Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 24, 2015

Previous Week   June 08, 2015 - June 14, 2015   Next Week

William Jennings Bryan resigns as U.S. secretary of state on June 09, 1915

William Jennings Bryan resigns as U.S. secretary of state on June 09, 1915

William Jennings Bryan resigns as U.S. secretary of state: On June 9, 1915, United States Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan resigns due to his concerns over President Woodrow Wilson’s handling of the crisis generated by a German submarine’s sinking of the British cruiser Lusitania the previous month, in which 1,201 people including 128 Americans died.

Germany’s announcement in early 1915 that its navy was adopting a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare concerned many within the government and civilian population of the United States—which maintained a policy of strict neutrality during the first two years of World War I. The sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, caused an immediate uproar, as many believed Germany had sunk the British cruiser deliberately as a provocation to Wilson and the U.S.

Bryan, as secretary of state, sent a note to the German government from the Wilson administration, lauding the ties of friendship and diplomacy between the two nations and expressing the desire that they come to a clear and full understanding as to the grave situation which has resulted from the sinking of the Lusitania. When the German government responded by justifying their navy’s action on the basis that the Lusitania was carrying munitions (which it was, a small amount), Wilson himself penned a strongly worded note, insisting that the sinking had been an illegal action and demanding that Germany cease unrestricted submarine warfare against unarmed merchantmen.

Objecting to the strong position taken by Wilson in this second Lusitania note, and believing it could be taken as a precursor to a war declaration, Bryan tendered his resignation on June 9, 1915, rather than sign it. The note and two more similar ones were sent to Germany, which was persuaded to curb the submarine policy over the course of 1916 rather than risk further antagonizing the U.S.

Bryan’s resignation marked a significant turning point, as the Lusitania crisis had convinced his successor, Robert Lansing, that the U.S. could not remain neutral forever, and would indeed eventually have to enter the war against Germany. As it unfolded, Germany resumed its policy of unrestricted submarine warfare in February 1917; two months later, Wilson went before Congress to ask for a declaration of war.

History Channel / National Archives / Smithsonian / The Atlantic / BBC / Daily Mail / Wikipedia

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier USS Washington (U.S.Navy.mil)

The Old Salt’s Corner

Typical Carrier Departments

Each department is further subdivided into divisions with personnel manning these divisions assigned to “Watches”, “Sections”, or both.

1. Administrative Department

The Administrative Department is responsible for maintaining all administrative data and paperwork necessary for the ship to function properly. These functions include data processing, as well as recreational, police, and postal services. This department is also responsible for operation of the ship’s Public Affairs Office as well as the onboard television and radio stations. This department typically handles personnel records, including visiting Naval Reserve personnel (see Module 1).

2. Air Department

The Air Department gives direct support to the embarked air wing. The Air Department is in charge of launching and landing aircraft, fueling, moving, and controlling fixed and variable wing aircraft. It is also responsible for the routine handling of aircraft on the flight deck and in the hangar bays. Note: Smaller vessels with embarked helicopter detachments should have some flavor of an Air Department, although it may be very small.

3. Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD)

The AIMD provides industrial level maintenance for the air wing and the ship’s ground support equipment.

4. Chaplain Department

Onboard the carrier, the Chaplain Department is dedicated to promoting the spiritual, religious and personal morale of embarked military personnel. The Chaplain Corps extends this mission to all military personnel and their dependents. The Chaplain Department also coordinates all personal emergency communications from the American Red Cross, provides pastoral care and counseling, and directs operation of the ship’s library. Smaller vessels may not have their own chaplain, especially if they are deployed with a CVBG. In these cases, a chaplain will fly from the carrier via helicopter to conduct services.

5. Communications Department

The Communications Department sends and receives messages to and from other ships, aircraft and shore facilities via various sophisticated electronic equipment. Such equipment includes computers, satellites, cryptographic devices, and high power transmitters and receivers.

6. Deck Department

The Deck Department is charged with the most traditional of nautical responsibilities. Enlisted Boatswain’s Mates (BM) maintain the exterior of the ship’s surfaces, anchor and moor the ship, man the rescue and assistance lifeboats, and monitor underway replenishment. The BMs’ most prevalent (and audible) duty is the "piping away" of different events over the ship’s intercom. This department is headed by the ship’s First Lieutenant (a job title, not to be confused with the Army, Air Force or Marine Corps rank of O-2).

7. Dental Department

The Dental Department provides comprehensive dental care, encompassing simple preventative care through emergency services for all embarked personnel. Note: Only large ships, such as carriers and amphibious warfare ships, have embarked Dental Departments. This department, along with Medical and Supply, are known as support departments.

8. Engineering Department

The Engineering Department maintains the ship’s power plants providing steam for propulsion and aircraft launch catapults. It also provides all life support systems, fresh water, heating, air conditioning, ventilation, hot water, electrical power, telephone service, and maintains the ship’s sewage system. The ship’s Chief Engineer, or "Cheng", heads this department.

9. Maintenance Management Department

The Maintenance Management Department is responsible for the scheduling and coordination for all off-ship maintenance (i.e., repairs at shipyards or dry docks) and planned organic maintenance ship-wide.

10. Medical Department

The Medical Department is responsible for maintaining the health of the crew, the treatment of sick and injured ship’s personnel, disease prevention and the promotion of good health ship-wide. The head of this department must be an officer of the Navy Medical Corps (MC). Additionally, the Medical Officer also advises the ship’s CO on ship’s hygiene and sanitation conditions. Smaller ships may not have an embarked Medical Officer in which case Hospital Corps personnel run the department under the administrative auspices of the Operations Department (see below).

11. Navigation Department

The enlisted navigation Quarter Masters (QMs) and the ship’s navigator brief the Commanding Officer and the Officer-of-the Deck (OOD) on the position of the ship, the direction of travel and the safest sea lanes to traverse. Computations are made using celestial navigation, electronic machinery and visual reports. The Navigation Department is also responsible for executing all military traditions, customs and honors onboard ship.

12. Operations Department

The Operations Department is responsible for collecting, cataloging, analyzing and distributing combat information vital to the accomplishment of the ship’s offensive and defensive missions. Heading this very important department is the ship’s Operations Officer, or “Ops”. This individual is one of the busiest persons on the ship. Intelligence, photographic intelligence, local air traffic control, and missile system maintenance are types of services provided by this department. The ship’s intelligence officer and the CVIC spaces fall under this department on a carrier. On other ships, 3905 enlisted Intelligence Specialists and/or collateral duty intelligence officers fall under the Operations Department. As a reserve intelligence officer (1635) or enlisted Intelligence Specialist, you most likely will be assigned to this department during your AT-at-Sea. The Operations Department will be discussed in more detail in the next module.

13. Safety Department

The Safety Department is responsible for ongoing training and education programs, equipment dangers, procedural hazards, and accident prevention. It is found only on aircraft carriers. As mentioned earlier, a ship can be an extremely dangerous place to work (see Module 1). While onboard, constantly be aware of maintaining posted safety regulations and procedures.

14. Supply Department

The Supply Department is responsible for feeding and paying the ship’s crew, including the running of ship’s wardroom(s) and messing spaces. This department holds responsibility for the laundry and dry cleaning services, stores, barbershops, and recreation services. This department also stocks spare parts for underway ship and/or aircraft repairs. Heading this department is the ship’s Supply Officer, or “Suppo”, a member of the Navy Supply Corps (SC). The Supply Officer may have assistants for disbursing, food service, ship’s store, or wardroom mess.

15. Training Department

The Training Department is responsible for the continued coordination of enlisted advancement exams, reenlistments and coordination of special schools. Training also handles general damage control and 3M training.

16. Weapons Department

The Weapons Department maintains and operates the ship’s various weapons systems. Personnel of the Weapons Department also assemble, test and maintain bombs, missiles, torpedoes and small weapons ammunition. On smaller ships, this department might fall under the administrative auspices of the Deck Department (see above).

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

Have you ever seen a toad on a toadstool?

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much”

~ Jim Rohn

“What I Have Learned”

“What I Have Learned”

“Well done is better than well said.”

~ Benjamin Franklin

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)

Manhattan Bloodletting Fetish Party Criticized Over Health Concerns

Manhattan Bloodletting Fetish Party Criticized Over Health Concerns

In April, WNBC-TV's investigative unit in New York City reported on a series of fetish parties in Manhattan reportedly organized by a licensed M.D., in which the consensual activities consisted of saline scrotal inflation, controlled near-asphyxiation and controlled arterial blood-letting (in which splatters are captured on a canvas as if made by a painter).

An event organizer said the “Cirque de Plaisir” was more of a "performance art" display by a few body-modification aficionados than it was a fetish "party." Local governments were alarmed especially by the blood splatters' endangering onlookers and promised an investigation. NBC New York (04/29/2015) video

Why is the Vlasic Pickles Mascot a Stork?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Why is the Vlasic Pickles Mascot a Stork?

Birds and pickles go together like peanut butter and jelly—wait, what? Crazy as it may seem, the Vlasic Pickle company felt that was the case and chose a stork to represent their brand in 1974. Some 40 years later, the ubiquitous mascot doesn’t seem so weird anymore. But what prompted Vlasic to choose a stork in the first place?

First, a little background: a Croatian man by the name of Frank Vlasic immigrated to the US in 1912 to try to create a better life for his family. Taking a factory job and settling down in Detroit, Frank scrimped and saved until he had enough money to start his own creamery. He eventually turned it over to his son Joe, who expanded the business to include pickles.

During the economic boom after World War II, the Vlasics could hardly keep up with the sizable pickle demand. Although they still sold cheese products, the real moneymaker was the innovative idea to sell their Polish pickles in glass jars.

What does all of this have to do with a stork? According to the Vlasic website, the spokesbird was chosen in 1974 to “deliver pickles since babies were in such short supply!video The national birthrate was dropping around this time, and Vlasic took this opportunity to capitalize on the trend. Taking the classic stork mythology and combining it with the belief that pregnant women crave pickles, they created one killer marketing campaign.

Vlasic - Vlasic Facebook videoWikipediaMental Floss

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Goodbye”

Where Did That Saying Come From?


GOODBYE:” Salutation in parting, also goodbye, good bye, good-by, 1590s, from godbwye (1570s), a contraction of God be with ye (late 14c.). Etymonline / Reddit

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang - U.S. Navy America's Navy - A Global Force For Good

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Carrier Strike Group (CSG): See “Battle Group”.

Gussy: USS Augusta.

Subic Bay: Philippines port also known as “Pubic Bay, the Asshole of the Orient”. Was a major stop off point between South Vietnam and The World (CONUS). The city just outside the main gate of the Naval base was Olongapo City or “Po City”, noted for its night clubs and many agreeable women. Leaving the base a sailor had to cross over a bridge that went over a drainage channel, also known as “shit river”, because of the constant raw sewage and filthy conditions. Young children would tread water just below the bridge and yell at sailors to throw coins in the water, which they would dive for and come back to the surface with the coin in their mouth.

Timmy: A name used for by RDC's when an anonymous recruit mess' up and doesn't take credit for his behavior.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines Marines - The Few. The Proud.

Just for you MARINE

Drill Instructor’s Hut: The office and duty quarters of the drill instructors, it is located within the recruit squad bay.

Drill Sergeant: An Army recruit instructor similar to a Marine Drill Instructor. The first batch of modern Army Drill Sergeants were trained at the Drill Instructor School at MCRD Parris Island, SC.

Drilling Holes in the Sky - Flying: Usually flying without a mission often simply to obtain the necessary monthly flying time to be eligible for flight pay.

Drooping Turns: Helicopter pilot term for “I'm getting tired” or when a helicopter is unable to maintain the necessary rotor RPM for whatever reason.

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VP-30 - Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 57: “Conquistadors”
NAS North Island, California

Aircraft Nicknames

Aircraft Nicknames

AC-130H/U Specte: Spooky, Puff The Magic Dragon, Dragon. These “noms de guerre” are shared with the AC-130’s Vietnam-era predecessor, the AC-47.

These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather.

The AC-130U employs a synthetic aperture strike radar for long-range and adverse weather target detection and identification. U.S. Air Force

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

UC San Diego officials defend professor's art class that requires nudity in final exam

Dogs at War: Judy, Canine Prisoner of War (1936 – February 17, 1950):

Judy was a pure-bred liver and white Pointer. She was born in a dog kennel in Shanghai, China, in 1936. Judy was a ship's dog on board HMS Gnat and HMS Grasshopper stationed on the Yangtze before and during World War II. She proved able to hear incoming aircraft, providing the crew with an early warning. After part of the crew transferred from the Gnat to the Grasshopper in June 1939 the ship was sent to Singapore after the British declaration of war on Germany. There she was on board the ship during the Battle of Singapore, which saw Grasshopper evacuate for the Dutch East Indies. It was sunk in route, and Judy was nearly killed having been trapped by a falling row of lockers. She was rescued when a crewman returned to the stricken vessel looking for supplies.

On the deserted island with the surviving crew, Judy managed to find a fresh water source saving them all. They made their way to Singkep in the Dutch East Indies and afterwards to Sumatra aiming to link up with the evacuating British forces. After trekking across 200 miles of jungle for five weeks, during which Judy survived an attack from a crocodile, the crew arrived a day after the final vessel had left and subsequently became prisoners of war of the Japanese. She was eventually smuggled into the Medan camp, where she met Leading Aircraftsman Frank Williams for the first time, who she would go on to spend the rest of her life with. Williams convinced the camp Commandant to register her as an official prisoner of war, with the number “81A Gloergoer, Medan”. She was the only dog to be registered as a prisoner of war during the Second World War.

She moved around several more camps, and survived the sinking of the transport ship SS Van Warwyck where in the aftermath she saved several passengers from drowning. Les Searle from the Grasshopper smuggled her once again into the next camp, where she was reunited with Frank Williams. After the end of the war, Judy's life was put in danger once again. She was about to be put to death by the Japanese guards following a lice outbreak amongst the prisoners. However, Williams hid the dog until the Allied forces arrived. Searle, Williams and others smuggled Judy back to the UK aboard a troopship and she spent the next six months in quarantine after arriving. She was awarded the Dickin Medal by the PDSA, considered to be the animals' Victoria Cross. Judy died in 1950 in Tanzania from a tumor, after travelling with Williams there to work on a groundnut food scheme. Her Dickin Medal and collar were subsequently put on display at the Imperial War Museum in London as part of “The Animal's War” exhibition. War History OnlineWikipediaNational Geographic105.7 HAWK Classic Rock


“Money For Nothing” - Dire Straits 1985

“Money For Nothing” - Dire Straits
Album: Brothers In Arms
Released 1985 video

This song is about rock star excess and the easy life it brings compared with real work. Mark Knopfler wrote it after overhearing delivery men in a New York department store complain about their jobs while watching MTV. He wrote the song in the store sitting at a kitchen display they had set up. Many of the lyrics were things they actually said.

Sting sings on this and helped write it (he and Knopfler are the credited writers). That's him at the beginning singing “I want my MTV.” Sting did not want a songwriting credit, but his record company did because they would have earned royalties from it. They claimed it sounded very similar to a song Sting wrote for The Police: “Don't Stand So Close To Me.”

Dire Straits recorded this in Montserrat. Sting was on vacation there and came by to help out.

The innovative video was one of the first to feature computer generated animation, which was done using an early program called Paintbox. The characters were supposed to have more detail, like buttons on their shirts, but they used up the budget and had to leave it as is. It won Best Video at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

In the book I Want My MTV, various people who worked at the network explain that Dire Straits' manager asked the network what they could do to get on the network and break through in America. Their answer was: write a hit song and let one of the top directors make a video. Mark Knopfler took the directive to write an “MTVable song” quite literally, using the network's tagline in the lyrics. The song ended up sounding like an indictment of MTV, but Les Garland, who ran the network, made it clear that they loved the song and were flattered by it - hearing “I Want My MTV” on the radio was fantastic publicity even if there were some unfavorable implications in the lyrics.

Steve Baron was dispatched to do the video, and charged with the task of convincing Mark Knopfler, who hated videos, to do one that was groundbreaking. Baron says that Knopfler wasn't into the idea, but his girlfriend - an American - was at the pitch and loved the idea. Knopfler agreed (in part because he didn't have to appear in it), and Baron hired a UK production company called Rushes to work on it. Said Baron: “The song is damning to MTV in a way. That was an ironic video. The characters we created were made of televisions, and they were slagging off television. Videos were getting a bit boring, they needed some waking up. And MTV went nuts for it. It was like a big advertisement for them.”

The line “I want my MTV” was the basis of the cable network's promotional campaign. They played clips of musicians saying, and often times, screaming the line between videos.

This was the first video played on MTV Europe. The network went on the air August 1, 1987, six years after MTV in the US.

In the US, this stayed at #1 for three weeks. It also won a Grammy in 1986 for Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.

Mark Knopfler played a Les Paul Junior plugged into a Laney amp on this track. Producer Neil Dorfsman recalled in Sound On Sound magazine May 2006: “We were going for a ZZ Top sound, but what we ended up getting was kind of an accident.”

Twenty-five years after the song's release it was banned from public broadcast in Canada after one person complained about it being homophobic. The original version included a description of a singer as “that little faggot with the earring and the make-up” plus two other uses of the word “faggot”, although a cleaned-up edition was made available, Oz-FM in Newfoundland played the first edition in February 2010 at 9:15 at night. The result was a single complaint and the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that the unedited version of the song was unacceptable for air play on Canadian radio stations because it “refers to sexual orientation in a derogatory way.”

Knopfler has pointed out the song was written from the viewpoint of a stupid character who thinks musicians make their "money for nothing" and his stupidity is what leads him to make ignorant statements. Speaking in late 1985 to Rolling Stone the Dire Straits songwriter expressed his feelings about people who react angrily to the song. He said: “Apart from the fact that there are stupid gay people as well as stupid other people, it suggests that maybe you have to be direct. I'm in two minds as to whether it's a good idea to take on characters and write songs that aren't in the first person.”

Common sense finally prevailed on August 31, 2011 when the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council put an end to the ban and allowed individual radio stations to once again decide for themselves whether to play the classic rock tune.

Rolling Stone magazine (Biography) / Mark Knopfler official site / Mark Knopfler, Biography / All Music / Billboard / Song Facts / Wikipedia

Image: “Brothers In Arms‎ (album)” by Dire Straits



● 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

● The eye chart with the big "E" on top is called a Snellen Chart.

● A polar bear can smell a seal that's 20 miles away.

Joke of the Day

Joke of the Day

John and Jessica were on their way home from the bar one night and John got pulled over by the police. The officer told John that he was stopped because his tail light was burned out. John said, “I'm very sorry officer, I didn't realize it was out, I'll get it fixed right away.”

Just then Jessica said, “I knew this would happen when I told you two days ago to get that light fixed.”

So the officer asked for John's license and after looking at it said, “Sir your license has expired.”

And again John apologized and mentioned that he didn't realize that it had expired and would take care of it first thing in the morning.

Jessica said, “I told you a week ago that the state sent you a letter telling you that your license had expired.”

Well by this time, John is a bit upset with his wife contradicting him in front of the officer, and he said in a rather loud voice, “Jessica, shut your mouth!”

The officer then leaned over toward Jessica and asked. “Does your husband always talk to you like that?”

Jessica replied, “only when he's drunk.”