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.)

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Hazing Fallout

A couple of stories about "hazing" in the Navy have hit the news lately. The most recent is the case on the minesweeper USS Patriot (MCM 7) where, apparently (this is based on one opinion piece in Navy Times) six Sailors are getting ADSEP'd for "tacking on" crows. It seems to me that, unless the CO had specifically told the crew that anyone tacking on crows would get administratively separated, that seems a little harsh -- especially when one considers this article on the official Navy website about officially-sanctioned "tacking" ceremonies (obviously without the bruising associated with the tradition of 10-20 years ago). I can only imagine what the Navy would do to someone who participated in a dolphin "tacking" (without the backing studs) or "drinking your dolphins" ceremony.

Meanwhile, we're waiting to hear what, if anything, will come of the reported story about hazing on USS Tennessee (SSBN 734) while the boat was in the shipyard. Has anyone heard anything about that one?

Do you think that the old "camaraderie-building" stunts we used to pull had any positive effects, or were they just a way to bully the new guys? I went through Shellback ceremonies both "before PC" and after, and thought the "before" version was a lot better (even though I was the 'Wog for that one).


Blogger John Byron said...

For those who will say that tacking on crows and whales is 'old navy,' take it from someone from the old navy: such things were not done before the '60s. Drink whales yes. Cigars handed out when promoted yes. But promotions and qualification were treated as positive and handled as such, without physical punishment thrown in.

Somehow i think such new 'old' traditions are abusive and suggest that the abusers suffer from teenie weenie syndrome.

7/22/2011 5:22 PM

Blogger Ross Kline said...

I never had a problem with tacking on my fish or my crow. I felt that most people tacked them on with reasonable force, and with no intent to cause harm.
There were some that tried to hurt others. I didn't say anything because I really didn't think it was all that important.
I would gladly get my fish and crows tacked on again. You CAN tack on without it turning into assault.
This is what happens when you draw a line in the sand. Someone is going to cross it just to see what happens. I don't worry about PC. I worry about the total lack of common sense. If these guys broke ribs while tacking on fish, then toss them out. If the tackee's arm was numb for a week, charge them with assault. But if these tacks were like the ones I got (and gave) then this is way over the top.

7/22/2011 6:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RD, how old are you? Ain't you the guy who told us about rampant alcoholism among WW2 sub skippers?

7/22/2011 7:19 PM

Blogger John Byron said...


7/22/2011 7:23 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

When I qualified in the mid sixties the traditions were "drinking dolphins" at your wetting down party (at your expense) and being thrown overboard by the crew. I got to do that in 40 degree water in Yokosuka in March 1966. My wetting down party occurred at Lockwood Hall in Pearl after we returned from WESPAC. One of my favorite moments was when a Commander who was a late arrival to the submarine force in the mid sixties qualified and was tossed over the side in Pearl Harbor. He climbed up the ladder on the pier and proceeded to hug his moomoo clad wife while soaking wet. Needless to say, the crew loved that scene. I still remember seeing the xray pictures of a set of dolphins in some sailor's windpipe in the CSP news letter when that practice was officially outlawed. Ever resourceful, the sailors then made sure that the newly qualified person caught the dolphins in his teeth so he wasn't "really drinking them."
I don't think "tacking" became a "tradition" until the mid to late eighties after it was shown in a movie where the actor marines tacked on a combat pin on a new awardee.
Obviously, my crossing the line ceremonies occurred before any PC restrictions. However, the Pollywog revolt and the initiation ceremony were properly planned by the wardrooms and goat lockers on all my subs to insure that no one was hurt and those who chose to were allowed not to participate. They went to a specific bunk area so that they would be out of the line of fire. They also did not receive the page 13 entry or the certificate. This practice held true for any Bluenose ceremonies as well. I still have the scripts for the blue nose ceremonies in my personal files.

7/22/2011 7:36 PM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

I do believe that the "old camaraderie-building" stunts did serve a purpose in terms of shared experiences with those who had "gone before". Once initiated then you felt like you had achieved something with which you could relate to "history, tradition and the experience". But with all things, as the shifting sands of time move forward then the old traditions become measured by different standards. This is especially true as the stakes of the end game change. This change was happening even as the cold war was still on but winding down.
Recall a CYA message from SUBPAC about crossing the line ceremonies received about 20 hours after crossing and a good 12 hours after the ceremony.
That was early in the senior leadership PC movement which has exponentially expanded ever since. Thankfully I've been on the side lines for well over a decade.

7/22/2011 8:26 PM

Blogger SJV said...

I don't see how crossing a longitude line or the equator is an achievement to celebrate. The water's pretty much the same on both sides. But, ceremonies and halfway nights were a great diversion from the boredom of underway time.

7/22/2011 9:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that the dealings had anything to do with people getting their Fish tacked on... it was the lack their of. One of the Non-Quals that may or may not have been involved, was speeding around on his Ninja in the middle of the day without a helmet, cut a turn to tight flipped the thing tore himself up pretty good, and may have trashed his bike. All blatant disregards for another well written and overemphasized "Navy Guideline" and a great show of Common Sense. Not really the guy I would want loading ADCAPs. All in all at least the boat is at sea doing what its meant to be doing without the threat of an at-sea incident with the ones who had a little harder time adjusting to the lifestyle than the rest of us did. After all everyone has it the worst. Best of luck to the Men on the Tennessee, and enjoy your new home port!

-Former Shipmate

7/22/2011 10:43 PM

Anonymous 3383 said...

Got crow in early '85. I thought it was stupid, but if classmates or friends wanted to good-naturedly hit my arm, fine. If I didn't know them, or it was some asshole getting his jollies, I didn't allow it. Smaller sailors might've felt more pressure to allow it.

Golden dragon certification was mostly over by the time I got off watch, but it was entertaining. And resembled not at all the ceremony depicted in my dad's cruise book.

I think the worst problem with hazing is not knowing where to draw the line. Death, even by excessive water drinking, should not be a possible outcome of a celebration. And if it isn't a celebration, what is the purpose?

7/22/2011 11:33 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: "I don't think "tacking" became a "tradition" until the mid to late eighties after it was shown in a movie where the actor marines tacked on a combat pin on a new awardee."

"Tacking on" was happening in the 70's and for the most part, was sensible. However, there were always one or two sadistic assholes!

As for the various crossing ceremonies, they were a distraction from the monotony.

Old chief from the dark ages

7/23/2011 12:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

TENN's MMW division was decimated. The senior guys are likely to get walking papers & the junior guys are being spread out among other boats. Sub quals through choking out is just not acceptable...and that is what the senior TM's were doing to the baby TM's if they didn't know the right answer during a checkout.

7/23/2011 12:46 AM

Anonymous Stsc said...

My third class crow was tacked on by easily well over two hundred guys at the training base (push button third) I received it at. My dolphins were tacked by almost the whole crew of my first boat. Second class crow tacked by maybe 2-3 dozen, and first class by fewer than a dozen (& mostly token taps). I don't think there is any place for it in our Navy anymore. Getting hit a few hundred or a few dozen times didn't make me a better Sailor. Whacking someone else definitely made me a poorer one in retrospect. A heartfelt handshake with congratulations and possibly a wetting down in moderation work just as well.

I was hazed most of my first year on the boat and endured it. Guilty of perpetuating some myself afterwards until I grew up. Stuff like what happened on the Tenn (Sleeper hold? Come on, we are better than that) has no place in our force.

7/23/2011 1:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Putting a shipmate in a sleeper hold? What kind of queer shit is that?

7/23/2011 6:54 AM

Anonymous Boomer games said...

"Then the Chief put Jones in a sleeper hold, and by the time he woke up, Chief's ___ was crammed in Jones' ___."

7/23/2011 7:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a problem with the Sailors going against the direct orders from their CO. It isn't just the fact that people want to bring up hazing, the CO specifically re-enforced the Navy's policy on hazing, and they did it anyway.

7/23/2011 7:16 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7/23/2011 7:45 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...

I was in the Navy for a couple of years and I was an electrician stationed on an aircraft carrier. We happened to be out to sea for my birthday one year and when I got off of watch, a couple of buddies cornered me in switch gear, taped me up, hung me upside down by my ankles and posed for pictures like I was a fish out of water. When I was finally taken down, blood vessels in my eye lids had busted.
This happened right after I had a bucket of water poured on my head down in the MMR. Other than some of the ports we pulled into, that was one of my most memorable experiences, and I have never forgotten it. These were my friends and we had something to laugh about when we were homesick or life was just plain crappy. I seriously doubt that in the age of the "modern Navy" that people would risk hazing people that they do not like.

Anyway, fast forward a couple of years to the shipyard. A friend of mine got masted for hazing. She was essentially "tricked" into taping another gal up. Granted she should have been a smarter about taping her up, for instance, not in the shipyard but she was ratted out because the girl did not like my friend, and she had no clue.. Not only that, her mast was a public mast and the CMC berated her about her uniform and how ill fitting it was while the CO read the definition of hazing. For me the command was doing the very thing to her that the Navy so adamantly opposes, and it still makes me angry when I think about it. She was punished and humiliated in front of about 2000 people, and I thought leadership were supposed to punish in private and praise in public.
I was all ready on my out of the Navy, but this absolutely sealed the deal for me.

So, in not so many words, I think hazing is great if people are not stupid about it. It passes the time, builds friendships, and in general, you quickly learn who you can and cannot joke around with. I am not saying be mean or vindictive because in my experience, we had fun. Except for the mast. My job was not to hold the hands of the guys who could not handle being there. They were wasted space anyway, and would find a way to leave.

7/23/2011 7:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"TENN's MMW division was decimated. The senior guys are likely to get walking papers & the junior guys are being spread out among other boats. Sub quals through choking out is just not acceptable...and that is what the senior TM's were doing to the baby TM's if they didn't know the right answer during a checkout."

While hazing can be construed as a variety of "traditions" this is far from hazing. I characterize this as assault and I hope those responsible see the inside of the brig before being sent walking.


7/23/2011 7:49 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

As a crewmember, I'd say that whatever is the prevailing custom in a boat is OK with me.

But as a CO, I would worry greatly about 'traditions' that get out of hand, accidentally or because some bozo wanted to go a bit past common sense and proper regard for a shipmate.

We're seeing COs put in jeopardy, divisions ripped apart, the chain of command having to spend time on this trivia, and the Navy's public image put at risk just to entertain a few sailors who think they can invent tradition. Anything that's been called hazing by higher authority is hazing. It's forbidden and those who ignore this are ignoring a lawful order. So be it and tough shit for those who get hammered for it.

I was third officer in a boat and working for the very best CO in my entire experience when I was directed by the Squadron to conduct a one-man informal JAG investigation of allegations that three of the boat's enginemen greased a fourth. Or, as the charging letter said, 'sodomized Fireman Schmutz with a grease gun.' It took some truly tricky legal footwork to satisfy the spirit and the letter of the informal one-man Jag's requirements while at the same time protecting the future of a superb skipper and keeping the guilty (guilty as sin they were) from getting their peepees hammered harder than the dumb shits deserved. Pulled it off, but a near run thing. That's what happens when any word of any hazing incident finds its way into public view off the boat. And for those of you who might think this was a recent PC issue, the date was 1976.

7/23/2011 8:00 AM

Anonymous Stsc said...

After sodomizing a shipmate with a grease gun, they'd deserve Leavenworth. Shocked and dismayed that you worked to ensure their punishment was mitigated in any way, RD. I was in fear of 'greasing' as a nub - a practice still threatened in the early 90's.

Put up with staples driven into my arm, hand mashed in a vise until I cried 'uncle', and stabbed with a 10 PT divider multiple times as a non-qual. Didn't mind being taped to my chair, posted in my rack, or many other hijinks, but never appreciated being hurt. When a TM came at me with a grease gun, I said no friggin' way and told him I'd shoot him next time I had watch if he touched me with it.

Why any officer would work to keep the perpetrators from getting their peepees smacked as hard as possible in such a case just to protect another officer is disappointing. RD, what did you consider appropriate punishment for the Enginemen sodomizers and what was 'harder than they deserved'?

7/23/2011 8:52 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...

Taping someone up, water fights, frogging a person or other harmless (to me) acts like that are not the issue. When someone does it with malicious intent, then that is a problem.

Once a CPO or other leadership is told about said hazing, action has to be taken, and that is what happened in my friends circumstance. Something had to be done because the "victims" chief was told.

I did not agree with the public mast because she was hazes in front of everyone. The definition of hazing, as defined by the Navy, was read and then the CMC who was a female, proceeded to rip her a new one about how she looked. Sure your uniform should be squared away if you are going to be masted, but she endured being yelled out for ten minutes over the state of her uniform before they even started to talk about her offenses. That girl was all ready a nervous wreck for being masted in front of ship's company so she could not even defend herself without her words being twisted. It was wrong, and I adamantly disagree with public mast. They are not funny, and no one learns any lessons from them. People just sit around and talk about the funny crap that was said while it was absolutely meant to be degrading.

I am a big believer of leading by example, and if Navy leadership does crap like that, then I do not blame anyone for losing faith in their chain of command.

7/23/2011 9:49 AM

Anonymous 20 Year Quitter said...

Tacking on anything is not a sign of respect, a team building exercise, or part of naval tradition. It’s just another way to bully someone using peer pressure. Anyone remember October 18, 1994? 21-year-old Dennis O'brien put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, all because of getting his fish tacked on. I have never supported hazing another shipmate and refused several hazing rituals myself; tacking on my crows and fish, bluenose, shellback and refused to participate in the traditional “Initiation” night. The flack I got from my “brothers” from that one finally opened my eyes that the leadership in the Navy was broken and will always be broken as long as we allow sailors to tarnish our core values.
20 year Quitter (the nickname my “brothers” gave me)

7/23/2011 9:52 AM

Blogger John Byron said...

stcs: It didn't get past grabass nor was it intended to, did not meet the 'penetration however slight' standard, the greasee wasn't the one who registered a complaint and he wanted it all to go away with no repercustions for anyone. I know what the skipper, the XO, and the Eng thought as well as the engine-house chief and the COB. As we all thought proper, we kept the punishment in house and the squadron off our back. YMMV, but there was nothing in it at the end of the investigation to warrant anything more.

7/23/2011 11:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had my crows (3rd, 2nd, 1st) and dolphins tacked on in the late 80s. Only one asshole I remember in all of those. I never saw the point of any of it, so when I "tacked" on anything, it was just a token punch with a handshake - IF I respected the guy. If I didn't respect them, I didn't do anything.

As far as hazing in general, if it causes intentional physical harm, it shouldn't be permitted. If it's just locker room hijinks, who cares? Too many PC fairies have ruined what should be used to curtail countless hours of sheer monotony.

And speaking of fairies: Putting a shipmate in a sleeper hold? What kind of queer shit is that?

I'm guessing that after Friday's certificiation we've only begun to see the queer shit.

7/23/2011 11:32 AM

Anonymous Stsc said...

If no penetration then I agree RD. NJP and move on.

7/23/2011 11:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I so agree with Anon at 7/23/2011 11:32 AM. Additionally, nobody tacked my dolphins on with anything more than what he said, a token punch and a handshake. The guys who had things seriously tacked on were usually supreme dickheads.

7/23/2011 1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

20 Year Quitter said "Anyone remember October 18, 1994? 21-year-old _____________ put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, all because of getting his fish tacked on."

Sorry 20 year - tacking got some blame, but it wasn't the reason he pulled the trigger. Lot more than that!

7/23/2011 2:47 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a raghat, I had my crows tacked on. As an Officer, I watched then LT John Richardson drink his dolphins at the Mare Island O'Club. These were traditions, Gentlemen. Not always easy, but not hazing and not assault! The one asshole that tacked my PO2 crow on hard took one back in the chin immediately...from my PO1. When done in fun and good intent, they were good...

7/23/2011 2:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

20 Year Quitter said "Anyone remember October 18, 1994? 21-year-old _____________ put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger, all because of getting his fish tacked on."

Sorry 20 year - tacking got some blame, but it wasn't the reason he pulled the trigger. Lot more than that!

If this is the same incident in PH in the Competent, he got a Dear John. Relieved the topside watch, pulled the .45, loaded it, chambered a round and you know the rest.

7/23/2011 3:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe he is talking about the LA...don't tack on dolphins in Competent! :)

7/23/2011 4:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crossed the equator with an XO that later made four-star. Only seven or eight shellbacks onboard before the ceremony. CO and XO played along smartly, non-participants (only one or two) were protected, and everyone had a good time. It was a great boost for crew morale, in large part because of the way the CO, XO, and Goat Locker handled it. It almost always is on good boats.

7/23/2011 7:41 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Went through crow tacking, golden shellback ceremony, CPO initiation, and various other such rites of passage, because that is what was done. Were all meaningless to me. However, a good time was always had by others. Seemed to overall boost morale whenever it went on.

Trouble with all of them is, if a firm hand isn't kept on all of them, they quickly ramp up out of control. Including the hallowed CPO initiation.

If not strictly prohibited, some will get out of control, because a firm enough watch won't be kept. Not possible to watch everything all the tiime. So, the choice is, either live with them and occasional fallout, or go the strict no-no route.

As for pinning on dolphins, the CO of one sub heled a dolphin ceremony on board on a dependents cruise, announced to the dependents present that some wimps were against the fine tradition of pinning, and pinned on the guys dolphins. No negative feedback at all occurred.

Only ever participated in, or even really knew of from more than sea stories, one ass greasing. At a small party in housing, 3 different snipe ratings and a twidget. (and wives) Twidget said no one would ever grease his ass. His wife went into the kitchen and brought out the Crisco... it was messy, and in her living room to clean up. Alcohol was involved.

7/23/2011 10:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

{I don't think "tacking" became a "tradition" until the mid to late eighties after it was shown in a movie where the actor marines tacked on a combat pin on a new awardee.}

This. AFAIK, "tacking" is not a true Navy tradition, but some dumb crap borrowed from the Marines - movie Marines, no less! For that reason alone, it should be stamped out - we have our own traditions.

Wetting down, for example, makes much more sense and is a true Navy tradition because it involves teamwork and good humor, not mindless idiocy.

7/23/2011 10:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's probably worth separating command authorized ceremonies such as shellback and bluenose from unauthorized things like tacking, blood wings, and greasing. SECNAVINST 1610.2A para 5b reads as follows:
"Military customs and traditions have long been an
integral part of the Navy and Marine Corps. Although in the past some hazing has occurred in conjunction with ceremonies, initiations or rites of passage, these activities, if properly supervised, can be effective leadership tools to instill esprit de corps, unit cohesion and respect for an accomplishment of
another Sailor or Marine. While most ceremonies commemorate the many selfless feats of bravery of our military men and women, they also commemorate significant events. These feats and
events form the basis upon which our Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment were founded. Graduations, chiefs’ initiations, “crossing-the-line” ceremonies, and others are only meant to celebrate and recognize the achievements of individual
Sailors or Marines or those of entire units. Service members must be able to work together, building–up, encouraging, and supporting their shipmates. Hazing behavior that is degrading, embarrassing or injurious is unprofessional and illegal. "

It is possible to run a good traditional ceremony which is fun and inside the regs, yet still humbling and memorable for those participating. This can be done without demeaning or assaulting anyone.

Tacking and greasing is assault plain and simple. No need to try and rope in ceremonies (almost always optional in the event some Sailor choose not to participate) which commemorate major ship events with rogue inappropriate behavior.

From the sound of the posts so far, it sounds like assault has never been OK and well intentioned ceremoies always have.

7/24/2011 2:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 10:46 P.M.

Apparently your knowledge of the Submarine Force goes back only to the mid-1980s. I can attest that tacking on dolphins and crows goes back well before that.

Another event that was commonplace then was tossing somebody from the pier into the drink when they were promoted, got engaged, etc. That practice got killed off rather quickly and firmly around 1980, probably because someone got seriously injured.

7/24/2011 9:13 AM

Anonymous portnstarboard said...

I qualified on fast attacks in 1982. I worked hard and did it in 9 months and would have done it in 8 if I hadn't had to wait a month to qualify on the range. I considered it an honor to have my dolphins tacked on. Not a single man took it too far; it was accompanied by smiles and handshakes the whole way.

During my time spent on pigboats as a hardcore fast attack submarine sailor there was occasionally some guy who I thought was an absolute putz so I refused to tack his dolphins on. When I was in this was a big insult. If your shoulder didn't feel a bit sore because so many guys snubbed you by not tacking your fish on then you were a fucking hoser.

At any rate I can understand how a lot of pussies who serve today (and from what I have read some of those who have posted here) could be upset with getting your fish tacked on. But we were going toe to toe with the Soviet Navy back in those days and were all fast attack tough. However today we don't want to do anything that might be considered a male thing. Tell me, have they passed Navy Regs yet stating that each man will now sit to pee? If not then standby, it's coming.

But as some have stated, times change. OK then, let me see if I can get into the new swing of things. I know, how bout doing away with the antiquated tradition of saluting. I submit that being forced to salute is a form a hazing and should be done away with in a expedited manner. What's that I hear? A bunch of pussy O-Gangers sucking in a quick breath?!

7/24/2011 2:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guarantee you I hated being saluted more then you hated saluting! The worst was trying to make it to the galley and back in Charleston with all the brand new A-schoolers running around saluting every bit of gold in sight.

Or the DILDO's insisting those of us who were actually officers but merely O-1's salute them because of their vast experience teaching power school for two years has resulted in them reaching the exalted rank of O-2. I always blew those idiots off.

Count me as one O-ganger who thinks saluting is a waste of time, energy, and effort and needs to go away. But what do I know, I am just an LT

7/24/2011 8:53 PM

Anonymous T said...

What is it with some enlisted guys thinking that Officers get a hard on for saluting? I hated saluting!

Enlisted guys often forget that, as an officer, you have to salute literally 95+% of the people you walk by. As an enlisted guy you salute... officers only. As an officer, you salute every officer above you, every officer below you, and every enlisted person you walk past. "getting saluted" is not nearly as cool as some enlisted guys seems to think we think it is

7/24/2011 8:55 PM

Anonymous portnstarboard said...

I never had any problem at all with saluting, anon. I was sarcastically offering up suggestions as to what traditions the Senior Brass could look at next in the spirit of doing away with things.

You see, if it is some tradition that the Brass likes then it is holy and inviolate regardless of how ridiculous it might be. But if some tradition should fall from favor, why then it is run down and scoffed at as though it never really made any sense in the first place and it is only now when everyone is just so much smarter, taller, better looking and having bigger tits that this has become apparent.

7/25/2011 6:09 AM

Anonymous NHSparky said...

Got my crow tacked on for PO3, PO2, and PO1. Most were cool about it, but there's always one in every crowd, as they say. What did I take away from it? Love tap and a handshake as a means of congratulating the newly promoted shipmate. Same with dolphins. You don't need to embed the pins in his chest so deep there are still scars (as I have.)

I think Erica had it right--when it becomes unwanted, it's hazing. If it's physically damaging, it's assault and hazing. Consider we treat our shipmates worse than prisoners at Gitmo, and we see how apoplectic the liberals and media get over that.

And as far as the LA goes, same's same. Our topside watch on my first boat blew his head off too back in 1990, but not for hazing. However, we all learned there's a fine line between mentoring and TORmentoring.

7/25/2011 7:32 AM

Blogger Vigilis said...

About saluting below decks:

Wearing of uniform hats on duty like skimmers will eventually be required on boomers with female officers in crew. NOTE: Traditionally, U.S. submariners have not been required to wear hats (yes, even ballcaps) below decks, such as in a submerged submarines. Such ridiculous formalities from the rigid surface navy have been a distinguishing feature of the U.S. Submarine Service since its early inception.

7/25/2011 9:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the 1994 incident was the USS Los Angeles suicide. Nub earned his dolphins, division tacked them on, he did NOT complain. COB saw bruised chest wanted to make example of whomever did the tacking. Bruised chest guy refused to implicate anyone. Alot of bullshit. Boat was locked down because of it. COB verbally threatened bruised chest guy with physical hard. Brusied chest guy wrote long letter. Then took watch topside and committed suicide.

I know the topside watch on Hawkbill (SKSN) shot him self after receiveing Dear John letter about late 95 early 96. I was on boat sitting Sierra 12 in PH and they were at 21A or 21B right behind floating drydock. Saw after math about 5 minutes afterwards.

7/25/2011 9:25 AM

Blogger Frank Dellario said...

I remember being hung upside down from a chain-hoist, shirt pulled down over my head (we nuke mm's loved chain-hoists). Chiefs would walk by with a "What-sup guys" and wouldn't bat an eyelash (except for the occasional "Stop hanging around lolly-gaggin' Dellario.")

Quite a bit later our chief barks "Where's Dellario?! There he is, let him down, he's got his annual nuke physical in half an hour." Eye brows went up, the prussian blue came out (you remember that stuff, it stains stainless steal) and in no-time a work-of-art female face was painted on my chest. My nipples where the pupils of her eyes, her luscious lips painted around my navel for her mouth.

Yea, I made it to my physical on time but the icing on the cake, the doc was a female Lt. I wouldn't give up those stories of rites of passage for anything.

7/25/2011 11:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Vigilis, I would love to hear your logic tying female on submarines to wearing covers and saluting below decks. That's quite a leap. Evel Kenivel couldn't make that leap.

On second thought, I don't want to know.

7/25/2011 11:57 AM

Blogger askelfarm said...

I got crows tacked on, got my dolphins tacked on, and when "qualified" ESWS (SW), I felt like something was missing. No one tacked them on!! I had no problem with any of it. Shellback, Blue Nose, no problem there. Did some take it too far??? Sure, but for gods sake, this is the United States Navy, a branch on the military, ya know, a fighting force??? Suck it up wimps! To me this was a good thing! I was proud of my accomplishments. Yup, as a nub, I even got greased. I am not traumatically damaged from any of these 'hazings'. All in all it sure beats a frigin' bullet hole as some of our other forces face everyday. Get over yourselves! Kinder gentler military fighting force IS an oxymoron.

OS1(SS/SW) (former MT2/SS) (retired)

7/25/2011 12:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heard about a division "tacking" on a crow the old/right way. The division chief brought all of the other qualified guys into the Chief's quarters in presence of other chiefs. They each sewed one or two thread loops then left, then the next and the CPO finished the sewing job..I thought this was the right way, but apparently the CO still considered this harrassment/hazing because of the connotation of "tacking," and issued several LORs. This is the point CO's are going to now to cover themselves, absolute garbage.

7/25/2011 12:58 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

"Wearing of uniform hats on duty like skimmers will eventually be required on boomers with female officers in crew."

You can do great leaps in logic, that make absoutlelty no sense. What does females in subs have to do with wearing hats?

The wearing of hats when underway was done away with in the surface navy at about Zumalts time (with the exception of entering and leaving port). At sea hats are an option. In port below decks they are an option. Only the watch sections must wear them. Everyone inport must wear them topside as I believe submarines do also.

Anway what does all this hats adn saluting have to do with hazing which is what this thread started out as.

7/25/2011 1:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The event on the USS TENNESSEE is a complete joke. The individuals in the TM div accused of hazing were cleared by NCIS and the command had a knee jerk reaction and reopened the case. There was another div that had a non-qual say he was made to wrestle to prove himself. That non-qual was fine and never said a word to anyone until he was told that he was not going to get medically disqualified. He told his mommy and she called the recruiter and crap hit the fan. There is no evidence just hear say and the LPO is going to mast over it. Its a sad day to see someone that has 13 yrs in and some non-qual trashes his name because he wants out of the sub force. What a wonderful navy! NOT

7/25/2011 2:43 PM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

Anon at 2:43 PM-hard to believe we have sunk that low. IF any of what you write is really happening then we have a serious leadership testosterone problem. I will refrain from any more "Monday morning quarterbacking" as I am not there.

7/25/2011 4:53 PM

Blogger Erica R. said...

Actually, the only time we were required to wear covers was when we were in port. They were optional when we were not on the hangar bay or on the flight deck, and definitely not on the mess decks. Otherwise they were FOD.
Watch standers in the engine room were not required to wear covers. Gasp, we were allowed to take our utility shirts off and just wear t- shirts. Once upon a time we could fold our poopy suits down too, but that was considered unprofessional so it was done away with when the new RO came in.
I do not know how top siders did things when standing watch but that is how Reactor Department ran, and there were quite a few women who worked there.

7/25/2011 7:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nothing like a bunch of whiny NUBS to Fu(k your day up!!!!!!!!!!! It really sucks for all those HARD working GO NAVY SUB men out there, to have some dumb ass "Baby Head" (nub) who only wants out of the navy and try and take others careers from them. To get the POINT stay out of the NAVY if you are still attached to your mommys boobies!!! If you cant be a man STAY OUT, if you dont want to go through getting your dolphins tacked STAY OUT (which to many is a honor), if you cant handle life at sea STAY OUT. There are so many "kids" coming into the navy crying about this that and the other. Lets call it like it is, THIS IS THE NAVY, THEY ARE MEN, IT IS HARD, AND THEY LOOSE ALOT OF TIME WITH THERE FAMILYS. I remember very well the day a man shot himself in the head on my dads submarine because he would not tell who tacked his dolphins, I for one think the navy needs to go back to the days of the good old boys days where the navy meant something to you and your family. To be clear a NUB is a None Usable Body, meaning they are not qualified to stand a watch. In ending this GO NAVY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!♥♥♥

7/26/2011 8:54 AM

Anonymous John Martin said...

TACKING ON- Well... For anyone who had to repeat a Qual Board(present company excluded)... The Qualification Program when I was in was pretty Arduous as it stood. I agree with a lot of you that for the most part, it was a sign of "welcome to the CLUB" from most on the boat. However, there were those few(and I agree with another commenter) "Teenie Weanie" Syndromer's who thought they had to push your Dolphins through your chest so they would display on your back. But.... here's the deal. When I received my fish (underway.. so NO ESCAPE or BREAK).. I was getting/taking some pretty good poundings. There came a point when a T.W. Hit me that it did indeed hurt all the way through to my back(this was after about 6-8 hours of occasional pounding already). So to make a long story just a little bit longer, I took them off, and told anyone and everyone else that came to partake after that I wasn't letting anyone else tack them on until it quit hurting and they were welcome to wait until then. I was in my late 20's so (wasn't a kid trying to make sure I fit in)... I was a grown man and KNEW when "I" felt, enough was enough. BUT... on a Personal Note, ESPECIALLY after running the Qualification Program on my 2nd Boat - The Qualification Program, when run to make new Bubbleheads learn the ship so that come any incident or accident they become part of the solution instead of the problem is TOUGH ENOUGH. The Board often times NERVE WRACKING ENOUGH, that once someone gets through it... instead of bruising the shit out of there chest and seeing if you can make the pins break through the keepers.. a SOLID, HEARTY, WELL-DONE and WELCOME TO THE CLUB Handshake would invite someone into the Fraternity of Bubbleheads just fine... and I would bet that it would help to ensure that the next dink, non-qual puke that learns the boat... Becomes - PART OF THE SOLUTION as well!!!

7/26/2011 9:27 AM

Anonymous MustangLDO said...

I was helped to tack on every crow, my dolphins, and spent a long hour taped to the overhead of radio until my sea dad showed up with a courier letter to sign for me...since I had secret stamped on my forehead. All good fun and I wasn't harmed; too much.
Seems that I remember being told that the tradition of tacking crows originated because the old sailing Navy didn't have our modern seamstress services and the crew members would welcome new Petty Officers into the fold by each taking a turn sewing on their new crows onto the uniform. As the story goes, this later became a simple touch of the crow after the need to hand stitch the new rank went away with the uniform requirement to have it machine applied. That simple touch of course became perverted into the sometimes feloneous assaults that we have seen since the mid-80's.
Anyone else been told that bit of Navy folklore?

7/26/2011 9:52 AM

Blogger DDM said...

Tacking on crows or Dolphins with the intent to inflict pain: Dumb

Stopping Shellback, Bluenose, etc ceremonies because they are "hazing": Dumb

Stopping grown men from shaving their body hair so they could look hot for the Ms. Halfway Night beauty contest because it's demeaning: Dumb (I still have a visual of an A-ganger who looked like a hot girl....except for that chaw, at a Ms. Hawkbill contest).

7/26/2011 10:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous @8:54 - I'll write a real response in awhile, but right now I'm still attached to YOUR mommy's boobies. ♥♥♥

7/26/2011 4:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The so called "hazing" on the USS Tennessee is ridiculous. Two guys wanted out of the navy, but they aren't getting it. To make it even worse on the boat a guy in another division tried the same thing because he saw it working for those two nubs. I'm going to keep this rest of this simple. If they have a problem speak up. If NUB or anyone for that matter wants out say it. Don't use someone else for what you think will be your way out. It doesn't even lead you to a way out of the navy. Many of the younger NUBS need to stop acting like a middle schoolers and running to someone else saying "he hit me." I mean come on. Is it really necessary to put other people's careers in danger because you can't grow some balls and stand up for yourself? Just because the guy who goes running to the higher ups and complains wants out of the navy or isn't happy; they should think about everyone. These guys depend on the navy and are proud of the job they do. They are diggits. Not only do they love what they do and are proud the serve our country. They have families. Families that put their hearts in souls into the Navy. They have babies at home who they don't get to see grow up because they want to provide them a good life and chose to do so on a submarine with pride. I just wish someone would look past the bullshit and look at the fact these guys are good, kind-hearted, fun-loving, and family men.

7/26/2011 6:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never understood the hazing thing on submarines. It's not Navy tradition,it's a bunch of assholes thinking a pin makes them better than someone else. It may mean you know the ship better,but doesn't make you above someone else. Besides, has anyone qualified on a submarine lately? It's actually quite a joke now. I'm not one of the PC crowd,but I always felt that guys who hazed had mental issues. Basically what I'm saying is that pushing a guy to know the ship and have his dolphins mean something is a positive thing, but that is not what is happening in the submarine force currently.

7/26/2011 6:36 PM

Anonymous portnstarboard said...

Speaking strictly from my own experience, nobody back in my day considered it hazing; I never even heard that word mentioned. It was considered a rite of passage. And after the amount of work I put in to earn my fish, crawling over every inch of that Sturgeon Class boat and learning all of the ends and outs of submarine operations as well as conquering all of the fears and anxieties that hit you like a ton of bricks that first time you cross the brow, and all of this against the backdrop of the Cold War at its height, man I had never been so proud in my young life as the day those fish were pinned on and my fellow bubbleheads lined up to tack them on and shake my hand! That was the first real achievement of my life and I dare say set the stage for all my future accomplishments.

I have no doubt that some dolphins are handed out today in the same manner as skimmer puke pins. And when you peel the metal foil off of them there is chocolate underneath. One can understand how it would not be worth having those pins tacked on.

7/26/2011 9:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enlisted dolphins do not mean squat when they are "given" away to Midshipman.

7/27/2011 6:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To anon @ 6:37AM Enlisted dolphins do not mean squat when they are "given" away to Midshipman.

I take issue with that. The dolphins still mean alot to the person who worked hard and earned them. However I would question the integrity of any CO who does give them away to Mids who did not earn them.

7/27/2011 7:21 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

As far as giving away dolphins to Midshipmen goes, I did find this website:

Here is an excerpt:
(Enlisted Requirements for Submarine Qualification), paragraph 4.a stated:
"With the exception of Midshipman on cruise, a minimum time of 6 months (not in shipyard) is required for qualification."

COMSUBLANT/COMSUBPACINST 1552.16B of 15 Jun 1998 removed all reference to Midshipmen being able to qualify.

Paragraph 4.b in the new instruction states: "Personnel serving in a non-submarine source rating or not assigned to a submarine for duty, serving in a temporary duty status onboard a submarine (e.g. CTs and SEALS), who complete the requirements for qualification in submarines must request a waiver of the eligibility standards from the Bureau of Naval Personnel (BUPERS)(Pers-403) via the Commanding Officer of the ship on which qualified, info the appropriate Submarine Force Commander.

If the waiver is approved by BUPERS (Pers-403), the submarine designator 7(SG) will be assigned. MILPERSMAN 1410360 applies. These personnel must have at least 6 months of cumulative experience on operational submarines."

Does anyone know if this issue has been addressed since 1999?

7/27/2011 11:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got my dolphins in 1977 and got 3 ribs broken (according to the corpsman) as a result, just prior to ORSE so I'm no fan of of tack on's. Needless to say watch standing in the engineering spaces was no fun. As for crossing the line ours was just plain good "clean" fun that was handled very well. Having said that, have you ever been shot by a paintball gun? dude, they leave BRUISES and hurt! But people consider that fun (including me) so hazing isn't about abuse it's about respect and freedom to choose (IMHO).

7/27/2011 12:14 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

@ chief torpedoman (7/25/2011 1:10 PM)
"What does females in subs have to do with wearing hats?"

Google keyword inquiry would have easily answered your question (for critical thinkers only). For other souls pondering the same question, however, here is a convenient link.

Still do not comprehend? Well, all you need do is wait a bit for current events to either prove me wrong, or educate you. By the way, my prediction accuracy has been uncanny.

7/27/2011 7:35 PM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

Wow, that is quite a stretch, Vigilis. Hats, women and conspiracy.
Last I checked, the surface navy does not require hats to be worn underway and inport only when outside the skin of the ship. Pretty much the same as subs I would say.

However, I have been out now almost as long as I was in, so does anyone currently serving know different.

As for questioning my ability to do critical thinking, well I have a pretty thick skin.

7/28/2011 5:22 AM

Blogger Erica R. said...

I guess vigils skipped right over my comment about how it is done on the surface. Considering, that I was a surface nuke and all. Sheesh.

7/29/2011 12:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never understood the need or reasons to "tack on" dolphins or crows. During the early 60's we drank our dolphins and were thrown over the side, wardroom types also. We passed out stogies when promoted. I can certainly see some of the more sadistic types would love this sort of hazing.

8/08/2011 11:01 AM

Anonymous buy xanax online said...

I read it.. didn't find anywhere in it that talks about doing better diving and shooting. Guess the folks at SUBFOR have lost the bubble.

8/11/2011 11:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was googling the term drinking your dolphins and came across this blog and would like to add my perspective. I qualified on a diesel boat in 1971 during a med run. I recall walking thru the boat and having my dolphins tacked on. I can only recall 2 persons who really took a shot all the rest just tapped them and congratulated me. This was all sanctioned by the captain and after this I was taken top side and thrown overboard, the sea was calm and warm , the deck had a shark watch and a lookout had a rifle. I remember being happy and proud when this was over as I was a true member of the crew. Drinking my dolphins obviously had to come later. When we returned to Norfolk we were getting leaves and the last night before I was to leave I was out on the strip with my pals when we arrived at a place with maybe 20 crewmembers. The idea came up that I should drink my fish and a godawful concoction was poured into a bowl, a little bit of this and that, some guys spit into it and cigarette butts were disposed in it and it was presented to me. Since I was probably already drunk I gave it a shot, As the crowed chanted go, go, go, I put it up to my mouth and let 99% of it slop down my chin and chest as I had removed my shirt. nobody cared that I wasn't actually drinking this stuff, it was the outrageousness and specticle that mattered. My point was that these things were done by
shipmates who went thru the same things themselves, not to hurt me but to tell me I am one of them now.

Don't get me wrong I oppose hazing and malicious behavior by college fraternities, sports teams and others who behave badly, but this was not the case, remember we were a group that literally depended on each other and some tragic cases died together. Qualifying meant you had passed the test. If physical things were being done to aspiring members, ie nonquals, than that would be different. Other than name calling, such as non qual, puke, dink I never observed anything contrary and the captain,who was a fair and good man would not have tolerated it.

Its possible that the enviornment has changed since the early 70's and whats being done has changed in nature, but all I can do is offer my prospective

6/02/2012 10:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

** PART I **

Having served a first career on Permit, Sturgeon, and Los Angeles class boats, and having seen the multitudes of "celebratory" events -- awarding of dolphins, promotions, equator crossings, arctic circle crossings, etc., I feel somewhat comfortable saying I've seen a representative sampling of Navy culture.

I've always loved my country, feel immeasurable pride in my 20+ years of naval service, and am greatly appreciative of the experiences and friends I met through the submarine service. But a troubling aspect that I found on every boat I served on was the Navy culture surrounding "celebratory" events. These events often did not promote healthy camaraderie, but rather a crass and sophomoric hazing culture which actually served to undermine true teamwork and trust.

Although I never personally allowed physical hazing to occur to myself, I never understood how physically, sexually, and emotionally abusive practices promoted unity -- how does shoving a grease gun up someone's butt, taping a sailor to a steam pipe and painting his balls blue with Prussian blue, having sailors walk on their hands and knees around the non-skid perimeter of an aircraft carrier with their pants at their ankles while having rotten garbage dumped on their heads / having their bare butts paddled to the point of bleeding / having tabasco sauce poured on their anus, sucking an olive out of the navel of a fat & nasty chief, having your dolphins tacked so hard that you bleed and are bruised... how does any of this promote the positive and altruistic characteristics we want in our sailors? To those who say these incidents are isolated, I can tell you from my Navy career that they were imbued as a part of the Navy fabric (and other service's fabric on Joint assignments) when I served through the 80s and 90s -- I saw what I considered inappropriate "celebrations" and "customs" on every boat I served. Hopefully things have changed since I've retired.

Although I've moved on to a second career in education, I continue to keep up with military events through various media outlets. While periodic outrageous behavior by military members seems to surprise the public, I've never really been surprised when I read about the abuses at Abu Ghraib, the rampant rape of American female soldiers and sailors and airmen by our own American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan, military recruiters sexually abusing prospective recruits, and other atrocities with regard to indecent human behavior. I attribute this egregious behavior, in part, to the dark, secret, inhumane culture that was/is allowed to exist for decades in the military.

9/19/2012 3:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

** PART II **

I've continued on to a second career in education, specifically education in underserved, poor communities. One of the epiphanies I've had as I've worked in these down-trodden communities is the destructive effects that poverty, alcoholism and drug abuse, single parent households, lack of role models, etc. has on the individuals and communities alike. There is a warped sense of appropriate behavior, healthy relationships, personal conduct, etc. that evolves out of growing up in these impoverished environments.

Interestingly, many of the same households and communities that don't provide a nourishing and robust upbringing for youth are the same ones that send ill-adjusted youth to the military to defend our country. The old saying -- "the poor fight our wars" -- has a direct correlation to the moral depravity we see in the military. We bring ill-adjusted youth into our military services, we expect them to perform at high levels under intense stress in close quarters, but without the basic tools for normal human behavior. We put them through boot camp with the intention of tearing them down and then building them up in the image we desire. We put them through tech schools to give them job skills. We have them swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. All of this emphasis on core values, integrity, honor, discipline, etc. often helps the ill-adjusted poor 18 year old blossom into a well-adjusted 20-something year old; but not always. Often times, without the tools to understand well adjusted, healthy human behavior, sophomoric and crass human behavior becomes the norm for "celebrations" and "customs". This is exacerbated by the insular nature of the military. The end result? Rationalizing sexually, physically, and emotionally abusive behavior as part of the Navy tradition.

I'm a firm believer in the steps the Navy is taking to civilize it's culture. I hope the leadership continues with it's long term vision to embrace healthy, decent working conditions and eliminate abusive celebrations & customs that have plagued the Navy for decades.

9/19/2012 3:17 PM

Anonymous Lori Byrd Proud Navy Vet/Wife said...

The tacking on that took place aboard the USS PATRIOT was a simple non injury tacking on to "welcome" them to the Petty Officer status in which the original tradition was started. My husband was kicked out because of a grudge the CMC had against him not because of the "hazing". That was their EXCUSE. I think personally they feared him because he had and still has the respect of all of the young men that served with him. My husband was a leader that never forgot his E-1 beginning and the hard work and the leaders that helped him get to where he was. He wanted his men to succeed. He and the MNC he served under constantly butted heads because my husband praised in public and punished in private and the MNC did not. The CMC stated during DRB that he hated every one of them mineman and he was going to make sure they fried. We had a great chance of winning the appeal because he had 16 years of perfect service with many awards to back it but he made the choice to walk out based off the "kinder gentler Navy" not being the Navy he signed up for years before. There was in no way any harm done to these men. One of them (a reject kicked out of many other divisions on the ship) was actually bragging that he was part of a "team" and felt bragging would help his social status. As I told that same young man, that is still in the Navy and now an E-5 serving in Charleston SC, when he apologized to me for ratting them out, he now knows what the term "Loose lips sink ships" means because he sunk 6 of his own shipmates that considered him part of their "family". My husband of 23 years received a GENERAL UNDER HONORABLE" conditions and is now drawing disability for injuries he received during his 16 years of service. General under honorable.....makes you wonder if the female CO that thought the world of him was seconding guessing her piss poor judgement. Ironically that same woman is no longer a CO, she kicked out about 5 more over her 1 year in command and was found to have been a not so perfect CO her self. As for us, we are still Navy Proud!

12/29/2012 11:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have no clue what you are talking about.

5/29/2013 8:00 AM


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