Monday, October 15, 2007

Navy Speak

I stumbled (literally) across this listing of Navy terminology.

Each of the services has it's own terminology, but the Navy more so than any other. Nothing funnier than a member of a sister service temporarily assigned to a ship (usually a linguist or some other service specific specialty) trying to figure out what we're saying.

I'm happy to report that I knew all but about three of these.

My favorites:
Button Crusher, also Button Cruncher: a specially designed piece of equipment (possibly imaginary), built specifically for a shipboard laundry, used to pulverize buttons on navy uniforms. Unique in that buttons processed by a button crusher look perfectly OK when they leave the laundry but fall to pieces when touched by the recipient. One of the main reasons the most Sailors can sew.

CG: Constantly Gone. Guided missile cruiser (CG), especially during the Gulf War due to their lengthly underway time and extended deployments. (I was a cruiser Sailor, and believe me when I say this is a very true statement.)

Dit Dot Bomb: a form of hazing by taking the round paper cutouts left from a hole punch and putting them in a box or other container rigged to open and rain down on the Division Officer. When I first joined the navy, we still used 5-level paper tape to load programs and data into some computers (this was back when a 1MB disk drive was a fixed unit the size of a small refrigerator, and way to fragile to be used onboard a ship), we also often converted incoming message traffic into paper tape for storage. The chads (the little paper dots) punched out of the tape had to be emptied from the machines at the end of the watch. Every watch we'd end up with a full garbage bag of them, and that's an opportunity you just can't waste. In addition to dit dot bombs, we used to run this gag where a senior Petty Officer would assign an unsuspecting FNG to glue the chads back into the holes in the paper tape, because "this is our last tape" and we weren't going to get fresh ones until the UNREP (usually a week away). Usually, the gag would end an hour or two later with the FNG covered in little paper dots and glue.

Jesus Ring: The tiny spring-washer installed on flange fittings which, if removed carelessly, will fly off the bolt - eliciting a loud "Jesus!" from many maintenance people. Also Jesus Spring, i.e. the main recoil spring on a Colt .45cal pistol, because during a post range cleaning session, it was inevitable that at least one uncoordinated Academy Puke Ensign would fail to keep his thumb over the recoil follower and as a result would shoot the spring across the compartment, then it was assholes and elbows as everybody crawled around on the deck looking for it. Good times, good times.

KRT: Khaki Response Team - The group of chiefs and officers who inevitably show up during a crisis, just to get in the way and issue unnecessary advice and orders. For full effect, each member of the KRT should be holding a coffee cup.

Lobster: Term for women in the Navy because all the meat is in the tail. Sorry ladies.

Pillows of Death: Canned ravioli, often served for mid-rats (the 2300 meal for the those coming off the eve watch or those going on the dog or mid-watch). Proper Pillows of Death are served burned around the edges, dry, and cold. Goddamn, I loved these! Along with 8 hour old, burned coffee, the screaming heartburn would keep me wide awake for the entire dog watch on the bridge. Woohoo!

I'm off to Anchorage for the day. Got to procure a new mobo for the server and stop by the base commissary for the monthly grocery run. You kids have fun.


  1. I had two favorites.

    The "BT Punch." In the bad old days, Navy ships used to be powered by gigantic boilers instead of the gas-turbine engines in use today. The individuals who worked on these machines were called "Boiler Technicians," or "BT's." When a NUB would be assigned to the ship, you'd tell them you needed a BT Punch to finish some circuit or project you were working on. You'd send them all over the ship looking for the part, until they finally ended up in engineering, where a BT would provide the "BT Punch."

    The EMHO Report. During the mid-watch, you would send the NUB to get the "EMHO Report" filled out. They would have to take it to each division and get the appropriate measurement for each person. It wasn't until the watch was over that we told them that "EMHO" stood for "Early Morning Hard-On."

    Ah, those were the days.

  2. Don't forget "mail buoy" and "satellite" watches.

    An old CT joke was sending the NUB out for "Sonograph Ink." A sonograph was a device for plotting a Frequency vs. Time graph of an electronic signal. It used an electrode to literally burn the image onto special electro sensitive paper strips strapped to a spinning drum. It worked kind of like an old fashioned thermal printing fax machine. As such, there was no ink.

    Also: 50ft of shoreline. Fallopian Tubes. Left handed monkey wrenches. My favorite: a stack of One D, 10 T forms, which for full effect the NUB would be required to write down so he wouldn't forget - inevitably written as 1D10T. Then there was the ST1 (written as STONE) degausser (usually somebody down in engineering would keep a big, heavy rock in a locked steel box, for just such a quest).

    Done right though, such gags would quickly teach the new guy the layout of the ship, and introduce him to everybody of consequence. Done right it was not hazing, but good natured ribbing with a specific educational goals.

  3. Don't forget breaking in the new lookout watch standers underway:

    "Combat, forward lookout: air contact dead ahead, believe it to be a B1-RD or a CGU11"


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