Sunday, September 13, 2015

I read where the people at USMA, West Point

 had their annual pillow fight and a couple of cadets got banged up. Apparently a few of them stuffed hard objects in with their pillows.

While I suppose there ought to be penalty markers thrown for that one. If the catch the cadets that did do such a thing there ought to be some sort of disciplinary action taken. It should end there.

Over the yers there have been a number of service traditions that have been ruined by the media in their never ending hunt for sensationalism.

King Neptune's Court on Naval vessels seems to have dropped off to nothing more than a hokey little thing. King Neptune's Court is where the Order of the Shellback is awarded for crossing the equator. First time equator crossers of all ranks traditionally face King Neptune and his court. Generally the court and ceremony is performed by enlisted men. 

It is interesting to note that one serving president didn't get off the hook and had to face King Neptune.

President Harry S. Truman faced King Neptune's court and became a shellback back in 1947 aboard USS Missouri.

My favorite story is when then colonel Marine Icon Chesty Puller, who was already a shellback at the time, was standing next to a general that was undergoing the rite of passage.

The general was ordered to 'kiss the baby's belly'. The baby was the biggest Chief petty officer on the boat clad in a makeshift diaper.

The general turned to Puller and asked him if he really had to kiss the baby's belly.

"Quick, sir! Before they turn the baby over," replied Puller. 

Of course, somewhere along the line someone's mother heard about it and the media ran with it. As usual they deemed it harrassment or sexist or violent or some damned thing and the Navy kind of toned it down to a nothing ceremony.

Since George Washington camped at Valley Forge service people have done dopey things of of traditon. For the most part they have just been plain fun and serve to bring the troops together.

I had a scout leader that had his Order of the Shellback certificate prominently displayed in his living room. It was something that he was proud of. One time when I was older, maybe in my 40s he and I met and he told me about the ceremony. The story was hilarious.

As a scout I overheard him talking to another boy's dad about wartime Naval service and one of the first things they shared was where they faced King Neptune's court. Both had served in the Pacific.

Other service customs such as blood wings, pinning on or wetting down of stripes on promotion and the like have all but disappeared or gone underground. It's a shame, really.

Anyway, I get sick and tired of hearing about the media making a big thing out of nothing at the exense of the service people. Often times the job is hard and frustrating enough and needs a little help.

These little things that seem to be being taken away from the service people are or in many cases were just the dumb little things that made life in the military just a little more bearable.

I just wish the media would leave them alone for a change.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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