Skip to comments.I Like the Navy; Reflections of a Blackshoe (US Navy nostalgia)
Posted on 11/11/2007 4:29:59 PM PST by VermonterEdited on 11/11/2007 4:55:21 PM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]
I Like the Navy; & THE NAVY WILL ALWAYS BE PART OF ME."
Reflections of a Blackshoe
by Vice Admiral Harold Koenig, USN (Ret)
I like the Navy.
I like standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my
Face and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe -
the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her
through the sea.
I like the sounds of the Navy - the piercing trill of the
boatswainspipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the
quarterdeck, the harsh squawk of the 1MC and the strong language and
laughter of sailors at work.
I like the vessels of the Navy - nervous darting destroyers, plodding
fleet auxiliaries, sleek submarines and steady solid carriers. I like
the proud sonorous names of Navy capital ships: Midway, Lexington,
Saratoga, Coral Sea - memorials of great battles won. I like the lean
angular names of Navy 'tin-cans': Barney, Dahlgren, Mullinix, McCloy -
mementos of heroes who went before us.
I like the tempo of a Navy band blaring through the topside speakers
As we pull away from the oiler after refueling at sea. I like liberty call
and the spicy scent of a foreign port. I even like all hands working
parties as my ship fills herself with the multitude of supplies both
mundane and exotic which she needs to cut her ties to the land and carry
out her mission anywhere on the globe where there is water to float her.
I like sailors, men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest,
small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains and the
prairies, from all walks of life. I trust and depend on them as they
trust and depend on me - for professional competence, for comradeship,
for courage. In a word, they are "shipmates."
I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed "Now
station the special sea and anchor detail - all hands to quarters for
leaving port", and I like the infectious thrill of sighting home again,
with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting
pierside. The work is hard and dangerous, the going rough at times, the
parting from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust Navy
laughter, the 'all for one and one for all' philosophy of the sea is
I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as
flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset gives way to night. I
like the feel of the Navy in darkness - the masthead lights, the red and
green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence
of radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk and join with the mirror
of stars overhead. And I like drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad
noises large and small that tell me that my ship is alive and well, and
that my shipmates on watch will keep me safe.
I like quiet midwatches with the aroma of strong coffee - the
Lifeblood of the Navy - permeating everywhere. And I like hectic watches
when the exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes racing at flank speed keeps all
hands on a razor edge of alertness. I like the sudden electricity of
"General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle stations"
followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the
resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transforms herself in a
few brief seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon of war - ready
for anything. And I like the sight of space-age equipment manned by
youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their
grandfathers would still recognize.
I like the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who made them.
I like the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut,
John Paul Jones. A sailor can find much in the Navy: comrades-in-arms,
pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman's trade. An adolescent
can find adulthood.
In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, they will still
remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods - the
impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water
surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of
stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the
bright bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a refrain of
hearty laughter in the wardroom and chief's quarters and messdecks. Gone
ashore for good they will grow wistful about their Navy days, when the
seas belonged to them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon.
Remembering this, they will stand taller and say,
"I WAS A SAILOR ONCE. I WAS PART OF THE NAVY
I Like the Navy;
& THE NAVY WILL ALWAYS BE
PART OF ME."
This brought back fond memories of years ago service on a Destroyer.
It came to me in the newsletter of the alumni association of the USS Robert H. McCard DD822
Great post! God bless you and thanks for your service to your country.
THANK YOU! I’ll ask the moderators to replace my image with the text
Great post! Happy Veteran’s Day! And thanks for your service!
Aye, mate. Once a sailor, always a sailor.
This deserves more visibility. I moved it to the front page sidebar.
Thank you & God Bless.
I’m going to read this to my Father,
who served in the REEVES DE156/APD52
Atlantic & Pacific, WW2.
I know he will appreciate it, and send his thanks too.
Nice post. Thanks.
Great post! Brings back a lot of memories!
Works for me. I was a Sonarman aboard a Destroyer....old Fletcher Class. Worse duty I ever had was shore duty.....especially after being at sea. Thanks for the post and as others have said “Brings back a lot of fond memories”......even in rough seas it was a time to remember.
USS Oregon City -- CA122 (Heavy Cruiser - Atlantic '46-'47)
I was doing OK until I read, “I like sailors...”
But as a USAF officer with a few years in a Navy squadron, I THINK I know what is meant.
I once knew a lieutenant who talked like this. This LT went through the enlisted ranks to become a Master Chief, then became a Chief Warrant Officer and finally a LT. He *hated* being in port. I had to do my submarine qualification walkthrough with him and it was thorough! I had the fewest mistakes on a walkthrough that he had ever seen but that still meant that I had over 30 lookups!
He also had a saying “A man is never really free unless he is underway.” Let’s just say that most of the crew DID NOT agree with this sentiment.
Being a Tin Can sailor puts a little extra kick in one’s step.
If you're going to go Navy, it's the only way to go!
Bah! I'd rather have a nice smooth ride under the seas than be a target that is bobbing around like a cork.
Ah, but the cork sees the sun on a regular basis. And who can doesn’t like the sound of the screws coming out of the water as you climb and fall off waves in heavy weather. ;-}
“If you’re going to go Navy, it’s the only way to go!
Bah! I’d rather have a nice smooth ride under the seas than be a target that is bobbing around like a cork.”
Well, I served aboard The USS Grenadier SS-525, then aboard the USS Cony DD-508. I still can’t say which is the best duty. Both are special in their own way.
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