Navy Terms and Trivia

Eight Bells This measure of time originated in the days when a half-hour glass was used to tell off the four-hour watches. Each time the sand ran out, the ship's boy, whose job it was to reverse the glass, struck a bell to show he was attend-ing to his business. Thus, eight times he turned the glass, and eight times struck the bell.

A "Long" Shot Here's a modern gambling term with an old nautical origin. Because ships' guns in early days were very inaccurate except at close quarters, it was only an extremely lucky shot that would hit the mark at any great distance, hence the inference of "luck" in the gambling term.

The Charge Book During World War II, Commanding Officers were authorized to advance and promote deserving and qualified sailors to the highest enlisted rank of Chief Petty Officer. The determination of "deserving and qualified" could be difficult for the CO. The situation also presented challenges to the Sailor who aspired to attain a Chief rating. From these dilemmas sprang the original charge books. Chiefs began to direct PO1's to prepare themselves to assume the additional responsibilities. Ship's professional libraries were nonexistent or poorly stocked and much had to be learned directly from conversations with the Chiefs themselves and taken down to be studied later. In addition to the technical aspects of the various ratings, CPO's also talked to the PO1's about leadership, accountability, supporting the chain of command, and other subject matter often using personal experiences to illustrate how something should (or should not) be done. The collection of notes and study material eventually came to be called a "Charge Book" perhaps because those who kept them were their "Charges" (entrusted to their care) for professional development or perhaps because the entries included "Charges" (authoritative instructions or tasking of a directive nature).

Gadgets This well known word was originally the nautical name for hooks, and derives from the French "Gache."

George The term given to the junior ensign in an activity. Also Boot Ensign

Cup of Joe Josephus Daniels (18 May 1862-15 January 1948)was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Among his reforms of the Navy were inaugurating the practice of making 100 Sailors from the Fleet eligible for entrance into the Naval Academy, the introduction of women into the service, and the abolishment of the officers' wine mess. From that time on, the strongest drink aboard Navy ships could only be coffee and over the years, a cup of coffee became known as "a cup of Joe".

Bull The term given to the senior ensign in an activity.

AUGUST CHIEF PETTY OFFICER The term august (o gust') means inspiring reverence or admiration; of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic. The term August Chief Petty Officer is a description of any CPO; inspiring reverence or admiration; representative of supreme dignity or grandeur; majestic.

GOLDBRICK The term "goldbrick" achieved it widest use as a military slang, but has been in common use for many years as a term describing the avoidance of work, or shirking. Anything worthless which has been passed on as genuine is also referred to as a goldbrick. It originally referred to a bar of worthless metal which has been gilded to make it appear to be solid gold.

PASS THE HAT To make a collection on behalf of a distressed person or people. Taken from William Maginn's Tales of Military Life, 1829 "Having sent round the hat for the benefit of the poor and half petrified". Later referred to by entertainers and religious perofrmers who used a hat to collect their money. This procedure helped create other hat terms such as "talking through your hat", "hat in hand" and "old hat".

Ahoy This old traditional greeting for hailing other vessels was originally a Viking battle cry.

STICK IN THE MUD A colloquial nickname for one who is stubborn or immovable from a position. First noted of James Baker in Sessions of the Criminal Court as his alias "Stick in the Mud", 1733.

TATTOOS A tattoo of a pig on one leg of a sailor and a rooster (cock) on the other is a charm against drowning.

ANCHORS AWEIGH Music written by Bandmaster Lieut. Zimmerman. In 1906, Lieut. Zimmerman was approached by Midshipman First Class Alfred Hart Miles with a request for a new march. As a member of the Class of 1907, Miles and his classmates "were eager to have a piece of music that would be inspiring, one with a swing to it so it could be used as a football marching song, and one that would live forever."

THE CHIEF'S BELL It is at the Navy Memorial, Navy Heritage Center, Gallery Deck. The inscription on the front has an anchor with the words "Chief Petty Officer Centenial 1893-1993" around it.

MCPONS
GMCM DELBERT D. BLACK 13JAN67 - 01APR71 WIFE: IMA
MACM JOHN D. WHITTET 01APR67-25SEP75 WIFE: NFI
OSCM ROBERT J. WALKER 25SEP75-28SEP79 WIFE: FRANCES
AFCM(NAC) THOMAS S. CROW 28SEP79-01OCT82 WIFE: CAROL
AVCM BILLY C. SANDERS 01OCT82-04OCT85 WIFE: NFI
RMCM WILLIAM H. PLACKETT 01OCT85-09SEP88 WIFE: KAREN
AVCM (AW) DUANE R. BUSHEY 09SEP88-28AUG92 WIFE: SUSAN
ETCM(SW) JOHN H. HAGAN 28AUG92-28MAR98 WIFE: CATHERINE
MMCM(SS/SW/AW) JAMES L. HERDT CURRENT Wife: SHARON

Goat Locker Entertainment on liberty took many forms, mostly depending on the coast and opportunity. One incident which became tradition was at a Navy-Army football game. In early sailing years, livestock would travel on ships, providing the crew the fresh milk, meats, and eggs. as well as serving as ships' mascots. One pet, a goat named El Cid (meaning Chief) was the mascot aboard the USS New York. When its crew attended the fourth Navy-Army football game in 1893, they took El Cid to the game, which resulted in the West Pointers losing. El Cid (The Chief) was offered shore duty at Annapolis and became the Navy's mascot. This is believed to be the source of the old Navy term, "Goat Locker".

Holy Stone The sandstone formerly used for scouring ships' decks, got its nickname from some witty Sailor who declared as its use always brought a man to his knees, it sure must be "HOLY."

Mind Your P's and Q's Nowadays a term meaning "Be on your best behavior." In old days, Sailors Serving aboard government ships could always get credit at the waterfront taverns until pay-day. As they would only pay for those drinks which were marked up on the score-board, the tavern-keeper had to be careful that no Pints or Quarts had been omitted from the customers list.

Chewing the Fat God made the vittles, but the devil made the cook", was a popular saying used by seafaring men in the last century when salted beef was the staple diet aboard ship. This tough cured beef, suitable only for long voyages when nothing else was as cheap or would keep as well, required prolonged chewing to make it edible. Men often chewed one chunk for hours, just as if it were chewing gum and referred to this practice as Chewing the fat

No Quarter This is a term, indicative of a fight to the death, gathers its meaning from the reverse of "giving Quarter," an old custom by which officers, upon surrender, could save their lives by paying a ransom of "One Quarter of their pay."

Log Book In the early days of sailing ships, the ship's records were written on shingles cut from logs. These shingles were hinged and opened like a book. The record was called the "log book." Later on, when paper was readily available and bound into books, the record maintained it name.

Between the Devil and the Deep In wooden ships, the "devil" was the longest seam of the ship. It ran from the bow to the stern. When at sea and the "devil" had to be caulked, the sailor sat in a bo'sun's chair to do so. He was suspended between the "devil" and the sea -- the "deep -- a very precarious position, especially when the ship was underway.

Sick Bay Ships hospitals were originally known as "Sick Berths," but as the were generally located in the round sterns of the old battle wagons, their contours suggested a "bay," and the latter name was given them.

Head The "head" aboard a Navy ship is the bathroom. The term comes from the days of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the hull to which the figurehead was fastened.

Chit One tradition carried on in the Navy is the use of the chit. It is a carry over from the days when Hindu traders used slops of paper called citthi for money, so they wouldn't have to carry heavy bags or gold and silver. British sailors shortened the word to chit and applied it to their mess vouchers. Its most outstanding use in the Navy today is for drawing pay and a form used for requesting leave and liberty. But the term is currently applied to almost any piece of paper from a pass to an official letter requesting some privilege.

Scuttlebutt The origin of the word scuttlebutt which is nautical parlance for a rumor, comes from a combination of scuttle - to make a hole in the ship's side causing her to sink - and butt - a cask or hogshead used in the days of wooden ships to hold drinking water; thus the term scuttlebutt means a cask with a hole in it. Scuttle; describes what most rumors accomplish if not to the ship, at least to morale. Butt describes the water cask where men naturally congregated, and that is where most rumors get started. The terms galley yarn and mess deck intelligence also mean the spreading of rumors and many of course start on the mess deck

Binnacle List Many novice sailors, confusing the words 'binnacle' and barnacle, have wondered what their illnesses had to do with crusty growths found on the hull of a ship. Their confusion is understandable. Binnacle is defined as the stand or housing for the ship's compass located on the bridge. The term binnacle list, in lieu of sick list, originated years ago when ship corpsmen used to place a list of sick on the binnacle health. After long practice, it came to be called binnacle list.

S.O.S. Contrary to popular notion, the letters S.O.S. do not stand for "Save Our Ship" or "Save Our Souls". They were selected to indicate a distress because, in Morse code, these letters and their combination create an unmistakeable sound pattern.

Ship's Husband Sometimes when a ship is heading for the yards, an old salt says that she is going to her husband now and it causes novices to wonder what he is talking about. A ship's husband was once a widely used term which described the man in charge of the shipyard responsible for the repair of a particular ship. It was not uncommon to hear the sailors of creaky ships lament, Ah, she's been a good ship, lads, but she's needing her husband now. In the course of a ship's life, she may have had more than one husband, but this had little bearing upon her true affections. Tradition has it, her love was saved solely for her sailors.

Show a Leg Many of out Navy's colorful expressions originated as a practical means of communicating vital information. One such expression is show a leg. In the British Navy of King George III and earlier, many sailors wives accompanied them on long voyages. This practice caused a multitude of problems but some ingenious bosun solved one that tended to make reveille a hazardous event - that of distinguishing which bunks held males and which held females. To avoid dragging the wrong mates out of the rack, the bosun asked all to show a leg. If the legged was hairy and tattooed, the owner was forced to quot;turn-to. In today's Navy, showing a leg is a signal to the reveille petty officer that you have heard his call and are awake.

Chief Petty Officers An Executive order issued by President Benjamin Harrision dated 25 February 1893 and issued as General order No. 409 of 25 February 1893 gave a pay scale for Navy enlisted men. It was divided into rates and listed Chiefs Petty Officers. Both the executive and Circular No. 1 listed Chief Petty Officers as a distinct rate for the first time and both were to take effect on 01 April 1893. It appears that this is the date on which the Chief Petty Officer rate actually was established.

NAVY COLORS 27 August 1802 the Secretary of the Navy signed an instruction which set a pattern for the dress of the U.S. Navy in Blue and Gold.

Navy Blue Blue has not always been navy blue. In fact it wasn't until 1745 that the expression navy blue meant anything at all. In that year several British officers petitioned the Admiralty for adaptation of new uniforms for it's officers. The first lord requested several officers to model various uniforms under consideration so he could select the best. He then selected selected several uniforms of various styles and colors to present to King George II for final decision. King George, unable to decide on either style or color, finally chose a blue and white because they were the favorite color combinations of the first lord's wife, Duchess of Bedford.

UNIFORM REGULATIONS The first uniform instruction for the U.S. Navy was issued by the Secretary of War on 24 August 1791. It provided a distinctive dress for the officers who would command the ships of the Federal Navy. The instruction did not include a uniform for the enlisted man, although there was a degree of uniformity. The usual dress of a seaman was made up of a short jacket, shirt, vest, long trousers, and a black low crowned hat.

Crow's Nest The crow (the bird not the rating badge) was an essential part of the early sailors navigation equipment. These land-lubbing fowl were carried on board to help the navigator determine where the closest land lay when the weather prevented sighting the shore visually. In case of poor visibility, a crow was released and the navigator plotted a course that corresponded with the birds because it invariably headed toward land. The crow's nest was situated high in the main mast where the look-out stood watch. Often he shared this lofty perch with a crow or two since the crows' cages were kept there; hence the crow's nest

Fathom Fathom was originally a land measuring term derived from the Ango-Saxon word "faetm" meaning to embrace. In those days, most measurements were based on average size of parts of the body, such as the hand (horses are still measured this way) or the foot (that's why 12 inches are so named). A fathom is the average distance from fingertip to fingertip of the outstretched arms of a man --- about six feet. Since a man stretches out his arms to embrace his sweetheart, Britain's Parliament declared that distance be called a "fathom" and it be a unit of measure. A fathom remains six feet. The word was also used to describe taking the measure or "to fathom" something. Today, of course, when one is trying to figure something out, they are trying to "fathom" it.

FOULED ANCHOR The foul anchor as a naval insignia got its start as the seal of the Lord Howard of Effingham. He was the Lord Admiral of England at the time of the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588. During this period the personal seal of a great officer of state was adopted as the seal of his office. The fouled anchor still remains the official seal of the Lord High Admiral of Great Britain. When this office became part of the present Board of Admiralty, the seal was retained on buttons, official seals, and cap badges. The Navy's adoption of this symbol and many other customs can be directly attributed to the influence of British Naval tradition. The fouled anchor is among them.

The Tie that Binds This expression of sentiment, regarding blood relationship of a similarity of ideals which hold people in a common bond, is generally believed to have been coined for the short chain which secures main and fore yards to their respective masts.

Hunky-Dori This term, meaning everything is OK, was coined from a street named Honki-Dori in Yokohama. As the inhabitants of this street catered to the pleasures of Sailors, one can readily understand why the street's name became synonymous for anything that is enjoyable or satisfactory.

Mayday "Mayday" is the internationally recognized voice radio signal for ships and people in serious trouble at sea. Made official in 1948, it is an anglicizing of the French m'aidez, "help me".

KHAKI Originated in 1845 in India where British soldiers soaked white uniforms in mud, coffee, and curry powder to blend in with the landscape. Khakis made their debut in the U.S. Navy in 1912 when they were worn by naval aviators, and were adopted for submarines in 1931. In 1941 the Navy approved khakis for on- station wear by senior officers, and soon after Pearl Harbor chiefs and officers were authorized to wear khakis ashore on liberty.

Keelhaul To be keelhauled today is merely to be given a severe reprimand for some infraction of the rules. As late as the 19th century, however, it meant the extreme. It was a dire and often fatal torture employed to punish offenders of certain naval laws. An offender was securely bound both hand and foot and had heavy weights attached to his body. He was then lowered over the ship's side and slowly dragged along under the ship's hull. If he didn't drown - which was rare - barnacles usually ripped him, causing him to bleed to death. All navies stopped this cruel and unusual punishment years ago and today any such punishment is forbidden.

Knot The term knot or nautical mile, is used world-wide to denote one's speed through water. Today, we measure knots with electronic devices, but 200 years ago such devices were unknown. Ingenious mariners devised a speed measuring device both easy to use and reliable called the "log line". From this method we get the term knot. The log line was a length of twine marked at 47.33 foot intervals by colored knots. At one end was fastened a log chip; it was shaped like the sector of a circle and weighted at the rounded end with lead. When thrown over the stern, it would float pointing upward and would remain relatively stationary. The log line was allowed to run free over the side for 28 seconds and then pulled on board. Knots which had passed over the side were counted. In this way the ship's speed was measured.

BROWN SHOES In 1913 high laced shoes of tan leather first appeared in Uniform Regulations and were authorized for wear by aviators with khaki's. The color changed to russet brown in 1922. Uniforms exclusive to the aviation community were abolished in the 1920's and reinstated in the 1930's. The authorized color of aviators shoes has alternated between brown and black since then.

PEACOAT A cold weather version of the first uniform authorized-- the Pea-Jacket. A warm, heavy coat made from "Pee" cloth or "Pilot" cloth, a course stout kind of twilled blue cloth with a nap on one side.

BELL BOTTOM TROUSERS Commonly believed that the trouser were introduced in 1817 to permit men to roll them above the knee when washing down the decks, and to make it easier to remove them in a hurry when forced to abandon ship or when washed overboard.  The trousers may be used as a life preserver by knotting the legs.

THIRTEEN BUTTONS ON TROUSERS There is no relationship between the 13 buttons on the trousers and the 13 original colonies. Before 1894, the trousers had only seven buttons and in the early 1800's they had 15 buttons. It wasn't until the broad fall front was enlarged that the 13 buttons were added to the uniform and only then to add symmetry of design.

WHITE HAT In 1852 a white cover was added to the soft visor less blue hat.  In 1866 a white sennet straw hat was authorized as an additional item. During the 1880's the white "sailors hat" appeared as a low rolled brim high-domed item made of wedge shaped pieces of canvas to replace the straw hat. The canvas was eventually replaced by cotton as a cheaper more comfortable material. Many complaints on the quality and construction led to modifications ending in the currently used white hat.

OFFICERS STARS Were first approved on line officers uniforms on 28 January 1864. All regulations since 1873 have specified that one ray would point downward toward the gold stripe on the sleeve. The reason for this is unknown.

CPO STARS Were introduced with the creation of SCPO and MCPO. The reasoning for stars pointed one ray down is unknown, however, indications point to following the line officers standard.

Starboard The Vikings called the side of their ship its board, and they placed the steering oar, the "star" on the right side of the ship, thus that side became known as the "star board." It's been that way ever since. And, because the oar was in the right side, the ship was tied to the dock at the left side. This was known as the loading side or "larboard". Later, it was decided that "larboard" and "starboard" were too similar, especially when trying to be heard over the roar of a heavy sea, so the phrase became the "side at which you tied up to in port" or the "port" side.

JUMPER FLAPS The collar originated as a protective cover for the jacket to protect it from the grease or powder normally worn by seamen to hold hair in place.

STRIPES AND STARS ON UNIFORMS On 18 January 1876, Rear Admiral Stephen B. Luce recommended a collar with stars and stripes as a substitute for the plain collar used on the frocks of seamen. Three stripes on the collar was proposed for all grades, with the stripes on the cuffs to indicated grade. One stripe for E-1, etc.

DISTINGUISHING MARKS/RATING BADGES In 1841, insignia called "distinguishing marks" were first prescribed as part of the official uniform. An eagle and anchor emblem, forerunner of the rating badge, was the first distinguishing mark. In 1886 rating badges were established, and some 15 specialty marks were also provided to cover the various ratings.  On 1 April 1893, petty officers were reclassified and the rating of chief petty officer was established. Until 1949 rating badges were worn on the right or left sleeve, depending on whether the person concerned was on the starboard or port watch. Since February 1948, all distinguishing marks have been worn on the right sleeve between the shoulder and elbow.

Geedunk To most sailors the word geedunk means ice cream, candy, potato chips and other assorted snacks, or even the place where they can be purchased. No one, however, knows for certain where the term originated, but there are several plausible theories. 1) In the 1920's a comic strip character named Harold Teen and his friends spent a great amount of time at Pop's candy store. The store's owner called it The Geedunk for reasons never explained. 2) The Chinese word meaning a place of idleness sounds something like gee dung. 3) Geedunk is the sound made by a vending machine when it dispenses a soft drink in a cup. 4) It may be derived from the German word tunk meaning to dip or sop either in gravy or coffee. Dunking was a common practice in days when bread, not always obtained fresh, needed a bit of tunking to soften it. The ge is a German unaccented prefix denoting repetition. In time it may have changed from getunk to geedunk. Whatever theory we use to explain geedunk's origin, it doesn't alter the fact that Navy people are glad it all got started.

RIGHT ARM RATES Established in 1841 and disestablished 2 April 1949, originally signified men of the Seaman branch. During W.W.II these rates included Boatswains Mate, Turret Captain, Signalman, Gunners Mate, Fire Controlman, Quartermaster, Mineman, and Torpedomans Mate. Other ratings wore rates on the left sleeve.

Pea Coat Sailors who have to endure pea soup weather often don their pea coats but the coat's name isn't derived from the weather. The heavy topcoat worn in cold, miserable weather by seafaring men was once tailored from pilot cloth - a heavy , course, stout king of twilled blue cloth with the nap on one side. The cloth was sometimes called P-cloth for the initial letter of the word and the garment made from it was called a p-jacket - later a pea coat. The term has been used since 1723 to denote coats made from that cloth.

FLAT HATS- First authorized in 1852 the flat hat was eliminated on 1 April 1963 due to non-available materials. The original hats had unit names on the front, however, unit names were taken off in January 1941.

MEN'S NECKERCHIEF The black neckerchief or bandanna first appeared as early as the 16th century and was utilized as a sweat band and collar closure. Black was the predominant color as it was practical and did not readily show dirt. There is no truth to the myth that the black neckerchief was designed as a sign of mourning for Admiral Nelsons death.

NECKERCHIEF SQUARE KNOT There is no historical significance to the knot other that it being a knot widely used by sailors which presents a uniform appearance.

DUNGAREES In 1901 regulations authorized the first use of denim jumpers and trousers, and the 1913 regulations originally permitted the dungaree outfit to be used by both officers and enlisted with the hat of the day.

Galley The galley is the kitchen of the ship. The best explanation as to its origin is that it is a corruption of "gallery". Ancient sailors cooked their meals on a brick or stone gallery laid amidships.

ENLISTED WOMEN The first enlisted women's uniform was comprised of a single breasted coat, blue in winter and white in summer, long gull bottomed skirts and a straight-brimmed sailor hat, blue felt in winter and white straw in summer, black shoes and stockings.

COMMAND AT SEA PIN Established in 1960 to recognize the responsibilities placed on those officers of the Navy who are in command, or who have successfully commanded, ships and aircraft squadrons of the fleet. The component parts, a commission pennant, an anchor, and the line star, were determined to be ideally suited for a design which would be symbolic in the ready identification of those officers who have attained the highly coveted and responsible title of Commanding Officer of our commissioned units at sea.

Gun Salutes Gun salutes were first fired as an act of good faith. In the days when it took so long to reload a gun, it was a proof of friendly intention when the ship's cannon were discharged upon entering port.

Boatswain's Pipe No self-respecting boatswain's mate would dare admit he couldn't blow his pipe in a manner above reproach. This pipe, which is the emblem of the boatswain and his mates, has an ancient and interesting history. On the ancient row-galleys, the boatswain used his pipe to t;call the stroke;. Later because its shrill tune could be heard above most of the activity on board, it was used to signal various happenings such as knock-off and the boarding of officials. So essential was this signaling device to the well-being of the ship, that it became a badge of office and honor in the British and American Navy of the sailing ships.

AVIATION GREEN UNIFORM In SEP 1917 the "Forestry" Green uniform of the U.S. Marine Corps was authorized for aviation officers as a winter working uniform. The earliest use of the uniform by enlisted men came in 1941 when chief petty officers designated as Naval Aviation Pilots were authorized to wear the uniform. In NOV 1985 Aviation Working Greens were authorized for wear by women in the aviation community.

Devil to Pay Today the expression devil to pay is used primarily as a means of conveying an unpleasant and impending happening. Originally, this expression denoted a specific task aboard ship such as caulking the ship's longest seam. The devil was the longest seam on the wooden sailing ship and caulking was done with pay or pitch. This grunt task of paying the devil was despised by every seaman and the expression came to denote any unpleasant task.

Ditty Bags Ditty bog (or box) was originally called ditto bag because it contained at least two of everything - two needles, two spools of thread, two buttons, etc. With the passing of years, the 'ditto' was dropped in favor of ditty and remains so today. Before WW I, the Navy issued ditty boxes made of wood and styled after foot lockers. These carried the personal gear and some clothes of the sailor. Today the ditty bag is still issued to recruits and contains a sewing kit, toiletry articles and personal items such as writing paper and pens.

CLOTHES STOPS A small diameter cord, approximately 12 inches, used to tie laundry to a clothes line. The early Navy clothes pin.  Issued in recruit training until 1973.

Watches Traditionally, a 24-hour day is divided into seven watches. These are: midnight to 4 a.m. [0000-0400], the mid-watch; 4 to 8 a.m. [0400-0800], morning watch; 8 a.m. to noon [0800-1200], forenoon watch; noon to 4 p.m. [1200-1600], afternoon watch; 4 to 6 p.m. [1600-1800] first dog watch; 6 to 8 p.m. [1800-2000], second dog watch; and, 8 p.m. to midnight [2000-2400], evening watch. The half hours of the watch are marked by the striking the bell an appropriate number of times.

NAVY GRAY UNIFORMS Gray uniforms in the same style as khaki were first introduced on 16 April 1943 as an officers uniform. On 3 June 1943 the uniform was extended to include Chief Petty Officers. On 31 March 1944 cooks and stewards were permitted to wear the gray uniform. The Navy abolished use of "grays" on 15 October 1949.

Carry On In the days of sail, the Officer of the Deck kept a weather eye constantly on the slightest change in wind so sails could be reefed or added as necessary to ensure the fastest headway. Whenever a good breeze came along, the order to "carry on" would be given. It meant to hoist every bit of canvas the yards could carry. Pity the poor sailor whose weather eye failed him and the ship was caught partially reefed when a good breeze arrived. Through the centuries the term's connotation has changed somewhat. Today, the Bluejackets Manual defines carry on as an order to resume work; work not so grueling as two centuries ago.

COCKED HAT A hat worn by officers with ceremonial uniforms commonly refereed to as a "fore and aft" hat. During the 1700's the hat was worn parallel to the shoulders, but in the 1800's was modified to be worn with the points to the front and back. Wearing of the Cocked Hat was discontinued on 12 October 1940.

Took the wind out of his sails Often we use "took the wind out of his sails" to describe getting the best of an opponent in an argument. Originally it described a battle maneuver of sailing ships. One ship would pass close to its adversary and on its windward side. The ship and sails would block the wind from the second vessel, causing it to lose headway. Losing motion meant losing maneuverability and the ability to carry on a fight.

HAVELOCK A protective cover worn by women over the combination cap to provide cold weather protection. Sometimes refereed to as the "Lawrence of Arabia hat" because it fell to shoulder length in the manner of a hood. A rain hood was also issued to provide rain protection. Discontinued in 1981.

In Through the Hawsepipe Sometimes we hear an old Chief Petty Officer claim he came into the Navy through the hawsepipe and it makes one wonder if he is referring to some early enlistment program. Actually, it was an enlistment program of sorts; it means a person is salty and savvies the ways of the sea because he began his nautical career on the lowest ladder of the deck force. A hawespipe or hawsehole, incidentally, is a hole in the bow of the ship through which the anchor chain runs.

CUTLASS A short saber with a cut and thrust blade and a large hand guard.  Issued to enlisted men as a sidearm and maintained in ships armories until the beginning of W.W.II. The weapons was officially declared obsolete in 1949. The Cutlass was considered an organizational issue item, but was never considered to be a part of the enlisted uniform.