Carronade The Yankee Sailor Carronade

The Sea is a choosy mistress. She takes the men that come to her and weighs them and measures them. The ones she adores, she keeps; the ones she hates, she destroys. The rest she casts back to land. I count myself among the adored, for I am Her willing Captive.

I've relocated to a new Yankee Sailor.

Monday, May 16, 2005

A Landlubber's Dictionary

A glossary of terms for the uninitiated. I'll add to the list as time passes and put a link to this on the homepage. Feel free to suggest terms or point out nuances I might have missed. Here goes....

1st dog - the watch from 1600 to 1800

2nd dog - the watch from 1800 to 2000

4 to 8 - the watch from 0400 to 0800.

- a Sailor in an aviation specialty

- short for amphibious ship, i.e. a ship designed to embark, transport, land and support Marines. No, they don't actually go on land.

autodog - soft-serve ice cream

big deck - large multi-purpose amphibious ships that look like aircraft carriers

Big Navy - used to describe policies, procedures or initiatives that are Navy- or fleet-wide, or the officers that generate them.

Bone in Her Teeth - a ship that is sailing fast, with a pronounced bow wave, is said to have a "bone in her teeth."

bravo zulu - well done.

Bubblehead - submariner.

Bull - the most senior line or staff ensign aboard, though never an LDO. Assistant to the XO for running wardroom social functions and has the ability to task any members of the "bull pen."

Bull Pen - the non-LDO, line and staff ensigns.

bug juice - imitation, government issue Kool-Aid. The green bug juice was very useful for removing verdigris from brass and bronze fittings.

buttphone - walkie-talkie

Captain's Call - a group meeting with the Captain, usually all-hands or by paygrade, for the purpose of giving news, promulgating or explaining policy, or question and answer.

Cheng - Chief Engineer.

chop - see "porkchop", or the act of reviewing, editing and approving a document.

chop chain - the list of individuals that must review a document for approval.

CINCHOUSE - short for Commander-in-Chief of the House, always the wife in a Navy household, even if she's the one in the military (sorry, guys, but the truth hurts).

CIVMAR - civilian mariner

combat - in the right context, the combat information center

combat information center (CIC) - the space where watchstanders monitor the radars, maintain a plot of the ship's position and operate most of the weapons systems.

Command Duty Officer (CDO) - The Sailor responsible for overseeing the operation of a ship in port and the execution of the POD. Within limits laid out in Navy policy and the Captain's Standing Orders, the CDO is "Captain for a Day." Ships whose primary mission is aviation, like CVs, may designate Airdales as a "CDO Underway."

Commanding Officer (CO) - The officer that is ultimately in charge of, and ultimately accountable for the successes and failures of, a ship. An abbreviation of a formal title that in some circles is not used in conversation. When speaking of or to a ship's CO, "Captain" is always the best choice.

crab - shipyard worker

CRUDES - contraction of cruiser/destroyer, surface combatants as a group.

dead in the water (DIW) - When used to describe a ship, DIW means underway, but not moving under power. When used to describe other things, its meaning is similar to "going nowhere." For instance, when your boss tells you your "carreer is DIW", it's not a good thing.

death star - an aircraft carrier, and sometimes a big-deck amphib

Department Head (DH) - An officer that rus a department and reports directly to the XO and/or CO for a particular functional area on the ship. Never used in conversation. The most common departments aboard a ship are Operations, Combat Systems, Engineering and Supply. Larger ships may have Air, Weapons, Security, Admin, Medical and other departments.

Division Officer (DIVO) - An officer that runs a division aboard a ship and usually reports to a DH.

dog - see autodog

Executive Officer (XO) - The officer second-in-command of a ship. Primarily responsible for administrative oversight and personnel management, however, the XO takes on most of the duties, authority, responsibility and accountability of command when the Captain is absent.

eyeball liberty - gazing off the ship to see the sights, particularly members of the opposite sex, while on duty.

Fireman Shmuckatelli - same as Seaman Slipknot, but particular to engineers.

fitrep - report of fitness on an officer or chief.

flamespray - officially a method of heat treating metal components, but unofficially an enthusiastic a$$ chewing

gaff off - to ignore or disregard a task or superior

gator - an amphib, or the navigator on an aircraft carrior or amphibious assault ship

goat locker - the CPO mess, or the chiefs as a group.

goat rope - a poorly organized or executed evolution

gouge - Important information or the act of giving someone important information.

greyhound - a surface combatant, like cruisers, destroyers and frigates.

gundeck - falsify a record, or sign for a task that wasn't done

hole - main (propulsion) machinery room

hole snipe - an engineer that works in the propulsion plant

hollywood - a long shower that wastes fresh water.

HYDRA - a low power, channelized radio designed for internal shipboard communications. Acronym for "heterodyne dynamically reconfigurable architecture."

JORG (pronounced "george") - Junior Officer Requiring Guidance. The most junior line or staff ensign aboard, but never an LDO. The bull's right-hand man and partner in crime, and most frequent target of "shitty little jobs."

junior officer rest period (JORP) - a nap or time spent watching TV or a movie during working hours.

letter - a letter of qualification, allowing you to perform certain duties (like a OOD letter), or a formal administrative warning (non-punitive letter of instruction) or reprimand (punitive letter of reprimand). Only qualification and punitive letters go in a permanent service record.

midrats - short for "midnight rations." A meal served around midnight for Sailors that work late or have one of the night watches.

midwatch - the watch from midnight to 4am in the traditional rotation, or 2200-0200 in the "nickel and dime" rotation.

murder board - a practice oral board, where the board members drill down into a boardee's knowledge with the intention of blatantly exposing weaknesses and inadequacies.

nickel and dime - a watch rotation where most watches are five hours long, instead of the traditional four hours, with the midwatch being four hours. With three watch sections, this means a watchstander has watch for five hours, then ten hours off.

nooner - a lunch-time nap (get your mind out of the gutter).

Officer of the Deck (OOD) - Underway, the officer in charge of the underway watch, and the Captain's direct representative for the safe maneuvering and navigation of the ship and the execution of the plan of the day. In port, the Sailor in charge of the inport watch. Most of the OOD's important responsibilities are pushed to the CDO when in port.

pajamas - flight suits, usually used only by SWOs

Personnel Qualification System (PQS) - a system to standardize and document Sailors' qualification for certain watches or duties.

pencil in - tenatively schedule or assign

pencil whip - see gundeck

Planning Board for Training (PB4T) - A weekly meeting of the XO and DHs where, through an often painful ordeal of mental gymnastics, two to four weeks of work is crammed into five to seven days.

Plan of the Day (POD) - The internal SOE for a particular ship or command on any given day. Given the ever changing nature of schedules and requirements, the POD is often described as a "merely a plan from which to deviate."

Plan of the Week (POW) - The mother of the POD and a product of PB4T, it details the SOE for a given calendar week.

Porkchop - a supply officer, so named because someone thought the cluster of oak leaves that is their staff corps insignia resembled a pork chop.

rack - a bed, or time in bed

rack ops - sleep

rain locker - a shower stall

rats - midrats (an abbreviation of an abbreviation)

revwatch - watch from 0200-0700 in the nickel and dime rotation.

rope yarn - a few hours at the end of one afternoon per week when a Sailor could work on his uniforms, or depart the ship to go to the uniform shop, dry cleaners or get a haircut, or cutting out from work early for any reason.

sand crab - see "crab"

Seaman Slipknot - a term to symbolize an incompetent or poorly trained Sailor.

Seaman (or Fireman) Timmy - a term to symbolize a young, inexperienced Sailor.

Schedule of Events (SOE) - Any schedule of what a ship or group of ships has to do or where they have to be.

Semper Gumby - A spinoff of the Marine's motto, Semper Fidelis (Always Faithful) meaning "always flexible." Usually heard immediately after a change in the SOE or POD has been announced (and the bitching ceases). For you tadpoles out there, Gumby was a cartoon character your parents used to watch who was basically a walking, talking gum eraser. No, I don't know why that was entertaining, but then some people find SpongeBob entertaining, too.

Senior Watch Officer (SWO) - the officer eligible to stand bridge watches that writes the watchbill. Usually, the first offical act of the SWO is to write himself off the watchbill.

shoal water - water too shallow for a vessel to operate in safely, or trouble in general

shooter - a warship that can fire missiles for other than point defense.

skimmer - bubblehead term for a surface ship or the Sailors who man them

skinny ship - a CRUDES ship

skipper - the CO, used mostly by airdales. Use at your own risk when addressing or referring to the captain of a ship.

slam - to assign someone to duties or order them to a new duty station without a Sailor's knowledge or consent.

snipe - an engineer

snuggle bunny - someone who's taken multiple, sequential assignments in the same geographic area, particularly an overseas duty station.

stars in his eyes - wants to be an admiral and will do anything to get there

steak & crab legs - a meal often served to all hands when there's bad news, particularly when a deployment has been extended.

stump the chump - an impromptu game where a senior (or a group of seniors) questions a JO relentlessly in the style of a murder board. Usually intended to make the JO aware of the depths of his ignorance on an important topic and spur him to learn more.

sucking rubber - wearing a gas mask

sucking the monkey - No, it's not that, you pervert. It's merely drinking rum from a coconut, or drinking alcohol (illegally) on a ship.

Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) - Despite what the chief's think, SWOs are the backbone of the fleet. With some exceptions, SWOs drive the ship, fight the ship, oversee the operation and administration of the ship and more often than not determine whether the ship is a success or failure. May be hurled as an epithet, as in, "You're such a #%*$&@ SWO!" SWOs have a reputation, particularly DHs and above, as driven, competitive, and uncompromising overachievers.

tactical action officer (TAO) - the captain's designated representative underway to "fight the ship." The TAO can fire upon anything, anytime, so long as it's in self defense, and without consulting the Captain.

tango uniform
- tits up or toes up, depending on the context

tits up - really, really broken.

toes up - taking a nap

troll - the CIVMARs or Sailors that man the fuel transfer deck on an oiler or replenishment ship

twidget - a Sailor that works in a non-engineering technical rating, like an Electronics Technician or Fire Controlman

underway - not moored, grounded or anchored. A ship that is moving under power is said to "have way on" or be "making way." A ship underway, not making way, is DIW.

with all due respect - a way to preface a comment to a superior and say, "I'm going to call you an idiot to your face and get away with it."