Old Sailors' Almanac


Week 32

Washington creates the Purple Heart on August 7, 1782

Washington creates the Purple Heart on August 7, 1782.

Washington creates the Purple Heart: On August 7, 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army, creates the “Badge for Military Merit”, a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. The badge was to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action” and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. The honoree's name and regiment were also to be inscribed in a “Book of Merit”.

Washington's, “Purple Heart” was awarded to only three known soldiers during the Revolutionary War: Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr. The “Badge for Military Merit” was lost, and the decoration was largely forgotten until 1927, when General Charles P. Summerall, the U.S. Army chief of staff, sent an unsuccessful draft bill to Congress to revive the “Badge for Military Merit”. In 1931, Summerall's successor, General Douglas MacArthur, took up the cause, hoping to reinstate the medal in time for the bicentennial of George Washington's birth. On February 22, 1932, Washington's 200th birthday, the U.S. War Department announced the creation of the “Order of the Purple Heart“.

In addition to aspects of Washington's original design, the new “Purple Heart” also displays a bust of Washington and his coat of arms. The “Order of the Purple Heart“, the oldest American military decoration for military merit, is awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces who have been killed or wounded in action against an enemy. It is also awarded to soldiers who have suffered maltreatment as “prisoners of war“. History Channel / Wikipedia / PurpleHeart.org

General George Washington (February 22, 1732 [O.S. February 11, 1731] – December 14 , 1799) by John_Trumbull (June 6, 1756 – November 10, 1843) ● “Badge of Military Merit

Understanding Military Terminology

Understanding Military Terminology - eelectro-optical-infrared countermeasure

(DOD) Electro-optical-infrared Countermeasure: A device or technique employing electro-optical-infrared materials or technology that is intended to impair the effectiveness of enemy activity, particularly with respect to precision guided weapons and sensor systems. Also called EO-IR CM. (Wikipedia)

Bank Effect: International Conference on Ship Manoeuvring in Shallow and Confined Water, Antwerp, Belgium

The Old Salt’s Corner

Bank effect refers to the tendency of the stern of a ship to swing toward the near bank when operating in a river or constricted waterway.

The asymmetric flow around a ship induced by the vicinity of banks causes pressure differences (Bernoulli's principle) between port and starboard sides. As a result, a lateral force will act on the ship, mostly directed towards the closest bank, as well as a yawing moment pushing her bow towards the center of the waterway. The squat effect increases due to the decreased blockage.

This phenomenon depends on many parameters, such as bank shape, water depth, ship-bank distance, ship properties, ship speed and propeller action. A reliable estimation of bank effects is important for determining the limiting conditions in which a ship can safely navigate a waterway.

This phenomenon has several different names, including bank suction, bank cushion, stern suction, and ship-bank interaction. (Wikipedia / BankEffects

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“I’m Just Sayin’”

“Why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?”

“Thought for the Day”

“Thought for the Day”

“Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the sexes.”

~ Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900

“What I Have Learned”

The school of experience will let you repeat the lesson if you flunk the first time.

~ 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)

Florida Mom Brands Kids With Hot Stick So People Will Know They Are Hers, Say Cops

Florida Mom Brands Kids With Hot Stick So People Will Know They Are Hers, Say Cops

PORT CHARLOTTE, Florida - Kayla Oxenham, 23, was arrested in Port Charlotte, Florida, in June and charged with using a stick to burn “brands” into the skin of her two children, ages 5 and 7.

Among her explanations to police: so she could identify them as being hers and because she had “forgot how much she loved fire”. Raw Story / Associated Press

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Where did the two-fingered peace sign come from?

Mr. Answer Man Please Tell Us: Where did the two-fingered peace sign come from?

The gesture of two fingers spread and raised in peach, popularized in the 1960’s, is a physical interpretation of the peace symbol, an inverted or upside-down Y within a circle, which was designed in 1958 by members of the antinuclear Direct Action Committee.

The inverted Y is a combination of the maritime semaphore signals for N and D, which stood for “nuclear disarmament”. Wikipedia

Image: V sign: (Winston Churchill giving his famous V sign in 1943 ● Singer Robbie Williams using a V sign with palm facing signer as an insult ● Richard Nixon flashng the peace sign ● Singer Rihanna using the V sign as a peace and friend sign, 2011 ● Star Trek Vulcan Salute.)

Where Did That Saying Come From? “Going Dutch (Dutch treat)”

Where Did That Saying Come From?

Going Dutch (Dutch treat): War has influenced the slurs in our language more than anything else. For example, when a soldier runs from battle the French say he’s gone traveling “English style”, while the English say he’s on “French leave”. During the Anglo-Dutch wars of the seventeenth century, British insults were that “Dutch courage” came from a bottle, while a “Dutch treat” meant that everyone paid their own way, which of course was no treat at all.Wikipedia

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

NAVSPEAK aka U.S. Navy Slang

Shinbuster: Same as knee-knocker.

Ship over: re-enlisting.

Shipmate: Any fellow Sailor. Also, used as a derogatory term against all junior enlisted personnel i.e. E-5 and below. An Officer, Chief or First Class will use this to show they think so little of you, they haven't bothered to take the time out of their day to learn your name. Used in the Junior Enlisted Community to parody this.

Shipwreck: Any fellow sailor. Used as a derogatory term.

Just for MARINES - U.S. Marines

Just for you MARINE

Cat 9: A reference to someone as “beyond dumb” since Category 5 is the lowest of the scores on the entrance exams.

Catapult: A device on aircraft carriers that hurls an aircraft into the air. Operated by a giant steam piston it shakes the entire ship when engaged.

Cattle Car: A cargo trailer converted by adding bus doors to the right side, sealing the back doors and adding bench seating. It was pulled by a truck utilizing a fifth-wheel and it was employed at Parris Island, San Diego and Quantico until as late as the 1980s and perhaps beyond to transport recruits and officer candidates.

Military Acronyms

Navy Acronyms

UA - Unauthorized Absence/unauthorized

UAS - Unmanned Aerial System (replaced UAV)

UAV - Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

UCMJ - Uniform Code of Military Justice

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

Naval Aviation Squadron Nicknames

VP-46 - Patrol Squadron 46: “Grey Knights” NAS Whidbey Island, Washington

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

The Strange, Mysterious or Downright Weird

Secular mourning clothes: Un-Doing connections to the dead

ABCs of Death & Mourning

Today, mourners wear black as a symbol of sadness and respect for their lost loved ones, but it didn’t start out that way.

Many years ago it was believed that the spirit of the departed, fearing harsh judgment, would try to remain on earth by inhabiting a familiar body. The mourners wore black and stayed indoors or in shadows to hide from the departed spirit who sought to possess them. (Aish HaTorah AISH)

Image: Secular mourning clothes: Un-Doing connections to the dead (Elderly woman possibly dressed in mourning clothes between 1890-1900. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Public domain.)


1943 - Sammy Baugh drops back to pass against the Bears in 1942 (AP)

Sports 1943 Wikipedia

Note - many sporting events did not take place because of World War II

World Series Champions: The New York Yankees defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 4 games to 1

Negro World Series: Homestead Grays defeat the Birmingham Black Barons 4 games to 3

NFL Champions: Chicago Bears in Chicago defeat the Washington Redskins 42-26

NBL Champions: Sheboygan Redskins win two games to one over the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons

Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings defeat the Boston Bruins 4 games to 0

U.S. Open Golf: Not played due to World War II

U.S. Open Tennis (Men/Ladies): Lieutenat Joe Hunt / Pauline Betz

Wimbledon (Men/Women): Not Held

NCAA Football Champions: Notre Dame Fighting Irish

NCAA Basketball Champions: Wyoming

Kentucky Derby: Count Fleet becomes the 6th horse to win the U.S. Triple Crown

Image: Series History: Redskins – Bears (Sammy Baugh drops back to pass against the Bears in 1942 (AP, Washington Redskins' Blog)



● During his entire life, Vincent Van Gogh sold exactly one painting, Red Vineyard at Arles.

● The Earl of Condom was a knighted personal physician to England's King Charles II in the mid-1600's. The Earl was requested to produce a method to protect the King from syphillis. (Charles the II's pleasure-loving nature was notorious.) The result should be obvious.

● St. Bernard is the patron saint of skiers.

Answer to Last Week's Test

What do the distress letters SOS stand for?

Answer: “SOS” - Morse code is a series of electrical impulses that signify the letters of a structured message. SOS doesn’t stand for “save our ship” or “save our souls” as has been commonly believed. In fact, it stands for nothing. It was chosen as a distress signal at an international conference in 1906 because, at nine keystrokes - three dots, three dashes, three dots - it was thought to be the easiest combination to transmit. National World War II Museum.org

Joke of the Day

A lady goes to the doctor and complains her husband is losing interest in sex. He gives her a pill but warns her that it's still experimental. He tells her to slip it in his mashed potatoes at dinner. At dinner that night, she does just that.

About a week later she's back at the doctor and tells him, “The pill worked great! I put it in his mashed potatoes like you said. It wasn't five minutes later that he jumped up, pushed all the food and dishes to the floor, grabbed me, ripped off all my clothes and ravaged me right there on the table”.

The doctor says, “Oh dear - I'm sorry, we didn't realize the pill was that strong. The foundation will be glad to pay for any damages”. The lady replied, “That's very kind - but I don't think the restaurant will let us back in anyway”.