 0600 local time, bugle call, trumpet call or pipes call, most often associated with the military; it is chiefly used to wake military personnel at sunrise Underway, reveille would be music usually decided on by the watch crew which was a great way to wake up!
Roger That: a term of understanding and acceptance when given an order or other information; can be used with varying inflection and tone without consequence to signify enthusiasm or disgruntlement without stepping outside the bounds of professionalism Most often stated in a sarcastic tone.
Scrambled Eggs: gold embroidered decoration on a Commander’s/Captain’s cover
Screaming Alpha: a sailor who is on fire and is running around screaming. Alpha fires leave ash. Bravo fires burn flammable liquids. Charlies are electrical fires, and Deltas burn exotic materials, often metals like magnesium. I’ve never seen someone on fire (small favors) but a fire on my ship was themost traumatic event of my Navy career.
Scuttlebutt: (1) a drinking fountain. (2) generally reliable but incomplete information about a subject. (3) a rumor (because rumors are spread when crew members gather around water fountains); this is the only thing in the universe that can travel faster than light
Shipmate: (1) any fellow sailor. (2) (derogatory) any junior enlisted about to get chewed out. Often a term used derogatorily after discharged from the Navy.
Spooks: Navy Cryptologic Technicians or other service equivalents; may also be applied to civilians from three-letter agencies riding a naval vessel. My people!
Stand By: to wait, can also be to foreshadow chastisement or punishment from a superior
Stand by to stand by: waiting to find out why everyone is waiting for something to maybe happen. All too often this was the case!
Starboard: right side of the boat or ship (when facing the bow)
Steel Beach Picnic: celebration on the weather decks of a ship. Usually involving beer and barbecue. Also included music and hitting golf balls off the bow of the ship. As much fun as can be had underway.
Swab: mop. You will be expected to swab the deck while it rains. Makes good sense, right?
TAPS: announced over the 1MC at 2200 local time, “Taps, Taps…lights out, all hands turn into your bunks, maintain silence about the decks.” “Taps” is a musical piece sounded at dusk, and at funerals, particularly by the U.S. military – it is sounded during flag ceremonies and funerals, generally on bugle or trumpet
UNREP: (Underway Replenishment): the taking of supplies from a supply ship by maneuvering alongside it and passing lines between it and one’s own vessel. A dangerous procedure, often completed in the dark. I know right.
VBSS: (Visit, Board, Search, Seizure): Maritime boarding actions and tactics. I was invited to join the VBSS team because I was fit and relatively easy to get along with (I’m assuming). A joint decision was made to remove the offer when I explained my fear of heights. Another great story to be told in person.
Very well: expression of acknowledgement a senior gives a subordinate. Again, usually inflected with sarcasm.
Watch: a period of duty, usually of four-hours duration, six-hours on submarines. The day at sea has long been divided into watches, which are called: Midwatch or Balls to 4 (0000 to 0400); morning or rev (reveille) watch (0400 to 0800); forenoon watch (0800 to 1200); afternoon watch (1200 to 1600); dog watches (1600-1800 and 1800-2000); and the first watch (2000 to 2400). Oh, watch, a necessary evil with the wrong group, but much fun with the right people.
Working Party: when there is loading of supplies, the Quarterdeck will call for a “working party” to be manned by each division of the ship, the number depending on the task. People were always “skating” out of working parties, especially when it involved cleaning the heads in berthing or some sort of flooding/water on deck situation.
XO’s Happy Hour: a daily, hour-long mandatory cleaning evolution; usually introduced by the XO on the 1MC. Another great story for this!
Zone inspection: a formal inspection of spaces conducted by a team headed by the XO. There was nothing fun about zone inspections because it usually involved someone not in your division and not familiar with any of your spaces telling you how to clean/organize/do something better.