Remember Being a Sailor in the 80s?

U.S. Navy photo by Novia E. Harrington


Every generation has a slightly different experience of military service. Here are 13 things that no longer exist but you’ll remember if you served in the US Navy in the 1980s.


1. You could have a beard

Remember when you just couldn’t wait to make E-4 so you could have one of those great big bushy navy beards? Too bad you couldn’t wear an OBA to breathe in a fire with that big old beard…


2. Beer machines in the barracks

Nothing better than getting off work, coming back to an open barracks room with 75 other guys in it,  going into the TV lounge to watch the same show everybody else wants to see and dropping  $.75 into a cold drink machine to enjoy a nice lukewarm can of brew.


3. Snail mail that took months to reach you

Getting your Christmas cards for Easter is always fun.


4. Cinderella liberty

Get back to the ship  by midnight or you will turn into a pumpkin (or at least pull some extra duty)!


5. Life before urinalysis

Gave new meaning to “The smoking lamp is lit.”


6. Watching the same movie 72 times on deployment because there was no satellite

Reciting the lines by memory added to the fun. For a treat they would show it topside on the side of the superstructure.


7. Enlisted and Officers partying together

Nothing better than drinking all night with your division officer and showing up for the next day’s morning muster while he is nowhere to be found.


8. Liberty cards, request chits, and green “Memorandum” books

No liberty until the chief handed out the liberty cards; chits filled out in triplicate were required for everything; and you knew you made it when you carried a little green memo book in your pocket (to write stuff down with your Skilcraft pen).


9. Having a “discussion” with the chief in the fan room

A little attitude adjustment never hurt anybody. The next day you were best buds, and you never told a soul where you got that black eye.


10. Getting paid in cash

Nothing better than armed guards standing by for payday on the mess decks and having a pocket full of $20s every 2 weeks.


11.   Our only enemy was the Reds

Ivans and Oscars and Bears, Oh My!


12. Communicating with flags

Just what are those guys waving around semaphore flags saying to each other?

 U.S. Navy photo by Novia E. Harrington

13. Navigating before GPS

Quartermaster get a sextant and tell me where we are!

Share your ’80s Navy memories in the comments!

  • dockrick

    those were the “good old days”.

    • Jon E Johnson

      Lost a friend when CHT gasses leaked by his OBA RMCS

    • Sam

      The 60’s were better.

      • Henry

        Discharged in 1964, what a trip, best training ever…..

      • Mike Larsen

        Yup! Company 563 SDIEGO OCT 62.
        First duty station
        Was there during 9.2 quake 1964.

    • 4th picture…looks like Subic Bay favorite port… and my buddy Gayle Ross in picture enjoying some of the heavenly delights!! Does the Navy pull in there anymore?

      • LRDG

        Presidents Obama and Aquino recently signed a 10-year agreement for US forces to use Repair and other related facilities in the Philippines, which includes port visits and such.

      • Mem Lane

        Yes. Got pretty heated when a Marine killed a Benny Boy down in Po’ City a while back.

      • I dont know, I was there in 96

    • Rick

      They were good old days indeed. No queers, no women aboard ships, and no need to wait on chits to be approved; I had a key to the hold.

      • Ron

        Sorry Rick. We had the “queers” back then they just went around more quietly lest they be booted out of the service.

      • Dave

        rick…there have always been “queers” in the service. you just never noticed and the world did not come to an end!

      • kim

        Rick, I served in the 80’s and still do. I was an undesignated female Seaman. I take insult to your comment. I have now served 32 years and still proudly working side by side with male Sailors!

      • Rolling of Eyes

        Insult noted. Rick’s point validated.

    • Joe

      Life was good back in the 80s.

    • Bill

      I retired in 1962 with 22 years svc. You guys had it easy in the 80’s. It took 3 yrs, 8 months and 25 days to get from Pearl to Osaka…Good old days, and at 93 da checks come in!

      • Marcus

        Good job you old goat!

    • Mike Larsen

      Definitely the Good Ole Days!!!
      Copying the Fleet Broadcast in CW.
      Copying the Fleet Broadcast via HF.
      Basket leave.
      Liberty Call in Sasebo,Subic Bay, Yokosuka, Hong kong, Vung Tau, Saigon,
      Taiwan, Nha Trang, and Long Beach, CA!!
      and..Sea duty in Londonderry, N. Ireland…
      The old Navy was great….Now???
      I think not. Sorry to say!

    • Ralph M. Felix


    • Good ole days for sure. It’s funny how nobody mentioned the days of being a Golden shellback. One of the most memorable traditions outside Chiefs Initiation. The 80’s were the best for sure. Hooya !!

  • pat

    I loved these beards.

    • Guest

      I was an instructor at nuke prototype when the edict to shave came down. About 10 of us saved the shaved hair and dropped it all in a large manila envelope and mailed it to the Secretary of the Navy. Wonder how many of those packages he received.

      • LRDG

        What was even more shocking was the people who said, “Take my Beard away? I’m outta here!” and they got out, or resigned!

  • pat

    Are there no more signalmen? Semaphore is no longer taught/used?: nor the sextant? I retired in 2001 and the sextant was still used periodically.
    Underway, a carton of brand name cigs was $4.50 or $5.50 depending on the specific brand. (YES, carton not pack.)

    • Ron ursery

      I remember $1.00 a carton sea stores.

      • r hagarty

        90 cents back in 62 63

      • shipfixr

        No, they weren’t 90 cents unless possibly you meant back in 52 53.

      • robert hagarty

        nope sea stores were 90cents, I know I bought a lot of them. at the age of 75 I haven’t lost my memory yet.. I remember a guy who lived in new York city who bought 2 sea bags full and took them home and came back with a lot of money. those were great times

      • woxof

        Sorry guys but…ship store brand name cigs (carton) were .80 cents…that was when I was a guest on a troop ship…13 day (each way) in early ’50’s…while in Japan on R&R, a case of Old Taylor was $13…sold on B/M for $30…good return…

      • George Kinerson

        I know a guy in Germany that did the same thing but used his car instead of a sea bag and drove to a German city to sell, He went to the Fed Prison for that. Black Market Sales.

      • Leon Suchorski

        And then we sold the Salems to the Vietnamese for $5.00 per carton.

      • Rooftop Voter

        Over in the Med ’70-’71, reps from the major cigarette companies would be at the Fleet Landing in Piraeus, Greece and hand out the 5 pack samples. I never smoked but loaded up on as many as I could carry in my dress blue canvas and I used them for taxi cab barter. One 5 pack would get you from the Fleet Landing to the Acropolis and two packs would get a whole cab full of swabbies to the same place.
        Same thing worked in Naples. Anyone remember Humpty Dumpty?

      • Dirsup Spook

        Stationed at Naval Support Activity Naples 72-76. Yes remember Humpty Dumpty, and Horse Face Mary her running mate. Oh yea do you know why they burnt the tires at night, to keep the flies down. Yea everyone smoked their 12 carton allotment monthly, even if they didn’t.

      • Micvhael

        Humpty Dumpty? Yes. An icon in Napoli along with San Francisco Bar, where I played guitar with the band for a couple of sets back in 1976.

    • Bert Santos

      $4.50 was expensive, sea stores cigarettes (Salem, Pall Mall, Marlboro) were .90 cents a carton, $1.10 in-port. This were in the late 60’s and early 70’s……

      • Cake eate

        Humpty Dumpty in Naples, playing Smiles in ‘Po City

      • Bob

        Who doesn’t remember Humpty Dumpty

    • carol

      my husband was a signalman and learned of the birth of our first child by semaphore before the written word ever got to his ship. 1962

      • Chief

        Humpy Dumpty finally retired in her 70s when she literally fell off the wall and broke her hip ! Her daughter took her place .

    • Dustin

      As a former SM, no, the rate is gone forever. Brings a tear to my eye.

      • shipfixr

        The rate is gone but the job is still there.

      • Doug Beach

        I notice they still have signal lights on some but does anyone know how to use them? QM3 combined signalman and Quartermaster when I served in 1951-1955 and cig’s were 1$ a carton at the Commissary at Sasabo navy base and you could buy a lot of stuff with a pack downtown, not leagle though.

    • G. Davis Ret. Navy

      We only paid $1.00 for a carton of sea store butts.

    • robert132

      I remember an SM3 in my ship trying for several minutes to arrange a meet on liberty with this good looking female SM on the supply ship we were UNREPing from. Don’t know exactly what he “said” to her but the exchange ended with her passing a very non-semaphore response to him (social finger) and the rest of us cracking up.

      • Bob

        He probably sent”ZBM2″.

    • Bruce

      I remember when a carton of Luckies was only a dollar; guess I’m really old!

    • Bob Mc Kay

      should have gone to sea in the 1960s……carton of Pall Malls or Winstons was $1.00…Camels and Lucky Strikes were $0.90 a carton……

      • Bob

        In the late 50s smokes in a civilian machine were 23 cents. You got 2 pennies back in the cellophane (sp) wrapper. And when the ship cleared the 1mile buoy (sea buoy) camels went for 90 cents a carton. Remember the brown spots?

    • mel

      carton 1960 1.10 w/filter 1.00 w/o

    • Karl

      Cigs were $2.00 per carton in 1975.

      • Chip Hafemeister

        A carton was $ 1.00 while I was in Nam 68-71

    • jaime

      early 80’s carton of smoke at sea stores where down to a buck and a half! Inport back to $5/carton or .50cent/pack.

    • old navy guy

      I remember when a carton was $1.30. But that was early 70’s.

    • Thom Rigg

      We paid $1.05 per carton. Active from ’62 to ’72. Now, THOSE were the days. No place rocks like Olongapo rocks!

    • JohnD

      Okay, I predate the ’80s by a comfortable margin (1967!) but then it was a dollar for a carton. Hell broke loose when the price was raised to 12 cents a pack!

      • AZ2

        I watched jolo’s burn down sad day

    • Jerry Huffman

      I can remember when sea store cigarettes were $1.10 a carton in 1964…

    • onevetsopinion

      Once my ship, the USS Coral Sea CVA-43 got underway, a carton of smokes (YES, carton not pack.) could be had for $1.50! That was in ’72, 10 years before all of this took place.

    • QM1C

      No – SMs were merged with QMs. I guess they do teach it in QM “A” school. SK and PC merged. DKs with PNs. No more Radioman rate either – it is called something else now. I retired as a QM1 in ’93 loved celestial navigation. We had a SATNAV aboard, but I recorded the results as required, but the Navigator insisted on days work in Navigation – no objection from me.

      • Shayan Skinner

        RM’s merged with DP’s to form IT’s.

    • Ron

      You guys were way after me….I was aboard ship in the 60’s and a carton of cigarettes was $1.10 at sea.

    • Al Tennyson

      When I joined cigs were .90 a carton or .10 a pack

    • Rooftop Voter

      Navy in 1968: Carton of smokes on board ship, $1.05 a carton, at the Navy PX ashore, $2.10 a carton and no tax on either! Liberty cards, ha ha, my chow pass was the same color so very seldom did I wait for liberty cards to be doled out in “A” school. Yeah, it was dicey but never got busted for it. Never had to worry about getting in before the MAA shut the door on the liberty card drop box.

    • old tin can rider

      Back in the early 70`s they were $ 1.10 a carton underway tax free any brand.

    • CMath90606

      I was a Signalman on the USS Belknap (DLG-26) from Jan/71 to Jul/74. Can’t believe there are no more of us.

    • Lana

      No more Skivvy wavers… SM2 here..served onboard the USS AJAX.. I was part of first group of enlisted females to serve on her 1981

      • Bill. Medlock

        I served on Ajax 1951 to 1955 .

    • theobserver

      I remember paying $2.50 a carton. 6 cartons a month. The good ones went fast, Marlboro’s, Winston’s, Camel’s, etc. Pretty soon the only ones left were Kool’s, Salems, Parliments, all the nasty ones.

    • Frank

      In 1959 we got sea store cigarettes for ninety cents a carton

    • Mr. Goodwrench

      Hah!! You think $4.50 was cheap…In ’71 when I was on the JFK, sea store cigarettes were $1.25/carton.

    • RobertM

      When I reported to NSGA Misawa, Japan in 1982 a carton of smokes was $2.00!!!!

    • dave

      The signalmen and quartermaster rates were combined a few years ago as were the Radiomen and Data Processor rates.

    • bill

      Yes, it was tough trying to quit smoking!

    • Leroy Wright

      My first cruise was on the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA42) and Camel cigs were $.90 in the ships store per carton. That was in 1963.

    • Rich

      Signalman rating was abolished in (someone correct me if i’m wrong) 2002. It was given to the Quartermasters. I was a Signalman third on the USS BON HOMME RICHARD—-CVA-31

      • Guest

        I was the very last SM to retire in January 2003

    • Cecil

      They don’t even teach Celestial Navigation at the Naval Academy. I was a Merchant Marine officer for 30 years, from Kings Point and I was astonished to learn that info. Has the military just ignored the threat of EMP’s?

    • Old Navy Radar Dude

      Yep, I remember when we went to the black sea for the first time. We were selling cartons of cigs out in town for like 40 or 50 bucks to shopkeepers

    • doug ebert

      I remember buying sea stores at .90 cents a carton! a $1.00 if you smoked kings!

    • Wendell

      On my first ship the cigs were only $1 a carton underway. 1969

    • Scott

      A carton of cigs were $1 and they were wrapped in waxed paper….. Korea time building Subic Bay.

    • George Rebman

      When I went in the Navy, smokes were $1.00 a carton and $0.10 a pack in the ships store.

    • onewhocarestoo

      You’re “new school” !!! Cigarettes on the “Connie” were $1.10 a Carton in the early sixties, about $2.00 a carton in Navy Exchanges. We would come off cruise with cruise boxes FULL of cigarette cartons.

    • guest

      I remember smokes (cartons) costing $1.90 in 1976.

  • S. Mordente

    I remember when they canceled the beards i went down to the maintence dept, I saw a new guy i stsrted to talk to him, he says, Chief it’s me, he shaved his beard, did not know who he was.

    • B. Lane

      I remember too! I didn’t shave mine until just before I went up for morning muster. My division officer laughed at me. lol

    • Paulg

      I just made E-4 got my beard chit back and approved. Let it grow for a week just before we had to shave them off. I was so ticked.

    • JohnD

      What a laugh, Same thing happened to me. Nobody recognized me until they heard my voice.

    • Chief Rod

      The SECNAV was the one that changed the policy. One of the reasons was the Navy was the only Branchallowed beards and they wanted grooming standards to be the same.

  • skypilot1992

    Ahhh..wait a minute. Getting picky here. There is something not right with the inference that the guy who is a chief was in in the 1980s. Should have at least a star on National Defense for second period. Good Conduct every 4 yrs….a ribbon and 3 stars….19 yrs 4 x 4 + (3 assuming another coming.) With all the awards can’t see him missing a Good Contduct. Then there are the campaign medals and their timing.

    Jus sayin’. Couldn’t find a picture of a chief with a crooked finger from holding a coffee cup?

    • RetChief

      Not to mention the fact that he’s sporting a Southwest Asia Service ribbon, and a Kuwait Liberation (Kuwait) ribbon which weren’t issued until 1991.

      • woxof

        Kuwait ribbon was the first caught my eye…and I am Air Force…1950’s model…

    • MikeB

      I retired as a Chief (20 yrs) with only 3 Good Conducts. Had Gold Stripes. Wasn’t really that good my first 4 yrs.

      • Leon Suchorski

        In those days, my standard reply in the Marines was, “I was just obeying my last order”. Or “I was just taking care of my men.” It got me my GCM .

      • Lawrence Chandler

        I retired as a QMCS (20 yrs.) with only 3 Good Conducts also. Got my first one and had to mail it to the CPO selection board for consideration. Made QMC that year (1981)
        first time up (9 yrs.)

    • shipfixr

      Few CPO’s in the 1980’s would have a star on their National Defense Medal without a Korean War Service Medal to do with it. The third issue period for the NDM didn’t start until 1990. As for the Good Conduct,,what makes you think he’s ‘missing’ any? Do you know the guy? I doubt very much the picture is that of a 1980’s CPO.

      • skypilot1992

        I didn’t say that he was missing a CG medal. I was actually surmising that he wasn’t missing one given all the personal awards…probably a stellar performer (or like the rest of us…lucky to not get caught).

        Your point re. 2nd/3rd star is spot on. Also to my point as I referenced service medals. There is a fourth star for 2001 and forward so with the CG medals adding up etc. ……..

        Anyway ….not an 80s sailor.

    • Danny

      I was in the army in the 60s, and did not know one person with a good conduct medal. We were expected to be good, and if we werent, we got busted in rank. I was told, on my last day of duty overseas, I had been put in for a good-on-ya type medal, but it hadnt been approved yet, and would see if on orders when I got out, sometime later in the states. I didnt see it either. No seargents I knew, ever wore those overseas stripes, etc.

      • Skypilot1992

        The stripes thing is different. There are overseas which Navy doesn’t have. ThE Navy stripes are diagonal on the sleeve and each one signifies 4 yrs. GC medal …3 in a row…they all go to gold.

    • theobserver

      That was a requirement to be Chief back then, crooked finger and able to keep his coffee cup full and level no matter how heavy the ship rolled.

      • JohnB

        My coffee cup rolled like a gyrocompass Still do it in the car today

    • NavyCpo

      And the Kuwait Service Medal….????? That is Soooooooo 90s

    • KGoral

      In the 80’s you would not find a CPO with 4 NAM, Navy Com and a Meritorious Service Medal. You were amazed to see an enlisted sailor with 1 NAM. If you did it was most likely from Vietnam.

  • W. Pennea

    We had the CNO on board during a Unitas cruise and we were all clean shaven, the word was South Americans consider beards a Castro thing. He said this is what the Navy should look like. There months later, No beards.

    • Ron

      That was the year the CNO was a Jarhead. ;(


    • Andre

      Unless you were a fuck up and they were Red!

      • The Friendly Grizzly

        Harumph! Just what is so wrong about a red beard?

    • Cecil

      Beards are not a good idea on a ship. Can’t wear a gas mask OR an OBA.

  • Gary B

    Bottle of Jack Black in the Beirut Embassy was $5.00. Then they blew the damn thing up.. Going to GQ pierside in the harbor on an LCU (Landing Craft Utility)(No Air except the hot air from the Senior Chief Craftmaster).

  • Jeff

    Beer was 25 cents in the machine in the barracks, mid-70s.

    • Ylliw Ocityd

      You’re right Jeff…NAS Miramar Barracks 327 Open Bay area while going to FRAMP VF121 in JUN75.

    • Dabayliner

      Yes, I remember the Beer….. 1975…..

    • Dave

      Fleet ASW Base 1977 my first Coors out of the Barracks machine was 50cents. Now that was the Navy I signed up for—-Dave

    • Ron Owens

      I remember 30 cents at NAS Oceana, VA

  • thomas

    I remember getting paid in 2 dollar bills and no one in the ville wanted to take them.

    • Robert

      2 dollar bills were thought to be 20’s in Subic when they were first used. First night out was outstanding, 2nd night was all hands restricted to base only.

      • Pat McGroyne

        Bet the bar girls ” lub you lon time” then ! Bet they and their “management” weren’t too happy (numba 10!) after they found out what they had gotten ( or NOT gotten ! )

    • jerry O’Connor

      I remember $2.00 bills in 1976-77. Now the latest $2.00 are coins the size of quarters. I served from February 1968-December 1975, February 1977-February 1981.CNO Zumwalt liberated the modern Navy in 1972-1975., EM-1 USN

    • Dan

      And Signalmen were Skivvie Wavers and Storekeepers were skivvie stackers & cigarettes were $1 a carton underway. I do remember the $2 bills….. but there wasn’t a whole fistful. 15-30, maybe.


      remember in nam where the locals knew before you did that the M P C was being changed that day.

    • Cecil

      I remember my Dad getting paid in 2 dollar bills to shut up the civilian population that liked to bitch about having an Air Force Base in their town. (Maryville, TN)

  • MikeB

    Remember having to make out you pay chit at least 6 times because the DK could always find a mistake, and go back to the end of the line.

    • shipfixr

      Do you remember having to put your fingerprint on it…..??

    • B Miller

      I remember miss spelling forty as fourty!! To the back of the line sailor!

  • lsidle

    In the sixties, a beer in the barracks would probably cost you at least a months pay and a stripe. If you got caught!

    • Leon Suchorski

      While in VMCJ-2, we would deploy to many Navy bases, and they had vending machines with Bud, and Busch in them.

    • cddawgs

      Yep, and I remember there was a cough syrup that sold like crazy at the PX too. This was in Newport.

      • Steve

        GLAKES ’66-67, everyone had bronchitis, go on sick call and they issued you a bottle of clear cough medicine, technically it was Turpyn Hydrate, we all knew it as GI Gin. Tasted like Southern Comfort, was Alcohol with codeine….worked GREAT.

    • Larry Goulet

      Not true! I “lived” in “Snipe’s Castle” up in Great Lakes in ’67 & ’68 and there was a beer machine in every lounge area on every deck! I think it was 25 cents a can. Bud, Falstaff, Hamms and good ol’ Colt 45. The Colt 45 was ALWAYS sold out first çuz you could get more bang for your buck with that crap! Ah – good times… MMCS(SW), USN (retired)

    • JM in Sa

      At San Miguel, Philippines, chiefs had a beer machine n the barracks, maybe PO1, also. 1964 and

  • John

    ’67 – ’68 Westpac, got paid in MPC! Underway cigs $1 a carton. No beards and special request for mustach. “Po Town” liberty.

    • Phillip

      I remember that…. USS Yorktown CVS 10 1966, 1967

    • Leon Suchorski

      And periodicaly they changed the MPC, and no one left or got on the base after a certain time. And if you did not convert it all, it was worth nothing.

    • Chuck

      Yes remember them well. Big no no to take green backs on the beach.


      I was there from 66-68 we called po city.great time was had by all.drank a bunch of san Miguel beer.

    • Keith-Big Bird

      At sea price was tax free which was $2.50 in ’78 on USS Midway. I had Cig.Strm. with 1000 cases and 22 brands. Home Ported in Yokosuka, Japan…I DID NOT DO BLACK MARKET…But Pall Mar was #1 brand I was told that Japanese wanted. SHSR to SH3…78-80Dec.

  • Billy

    USS Princeton LPH5. 1968-1970

    • Bill Cook

      USS Princeton CVS 37, Helped convert it to LPH 5 after last cruise in 1958. Transferred to USS Ranger CVA 61 Alameda before conversion completed. All life rafts were rotted out, cigs and candy from 1940’s. Lucky’s and Camels. Strong as hell. Candy had turned to sugar. Spent the whole far East cruise with no usable life rafts. Nice to learn after the cruise.

    • Jim Clark

      62-65 LPH-5 Operation Dominic, West Pac 3 times Mickey Mouse Money, 5 cent night at the EM club, Olongapo in the PI, no beards, trimmed Mustaches ok



    • Jim Moore

      I was on the Princeton in 1960 with 12th Marines. We were on a “field problem”

  • Retired MCPO

    How about them holding your cash until doc said you got your typhoid shot? We always met up in the shop to play Liars Poker until one person had all of the singles from that mess decks payday.

    • woxof

      Armed guards while underway + a “mess of 20’s”…what kind of Navy was that?

      • Bob

        The same navy that those running slush funds stood at the end of the table to collect their money.

    • Mr. Goodwrench

      Yup! I remember those days well. The Corpsman had a table before you got to the DK, wanting to make sure you received your shot, malaria pill, whatever drug those in the food chain above us thought we needed to stay alive… I do believe all the shots and drugs they pushed on me in my 20 years had a profound effect on my health. at 63, I’ve never had the flu, vomited (aside from drinking entire bottles of rot gut wine in Columbia), any sort of gastro-intestinal ailment, cholesterol is super low, all body chemicals in balance, etc. Hell; I haven’t had as much as a cold in at least 6-7 years. Sure, I’m half deaf, constant ringing in my ears, and my back is screwed up, torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders, but am getting PAID for that service-connected pain….

  • Gary K

    USS Whipple FF-1062 / USS Princeton CG-59 1982-1997

    • Bill Humphrey

      Plank Owner FF-1062. BTCS Humphrey. 1970-1974.

    • Kurt W

      resources beyond calculation! USS Whipple 89-91. USS Ouellet 91-93.

      • David .t

        Was on Whipple ff 10 62 always breaking down

  • CK

    USS FARAGUT 62/65 Many changes,I truly love the OLD man’s NAVY.

    • DAA

      USS FARRAGUT same time as you. Great ship, great crew.

  • Earl

    Made Chief in the 80’s

    • SaltyDawg

      Made chief in 86. Retired in 05.
      Stuck around a few years too many.
      Twern’t fun no more and like the Old Navy much better!

    • John

      Made chief and senior chief in the 80’s. Master Chief in the 90’s. The best 24 yrs of my life.

  • early_swcc

    Special Boat Unit 12 / Forward Deployed to PI for 6 months for our WESTPACS. “Station Dito”, somebody had to keep the locals happy while the fleet went back out to sea to play.

    • SaltyDawg

      Am sure the picture in the article of CINDERELLA Liberty brought back memories…funny I never had ore remember Cinderella Liberty in the PI…hell hard to remember much of anything the 1st two weeks there! Station Dito? You were the envy of many!

    • Brantley

      Amen brother! Remember stepping off the pier moving NSWU1 to Guam. One of the last off. And the first on the island.

  • rivrat1970

    To MikeB.

    Had an ETCS red stripes, made 9. Had to order a special red badge from the Uniform Shop. Years earlier he kept punching out anybody who spoke ill of his ships…WESTPACS and MED you know. Got Gold before he retired. Now a PI in Illinois.

    • MSC(SW)


  • Bm3 Byrd

    I joined in 83 and beards were on their way out and piss tests were a reality. RayBan sun glasses were $20.00 in the ship store, got paid in cash every two weeks. The PI you cod get a beer for a dime.

    • skip7212

      5-10 centavos for a good ‘ol san magoo back in the early 70’s

    • Sabolsky

      Remember beer day on west pack!!?! I only liked liquor, so there was some scalping going on that day!! Made some cash for when we finally left Oman!! Anyone out there ….crew from mid 1980’s USS Samuel Gompers?!

      • D. Swink

        We relieved you guys in Oct 84. I was a DP1 on the Vulcan AR-5. Great cruise!

    • Keith-Bigbird

      I got a pic of me on Shore Patrol at my Div’s S-3 party at a club in P.I.. Everybody was drinking beer or Mojo…73 guys in S-3 div. on USS Midway…When I got transferred to the Blue Ridge, M div. 44 of 50 guys tested positive…MA’s tested whole ship…While on Midway SH school friends had to swear that I was okay because I didn’t smoke weed, They kept me from getting a “Blanket Party”, from my senior Div guys in the berthing.

  • Ed Riggle

    I remember having my beard from 1970 until early 1980’s. I also remember the beer machines in the barracks … paying sometimes 25 cents … and then 50 cents a can. Most were ice cold; although there were times I drank warm beer. Who cared? Beer was beer. Did a tour in PI from Nov 1970 until Apr 1972 at NTCC CUBI POINT; then again from Apr 1973 until Apr 1976 at NCSP SAN MIGUEL (half the time was spent working in Fleet Relay; the other half was spent working in the Teletype Repair Shop). Met many good folks during my 22 year career.

    • Scott

      I was part of the bunch of Seabees that built Subic Bay / Cubi Point. Those were good times in the early to mid-50s. Wide open!

  • Vincent Lawrence

    1983-2003 Only one I never saw was beer machine. Saw cinderella liberty, but never had it, was only for the drunks and those who received the “standing ovation” while in P.I.

    • Mike Muchow

      I was stationed in Subic 84-85 and we had ice cold san mig in bottles in our machine. we were allowed to drink them to help with the piss test…Ah the good old days. ENC(ret)

  • G. Ward

    No women on ships.

    • shipfixr

      Lot’s of women on ships in the 80’s……

    • MJ Karabin

      R U complaining.

    • Jeff Haydel

      I was on 2 ships with women in the 80’s… USS Jason (AR-8) 80 – 81, Westpac was fun….
      USS Yosemite (AD-19) 86 – 89, Med Cruise…..

      Made for interesting times!!!

    • skip7212

      First time we saw a woman on the water was ’74, on the tug bringing us to dock. We were all surprised.

    • Guest

      The best thing my friend. Lots of trouble started when this came about. I was in from 1983-1992. Then went back in, in 1997-2004. As a Chief, I really had to watch what I said and had to keep an open door when a female sailor was in my office.

      • Keith-Bigbird

        I got off my last ship USS JOHN HANCOCK/DD-981, 3 days early so I wouldn’t come in contact with women on board ship. 1st div berthing redone for the women. I was on board for 5 years with 3 cruise books, women got on board no more cruise books but more Capt’s Masses..Hmmm
        Nov.87 to Dec.92

    • JM in San Diego

      Women on ships = Scenery. No uniit ever had its Combat Readiness improved by replacing a qualified man with a qualified woman.

  • JJMurray

    I’ve still got at least one Memorandum book left and I wish I could get my hands on more.
    Beards went away around 84, just as I got to a command where I could have grown one (can’t wear O2 masks in the jet with a beard either).

    • DCheek

      You can get them on Amazon, believe it or not. I recently bought a 12 pack of them. Can’t beat them for putting in the back hip pocket for notes. You can’t do that comfortably with the spiral bound ones!

    • anthony

      i made E4 jan16 1985 beards went south Jan 1 1985

    • Bill Hickey

      It’s called a “wheel book,” Boot. You could have one if you were a first class and had goat locker privileges.

  • raj

    Guys i have retired recently but after seeing ur comments can cherish the memories of my fifteen years with Navy

    • Papo

      USS BUCHANAN (DDG-14) 1972-1978

  • 504thABG

    Oh yea!

  • Matt

    24 year naval career. Boot camp Orlando FL. Jan. 1981, The navy has been my life and the people I met over the years I will cherish for ever. The 80’s were a different time and we got things done. We made the mission no matter the obstacles or time it took to get there. 16 hour days were common if you worked night check/stay check. But we had each others backs worked as a team and had great times on liberty.

    • cddawgs

      I was in Co. 009, formed the third day Orlando began receiving.

    • Guest

      Absolutely my friend. You took the words out of my mouth. Boot camp San Diego March 3, 1983. I was in 10 years and got out as a first. Went back in in 1997 and made Chief. I couldn’t believe the Navy when I went in for my second time. There were females on my ship. I really had to be careful. If they didn’t like you, you were in trouble.

  • SN geo USS Randolph

    Only beer, without liberty in the mid fifties was on beach parties, fill a couple of motor boats with men, sandwiches and cases of canned beer, and run it up on a deserted island. The beer was always either green or stale.

  • Al Hewitt

    1962 – Puerto Rico – $1.00 for a carton of Viceroy cigarettes.

  • Irv

    USS Jouett C-G 29 1980-1983

    • Johnie Walker

      I rode the USS Jouett in the 80s with COMDESRON 33 staff. I finished my 27 years as the Command Master Chief on the USS Jouett CG-29.

  • Joanne Gifford

    The smoking lap was lit throughout the whole ship. You could smoke any where and there was ashtrays mounted on the bulkheads in the passageways. I remember smoking on watch on the bridge. You went from the pay line to the ships store line especially underway. Pac man and asteroids video games in the passageway.

    • Keith-Bigbird

      On my 3rd ship USS John Hancock/DD-981, Then CO put the smoking lamp out at sea. Then ship broke down, CO asks CHENG-Chief Engineer a Cmdr and A SMOKER , about repairs, We’re working on repairs!
      3 days later CO re-lites smoking lamp at 2 areas fore and aft, Guess what ship is REPAIRED!!!

  • Tom Reed

    The 80’s weren’t in my crosshairs in the 60’s when I was Blockadeing Cuba, And on liberty in Karachi Packistan when we got the news That Kennedy had been shot. But I still have the first 2 dollar bill that I had ever seen in my life….

    • Carl Ross

      USS Hyman DD 732. Was in Karachi in 62 and the Blockade and searching for the Thresher when she went down Carl Ross SM 3

      • skip7212

        Back in the early 70’s I was on the USS Plunger SSN 595. I’ll never forget finding out I would be reporting to the Thresher’s sister boat. I had some hair-raising experiences on the Plunger, but she was a great boat, and I trusted her with my life.

      • Joe_Wulf

        Thank you, for your service!

  • Captain Peep

    Sextants coming back – first shots in new war will be at satellites, ergo no GPS. Remember the 2 beer lunch at the club? Parking on the pier? Smoking reefer on the roof of Bancroft Hall?

    • skip7212

      At the EM club, we called it “nooners”. We didn’t have any limits, and always strippers at lunch. Pretty wild back in the early 70’s.

  • Droz

    Olongapo City…I think this picture was taken in 1978 there. My ship the USS Hassayampa AO142 was in drydock there…I think these guys were in my crew…lol

    • skip7212

      I had a great T-shirt I wore for liberty back in the 70’s PI:
      “Subic Bay-Home of the scenic crap river”

    • Donny Marshall

      I was on the Hassayampa from 1981 – 1983, had a great time aboard.

    • rodney halley

      Hassayampa was AO-145; was onboard January 73 to Dec 74; may have been T-AO when you were on board. . .

  • Phil Heddlesten

    In 70’s the MA watching over the pay , they wait till you get to head of line and tell you ” You need a hair cut, get it cut then get paid”

  • alphonso manning

    The Campaigh cover

  • shipfixr

    A few of the things this guy wrote about were long gone by the 80’s, a lot of others make it seem like we were deprived of things….but it was only because they didn’t exist. When I shipped in the Navy in 1960, I had to go around with a pocket full of $20’s….two of them! It all comes back to what an old Master Chief told me in the early 60’s: “The Navy ain’t like it used to be……and it never was either!”

    • skip7212

      I made less than $160/mo as a kid way back when. That was a lot of bucks to me. The COB was fond of saying before liberty: “Never carry more than you’re willing to lose”.

  • Larry Grisham

    Made Chief in the 80’s when initiation was real !!!!!!!! Had a beard for years and when we had to shave it off my oldest daughter asked mom where dad was….

  • Bob. TMT1

    pearl Harbor 74-78, NAS Brunswick 78-80, NWS Yorktown 80-82, recruiting NRD Los Angeles 82-87. Medical Retired
    No more Torpedomen. This really sucks. Retired NC1(CRF). Had a ball lots of hoos over seas, TemDu and TemDuins 2-8 weeks. Red stripes from too much fun

  • HT-2 Woolard

    USS YOSEMITE got out in 1982 with full beard wish I would stayed in would have been retired 18 years ago

  • Mike

    Soooo nothing had changed much from when I was in during the seventies, except urinalysis,!! Dungarees, bell bottom blues and Dixie cups and good old fashion Shellback initiation! Yes sir, I served in the Navy when it was fun and on a Tin Can at that…life didn’t get any better!!

    • skip7212

      You bring back great memories of the 70’s. Loved my uniforms. Shellback initiation was an experience, but that was just a warm-up for earning my Dolphins. Having to drink through an entire pitcher of God knows what just to retrieve them so all hands could line up to “pin” them on. Those were the days!

    • Keith-Bigbird

      Yep, I remember those dungarees, us SH’s had military creases and pressed our dung jeans inside out for the bell look. When on Midway my CO was a WOG with us guys 1st one thru, but was whooped with those cut up fire hoses just the same…I was a SHSA and cracked jokes on one SH3, He in turn had me go through initiation twice!…Ship saved it’s food left overs for 3 days for initiation. My original cert. is hanging on my wall 18 April 1979… Latitude 00000 , Longitude 86 degrees, 56′ East
      I also have my Blue Nose, CO said our Warrant Officer went over board so to speak on the Blue Nose initiation…We all did turn blue!

  • Mike

    Ahhh the beer machines. Nothing but Budweiser in ours… Only Cinderella liberty I had to deal with was “A” school and after the coup attempts in the PI. I was never paid in cash. I was a Seabee though. To say our only enemies were the reds is way off. Can you say Beruit? SW2 Robert Stetham would disagree. He was a Seabee diver killed by Hezbollah in the June 1985 TWA high jacking.

    • John

      when i did my tomahawk “c” school in Dam Neck VA stay in berthing (more like a hotel) name after him Stetham hall had a painting of him in his dress blues in the lobby i always thought it was a nice way he was honored

  • Bob

    I didn’t smoke but booze was $10 for five fifth’s duty free 1962. At GTMO EM club beers and rum/vodka drinks 15 cents. Scotch 25 cents. So for a buck….

  • Brad “Chappy” LaChapelle

    Gotta remember the Westerner and Trophy Lounge….. And do they still have Dial-A-Sailor in Australia?

    • Rick

      I was the OMSEVENTHFLT Rep for Western Australia from 83 to 86 when I was the that program still was going on. I sure miss Perth and Fremantle.

      • Rick


  • Brad “Chappy” LaChapelle

    Back when becoming a Shellback was a gruelling initiation

    • JohnD

      USS Hornet (CVS 12) H Div 1968-’69 CATCC for awhile before H Div. Shellback is always a source of a smile. Lost all my documents since then. I don’t think I got my picture in the cruise book.

  • DBreaux

    This brought back many memories. I served from 1973-1982. You mean there are no more special request chits or skilcraft pens. You could order a whole box and only about half worked. I remember when beards were banned; at least I could keep my ‘stache. The only beer machine I can recall was in the barracks at Treasure Island in San Francisco, CA. I miss the dungaree uniforms and I understand many of the ratings I knew have been renamed or combined with other ratings. Todays sailors don’t experience the anticipation of mail call (snail mail) nor waiting until your ship docked and walking to the end of the pier hoping a pay phone (remember them) would be free. My Navy was different from my father’s Navy and my nephew’s Navy is different from both. However we are all proud members of the greatest Navy afloat.

    • JohnD

      I still have a handful of skilcraft pens left over. Some had plastic tips, some had metal tips. Maybe from a different contract?

    • skip7212

      Ah yes. Chomping at the bit after mooring up, and waiting for what seemed like an eternity for them to lower a brow across!

    • MMCS

      Well said!

  • Mark kedik

    USS Piedmont AD-17
    USS Cook DE-1083
    71-75 MM3

  • CTA1_64/84

    The sarcastic comments following each photo appear to have been made by someone who’s time in the Navy was less than rewarding – or is it a case of a “Bitching Sailor is a Happy Sailor” ? I had a beard – grew it on the way home from ‘Nam in 1970, and to this day have never shaved it off. Had it for the last 14 years of my career, and yes, if it was trimmed to regs you could get an OBA on. In fact I was able to wear SCBA as a civilian volunteer firefighter with a beard! Beer in the barracks? Yup, and it was always cold! Open bay with 75 other guys? Never saw that after my first duty station in 1965. There were two man rooms most everywhere. Yeah, mail was slow, but someone actually took the time to write us a letter – not a hacked up text using lazy abbreviations instead of words! Cinderella liberty was for non-rates, and generally for good reasons (immaturity, drunkenness). The joke was that they were testing the wrong people – instead of testing the non-rates, they should have been testing the Firsts & Chiefs – they were the holdovers from the 60’s!! Movies? There was never a shortage of movies; always had new ones arriving by COD when we were deployed. Yup, we partied together – the PC disease hadn’t infected the Navy then! A lot of people still carry a notebook – just can’t get those green ones anymore ;-) Too bad the Chiefs (what few true Chiefs are left) can’t discipline the troops – political correctness and the snitch mentality has ruined the Navy! Getting paid in cash taught financial responsibility, unlike today when so many are broke because they overspend their debit or credit card without watching their account! Believe it or not, Russian sailors weren’t any different than we were. Very few, if any were actually communists, and they partied just like we did. Technology killed the Signalmen – but I’m sure there’s days when the CO wishes he had some… and if the satellite link is down — break out the sextant …it works on cloudy and rainy days unlike some satellite links….

    • TurtleToad

      If you can’t see the night sky or the sun you can’t use a sextant!
      1960 – 1990 USN/USCG CWO-4, Eng Ret.


    AND THEN THERE WERE THE LATE 50s INTO THE 60s,70s & 80s it all went to heck in a hand basket. bottom line it not our navy any more.

  • Navyjag907

    Two tours in Subic–’74-’76 and ’79-’81. Picture w/the girls is either Olongapao or Subic City (Remember Marilyns). I got Sea Store cigs for $2 a carton marked down ’cause they were supposed to be stale. Paid the troops in cash. Great memories! I miss it all except a few admirals.

    • Bounder

      I remember Marilyn’s along with a host of other establishments and still have their calling cards with witty hand written comments on the back as reminders…..Passed through Subic City in 2011 and little of anything is left except for a few of the buildings.

    • BT3 seskey

      I was in the P.I.also in 81′ around late April early May

  • Mike Carr

    USN active duty 1969 to 1999. now retired HMCM(SW). World cruise 1972-73, USS Charles R Ware DD865, 26 countries.

  • Douglas Mc Cann

    I remember getting stuck in the bay in San Francisco on the Enterprise. During fleet week it was a long offload working party!

    • skip7212

      We lost our old man over the side in 40 degree rolls in the Bay. He was never found.

  • Todd

    Was on the 83′ 84′ westpac on the USS Prairie. Went from wog to shell back. There was no Cinderella liberty at that time.

  • felix almonte

    USS Duluth LPD 6 77/80, Westpac 78-79,loved it!!

  • Dave

    USS SARATOGA 1970, USS AMERICA 1971, USS RANGER 1978,79. USS RANGER 1985-89.

    • Glenn Anderson

      Ah we were shipmates for awhile. USS Ranger CV-61 1976-1979

  • STG3

    Lunch time volleyball games @ ASW San Diego (also had a beer machine!)
    SEALs “infiltrating” the base for our Security alert drill.
    Getting in a huge ship vs. ship scuffle @ Roosevelt Roads PR because no one was allowed to go off base. No liberty for anyone at the next port! but the old Quiet Warrior did smoke that nuke cruiser in a “drag race.” Getting your Christmas packages in February (after Desert Shield/Desert Storm )
    Winning the lottery to talk to your baby on MARS (love you too…over!!)
    Topless beaches and “Compound bound” in Curacao during LEO OPS looking for Pablo Escobar.
    Safety ship down range for Space Shuttle launch.
    Left the Spruance just as they were converting the Snoops berthing area for females.
    Loved every nautical mile of it!!


    Boxing smoker on the flight deck, ship’s party in Olongapo with ‘special’ door prizes, Grande Island, Gaines Beach, Subic City. USS STEIN FF 1065 1982-1986 Commo then Navigator

  • MJ Karabin

    1978-1998, a wonderful career and super shipmates, wish I could serve again! Thanks USN!

  • Penington

    USS SKILL MSO 471 1962-1969 Every ship can be a minesweeper, ONCE

  • Penington

    USS SKILL MSO 471 1962-1969 Every ship can be a minesweeper, ONCE

  • Penia

    USS SKILL MSO 471 1962-1969 Every ship can be a minesweeper, ONCE

  • Frank Ingels

    Am I the oldest one reading this? I was on the Whiskey (BB64) in 1958.

    • Zeke Wilson

      Dec ’55 – Dec ’80, but not too old to enjoy the memories.

      • Terry Williams

        Got me beat, Feb 1956 to Feb 1980 here.

    • Edward Fleming

      Went to boot camp in San Diego in sept 56, Active till 68 and reserve till 97. Carriers- Shangri La, Forrestal,and Kitty Hawk. AD active and Seabee EA as reservist. Good memories.

    • Pat McGroyne

      I was a Plank Owner on the Arc ! Retired from that voyage as the LSO ( lead shovel operator ). And shipmate, we had a LOT to shovel !

  • Frank Ingels

    Also I remember the Jersey (maybe one of the other IOWA class BB’s) trying to lob over our heads at Con Thien in 68 (in summer of 68 – after TET in Jan 68 – glad I missed that). Then they took it home. I got on the Whiskey when they were refitting in Pascagola MS.

    I sits in Norfolk now for tourists.

  • John Miesch

    This article is complete bull. They didn’t go back far enough, for one thing. There were no “fanroom discussions” with a chief in the ’80s. He’d have gotten his butt beaten by yours truly if there had been.

    They obviously didn’t know about the beard thing. OBAs could be worn, if you kept it within standards. But obviously, most didn’t.

  • K Corcoran

    I am a Vietnam Vet, as well as Dessert Storm, active, then out for 10 years and back in reserve. Altogether for 15. I was so happy when the women’s uniform had the option of Cracker Jacks. Loved them and were so much more comfortable.

  • Zwatts

    On the USS ENTERPRISE, a Paymaster first class jumped ship a week after leaving PI when they told him to shave his beard. Found him three weeks later dead in his raft. Ah the 80s. $3 cartons, Hersheys impregnated with JP-5 from the snack bar, and the dungeons and dragons people on the message decks when we went for midrats… Was a FTM3 on the Seasparrow. They changed it to FC.

  • Gary F

    71-79, beer ball games, tacking on strips and dolphins, beards (as long as the neck was shaved to get a seal with the EAB’s), smoking lamp is lit (2.50 a carton at sea) … great times, the new Navy don’t know what it’s missing…

  • Jeffy

    The party boys and girls look like a place in the phillipines I used to go to at Subic Bay.

    • Terry Williams

      I’d say the boys were partying while the girls were trying to make a living.

  • Worz

    I remember the Slush fund guys with their Wheel books at the end of the pay lines collecting from the sguys who borrowed from them. I also remember the beer machines in the barracks. joined in Feb 74 and retired in Mar 94. Damage Control CPO



  • mike

    USS SARATOGA 62 to 66. No beards no beer no nothing. Jet fuel red lead and non skid. We had to go to Jax beach to get our fill

  • Jeff Haydel

    And who remembers Lunches at the Club pounding pictures of beers, watching dancers and then stumbling back to the ship lit…. Those were the days :-)

  • charles overgaard

    share a 70s memory elmo zumwald adm. marshall law in the phillipines trip to baqiuo city in the mountains

  • Rod Kent

    80’s Hell. How about the 60’s when sea stores cigarettes were sold for a dollar a carton at sea, the corpsman was giving immunizations before the pay line, and the chief sat on the right hand of God :-)

  • Sandy

    Beer machines in barracks. Once while on Master of Arms duty a drunken sailor was shorted by the machine. I watched him as he attempted to bet his paid for beer out of the machine to no avail. then he left. I didn’t pay it no mine after all I’d seen drunken sailors doing all manner of stupid stuff. Next I hear a loud “BANG” followed by a number of others. Seems this sailor went to his bunk to retrieve his 1911 and place 4 rounds into the malfunctioning machine. Let the sailor return to his bunk and reported it as an unobserved occurrence. End of beer machines @ NAS Guam.

    • JohnD

      USNH Guam 70-71.

  • Larry K

    Marine Corpsman, 1962, sitting on the tarmac at Gitmo (MAG-32), drenched from a rain storm, drinking beer with a good friend named Walters. Good memories.


    No more request chits? can’t believe it……… Green ink for the XO and red for the CO or something like that……………….. I still prefer black ink on official documents to this day….lol…. and I still only wear black socks. They didn’t address hazing. I still got greased in 1989 even though it was officially against the rules. I can’t believe Snipes have stopped!

    • John East BT1

      That’s because you deserved it it was the Hammond or Midway

      • MM1

        I was on the Frantic Handjob 75-80 and the Skidway 86- decom.

  • BMC (SW)

    I made Chief in 1987, 9-1/2 years in, 4 captain masts for fighting and one for weed, before made E 5,,; piss tests were around since 82, when I had to quit, 2 strikes and u were out.
    Went to C C duty afterwards, then a sweep.
    Most of this article is true tho….
    Best time of my life was in the Navy.
    Wooden ships and Iron men.
    Sweep sailors do it with pigs, otters,and 6 bitches.I couldn’t wear gold until I would have had 21 years in,,,
    And rode thru hurricane Hugo off the coast Of N.C.on the USS Affray, MSO 511

  • guest

    That was back when sailors had hair on their chests, instead of large bumps, and knew how to party hardy on liberty. Hopefully someday the Old Navy will return and things get back to normal.

    • JohnD

      It will take a serious war before the military is free of being social engineered.

    • Pat McGroyne

      Maybe they’ll take down some of the “rainbow” flags in berthing !

  • Bigd

    Explains why things are so uptight now. Lack of leadership and discipline on part of the seniors at that time has it to where we can’t fart without getting mast.

  • rjw

    80-84 cvn-69/HS-5 several meds and a north Atlantic. They weren’t all good times but I only remember the good ones. They are missing one of the biggest changes that occurred in 83 the gut north of the via roma in Naples became off limits.

  • Evelyn

    Female, Active 79-99. Thanks for the memories guys. I loved it when the fleet came in(stationed at Norfolk, Rota, and Naples) You guys knew how to party!! Still have a set of dungarees. It was great when you made rank and got your crow ‘tacked’ on.

    • JohnD

      I spent most of my time on the Green side, being a corpsman. Still have a deep abiding affection for my jarheads. Green utilities, green jungles, jungle cammies, woodlands. Never made chief, was a mustang instead. Great career move, but did not have much fun after becoming a Zero.

  • Lea Keown

    I remember when you could opt to get out honorable dschg if you were pregnant!!
    Also 2 hour liquid lunches in the Marine Club!

    • ABC

      Liquid lunches and getting pregnant. Must be a correlation there somewhere.

  • LouieQR

    I was in a flagship and we’ve been having our urine test every time we pull out from foreign port. We wore the blue shirts before shifting back to the dungarees. those were the navy way days when the Chief’s runs the show. Liberty call shipmates.

  • leonard meyer

    I don’ remember the eighties as I was in in 1956-1976 missed all that crap

  • Swabjockey

    Weren’t they called “Wheel Books” as I seem to remember??? 73 – 98. Strongly contradicted an 0-6 and retired an E-6, but it was worth it. Lots of fond memories. Naples, Italy, Commissary Mary, Red Devil Blower, Humpty Dumpty, the Bluebird Bar, Boston Blackies, Swiss Bar, #1 Piano Bar, Burlesques Club in the basement of the Galleria. Went back to Naples last year, you can actually walk via Toledo from the Galleria Umberto up to the Nat’l. Museum at night w/o getting mugged. Cameo shops still on top of the hill. Food still great! Rota, Toulon, Palma, Torremolenos, Augusta, Catania, La Madd (San Giorgio Rest), Taormina, Athens. And I loved Gitmo!

  • RealFudd

    Seems like it was pretty much the same in the 70’s, I was in 1972-76 and got out before I had to wear the bus drivers dress uniform, went out with the old cracker jack dress blues. I had a beard and wore glasses and they still made me an OBA wearer, couldn’t figure that one out. I always remember the Doc’s getting you first for shots before you could get paid, sneaky people and I stil swear they used a square needle.

    • JohnD

      Square needle. That makes me smile. We corpsmen saved that for people we disliked.

      • BT3 seskey

        Pecker checkers was a common term used for corpsmeb

    • Doc D

      We did

  • Bt3 Seskey

    Yes Subic bay ’81&’84 on board the kitty hawk where a 19 yr.old sailor can take 30$ out in olongapo city get drunk, high and a girl with a room…love you long time ……

    • skip7212

      Me love you no crap, you buy me cherry drink?
      $30??!! You got ripped off!

      • Spud

        In 1971 you only needed $5 for a belly full of San Miguel and an all night excursion. Night before payday was ‘Poor Boy’ night at the Subic clubs, one thin dime for any drink you wanted. New Jolo club in Alongopo. now that was a place to warm the cockles of any sailors heart.

      • BT3 seskey

        Not really 30 bucks; drink all night buy some weed, get a young lady and a cheap room till the next day, try doing that in San Diego or near any base full of squids

  • BT3 seskey

    Apple rock in olongapo city “me love you long time” or Perth, Australia where the local women out numbered the U.S.sailors 7-1… No more boiler tech’s rating?must really suck for civilian employers to find a shit hot hard working well trained professionals in the art of producing high pressure superheated steam as combatant ready hard nosed shellbacks.

  • BT3 seskey

    Funny stuff ….

  • BT3 seskey

    Remembered boot camp Great Lakes oct’80, had to ask for permission and salute the picture of the great lakes commanding officer before taking a drink of water out of the fountain – often you would see a huge hocker sliding down the poor officers face, lol

  • BT3 seskey

    Too bad you can’t window shop in the U.S. Or downtown San Diego Like we did in Pusan, Korea during west -pac 81&84 aboard the kitty hack cv.63 U.S. You could buy a pair of nike’s or Adidas for 9$ Or a fish fried in a wok with its head and tail still on for 2$

  • AE2 Fish

    87-91, Desert Storm.
    I take it they no longer have to worry about using a ham radio if they want to make a call home. I remember my family shipped me 12 Xmas gifts and I got maybe 9 of them….out of order and weeks late. I watched that show “Carrier” and saw how much they griped if they didn’t get an email every day.

  • BT3 seskey

    Early 80’s! Great time to be a cold war era squid, as an overworked /underpaid, greasy oiled stained filthy stinkin’ looking sleep deprived uneducated HOLE SNIPE (BT), I remember beating up several Airdales during the Boxing smokers of west- pacs 81 & 84′ abroad the carrier kitty hawk…no wonder the C.O didn’t like us hole snipes

  • Navy_1983

    Great article! What a great blast down memory lane – makes me kind of melancholy, especially considering how times have changed to a point where so many leaders (i.e. CO’s, XO’s, CMC’s, etc) are being relieved for some foolishness or other. And now we have this pathetic excuse for a “cinc” (purposefully lower-case “cinc”). I miss Reagan. I miss the pride America had. I miss the US Navy, let alone the US Military of that time.

    • BT3 seskey

      You are right;

  • DS1 Rehs

    NSAD Ben Luc, RVN, DD540 USS Twinning, NTCS Monterey, CA, NCS Iceland, NCS Nea Makri Greece, LHA3 USS Belleau Wood, DD973 USS JOHN YOUNG, NRD Columbus, OH. Great career ’69-90, other than recruiting loved every moment.

  • BT3 seskey

    March 21st 1983 aircraft carrier kitty Hawks runs over a victor class nuclear sub. In middle of the I.O. Made international news. We should of finished the poor bastards off… O’ ! sorry to the liberals I’m not being sensitive enough…

    • MM2 Hutch

      Yea they reported that as a mistake. Mistake my azz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You might not have known they were there but you can bet they knew you was and either couldnt or didnt get out of dodge.

  • BT3 seskey

    Let’s get a bunch of early 1980’s Sailors together and plan a week in Subic bay? I know the base is closed but we can get the old bars to open back up :)

    • Mem Lane

      It’s all still there, more or less. Wife and I flew over there in 2003 (from Guam) and took a van down from Manila. What a mind screw. We came down the mountain and entered the port near the old fuel farm and I just felt like I knew right where I was. Made our way through the “base”, exited via the “Main Gate” over crap river bridge. Magsaysay Rd. still there but since the wife was along, we just drove through. Out to Barrio Barreto, it’s still there in various forms, my old division bar “The Flame” was obviously named something else. Kept going out National Highway, stayed at the old White Rock Hotel. Took a ride in a banca boat, real great to see Grande Island out there.

  • Gary the Stewburner

    When seaman Bergman came back to the ship and took a long beer driven pee on the Captain’s cook in the bottom rack, the Captain said “you might as well have peed on me boy and gave 45 days of restriction onboard in the Mediterranean! Oh yeah cigarettes were only 25 cents a pack on the Sloppy Oppy and She only took 37 days from Little Creek to the Mediterranean.

  • Orlando smith

    Sh1 smith I have retired but I do miss it I took that picture for you

  • Memory Lane

    I consider myself fortunate to have joined the Navy and rode the Midway out of Yokosuka when I was still sporting peach fuzz on my face, during the last part of the Reagan years. This article/photos brought back memories.

    Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore – regular enough so that sometimes the Old Man ordered the DISBO to pay us “up to date”, but even dreary old Yoko was a good time if you found a warm JN girlfriend for those cold December nights up in Shinjiku.

    PI was our second home it seemed but still, we were jealous of those Station Dito and Sterret guys who, we knew, were loath to see Midway come see sawing around Cubi Pt. and/or passing Grande Island, met by the Flotilla from Barrio Barreto and Subic with those ladies on deck doing what Snoop would now call Roman Catholic Girls Gone Wild. Better than tugs shooting streams of water in San Diego any day.

    REFTRA, 72-hour sail notice re: N. Korea, ball busting 18 hour fly days, EMCON, darken ship, timing traps and shots between waves while the Boss drank coffee and smoked packs of Merits in PriFly, warning us to, “Stand By For Heavy Rolls” in his cool as ice F4 Phantom fighter pilot voice…….. as we glanced aft, wondering what it must be like to ride on that little butt frigate bobbing around back there on plane guard duty. Bear and Mae fly bys, GQ, MAAs on the fantail for Sweepers, as the Ruskie trawler waited to snatch our trash right back out of the water again. A Flying Squad with actual experience, sometimes fatal (RIP shipmates). Two beer days down, working on a third, with 3 paychecks stashed in your coffin locker. Salt water laundry gray underwear, weeks past needing a haircut, water rationing, running out of milk, fruit and vegetables but never red or purple flavor bug juice, then wondering if the weird looking orange that came on board near Mombasa, was safe to eat – but you did anyway.

    No females on board objecting to toilet bowl swirlees, shalaylee beat downs, laying in a pile of 3 day old galley waste, locked in the stocks, nasty Tabasco-laced injections from The Dentist or a face caked with Crisco lard after meeting The Baby. Twice. Never did the words “institutional hazing” cross our minds as we answered our charges with skin and blood on that non-skid deck, waiting for a turn in rancid tank of green water, then warmly welcomed into the fold by a long line of smiling, back slapping Shellbacks.

    Ironing your first ever PO3 crow onto a brand new dungaree shirt, then getting it tacked on 50+ times making your arm uselessly black and blue for a week. Industrial, OD green 5lb cans of government issue coffee, mixing by pouring it back and forth repeatedly between two of those standard issue, white paper cups instead of those useless wooden stir sticks. Thinking you were high speed low drag when you upgraded from a manual typewriter to an IBM “Selectric” typewriter, then later, spent weeks trying to figure out DOS WordStar on the IBM 386 PC, in between preparing for “Zoners”, on your hands and knees, stripping that green tile with steel wool and a greenie weenie, and laying wax with a sponge.

    And just before the third beer day rolled around, it was “2 and a Woo”, then suddenly it was over, and you were at your division’s designated bar out in Barrio Barreto, swabbing out the inside rim of a San Miguel bottle with your finger before taking that first long drink…….. Mojo, Bullfrog, Adobo, Lumpia, flied lice, and watching as your new favorite honey ko lovingly peeled a warm Balut, and you vowed never EVER to kiss that money maker again. But then you got drunk, forgot about that, wandered out onto the beach, maybe some of the guys were out there smoking a joint with the LPO, or messing around with homemade M80s that would take your fingers off. Next thing you know, you wake up and it’s over. Underway, shift colors, and the line @ BDS-6 soon rivaled the chow line.

    I did another ship, state side, post Tail Hook, mid-90s. What a drag that was! There were still a few good Vietnam era COs around who tried to make it fun, but wings were getting clipped so one by one, they retired. End of an era, which I’m sure every generation says. LOL.

    After I retired, I had a job where I was still in proximity to young sailors on port visits overseas, and it was a world away listening to them talk about how rough the last 30 WHOLE DAYS at sea was, and something about no internet or cell phone signal.

    I just listen, smile and keep quiet.

    Chances are they wouldn’t believe me if I told them. :-/

  • Robert R

    Remember being in the Persian Gulf onboard the USS CORONADO AGF-11 and becoming a shellback crawling through the 3 day old food slop from the galley through an air vent and having to wear my dungerees backward with my briefs over the top of the pants and boondockers on and eating off paper plates on the floor green eggs and green ham and after crawling through the slop having to eat the cherry out of the belly button of a big fat chief and being beaten by firehoses and having rotten eggs broken down the crack of your butt. Oh yeah and having the letters “PW” on your white t-shirt. And then officially becoming a shellback. Still carry my card in my wallet after all these years. Going to Mambasa, Pakistan and a few other areas. ASU Alcohol Support Unit as we called it. Eating Camel meat burgers. Gold being cheap as hell. No women on the ship. Having no ship escorts and being the flagship of the Arabian Gulf. Having to take 3 minute showers. Midrats, tin-can Navy ships that rocked like corks in the I.O. Calling home on the MARS station and having to say over everytime you were telling the person on the other side that it was their turn to talk. Working at the ships store during the movie at night and selling ice cream, cigarettes for $3 a carton, loading 3000 cases of soda before leaving Manama Pier. Staying an extra year in this isolated duty station. Having the Desert Duck bring in the mail and after Christmas, bringing our mail in March and having mailcall 4 to 5 times a day for a week and a half. Being part of the Snoopy Team. Getting Surface Warfare Qualified. Watching the Smokers and guys beating the crap out of each other. I could go on and on but shit I loved it and honestly miss it as much as Armed Forces Radio Station sitting out on the deck with no shirt underway and writing letters home. Being on the only white ship in the Navy with the exception of the hospital ships. Still have my 1981 t-shirt from the CORONADO and what great friends I made on the ship. Don’t miss wrapping asbestos on the pipes in the chiefs galley and so freaking glad I always wore my official mask because so many of my friends wound up with mesothelioma years later. Being on a ship that was commissioned in the 50’s and finally decommissioned after I saw her pull into Pearl Harbor in 2000 or something like that. I was on that ship in 1981-1982. She was scrapped after I saw her at Pearl Harbor. God Bless her and the crew that kept her afloat all those years.

    • skip7212

      I remember a bunch of us shooting the crap with the Chief in the torpedo room. He told us about this legendary 30 second shower while we all ooooh’d and aaaah’d. We didn’t believe him, though.

    • Mem Lane

      Great memories.

      Recall Coronado replaced the La Salle in The Gulf when she went into the yards in Yokosuka. I remember the “White Ghost” steaming around the corner toward the dry dock, can’t remember which year, sometime between 87-90. I was still a youngster at that point, so the sight of a navy ship painted white, was a strange and interesting thing to me.

      Coronado’s well deck was retrofitted years later as 3rd fleet command ship in San Diego. The XO from my second ship, Captain Ross (Awesome guy) became the CO of that ship, and my Master Chief followed him there.

  • phil

    USS James Monroe, SSBN 622 BLUE… 83-86… USS Holland AS-32… 86-88… beards, cold beer in machines.. upturning gedunk machines in barracks on three weekend paydays to get snacks… my beard never stopped me from donning EABs OBAs… girls on tenders and drydocks were the best company.. I learned semaphore on the tender to talk to babes on supply ships while at sea during one of our liberty cruises.. I remember vampire liberty but never got to P.I.

  • Darrell Sears

    D.M.Sears, AD1 (AW) 1983 – 2003 I remember land lines were still in wide use in the barracks, and at boot camp,(Great Lakes). Shipboard phones were limited depending on what the ship was doing and where it was located. At Groton, Connecticut the rec room had a juke box that had 45’s,you could get 2 plays for a quarter. If you had duty on pay day, you got paid in $2.00 bills;(that happened quite a bit); torpedo men (TM’s) were phased out,same with Pattern Makers and Optical Men(PM’s) and (OM’s). Transfer orders were sent by mail:)

  • AndyCaps! Yoko! The Haunch! Oki-Boat!

    • Mem Lane

      My division bar was straight across the main gate, turn left on Honch 1 and it was right there on the left side. Small place, for the life of me can’t remember the name now, but old Mamasan had her daughter tending the bar, and she was a real cute thing, same age as most of us were, name was Yumi or Yuki – something like that. Became like a sister to those of us she obviously wasn’t going to sleep with. Seem to recall she married a guy from the division but I don’t think it lasted long.

  • Spud

    Liberty cards were gone in 1969 as I remember. Could be wrong, it was a long time ago. We got beards, sideburns, and civvies on the ship in 1970 when Adm Zumwalt tried to bring the Navy into the 20th Century

    • MMCS

      Had liberty cards all the way up to ’79 on the Seattle (AOE-3)…

  • Ylliw Ocityd

    Best years of my career was from the mid 70’s where liquid lunch still being served at EM’s club while watching topless dancers, no DUI, MJ was still legal & no sexual harassment complain. Retired 1996

  • Joe

    Liberty cards in the 80’s?? Don’t think so. Zumwalt did away with Liberty Cards in 1970.

    • Mem Lane

      I had a liberty card 1987-1989 and turned it in when I PO3.

  • Hilda

    Sure miss them!!




    USS CORONADO AGF-11 1980-1983

  • Mike Casey

    In 61-63 Luckys were 10 cents a pack at sea and 20 cents at the NX in Pearl. I remember running out of cigs in Manilla or Subic and buying a pack of Camels from a street vendor. They sure looked like Camels, but I think they must have been monkey dung.

  • donnrdonnr

    Yep, the beards went away Jan 1 85 right after I reported on the the Ponce. Checked on her Oct of 84. I remember the beer machines in Little Creek VA. I remember everybody getting paid in 2 dollar bills because the Navy wanted to prove to Norfolk City officials show much their economy depended on the military there. They(city) shut the hell up after that little experiment.

  • K Peaslee

    Navy of the 50’s No women on any ship, no beards, no mushtash, no beer, not much money ,but they were the best days

  • donnrdonnr


    • Mem Lane

      Ah, yes!!! Ivan paying a visit.

  • CMath90606

    I was Signalman on the USS Belknap (DLG-26) from Jan, 1971 to Jul, 1974. No more Signalman? What happens if the radio goes out?

    • Jim

      Never going to happen ( they think Jim sm2 1960’s )

  • Terry

    I WAS a PERSONNELMAN (Enlisted Administration) 3rd class on the USS MIDWAY (CV-41) homeported in Yokosuka, Japan and traveled extensively throughout East Asia ESPECIALLY Subic Bay, Philippines so much that it was our second home-port , all for nearly 4 years,. While I already/BEFORE joining the Navy spoke and read SOME Japanese, Russian and MANDARIN Chinese, my then girlfriend taught me so much Tagalog that it TOO became one of my “adopted” languages; my French, German and Spanish were ONLY “survivable”, …BUT the resulting dates and “affairs” definitely taught me the importance of knowing “some” foreign language(s). While I was NEVER allowed to use my language skills officially, I dated, and had extensive trysts, with women (MORE-THAN-A-FEW) who didn’t speak NATURALLY English, which gave insights to so many things that I was repeatedly asked to translate especially to bail other sailors out of various troubles, brothels, jails and numerous embarrassing situations. EVENTUALLY even my XO even asked me to intervene in some affairs to cut-through the local bureaucracies. Too many adventures, both PERSONAL and NOT-so-official, gave me extensive knowledge that allows me to tolerate many …Many, …MANY post-Navy things/”BS (!!!)”: These Navy-“THINGS” makes things in civilian life so-so…trivial, and makes me wish for the old “80s”Navy-life (ESPECIALLY in Japan and the Philippines) all over again!!! My favorite chief warned me about this: I laughed back then; I’M NOT LAUGHING NOW!!!!!! I miss all that stuff!!!!!!!

    • BT3 seskey

      Wow what a lady’s man. Lol

  • Franks

    USS Enterprise 1963-1966 > the biggest change has been having females serving on ships. The worst thing ever. So dumb.

  • Lt Pulver

    Supply Officer and I ran a “slush fund”. Twenty bucks today for 30 bucks on Payday. Since the Supply Officer was also the Paymaster, we seldom had any risk in getting repaid. CO got a cut too.

    • ajhdflsts

      “CO got a cut too” I call Bullcrap

  • jbotelho

    uss nashville LPD 13 boy i had a good time

  • daddymatt

    My favorites were the steel beach picnics, full power runs, high speed maneuvering, and vert reps. DK3 on the USS Paul F. Foster DD-964. I knew everyone on the ship. Then on to the USS Cushing DD985, with shortened WESPACS because we were an ASW squadron. TAD to the Mt Whitney and the Bellau Wood. Then on to the USS Philippine Sea CG-58 for some great MED cruises. Spent 4 years in Japan too. Played tackle football for the Atsugi Flyers all 4 years in Japan. All this from 1974 to 1996. Wouldn’t trade it for anything and wish I could do it again. My wife doesn’t though.

  • SCPO Ret.

    Was in fron 1970 and o 1996. Pack of cigs in nex .25 1972, carton 2.50. 1980’s aboard ship still 2.50, $5 ashore. I remember while in VFA-195 we raffled off to see who could shave off the Chiefs beard. Those were the days.

  • guest

    Enterprise, 79 to 83, yard bound for 2 years, getting the new ‘R2D2’ gatling guns, Checkov and Sulu meeting us on the way back into Alameda, getting stuck on the sand bar in the bay, playing with the Russians and the USS Bainbridge pretending to the Big E. Olongapo’s honey-kus, guys wanting to get married after the first stop there, LOL. Boot in Orlando, A school in Great Lakes, nuke school in Orlando. Great time and a fun way to serve the USA!


      My son was aboard at this time, I remember waiting on the pier for the ship to finally come alongside.

  • skip7212

    Being on a fast attack Sub in the 70’s, we rarely got paid in cash, usually by check. It didn’t matter for me though, because with the last name “Carrier”, I rarely got my check on payday like the other guys anyway. On WESTPAC’s, it usually had to be re-routed from the Midway. Sometimes the Kitty Hawk when Stateside. I never cared much for Yokosuka, but at least when we pulled in there a couple of times, our Yeoman could call over to the Midway and locate it so I could walk down a 1000 yards or so and pick up my check sooner.

  • Dennis Moore

    Looks like the pic was taken in Olongapo at Strawberry Fields on Magsaysay. Wonder if the chickies had valid cards with them ! (I used to test them and hand out the cards). I loved nothing better than to hand out ice cold Pen G carbides ( 1 for each cheek) at the clinic for those dumb enough not to check for the cards ! My my my, what fun we had !

  • Ronald Lewis

    I was in the navy the entire decade of the 80’s and I don’t know about that enlisted and officers partying together. Never happened where I was stationed. And as for your div chief and you having a discussion in the fan room, that never happened either. What navy did you guys serve in cause if you hit your chief, your were written up ASAP. LPO’s might have had a discussion with you but if any violence ensued, your butt was going to CO’s mast.

  • Romeo T Barcelona

    I was a Senior Chief with 22 years of active service. Some of them I can remember, like beer machine in the barracks, getting paid in cash, watching mess hall movies, liberty cards, but I never recall having attending any party with officer.

  • K. Angst

    Photo # 10. 1980’s? What’s wrong with this picture. Look at the first guy in line. Notice the leather belt and square brass buckle? How about 1942 or 43. For the most part the navy started issuing cloth belts, black with a steel belt buckle painted black very early in the war. The cloth belt with the standard brass buckle for white hats didn’t come in until much later.

  • Ronald Lewis

    Must be some filter on this thing where if you put an “A” followed by 2 “S’s” then it will censor it out. The censor on the type of buckle used is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY….

  • RMCBigE

    I thank God every day that I retired in 05 under the last good president we had. I cant imagine being in now under Obama’s social experiment. I remember it was God and corp but now that is perverted and I know of people getting booted for just mentioning God. What have we become? Now for the lighter side…. I was there starting in 83 and I remember making E4 and being excited about growing a beard but NO that was when they changed the rules. I understand as it is probably best to have a good seal on ones OBA. The 80’s were awesome Ronny was president…schools and money were abundant and nobody F’d with us. Even the bear aircraft following us would keep their distance. We survived Walker and we WON THE COLD WAR. I remember in 1990 when a Russian Krivack and Udaloy ( I know I spelled those wrong) came into San Diego for a port visit. We got to tour those ships and wow what an eye opener. The whole bucket was nothing but rust with red paint on it. What a piece of crap those ships were. The sailors did not look too happy. Not allot of espirit de core going on there. I had a captain that was an ex POW who had us come up to the flight deck at sunset to watch the green flash. The man was a bit nuts but I would have sailed anywhere and fought anywhere with the guy. I remember when Master Chiefs were Master Chiefs and Chiefs were Chiefs. This of course was before they started the SEA or Senior enlisted academies which were basically where E8’s and above went to get neutered well most of them anyhow. I remember real initiations for crossing the line and becoming a Chief. I would not have traded any of it for all the San Miguel in the PI.

    • BT3 seskey

      Wow what a lady’s man. Lol

    • BT3 seskey

      Bush a good president, lmao

  • gfrancis

    BT’s are another thing from the past no more Boiler tech’s

    • Doug MMCS(SW)

      Yeah, spent 21 yrs, 6 months as a BT and then 1 month as a MM – retired as a MMCS.

  • Old Salt

    It was even better in the 50’s and 60’s!

  • SGT/GMC Mike

    ’68-73 = USMC 73-89 = USN SGT in the Marines and Chief in the Navy. I still have a cruise book when I had the worst looking beard on the ship. I made sure to shave it off before my wife ever saw it. I spent 19 months in Vietnam which I am proud of while in the Marines. I was hurt but the Navy allowed me to enlist to continue a career and after all my Marine time the Navy was like a canoe club where I got in trouble just enough to retire with red stripes. I have also seen Red 28 yr stripes, retiring as a 7/8/ or 9 with red stripes was not uncommon due to some young JO’s happy to give you a conduct eval that made you start over again for 12 straight years for gold because you stood up to him for one of your men. The red stripe were cheaper to replace anyway when buying a new uniform. BTW, I made 8 but had my papers in to retire so never got to put it on.




  • kmsMNCM

    I spent my 1983-2012 Navy career as a Submarine Sonar Tech and Mineman, retiring as a MNCM (SW/SS); I saw some stuff. I saw the beer machines in operation at Fleet ASW in San Diego in the mid-1980’s, until a Mormon CO put the kibosh on that. I had my first Navy regulation beard in 1984, knowing that the CNO had declared they would go away on January 1st, 1985. My first personnel inspection as a student in an STS “C” school was with a hard-core female CWO3 that was rough on Irish pennants and lint. She squared up to me, looked me up and down, and said,”Great looking beard Sailor, give this man an Outstanding!” That was great news, because it meant a 24-hour special liberty chit. Ah, those were the days!

  • I served from 1971 to 2010 (commissioned in 82). A lot of those things were in the 70s and I do remember most of it. Partied a little with the officers on deployment but never at Home Por. Talk about seeing a lot of changes over a 40 year span. The 70s were the best for me even though at the time I didn’t think so :-) It was a great ride and I miss it even with all the screwy changes that are going on now. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

  • Melvin McCullough Jr

    I remember those days. Served on board U.S.S. Missouri BB63 from 1985 – 1989 during the Cold War period. Fun Times. I miss them.

  • Tom

    Navy Nuke, 1983-2003, I remember them all! Had beer machines in the Orlando barracks for Nuke school. Had a beard at prototype, right up until we had to shave ’em by midnight at the end of 1983. I hated standing in line for pay! And the guys carrying the lock-boxes, surrounded by the shotgun toting guys,yelling at everyone to get back. Once or twice, I stood in that line, got to the pay table, and realized I did not have my military ID. That sucked! Especially if they shut down the pay line before you got back with your ID, then no pay until next week, after standing in line at disbursing (and getting chewed out by the disbursing chief.) I thought direct deposit was the best thing, until I realized bank hours sucked in the 80s! And the few ATM cards issued by the base credit union had really low limits! (But you could your money in 5s, 10s and 20s!)

  • John

    1974-1994 I didnt see this yet….How about Zumwalts changes to the uniforms like the Utilities…yuk

  • Riggs

    We had Chiefs initiation back then. I retired in 1999 and they were getting away with it!

  • WMDonnelly

    Suspect “bridge urinals” may be no more as well !

  • Karl Page HT1 ret.

    I remember goin to the EM club at Little Creek va. amphib. base for a liquid lunch and they had TOPLESS dancers there ! Could you imagine that in the ”new” navy ? ? That was in the 70’s .We worked hard n played hard !

    • Jim

      was there in the 60’s never saw them there..

  • Exkorling

    One of the big things they missed was the utility uniform that they tried out because it was supposed to be more fire retardant than dungarees. They were also heavier, hotter, and damned uncomfortable even after a few trips to the laundry. Glad the Navy came to its senses!

    • Spud

      I had one set of those,issued in 1972 I think. You are right, they were hot , uncomfortable, and just plain ugly. Was happy to get back into dungarees.

  • WC Fisher

    Those were the the DAYS AND NIGHTS 70s and 80s, YES!!

  • Chief Dale

    Boot camp, Great Lakes in 1960. Air conditioned barracks (large holes in the walls). Company commanders favorite form of punishment was full dress blues (July, Aug) shoveling the side walk. Asked him what he did for winter, replied did you ever see someone cutting grass in whites? GITMO during missile situation, beer and a shot .25. at EM Club. retired in 1981. While stationed at USn&MRCRTC, Denver, CO was Capt C. Smith, Admiral ZUMWALT worked for Capt Smith when “Z” was a CDR. One day, I was working at my desk and a gentleman came in my office dressed in “fishing gear” asked to see “Smitty”, I looked up and the first thing I saw was bussy eye brows and long side burns, it was ADM “Z”, snapped to attention was told to relax “I’m on vacation” and to tell “Smitty” that “Bud” was here to see him. Quite an experience. Retired in 1981 as SCPO selectee. Loved my whole career, when Kuwait was attacked, I dreamed that I was recalled and at Great Lakes buying uniforms. Speaking of GL we go there for meds, commissary, exchange, and it’s hard toi tell whose who, I sure do miss the dungarees.

  • Dutch

    Oh Hell, yeah! Retired in October ’89 as a QMC . . . Loved seeing the picture of the QM with a sextant. Way too many late nights and early, early mornings with one of those planted in my right eye. Still, I wouldn’t have traded a career at sea for love-nor-money! I didn’t, come to think of it, because I got divorced twice because of it all!

  • mdhsabh

    I find the comments a little out of touch. Still representing the Navy as a bunch of guys?? There were lots of women who have served in the Navy for decades, and aboard ship as early as the early 80s; tugs before that. Cash paydays only aboard ships–ashore, cash went away before ’77. Navy officers and enlisteds partying together was a Captain’s Mast (Article 15) offense (fraternization) that was enforced at varying degrees of rigor. Semaphore is still used in underway replenishment. The folks need to get out to see the Navy a little more.

    • MMCS

      Of course the post is out of touch – that is what it was about – to illustrate a bit what it was like then compared to now. The ’70s and ’80s saw major upheavals in the Navy and you had to live though it all to really understand it. Not saying that we want to return to that time as there was a lot of bad stuff then too (really bad racial tensions, major amounts of drug use, etc.), but it is fun to point out the differences and remember the good stuff. And it was mostly guys then – very few women – at least on ships. Hey, lighten up. And no, since I’m not in the Nav anymore, I don’t have to be PC.

    • skip7212

      Just like way back then and even more so now, there’s always at least one just like you in every unit. Back then, when “officers and enlisteds” partied together, you probably weren’t invited! On my Boat, guys like you either went along with the program or got stuck on “watch”. Problem solved.

  • Emmett D Bowers

    Oh! boy those were the good old days of being a sailor..!when we left port in those days our tour of duty was 18 months and back home,, usually after 2 years away from home, because well! our relief ship broke down, there were numerous excuses, but did we care back in those days..Heck! nah!.. we were sailors,,,now it’s six months and back home, and these guys are crying the blues about be away from their families too long,,then why did you join the navy in the first place…..May God continue to bless old timers, who sailed the seven seas in those days….

  • david placek

    from 69 to 91 had good time, first cruise Indy loved the war game over the 1mc. In RA5C sqd. the bats.rvah-13.

  • John Stitnizky

    Remember the short arm inspections in the 60’s on payday. “Skin it back or don’t get paid! I r after 21 years, mostly on destroyersetired in 1977

  • B Miller

    Remember the Gedunk truck (Navy Exchange Mobile Canteen) on the pier every evening, the mad rush before the evening movie on the mess decks? Oh, how that was a special event!
    GMCS retired 1993.

    • DAA

      We called it the “Roach Coach”.

  • Mike K

    Last deployed in 86-87 aboard USS John F Kennedy to the Med. Remember all that good stuff. Was a harder life, but we partied like there ewas no tomorrow in every port. Could fill a book with tales from Po City and Crap River.

  • William Carley

    Came in in 1974, Retired in 1994,. 20 outstanding years. Wish i could do it all over again.
    Spent 2 years in the P.I. at NAS Cubi Point from 1977-1979.The rest was at what is now MCAS Miramar..
    I remember the green memo books because i used it for a spare parts list.Westpac on the USS Ranger CV-61
    in 1976. USS Carl Vinson CVN-70 1982 &1984/85.Love the old days.

    • Glenn Anderson

      USS Ranger 1975-1979 Remember our little trip to the Indian Ocean during Westpac in 76? Wasn’t that fun.

  • wes koebrick

    Was a storekeeper on an LST from 51 to 55,ran the ships store, sold cigarettes for 80 cents a carton. We never had a beer machine but I sold a lot of aqua velva shaving lotion. Had a lot of good times even though the Korean war on then. made first class in my four years

  • Bobby

    Retired MCPO during the late 60’s we had been in the coast of Vietnam loading and unloading Marines and after29 days at sea, the crew unanimously requested and granted liberty at Subic Bay.

  • B Miller

    I remember my CPO initiation in 1982 at Mayport FL. My sponsor, AOC Stewart told me I was lucky because they had just outlawed the use of live chickens during the initiation!!!!! Loved and remember every moment of it though.

  • Bobby p

    Mount Vernon LSD 39 no I O only HI PI. Hk. Thai Korea n some asian countries

  • CWO Bails

    Yeah buddy 30 knots and no smoke! Chief initiations and Equator crossings keeping squared away or no liberty!

  • Calvin

    It is great mistake to not teach and require the use of the sextant for navigation. In the real world, the satellites will most likely be downed and not knowing celestial navigation using the sextant will be a real negative. As a C.O. I made my navigator and QM’s learn and use the sextant, find the stars, shoot them, compute the line of bearing and compare the fix with GPS. Same for LAN. They became very good at the practice. They had to do this at least once a week to keep sharp.
    As a Navigator on ships and submarines I navigated around the world, literally, using the sextant, HO 214 and the Air Almanac. Today’s C.O.’s should require the same.

  • Brian. V Little

    Everything described, on target!
    And not to forget guarding cigarette deliveries…

  • Lifer

    I joined the Nav in Jan 1957 as an E-1 — had a fantastic career. Retired in August, 1992 as an O-6. In between I was an E-7, W-1, W-2, O-1. Had two commands, three wives, served on 9 carriers and had a hell of a good time. No regrets, would do it again if I could.

    • JMC

      Love your attitude and how you did things. My career was 24 yrs. hooya for your 35yrs!! I put a post up today describing my navy life. It should be the last 1 on the last page. I salute you Captain!

  • Dave Patterson RM3

    I remember 25 cent beers and 50 cent mixed drinks at the EM club at Rossy Roads, Puerto Rico. in 1978-79. USS Mt. Whitney, LCC-20.

  • RMCS NEELY (rerired)

    I joined in 1964 and retired in 1986 as a RMCS. When I came in we only had CW (morris code) and had to copy the heading of every message and the entire message if it was addressed to our ship. The LPO was in charge and if you had to see the chief you were in deep trouble. As chief in charge I was able to hand out EMI but that changed in the 80’s. The division officer and above was the only one’s allowed to give EMI. I was planning on doing 30 years but due to the changes that was occurring in the Navy I retired after 22 years. God knows how it is now.

  • steve davis

    loved the unreps using semaphore and watching the QM’S navigate!!!!!

  • steve davis

    lol can’t forget fantasy island!!!!!

  • Don Rock

    How many of you remember the right arm rates of the 1940s?

  • Daniel Borchert

    Aboard CVA 14 & CVA 43 “59 -61” Steak Dinner with all Trimmings and Drinks $1.25 Club Alliance Yokosuka,Japan(EM Club with several dance floors and Bars).Also Sasebo was a US Naval Station at the time as well as MCAS Iwakuni.Subic Bay P.I.Very inexpensive Liberty in any one of the EM Clubs at the time.Plenty of San Miguel,Asahi Beer and Suntory Whiskey.Honk Kong was another favorite Splurging on an exspensive dinner at “Jimmy’s Kitchen” and then drinking with the Brits at The British Seamans Club near the waterfront while waiting for a liberty boat to the Coral Sea.From “64-67″aboard AS-31 in Holy Loch Scotland and Charleston S.C. only E-6 and above allowed to wear Civvies to and from ship ,local cuisine not so good but booze at the small package store at the smaller commissary and exchange was priced right .80 for 40 oz Gordon’s Gin(that’s Right eighty cents) $1.25 for a Forty Pounder of Bacardi Light ,$5.00 for 40 oz. Cutty Sark Thanks for the Memories
    FCC Dan Borchert USN (ret)

  • Cdrlin

    All of this made me smile

  • Vic

    Crap River queens, monkey meat, San Magues, the smell of good earned liberty with no curfews.
    80s were the bomb. served 1982-2007 BM/MA

  • gene oisten

    p3 crews all men no political correctness. junior officer porn officer, keeper of all mags.

  • Bob Tucker

    Read all the comments, thanks for the memories. The unwritten code, as I understood it, was work hard and party hardy durning the 60’s and 70’s. During the 20 years of service, I was priveldge to train with the Marines for the Bay of Pig invasion, served on a Air Force Base in Italy for 2 years, and spent the last 3 plus years on a Army Post at Ft Meade, Md in a joint military command. I enjoyed my career during the period I served. Yes, a Chief was a Chief to be respected, but the writing was on the wall. Change was taken place and the ‘old Navy would be no longer. God bless our shipmates serving today!

  • Remember when you had to send a urgent message back home while on deployment? You had to go to Radio and see the Class “E” clerk, pay 10 bucks and get it signed by the Captain.


      DON CORCORAN USS ROOKS DD804 1958_1961

  • SKC(SW) Santos

    Remember playing mahjong in the first class mess every night while deployed in Indian Ocean (USS White Plains AFS-4)

  • SCPO D. Jones

    How about doing laundry with bag tied on the fantail. Minesweep sailor we grew beards in the 90’s due to water ration.
    Senior Chief

  • George Ray

    Still have a little green memo book, dated 1963 USS Tatnuck ATA 195.

  • Doug MMCS(SW)

    Excellent post – brought back some good memories. Made Chief in ’83 (when being a Chief was something special) and was initiated at a bar in Olongopo. Hey, live animals were in attendance for that one and I don’t mean the other Chiefs…
    Survived 21+ years (75-96) in the Nav on the Seattle (AOE-3), Sperry (AS-12), Tripoli (LPH-10), Gridley (CG-21) and Dubuque (LPD-8), and at SMA San Diego. Retired as a MMCS(SW) and am still with my first wife (still don’t know how/why she stayed with me!).
    Could add another to the list: the “old” Service Dress Blues (suit and tie) before we returned to Crackerjacks!
    I still have my last Memo book from the Dubuque. Kind of amusing to go back and sometimes read to see what was important in my life then as I can’t hardly remember squat from that time.
    The post just goes to show how much has changed since the early to mid-80s. Wonder sometimes if the changes have always been for the better….but maybe this is just an old sailor lamenting the passing of time.

  • Going through the Chiefs initiation in Subic Bay. Weather Guessers being part of ships company,real working uniforms bell bottoms, dungaree liberty.

  • Ray Larson

    I remember these days like yesterday
    What about initiation? Like chief and petty officer! !!!

  • jimslag

    Grande Island and Olangapo. WestPacs that were longer than 6 months, my 3 were 15, 18 and 14 months. Beer days after 90 days at sea. Bear bombers shadowing your ship wherever you went. Filipinas knowing exactly when you would be back in the PI before you did.

  • Tom

    Began career in Dress Blue Coat, Tie and Combo Cover, (1976) switched over (back) to Cracker Jacks in the 80’s. Served aboard Sub-tender, visited them at Pt. Loma, (San Diego) when we came Stateside. Just visited Pt. Loma @ 2 weeks ago… no more Sub Tenders there at the Sub Piers.

  • Ricardo Mireles

    Had my beard, still have my Liberty Cards, leave request chits, and especially having to wait weeks, month for mail (my mail from home stationed overseas or underway for 10 months (3) was my always the BEST!), having to pay over $70 for a calling card in Diego Garcia for a 10 min call home on satellite or using the MARS while out at sea for 3 mins and the list goes on…. 75-98

  • Ed Hartwell

    I retired after 20 years in Jan 1984. It is difficult to beleive more than 31 years have slipped by so fast, i hardly recognize the uniform today. I was one of the lucky ones, as I retired as an E-6 at age 36 and ten months. I understand those days are gone forever.

  • Z-Man

    AIDS became major scare in the 80’s Navy. The arrest of YNSN Michael Walker for spying on his own country in 1985 in Haifa, Israel. No female sailors on combat ships. Drinking a couple of beers after spending 61 days off of Lebanon on flight deck of USS Nimitz.

  • phil

    I worked the payline with a 45 inport as well at sea mid 70s

  • Tracy Meadows

    I joined the Navy in 1975 and retired in 1997. When I went to boot camp, in Orlando since I was a woman, we could smoke in the lounge area in our barracks. We even had smoking areas inside the hospital at Portsmouth VA, where the Corpsman and doctors would light up and review charts and X-rays. It was the days before the piss tests and the Docs always threw the best parties. I remember when the Iranians took all of the hostages and my now husband’s ship, USS Peterson, six moth deployment turned into a 9 month deployment. We didn’t have emails, cell phones, or Skype. We had letters and were grateful to get them, no matter how long it took! In the late 80’s, after the Tail Hook scandal, the Navy went so far left, it took most of the fun out of being a sailor. As much as I loved the Navy, and still do, I was ready to retire in 97.

  • Bill

    One other item could be added, no women on ships. That made life simpler.

  • Tony Medina

    I was in the US Navy 1962 to 1966…. MM3….When the Ships were made out Wood and the men were made of Steel….Now it’s the other way around ….I can’t believe that the woman want to get into the Navy Seals…..

  • Bill Gresham

    VQ-4, Pax River, 1972-1975 – navigated across the Atlantic and Caribbean in a C-130 using a sextant as primary means of navigation.

  • George Bodenner

    I was at a NAS and started to grow a beard which was legal at the time. Met the Captain in a passageway just as the beard was getting started. He said “you are growing a beautiful beard” I have always thought that anyone who could grow a beard could stand twice as many watches as anyone else”. It took me a very short time to shave. –

  • Tom

    No personal computers like today… I thought I posted this comment, but I don’t see it so I’ll try again: We were issued the Dress Blues Coat, Tie & Combo Cover (1976) and changed over (back) to Cracker Jacks. I was a sub-tender sailor and we would visit the other tenders at Pt. Loma (San Diego) when we came Stateside. I visited Pt. Loma a couple of weeks ago… no more tenders at the sub piers.

  • starchief

    the “old Na
    v y w
    as fun ! not politically correct.we worked hard and played hard in ports all over the world!

  • sharon

    Wow great memories….sure is different now…

  • heidi cermak

    I remember when a sailorgot called into the CPO’s office and you to be able to explain yourself. there was no ” how’s it going chief?” like today. I am a retired CPO.

  • Brian Lawrence

    Yes, I remember all of these. I had a really bushy beard most of my active duty time. Also, we had the combination cover as enlisted. This may have only been in the late 70’s and could have been eliminated by the 80’s.

  • fuzznose

    I remember a little ‘attitude adjustment’ from my chief… way of a fist in the belly…..he had me up against the superstructure on the starboard bridge wing and let fly……gave me a new outlook on how to deal with an angry CPO……made his point, told me to get back to work, and 15 minutes later, came to see how things were going…..never, ever mentioned what had just happened, and neither did I. Really miss the beards, though, my first ship, the Signals Officer had a really nice beard, kind of like the WO’s beard in the first picture…..and I still have several “wheel books”……I didn’t use them after I made Chief, but still have the ones I used before. The disbursing officer refusing to pay you until you got a haircut…um, how the hell am I supposed to pay for the haircut if I don’t get paid? yeah, right……

  • john Goins

    only in the 80’s and navy would you punish a mess hand for loosing the keys by chaining the keys to a trash can. They had to carry the trash can just to pick up extra supplies. Also where crossing the equator was a true initiation party. Got to love it.

  • G. Polinkas

    Service 1946-1965, No women on ships, go to the shower with a towel over your shoulder, No beer in barracks, gays made a fast trip to the brig and then OUT, drugs practically unknown, pee in a bottle for physiclals only, Politically correct? whats that!

    • Pat McGroyne

      Now-a-days there are rainbow flags in certain areas of berthing and odummer is pushing to include trannies into all branches of the military.


    beer machines in barracks at norfolk 1981( 50cents) uss monogahela A0178 ( plank owner)


    NTC San Diego, Russian Bears off the coast of Vietnam shadowing the fleet, AGI’s following you departing San Diego Bay, hand written stencil names on dungarees (UGG), wearing your dress blues on liberty in Hong Kong without worrying about being suicide bombed or kidnapped!
    Liberty Cuffs!

  • Greg Dailey

    USS La Salle AGF 3 84-85, ACB2 Little Creek Va. 85-87 USS Sumter LST1187 86-87 – North Atlantic cruise. #5 is incorrect… Had random Urinalysis test often, most the time we got underway from a liberty port we had mandatory urinalysis. Once a sailor, always a sailor. Wish I stayed and retired.

  • Kerrigan

    Wish I was in that navy I’m currently serving since 2010 and this navy sucks nothing like the stories my dad n grand father told me can’t even speak your mind with out being sent to mass for it.N council in chit pointless as hell if I could just beat the cap out of the fireman that doesn’t want to listen I bet he would afterwards. Thank you to everyone that has served during the good old days with my grand father and father.

  • Knobby Clarke

    The mid-sixties the Navy was great. Didn’t worry about beards because most of us were too young to grow them. I remember all the two dollar bills how most people were afraid of them.° Subic Bay was a great deployment. Semper Fi to all my Marine buddies. Doc Knobby

  • leroy reinitz

    leeR..6mos at sea the rest of m y 22 & 6 mos shore duty, WashDC, Guam, Hawaii, Germany all verifiable.
    1951 to 1973.

  • Don Rock

    Remember the right arm rates of the 1940s? I was so proud of my quartermaster stripes. Sextants
    only in those days.

  • Jackson

    60’s were the last. Then came 70’s and the Navy started down hill because of kinder gentler way of things. Don’t forget work uniforms made of nylon. They melted at temperature we worked around and in. They replaced cotton because they looked better than cotton.

  • Clark Garvin

    1970-71 MCAS El Toro. As a hospital Corpsman, wore a handlebar mustache that drove the Marine MPs crazy. They stopped me everyday at the gate. Had a wonderful 25 years in the U.S. Navy.

  • Lars Day

    Served in the late 60’s until the early 90’s and the 80’s were great. Today is all Politically correct nonsense which detracts from doing the job to the fullest.
    Oh by the way to the editor of this article: The U.S. Navy started doing Drug Tests in 1981 so
    when you say in the 80’s no urinalysis is WRONG; urinalysis started in 1981 so over 8 years in the 80’s and thereafter we had Pee Tests. Also the number of sailors caught with illegal substances in their urine were small as compared to today since most Sailors were not interested in drugs like today where even executives use Cocaine and the poor use Heroin. Drug use in the U.S. today is so much worse than before it is alarming and NO ONE is doing anything about this. The wealthy don’t talk about their drug use and by the way this Steve Jobs of Apple that so many admire was a Drug User and that is exactly why he died so young. So lets stop admiring these executives that use drugs and start admiring those that are responsible and show our youth that drugs are not necessary and one just needs to find something that they aspire to and love their family as well. Get a clue you Americans that your silence is causing this country to go to Hell!

  • bob Pickwoad

    I guess I don’t fit…USN 1964-1968. Fraternizing with the officers was verboten. I was held up in Naples once and there was a beer machine in the barracks rec room. No beards anywhere but you had to get a “Mustache Chit” to be allowed to grow one. The only ships (boats) I ever saw a WAVE on was a Navy tug. No drug testing unless you were REALLY stoned.. I won’t even go into Boot Camp – today it’s like a Boy Scout camp. But I digress……

  • Art

    I had no problem with either the OBA or the Scott Air Pack seal, same with my gas mask (NIT team) or my mask when I went diving. You just need to learn how to trim your beard.
    I remember the $2.00 bill that we used to get. That was the only way they could get them into circulaton

  • bob Pickwoad

    Have any of you guys ever caught a “Sea Bat”? Second only to going through the “Polywog” ceremony.

  • CDR Eastman VP-50/65

    no more CONSOLON lines out of SFO, Loran-A or even LORAN-C. Navigating with only a sun line on an ORI in a P-32A From SFO to SEA and hitting the IP within 1 NM after 4hours. No more dodging a Russian block ships making left and right turns to trap you “crossing his bow” when rigging. No more landing on fumes (2,000 lbs – total) in Utapao, Thailand after a 17 hour mission. Ahh the good ole days.

  • Gregory L Gordon

    The carrier air wings used to consist of F14’s,A6’s,A7’s and S3’s. Now all the aircraft of gone. All the Navy has now are Super Carriers.

  • Boxwrench

    Was a boot in ’58 and went aboard ship right out of GLakes, no school, just a SA. Made 2nd Class before 3 years, no classes, just OJT. At the time I thought it was terrible, but now I look back on my time and feel it was some of the best years of my young life. I went in a 17 year old kid, and came out a man with with knowledge, respect and a responsible attitude. Not to mention a skill that carried me all the way to retirement in civilian life. I only stayed one hitch, but really liked the Navy enough to remain in the reserves and retired after 33 years. I made it through all that without getting tattoos, smoking, or any VD! Not sure I would make it in today’s Navy. I just can’t fathom women or gays in such close quarters as shipboard life is without problems. It seems like everyday there is a new crisis situation and the old adage I think is still true. Women on board ships are bad luck. My idea is let them have ships with all women crew. Maybe that will work. I was chewed-out by my Chief so many times, I was sure I would be crap canned before my 3 12 years were up, but you learned by your mistakes, and if you had an understanding Chief and a good role model you could improve beyond what even you thought you could.
    I got started in communications, and in those days it was mostly CW code. Long watches and sometimes boring but busy ones. I look back on those days, and still see the thousands of stars on a clear night with no city lights blinding your view when we were underway. The greasy Pork Chops the first evening out so you got over your seasickness if you were prone to it. Listening to your favorite home town radio station as you wrote letters home to family and sweethearts, to be mailed at your first liberty port. I wonder how sailors today would behave without the internet and cell phones? Calling home onboard the ship at sea used to cost a small fortune and only when you were close enough to shore or sending a message home was also costly. Give me the “Good Old Days”

  • Robert Fisher

    I was on active duty as O1 and O2 on stateside shore duty. I stayed in the Reserve and was able to wear a beard the entire time untikl I retired in 1983…Most of my early ACDUTRA was aboard ships as I knew an unrestricted line officer with no active duty sea time was destined for the ash heap promotion-wise. Fortunately I got a CO assignment of a Reserve Lighterage Unit and was able to make O4 and retied in ’83. I too have lots of good memories and am enjoying retirement benefits…TriCare For Life is a good deal.

  • Bill

    Yep beards went away in 84 while I was on FF-1093 USS Capodanno. Retired MRC(SW) 1988. There isn’t any of those anymore either MR. A bunch of rates have gone bye bye since then. Served aboard USS Rush DD-714, USS Sierra AD-18 and a plankowner of USS Shreveport LPD-12. All East coast time excepting the ride from Bremerton WA when the Shreveport was commissioned in 1970 to her homeport in Norfolk.
    North Atlantic cruise, something like 3 Med cruises, South America cruise, 4 years at Gitmo, Red Sea cruise, all over the Caribbean too many times to count, Aruba, Halifax, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama Canal, Suez Canal
    $2 bills, pay chits, Doc at the pay line to give you malaria pils or you don’t get paid. Carton of smoke for $1.10.
    Shipmates, some of the best people in the world, Shipmates that you still contact and on occasion still see now and then. Shipmates!
    That’s enough, 22 years in nutshell if you haven’t been there, you’ll never know what it’s like!

  • shakey lou TMC

    joined in 1963 retired in 83 I saw so many changes in those years from beards to wearing dungarees home after work; most changed the Navy to a bunch of wimps. Of course that got ruined because of butts hanging out of ripped cloths. Traveled around the world on submarines before Rickover’s Nucs tuned boat sailors into wusses. Those day worked our butts off on the ship and played hard on Liberty. Gone forever

  • tingbontay

    Guys, when zumwalt ordered that you can only have a full grown beard and not a goatee or a fu manchu beard he violated a discrimination law. Also he is stupid enough not to think of what would happen in case of fire. My main duty is in the main engine room where 1200 lbs of steam exist in pipes if busted will case all the air in the room to disappear. And if there is a fire in the engine room repair 5 is supposedly to go down and put out the fire. If repair 5 cannot go done because they cannot wear an OBA, then they will put the lives of those working there. I was thinking of doing 30 years in the Navy, but after that I decided just to do 20 and get out because main engine control was both my underway station and battle station. So, goodby Navy.

  • Larry

    Plankowner on the USS America-and put her in commission 23 Jan 65. Took her first Med cruise. Cigarettes .90 a carton underway. Those “memorandum” notebooks were called “Wheel Books” to signify you were a “Big Wheel”. Booze was under a buck for a liter down in the Virgin Islands and on Guam. Singha (Thai) was 15 cents a liter, and a hotel on Pattaya Beach was $6. Zippo’s were 1.70, and Hawaii sold Primo beer with what looked like boogers floating in them.

  • j stamps

    I had retired before the 1980’s but I had to tolerate Zumwalt’s long hair, beards and a lack of disipline back in to 1960’s.

  • I was a Quartermaster in the mid 90s and our chief had us using the sexton every night underway. I remember getting a bunch of mail at once and having to read it in the order of the post mark dates

  • Matthew Lindsley

    Graduated boot camp September (?) 1985 Company 145 RTC/NTC San Diego, CA. CC-B1 Miles, went to HT “A” school Treasure Island, CA then went right to “C” school San Diego, CA then reported to my ship USS Mauna Kea AE22. Orders said she was docked in Concord, CA, when I got there was then told she was in Mare Island and had to drive there. Reported aboard, greeted by the duty HT (HT3 Gafney) Was shoed where to stow my gear and where my bunk was, told to change out of my monkey suit into dungarees and report to the HT shop. Upon arrival was introduced to everyone, then was told to go to main space and turn on the cooing water for the hand rails then to go to the MM shop for an electric hack saw and a MM punch. “Nice try guys, I’ a Navy brat” was my response, then they all rewelcomed me aboard by punching my arm and telling me to unlug the urinals.

  • Serge romero

    Anyone remember Roosey roads naval station Puerto Rico 1981-85?

  • Radio Free Winlock

    Active duty ’79 to ’89, nuclear electrician on USS Eisenhower and Carl Vinson.
    1. I waited ’til the stroke of midnight on the last day to shave off my beard. Considered stuffing it in an envelope and sending it to the CNO but couldn’t find his address. Grew a big bushy one after getting out just because I could.
    2. Never saw a beer machine anywhere in the Navy. Doesn’t matter to me because I never have had a taste of alcohol – too many addicts in my family.
    3. My mother sent me a Bundt cake (who remembers those?) when I was in school in Great Mistakes for Christmas of ’79. It caught up with me in the following April.
    5. Pfft. I’ve done some stupid things in my life (I was once married), but recreational drug use is not among them.
    6. “Animal House” was a cult classic in reactor berthing on the Eisenhower. It was shown every Saturday night, in port or out at sea. I’ve seen that movie >100 times.
    7. I’m now a USCG-licensed engineer officer on a DoD-owned merchant ship. Those green memorandum books are still made; we have plenty of them; our “paper brains” are an indispensable tool for running and maintaining the engine room.
    11. I’ve worked with a few ex-Soviet Navy sailors in the course of my career on merchant ships. They hated their navy and government even worse than we hate ours.
    12. I’ve been an amateur radio operator since high school and know Morse code; helped run the MARS station aboard the Carl Vinson. It was interesting to go up on “Vulture’s Row” near sunset and read the flashing light messages exchanged between the ships.
    13. The USNA is starting to rectify its serious case of rectal-cranial inversion by teaching celestial navigation, after a multi-decade lapse. I’m studying electronics in pursuit of an associate’s degree. The more I learn, the more I realize that electronics such as GPS, ECDIS, engine automation, etc. are very vulnerable to serious, mission-impairing failure. The day may yet come when we will learn the hard lesson of not staking the maintenance of our lives on electronics.

  • Bill (PH)

    I served from 65-94, under 9 CICs. All were great years except when Carter and Clinton reduced our defense budgets and equipment to the point we could no longer do our jobs. Then there were those years of the “Zumwalt wigs” and the enlisted personnel were forced to wear the Chief style uniforms which would not fit in our lockers. The Navy then refit EVERY SHIP in inventory with the Under-the-Rack lockers to accombitate those rediculus coats with the silver buttons. To this day, no one knows, or admits what that fiasco cost the taxpayers. Within 3 years, those uniforms were dumped and we returned back to the traditional Jumpers. The best enlisted uniform ever worn were the “Salt & Peppers.” The pants hid dirst and the shirts were cool and lightweight. Then there were the Aviation Green Chief’s Uniforms– the envy of the fleet. And the brown shoes looked so much better with the khaiki uniforms. Other than the enlisted chief’s uniform, the worst enlisted Navy uniform has to be the modern “Marine Corps style” dark pants and khaki shirts. I’ll never get used to today’s young sailors dressing like, and looking Marines. Fortunately, I served when sailors were proud, and disiplined, and we knew right from wong, or else. Drugs were rare in the fleet and unexpected pregnancies during cruises was unheard of. Our compartments had stacked racks suspended by chains. No AC for us! If it got too hot in the spaces, you simply dragged your matress and pillow topside for relieve under the stars. Ya did your job right or you’d hear about it imediately. No soft chits back then. Even though we may have complained, we loved it!. And, I have yet to find a pre-1990 Navy Vet who was sorry they served. When we swore to uphold the Constitution we expected those ubove us to do the same! And those of us who took that oath back then, took it seriously enough that we still abide by it today. I suppose that places us old vets a step or two higher than today’s politicians. Go Navy! Which reminds me– Just when did a “ship” become a “boat?” Especially the CVN carriers. A boat? You’re kidding!!! Doesn’t tradition mean anything any more? It sure did back when…

  • David

    Spent twenty WEST coast- 72-92. Saw changes that make a sailor sad. Magsaysay in P.I. will never be forgotten.

  • Bert Kortum

    Beer at the barracks, Sand Diego 1993; green wheel books, i.e. memorandum books, were on board until left sea in 2009; liberty on my last Westpac ended before Cinderellla liberty, for some. My time was from 1992-2012, 13+ were spent at sea the last being QM1(SW).

  • Dave

    “Navigating before GPS” is a big one…hell, they don’t even use paper charts anymore!

  • Sam

    Served in the 80’s and there were plenty of attitude adjustments or “accident s in bosuns locker. You used to b able to screw up and then become better sailor. New a warrant “daddy Duck” busted down to 1st more than once and made warrant again twice. Partied w his guys and girls all the time. Knew his stuff. And humpty Dumpty literally fell off her wall and had to retire in her 70s w a broken hip!her daughter took her place. HD was once invited and spoke at a Dining Inn. Funnier than crap!! Did my 20 and miss those days.. Now too many pencil pushers w no common sense and no guts.

  • Craig Smith

    1967- 87 retired CWO2 from China Lake, Sigonella, Keflavik, Cubi Point, and back I have never been able to capture the rewarding feeling I felt during those Navy years, I’m sure alot has changed and maybe for the better but, It was an honor to have been there during that time.

  • JP Ad15

    had my beard. But how about sending the newbie forward for mail buoy watch out at sea.

    • The Friendly Grizzly

      Only after he ran an errand for the Chief Machinist Mate. Something about relative bearing grease.

  • Dirty Dave

    Cigs 80 cents a carton outside the 12 mile limit, bought them a case at a time, “apple jack” stored in a vent, mail bouy watch at sea, etc. This old sailor boy retired “77. What an adventure…

  • HT2Schneider

    ! Beards on a Med cruise. Gitmo was always a battle with the Marines at the EMclub. Getting paid in cash. Smoking a good cigar on the fantail and in the General Workshop on board the DE-1056. Bad times in drydock but great times out at sea. never forget those four years 71-75 as an HT

  • JMC

    I remember the 67-68 Med Cruise, on USS FD Roosevelt CVA 42 ( great tour).
    A lot of my Buds went to Nam at that time. I regret not all of them came home.
    I was USNR from Cleveland Oh. 2 weeks boot camp later went to EMA school at Great Lakes (14 weeks). Made E4 Mar 16, ’68, Pres. Johnson issued a Reduction in Force for all Armed Services if you had 18 months served ( I had 19 mo. in) and all of us were ordered out with a Good Conduct and full benefits). Made E5 at the Reserve Center while serving my electrical apprenticeship and attending Cleveland State U ( EE degree). I love the Navy for what they allow you to accomplish. I was in the electrical union in Cleveland Oh. for 41 years and a contractor for 36 years in the old days I was able to employ most all of the active duty USN, USMC, USCG, USA from the Reserve Center for some of my construction jobs and the union rate was $37.50 per hour—–no more of that – the goverment rules changed.
    The best and the luckiest thing that ever happened to me was the US Navy!!!!!
    I support the Navy for all it stand for—- the old Navy was the best Navy and I was proud to serve my country. I served a total of 24 yrs. in the USNR (Cleveland) and retired E8, EMMC (1990).
    I now receive VA health and retirement benefits.

  • Ever

    all benefits was free! No such thing as paying for them! No rates combine with others…radioman was separate from others.

  • Lee Lane

    Can identify with 12 of the 13. Hell, I recognize some of those girls!! Only thing I didn’t get was the beer in the barracks but that was because I was always underway on the USS Midway! We did have beer machines on the”honch” though–100 yen! Still got 3 memorandum books and all my old LES’s.

  • Bob Brown

    WESTPAC 1970-72-Hong Kong…Custom clothing and shoes. Swim call in the Sea of Japan. A cold San Maguel in Alongapo. USS Guadalupe (AO-32)

  • Roger Kilber

    65-68, sea store cig were $1.00 a carton, In Yokusuka, Japan at the EM club the cigs were $ .24 cents out of the cig machine. It did cost you a $ .25 but there was a penny in the pack of cig. Also remember the bars in Yoko,, about 350 to 375 counting the water front, but in 1988 when I was there, there was only 2 bars outside of the main gate.

  • Roy Reynolds

    Served from Jan. 1970 to Oct. 1993 Best time of my life maybe not my wife but what the heck married to the same woman for 42 years. First ship was the USS MidWay CVA-41and alot of service with the MUW’s
    started out as a corpsman change rates after my time in the brown water and changed rates to a Store Keeper wish a thousand times I would have stayed a corpsman. Last tour was wthe JTF 5

  • The Friendly Grizzly

    I see a lot of reference to having to achieve E4 to have a beard.

    I went in in 1977, and when I got to NAVTECTRACEN Corey Field and was checking in at my school, I asked. I was already E3. The division chief said “start growing it, if you look scruffy in 30 days you’d need to get rid of it”. Two weeks later, he saw me and informed me that my already fairly lush red beard passed his muster. I had it through school, Okinawa, Goodfellow AFB, and Sabana Seca Puerto Rico.

    I got tossed out for the heinous crime of Being Too Fat To Do My Job in 1981. The beard I have today is the same one that first saw the light of day in Pensacola way back then. It’s white and blond now, and considerably fuller than what USN standards allowed, and I will likely have it the day I start pushing up daisies.

  • Jerry

    In 1960 at Adak beer in the bar had formaldehyde in it. smelled terrible. Guys would bring back cans of beer to the barracks in their socks. Big trouble if caught.

    • Angusnofangus

      Went to Adak Nov 69 with VP-4. Beer mess in the rec room of the barracks. $1.50 for a 6-pack, Which would last through the first of two movies shown every night. Just about all there was to do on Adak, drink beer.

  • noa

    I remember 50cent beer, $2 carton sea cigs, long hair under wigs, pre MAA days, a still on my boat for special underway occasions, captains call on the fantail with boxing gloves, and was told my beard had to go by a civilian because my command didnt tell us till the day before.

  • NSFA96

    I remember I just finished growing out my beard & then listening the Sec of the NAVY telling us he was going to ban beards:<

  • Ron Owens

    We had go go dancers in the EM club at lunch.

  • John Hoehn

    No real a/c in the berthing area on the ship. Just fans blowing the heat around.

  • rjw

    Am I really that old???

  • Virgil Burke

    Virgil Burke
    Fighters,flat tops and west pacts from 1960 to 1983 and airman recruit through cwo4 and an ordi all the way! Was a great life and unbelievable memory’s and friends for this old Nebraska country boy. Hard to believe I retired from the Navy 32 years ago