Tacking On Dolphins -- A "Good" Tradition?
Check out this letter to Navy Times decrying the "death" of Navy Tradition due to the influences of PC thought. Excerpts:
He made sure that promotions were celebrated with an appropriate “wetting down”; crows, dolphins and wings were tacked on as a sign of respect from those already so celebrated; chiefs were promoted in solemn ceremony after being “initiated” by their fellow brethren; and only those worthy were allowed to earn the title “shellback.”...What do you think? Are the various "hazing" rituals that many of us old-timers went through an important part of establishing and maintaining unit camaraderie, or just a way for us to bully the NUBs? I went through a "real" Shellback initiation in on USS Topeka (SSN 754) in 1991 (and was on the other end of one in 1993 where we shaved the letters "XO" into the XO's back and several Wogs lost portions of eyebrows), and thought the ridiculous PC one I saw on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in 2000 wasn't worth anything, but a case could be made that the "old way" didn't really add anything to a boat's efficiency. As I've said before, Submariners are very good at welcoming those who fit in as brothers (and now, sisters), but we're pretty ruthless at getting rid of those who don't really fit in with the culture -- or at least we used to be. Personally, I think that the various "tests" we did to discover if the new crew member would really make a good Submariner, or might be better off exercising his particular talents on a surface vessel, were worthwhile. On the other hand, making someone risk alcohol poisoning to get his dolphins maybe wasn't as useful. YMMV.
...In lieu of flowers, the family of Navy Tradition has asked that all sailors who have earned their shellback and drunk their dolphins; who remember sore arms from where their crows were tacked on and were sent on a search for “relative bearing grease” or a length of “water line”; who’ve been through chiefs’ initiation or answered ship’s call in a bar fight in some exotic port of call, to raise a toast one more time and remember Navy Tradition in his youth and grandeur.