Two retired Chief Petty Officers meeting over cigars one evening were only casually known to one another. Two other veterans and two others, a high school wrestling coach and an auto mechanic were all enjoying the late afternoon absently watching a baseball game on the television. As the cigar burned to a nub, the two salt- and barnacle-encrusted old seafarers became fast friends. It is the shared experience of Navy life. Deployments, wartime, and good and lousy beer five thousand miles away from home. Sharing stories of Red light districts and Shore Patrol. Looking out for our shipmates who may have enjoyed liberty a bit much.
When did you serve?
Went to bootcamp, in San Diego, in ’77.
Oh, I went through RTC in Orlando in ’78. I retired in ’99.
Shellback ? Oh yeah, I remember those @#$# shelaylee (shillelagh)
Went through 3 times. Wog first deployment and then Shellback for the next two crossings.
They used GREASE! Took forever to get it out of my hair. @#@#$@#!
Did away with it ten years ago. Sailors just aren’t tough anymore.
What about Chief’s initiation? They are bringing it back? Great.
It was a great life.
Yeah. It was a great life!
Gotta be moving on. CINCHOUSE is expecting me.
Underway. Shift colors.
Our other pals looked quietly confused; all they heard was gibberish.