Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Monday, July 25, 2005

There Aren't Any Slimy 'Wogs Here, Are There?

Lubber's Line's post on stealing the XO's door got me thinking about other common pranks on the boats. The most common time for pranks was, of course, during the "'Wog Rebellion" leading up to a Shellback initiation. I crossed the equator five times both ways, and went through three actual ceremonies; the last two as a trusty shellback (both of those were "Golden Shellback" ceremonies, where we crossed the Equator at the International Date Line. My old boat USS Topeka made the news 5 years ago when she was at the intersection of the equator and date line at the "turn of the millennium" -- simultaneously in four hemispheres and two millennia, if you believe that the millennium turned on Jan. 1, 2000, as opposed to a year later.) There are several other types of ceremonies; a fairly complete list is here.

The "Crossing the Line" ceremony is quite entertaining; my profile pic is of me becoming a shellback (wearing my underwear inside out and backwards, just got eggs broken on my head, and about to drink the "truth serum"). During the days leading up to the ceremony, the slimy wogs will frequently try to pull pranks on the trusty shellbacks -- pillows get put in the freezer, guys get pinned up in their racks, etc. I had to stop the wog ELTs from dripping silver nitrate onto the faces of sleeping shellbacks (it leaves a stain that looks like you've been crying -- I said it might get in their eyes). Then, when the ceremony comes around, all the shellbacks get to pay the guilty wogs back, in spades.

For my last ceremony on the Topeka, the XO was a wog. A hairy wog, at that. We shaved the letters "XO" into his back. Several of the more aggressive wogs had half of their eyebrows shaved off. And woe betide the wog who won't confess his sins when brought before King Neptune and his court! (The court includes Davy Jones and "the baby" -- traditionally the fattest shellback on board. You had to eat a cherry out of his peanut butter-covered belly-button; no homoerotic overtones there! Background info on the origins of the court can be found here.) Everyone got to drink the "truth serum" as a matter of course; failure to confess meant you got more. Do this day, I still can't eat okra because of that...

I also observed the ceremony on USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) in 2000; either because of the new Navy "anti-hazing" policies, the presence of alternately-gendered crew members, or both, the ceremony was quite lame; basically the wogs had to crawl through garbage and get washed down with a fire hose. Seeing over 2,000 wogs on crawling around the deck at one time was quite a sight, though -- you won't see that on a submarine!

Here's a good account of a shellback ceremony on USS Cincinnati in 1981. Please put your own memories in the comments...

Going deep...

Bell-ringer 1733 25 July: For pictures of USS Drum's Shellback ceremony, check out here, here, and here. They're quite disturbing... (especially this one, which claims to picture a Chief Sonar Technician of the United States Submarine Force wearing makeup and with what appears to be a license plate covering his bare ass. You normally only see that on liberty...)

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I crossed the equator on the Drum during the 80-81 Westpac. Visit www.ussdrum.org to check out the photos.

7/25/2005 5:08 PM

 
Anonymous The Photograher said...

I don't know what is disturbing about this as we had a blast. You should have seen my Senior Chief upchuck as he crawled through the shoot right next to the deep fat fryers, I got the pictures (Thankfully I didn't tell the guys that crawled through after him). The license plate on Chief Kern's ass was from Guam and as you know (if you have been their) their moto is "Hafa Adai". We used to say "Hafa Adai, Hafa Adai, all Guamanians work half a day" (no disrespect intended). The boat smelled for weeks afterward.

7/26/2005 6:58 PM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

What was most disturbing to me personally is that I did a lot of the same stuff... how do you explain to non-submariners that this was perfectly normal behavior for us?

7/26/2005 7:35 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow thanks for the memories. I did three crossings in the 80-84 time frame on 637 boats. Obviously I couldn't take pictures on my first crossing but as a shell back in charge of scooping up dust pans of vomit and rotting food to place in the back of the wogs undies I took quite a few. I may have to break them out. Did you guys do a half way night?

7/28/2005 6:07 PM

 
Blogger Chap said...

Oy. Navy beans I can't eat no moah. The SDVT-1 guys were aboard, mostly all wogs, and they ate it up (so to speak).

But the next six hours on the scope without much of a shower (cleaned up fast but that type of dirt requires reestablishing Level 1 cleanliness in all those hidden spots) cinched it--I won't enjoy navy beans for a good long while.

7/29/2005 11:56 PM

 
Anonymous FC2(SW) STONE said...

My Ship USS Port Royal CG-73 is crossing the line right now. The rules have turned ultra gay. The wog's can't crawl, duck walk, do any push up's and situp's, No food or any product can touch them other than salt water. No swearing, no crossdressing, no hurting their self esteem, nothing that might humiliate them. Us Trusty Shellback's are really baffeled on what we can do. Not even sea dye! They will jump in a....get this....POOL OF SALT WATER OHHH NOOOOOOOO. When they have WOG BREAKFAST they will walk to the galley and grab their legitimate breakfast comproised of egg's and bacon on a paper plate and walk to the focsle to eat with their HAND's OH NO. I guess it's better than the other ship's in our battle group who are basically handing out the certificates and having a steel beach picnic. I don't know what the hell is happening to our fine navy. A bunch of sniveling pussies are taking control somehow. I was telling them how can we be required to PT 3 times a week (which I tell you most don't do) yet we can't make them even do that. I went through it 2 year's ago on the same ship but different CO, XO, and CMC and we did all of the down and dirty nitty gritty beatdown day and night. I loved it it was great. Even the XO was a wog. They will wake up at ^AM at REVILLE to start the ceremony off past when Davey Jones comes aboard. I know we started our beatdown initiation as soon as Davey came aboard for a good 40 hours straight. now it's start's a 6 AM and goes on till 10AM the same day. WHAT HAPPENED TO TRADITION!

3/03/2006 5:48 AM

 
Blogger Razlin said...

In 2002 onboard USS Denver (LPD-9) we had a wog day where I had to crawl through the ship while being sprayed with a fire hose until we got to the flight deck. On the flight deck we had all sorts of PT, punishment and being thrown back. Crawled through food, garbage, and other smelly stuff. Had to swim through the muck and get to Neptune. The NAVY needs to get back to allowance of hazing. You don't want to be hazed then you're a wog forever. Only those who earn the title shall be honored.

7/29/2009 6:02 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The rules have turned ultra gay. The wog's can't crawl, duck walk, do any push up's and situp's, No food or any product can touch them other than salt water. No swearing, no crossdressing, no hurting their self esteem, nothing that might humiliate them."---------
I do not understand, why seamen are not ashamed of this mockery at self and companions and even are proud of it! If victim suffer it from fear of a beating and violence (and those who resists, beat and torment more strongly, so?), they cowards and немужественны. If voluntary they masochists also are mentally unhealthy.
Also shellbacks are dissatisfied that the heads now forbid it, and they cannot mock at pollywogs the same as scoffed at them and it is cowardly to break on them a rage instead of revenging offenders!

Speak as if to sustain this ceremony - a sign of courage and ability to maintain heartrending experiences. But one business - simply to suffer hunger, a cold, a hard work and different discomfort, and absolutely another - to bear HUMILIATIONS! It proves not force, but only cowardice and disrespect for suffering. And all this ceremony also is humiliation. And its victim show not the courage, but cowardice, weakness and shortage of respect for.

Also that is still bad - a victim of this ceremony then, of course, wish to vent a rage on someone. Whether it be mockery over captured, how in Abu-Grejb (Lindi Inglend and others after all simply repeated what with them the senior companions did with defenceless Iraqis?); fights ;((, a beating of the wives, mistresses and children or mockery at subordinates. That is why this ritual and others similar to it followed forbid absolutely.

Only because the heads have forbidden it, and that would scoff over pollywogs, as earlier. But also as it stands this ceremony is rather humiliating and opposite, it is good though that now is forbidden to force to participate in it ;)

5/09/2010 1:47 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The rules have turned ultra gay. The wog's can't crawl, duck walk, do any push up's and situp's, No food or any product can touch them other than salt water. No swearing, no crossdressing, no hurting their self esteem, nothing that might humiliate them."--------
I do not understand, why seamen are not ashamed of this mockery at self and companions and even are proud of it! If victim suffer it from fear of a beating and violence (and those who resists, beat and torment more strongly, so?), they cowards and немужественны. If voluntary they masochists also are mentally unhealthy.
Also shellbacks are dissatisfied that the heads now forbid it, and they cannot mock at pollywogs the same as scoffed at them and it is cowardly to break on them a rage instead of revenging offenders!

Speak as if to sustain this ceremony - a sign of courage and ability to maintain heartrending experiences. But one business - simply to suffer hunger, a cold, a hard work and different discomfort, and absolutely another - to bear HUMILIATIONS! It proves not force, but only cowardice and disrespect for suffering. And all this ceremony also is humiliation. And its victim show not the courage, but cowardice, weakness and shortage of respect for.

Also that is still bad - a victim of this ceremony then, of course, wish to vent a rage on someone. Whether it be mockery over captured, how in Abu-Grejb (Lindi Inglend and others after all simply repeated what with them the senior companions did with defenceless Iraqis?); fights ;((, a beating of the wives, mistresses and children or mockery at subordinates. That is why this ritual and others similar to it followed forbid absolutely.

Only because the heads have forbidden it, and that would scoff over pollywogs, as earlier. But also as it stands this ceremony is rather humiliating and opposite, it is good though that now is forbidden to force to participate in it ;)

5/09/2010 1:48 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All shellback initiations after 2000 were weak.. 2000 was the year of the new navy.

4/16/2014 12:51 PM

 

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