Thursday, June 11, 2009

Crossing the Line!

N 0 Deg. 0 Min. 0 Sec. by W 80 Deg. 50 Min. 41 Sec. Plug those coordinates into Google Earth, and that is where our ship, full of slimy polliwogs crossed the equator, came face to face with the terror of Davy Jones, endured his assault and paid the terrible price of one caught in the grip of the great Neptunous Rex! King of every creature in the sea!

After an evening of wogs, escaping from thier dungeons to reek havoc on the newly emerging pirate crew of the Barnacled lass, the witching hour was upon us. A faint calm came over the ship, and suddenly wogs started dropping like flies. Many barely made it to their racks when the smothering darkness of night carried them into a fitful sleep! He is Coming! He is Coming! Echo'd hollowly throughout the ship. And then blackness. . .

As the light of morning slowly broke across the eastern sky, commotion ran throughout the ship. Crusty Shellbacks ran through the ship, looking for those slimy polliwogs and gathering them together in Casualty Receiving. The details of what happened next are classified (I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill myself), but suffice it to say the slime that was the polliwog was revealed, and through a thorough cleansing process, the transformation to Shellback began!

Over 600 Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Civilian Partners, and Foreign Military personnel participated in this time-honored Navy tradition! I've looked at hundreds of photos from the event, and the common theme is how big the smiles were on the faces of the wogs!

This was an unplanned part of our mission. In fact, one of the most frequently heard questions prior to June 5th was, "Isn't there any way we can go below the equator and have a Shellback initiation?" The answer had always been, "No! We can't." Then, COMFORT was asked to come to the aid of a Sailor who had some medical problems on one of our ships operating well to the South of us. In order to make that transfer happen, we had to steam much faster than originally planned and we arrived in the Tumaco area much earlier than originally planned. After picking up the ailing Sailor, we had some time to kill, so the request was made to FOURTH Fleet for permission to dip below the equator. That request was approved, and the next morning we crossed the equator!

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