Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 44

Naval committee established by Congress on October 30, 1775

Naval committee established by Congress on October 30, 1775

Naval committee established by Congress: On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress appoints seven members to serve on an administrative naval committee tasked with the acquisition, outfitting and manning of a naval fleet to be used in defense against the British. Almost two weeks earlier, on October 13, 1775, Congress had authorized the construction and arming of vessels for the country's first navy.

Members of the first naval committee included some of the most influential members of the Continental Congress and several “founding fathers”, including John Adams, Joseph Hewes, John Langdon, Richard Henry Lee, Silas Deane and Stephen Hopkins, the committee's chairman.

On December 22, Esek Hopkins, Stephen's brother, was appointed the first commander in chief of the Continental Navy. Congress also named four captains to the new service: Dudley Saltonstall, Abraham Whipple, Nicholas Biddle and John Burrows Hopkins. Their respective vessels, the 24-gun frigates Alfred and Columbus, and the14-gun brigs Andrew Doria and Cabot, as well as three schooners, the Hornet, the Wasp and the Fly, became the first ships of the Navy's fleet. Five first lieutenants, including future American hero John Paul Jones, five second lieutenants and three third lieutenants also received their commissions.

With help from the committee, America's first navy went from a fleet of two vessels on the day Congress established the naval committee to a fleet of more than 40 armed ships and vessels at the height of the War for Independence. The Continental Navy successfully preyed upon British merchant shipping and won several victories over British warships. This first naval force was disbanded after the war. What is now known as the United States Navy was formally established with the creation of the federal Department of the Navy in April 1798. History Channel / History of the Continental Navy (Wikipedia) - History of the United States Marine Corps (Wikipedia) / Congress and the Continental Navy, 1775-1783: Chronology and Documents (Navy.mil)

Paintings: Battle of the Virginia Capes French (left) and British (right) ships of the line (September 5, 1781) / off the Virginia Capes, Atlantic Ocean / (Result: French victory)

• Engraving based on the painting “Action Between the Serapis and Bonhomme Richard” by Richard Paton, published 1780; Battle off Cape St Vincent January 16, 1780 by Francis Holman;

Naval battle off Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1781; Battle of the Saintes, April 12, 1782: surrender of the Ville de Paris by Thomas Whitcombe. painted 1783, shows Samuel Hood's Barfleur center, attacking the French flagship Ville de Paris. Wikipedia

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - fabricator

(DOD) Fabricator:

An individual or group who, usually without genuine resources, invents or inflates information for personal or political gain or political purposes. Wikipedia

Photo Number: 80-G-343608 - Surrender of Japan, 1945 / Crew members on USS Wileman (DE-22) celebrate upon hearing of Japan's acceptance of surrender terms, August 15, 1945. (Official U.S. Navy Photograph, National Archives)

The Old Salt’s Corner

“Written By a World War Two Sailor”

Come gather round me lads and I'll tell you a thing or two,

about the way we ran the Navy in nineteen forty two.

When wooden ships and iron men were barely out of sight,

I am going to give you some facts just to set the record right.

We wore the ole bell bottoms, with a flat hat on our head,

and we always hit the sack at night. We never “went to bed”.

Our uniforms were worn ashore, and we were mighty proud.

Never thought of wearing civvies, in fact they were not allowed.

Now when a ship puts out to sea. I'll tell you son- it hurts!

When suddenly you notice that half the crews wearing skirts.

And it's hard for me to imagine, a female boatswains mate,

stopping on the Quarter deck to make sure her stockings are straight.

What happened to the KiYi brush, and the old sa lt-water bath?

Holy stoning decks at night- cause you stirred old Bosn's wrath!

We always had our gedunk stand and lots of pogey bait.

And it always took a hitch or two ,just to make a rate.

In your seabag all your skivvies, were neatly stopped and rolled.

And the blankets on your sack had better have a three-inch fold.

Your little ditty bag . . it is hard to believe just how much it held,

and you wouldn't go ashore with pants that hadn't been spiked and belled.

We had scullery maids and succotash and good old S.O.S.

And when you felt like topping off -you headed for the mess.

Oh we had our belly robbers- but there weren't too many gripes.

For the deck apes were never hungry and there were no starving snipes.

Now you never hear of Davey Jones, Shellbacks Or Polliwogs,

and you never splice the mainbrace to receive your daily grog.

Now you never have to dog a watch or stand the main event.

You even tie your lines today - back in my time they were bent.

We were all two-fisted drinkers and no one thought you sinned,

if you staggered back aboard your ship, three sheets to the wind.

And with just a couple hours of sleep you regained your usual luster.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed- you still made morning muster.

Rocks and shoals have long since gone, and now it's U.C.M.J.

THEN the old man handled everything if you should go astray.

Now they steer the ships with dials, and I wouldn't be surprised,

if some day they sailed the damned things- from the beach computerized.

So when my earthly hitch is over, and the good Lord picks the best,

I'LL walk right up to HIM and say, “Sir, I have but one request -

Let me sail the seas of Heaven in a coat of N avy blue.

Like I did so long ago on earth - way back in nineteen-forty two.”

Lt. J.G Don Ballard joined the U.S. Navy in 1935 when he received $21.00 per Month. What the author says in his words is true. In 1935 only 13 men joined the Navy (from Tennessee) and Don was one of them.

Proudly copied from Lt. Ballard USN Retired, April 13, 2002, who loved the Navy and all the men he served with in all of World War Two.

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

If the pen is mightier than the sword, a sharpie must be plain deadly!

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems.”

~ Rene Descartes

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

~ Anonymous

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Bizarre News (we couldn’t make up stuff this good – real news story)

Dwarf who defecated on floor of gov't office warned with jail - UPI (United Press International)

Dwarf who defecated on floor of gov't office warned with jail

KINGSTON-ON-HULL, England - A British dwarf who dropped his pants at a government office and defecated on the floor was warned by a judge to clean up his act or face jail time.

Hull Crown Court heard Ian Salter-Bromley, 54, who stands 4 feet tall, dropped his pants at the Wilson Center in Hull when he visited the government office to complain about his housing situation. Salter-Bromley urinated on the floor and defecated twice during the July 29 incident, the court heard.

The court heard Salter-Bromley, who lives in assisted housing, had been angry because everything in his kitchen is 8 inches too high for him to reach and his neighbors have been abusing him because of his dwarfism. “My neighbors are drug addicts, alcoholics and young mothers. I have to put up with all their abuse”, Salter-Bromley said. “People make fun of me. You would not believe the abuse I get. Kids say in the holidays 'let's torment the dwarf.”

“If I say things, I get treated like a child -- all because I look different. They drag me around and push me in the road. That seems to be acceptable, because the police don't want to know”, he said.

Judge Jeremy Richardson said he was shocked by the defendant's behavior. “Mr. Salter-Bromley has shown a disgusting lack of personal hygiene and his conduct has been disgraceful”, he said. “I truly regret having to make these observations here. In many ways, I feel sorry for him.” The judge handed down a 21-day suspended jail sentence and warned Salter-Bromley the sentence could be activated if there are any further incidents. “Any more breaches and I will probably activate this prison sentence. Please, please, behave in a civilized way. Taking your trousers off and exposing your person before defecating and urinating, then abusing staff is uncivilized”, the judge said. UPI (United Press International)

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why does an atom bomb form a mushroom cloud? (The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945 rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the bomb's hypocenter)

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why does an atom bomb form a mushroom cloud?

You don't need an atom bomb to make a mushroom cloud, just convection. Mushroom clouds typically occur when an explosion produces a massive fireball. Since the fireball is very hot and thus less dense than the surrounding air, it rises rapidly, forming the cap of the mushroom cloud. In its wake the fireball leaves a column of heated air. This acts as a chimney, drawing in smoke and hot gases from ground fires. These form the stalk of the mushroom. Since the center is the hottest part of the mushroom cloud, it rises faster than the outer edges, giving the impression that the cap is curling down around the stalk. Thus the familiar fungal form.

Hydrogen bomb explosions are so huge the cloud may reach the tropopause, the boundary in the atmosphere where a fairly sharp rise in temperature starts. The cloud generally can't break through this and the top flattens out, producing an especially pronounced mushroom shape. (The tropopause also forms a ceiling for thunderheads, producing their anvil shape.)

Wikipedia  Photo: The mushroom cloud of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945 rose some 18 kilometers (11 mi) above the bomb's hypocenter.

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Earmarked”

Where Did That Saying Come From?


This comes from the days when livestock had their ears marked so their owner could be easily identified. Wikipedia

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Permanent Help: Slang for a PH (Photographer's Mate) in a fighter squadron.

PERSO: Personnel Officer

Warrant: A chief warrant officer. In the navy warrants are generally older and more experienced in a particular area of expertise than a commissioned line officer, much like an “LDO”. Unlike the army, an enlisted sailor must first be promoted to chief petty officer before becoming a chief warrant officer.

Watch: A period of duty, usually of four-hours duration. The day at sea has long been divided into watches, which are called: midwatch (0000 to 0400); rev watch (reveille) or morning watch (0400 to 0800); forenoon watch (0800 to 1200); afternoon watch (1200 to 1600); and the first watch (2000 to 2400). The period from 1600 to 2000 is usually split into two dog watches (first dog watch, second dog watch) to allow the crew to eat. Watch-standers in the Navy are required to report fifteen minutes before their watch is to begin in order to learn any needed instructions, situations, etc, from the preceding watch-standers. The new watch takes over from the previous when the watch officer or section leader officially relieves his predecessor; this must be done by the official, posted clock-time;

(so, for example, a midwatch would run from 2345 to 0345, presuming that the handoff is very quick). This schedule is not carved in stone, and variations exist depending on the command (some midwatches, for example run from "ten to two" -- 2200 to 0200).

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines

Just for you MARINE

Coastie: An unofficial name for a member of the Coast Guard. Officially they are called Guardsman.

Coaxial Machinegun: A machinegun mounted exactly alongside a tank cannon enabling the tank's gunner to use the same fire control system for both weapons.

COC Combat Operations Center. Sometimes called the Center of Confusion.

Military Acronyms

Navy Acronyms

DEP - Delayed Entry Program

Program that allows recruits to join the Navy but postpone reporting for duty for up to a year.

DLA - Dislocation Allowance

Money provided to Sailors to aid in moves from one duty station to another.

DMI - Departmental Material Inspection

An inspection of bed making, folding and stowing of gear.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VR-54 - Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 54: “Revelers” NAS/JRB New Orleans, Louisiana

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Weapons That Failed Spectacularly (War elephants vs. Flaming pigs)

Weapons That Failed Spectacularly

War elephants were the tanks of their time. Their tough hides were nearly impervious to arrows, and their giant size made them perfect for trampling through enemy lines. In 331 BCE, Alexander the Great was so nervous about the Persian army’s pachyderms that he made a sacrifice to the God of Fear the night before battle. The mighty elephants’ reputation only grew when, in 218 BCE, Hannibal set out to storm Rome with an armada of ferocious beasts. The “elephantry” seemed invincible.

If elephants were the world’s first tanks, flaming pigs—slathered in tar, lit on fire, and set loose to wreak havoc—were the world’s first anti-tank missiles. According to Roman scholar Pliny the Elder, the weapon worked because “elephants are scared by the smallest squeal of the hog.”

When flaming pigs succeeded, they were brilliant. In 266 BCE, the Greek city of Megara fended off the Macedonian conqueror Antigonus II Gonatas using pigs doused in resin. Antigonus’s elephants fled in terror from the bacon brigade. Most battles, however, highlighted the serious drawbacks of tactical barbecue. Since the lifespan of flaming pigs is short, their range was well under 400 feet. That meant the enemy pretty much had to be on top of you before the hogs would have any effect. The porcine missiles also lacked a guidance system, which made them woefully inaccurate. Even when directed toward enemy lines, they often ran wherever they pleased, starting fires on their own side.Mental Floss / Wikipedia


Max Schmeling 1931 World Heavyweight Champion - Max Schmeling, right, and his attendants give the Nazi salute in Hamburg, Germany, March 10, 1935. (Associated Press)

Sports 1931 Wikipedia

World Series Champions: The St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Philadelphia Athletics 4 games to 3

NFL Champions: Green Bay Packers win the NFL title with a 13–2 record

Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens defeat the Chicago Black Hawks 3 games to 2

U.S. Open Golf: Billy Burke

U.S. Open Tennis (Men/Ladies): Ellsworth Vines / Helen Jacobs

Wimbledon (Men/Women) (Men/Ladies): Sidney Wood / Cilly Aussem

NCAA Football Champions: Alabama Crimson Tide win 24-0 over the Washington State Cougars

Kentucky Derby: Cameronian

Image: Max Schmeling 1931 World Heavyweight Champion - Max Schmeling, right, and his attendants give the Nazi salute in Hamburg, Germany, March 10, 1935. (Associated Press)

Most Popular Christmas gifts 1931




● The early eating bars of chocolate were made of bittersweet chocolate. Milk chocolate was introduced in 1875 when Henry Nestle, a maker of evaporated milk and Daniel Peter, a chocolate maker, got together and invented milk chocolate, which today is preferred by 80% of the world's population.

● In Tokyo, a bicycle is faster than a car for most trips of less than 50 minutes.

● Disney World in Orlando, Florida covers 30,500 acres (46 square miles), making it twice the size of the island of Manhattan, New York

Answer to Last Week's Test

What is the only part of the human body that has no blood supply?

Answer: The cornea. It takes its oxygen directly from the air.

Joke of the Day

A man left from work one Friday afternoon. But, being payday, instead of going home, he stayed out the entire weekend partying with the boys and spending his entire paycheck. When He finally appeared at home, Sunday Night, he was confronted by a very angry wife and was barraged for nearly two hours with a tirade befitting his actions.

Finally his wife stopped the nagging and simply said to him, “How would you like it if you didn't see me for two or three days?” To which he replied. “That would be fine with me.”

Monday went by and he didn't see his wife. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with the same results. Come Thursday, the swelling went down just enough where he could see her a little out of the corner of his left eye.