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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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MILITARY HAZING PRACTICES AND RITES OF PASSAGE

NEW CREWMEMBERS ABOARD SHIP ARE GIVEN NONSENSE DUTIES TO CARRY
OUT. SOME OF THESE ARE LOOKING FOR A CAN OF BULKHEAD REMOVER
WHICH HAS THE HAPLESS CREWMEMBER LOOKING FOR A NON-EXISTANT
"WALLREMOVER." ANOTHER IS FINDING A BUCKET OF CROSSHAIRS
WHICH THE GUNNERSMATE NEEDS FOR SIGHTING THE BIG GUNS.
THE FAVORITE IS THE "SUBMARINE" WATCH. IN THIS ONE THE CREW-
MEMBER IS GIVEN A PAIR OF BINOCULARS AND STATIONED SOMEWHERE
HE CAN EASILY BE SEEN. HE IS THEN INSTRUCTED TO REMAIN ON POST
UNTIL HE IS RELIEVED. AFTER A FEW HOURS OF GUFFAWS SOMEONE WILL
USUALLY GO "RELIEVE" HIM.

"SALTINESS" IS ACHIEVED AFTER A NAVYMAN HAS REPORTED TO
HIS FIRST SHIP HE IS ENTITLED TO ROLL THE BRIM OF HIS WHITEHAT,
HAVE HIS PANTS "BELLED" OR "PEGGED," AND TURN BACK THE CUFFS OF HIS
DRESSBLUE JUMPER. ANOTHER FAVORITE IS A TATTOO OR PIERCED EAR.

"CROSSING THE EQUATOR": ON THE EAST COAST INITIATES GO THROUGH
A "SHELLBACK" INITIATION. THERE ARE SEVERAL TESTS SUCH AS A
CRAWL THROUGH SLIME, THE SHELLBACK GAUNTLET, KISSING THE ROYAL
BABY, THE HORIZON SWEEP, AND DECK RUN. ALL SUCCESSFUL INITIATES
RECEIVE A SHELLBACK ID CARD, WALL PLAQUE TO SEND HOME TO MOTHER.
THE WEST COAST VERSION IS THE SAME EXCEPT THAT YOU BECOME A
MEMBER OF THE "ORDER OF THE GOLDEN DRAGONS." YOU RECEIVE THE
ID CARD, PLAQUE, AND TWO PATCHES WITH GOLD DRAGONS ON THEM TO WEAR
ON THE INSIDE OF THE CUFF OF YOUR DRESSBLUE JUMPER. THIS IS TO
IDENTIFY YOU AS A MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING. THERE ARE DISCOUNTS
AT CERTAIN BARS ON DRINKS AND OTHER "RELAXATIVES" FOR MEMBERS.

Where learned: ILLINOIS ; GREAT LAKES

Subject headings: 686 Properties attributed to specific numbers or numerals individually.
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- F535
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Entertainment Diversion
CUSTOM FESTIVAL -- Initiation rite Hazing
ART CRAFT ARCHITECTURE -- Dress

Date learned: 00-00-1969

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