Crossing the Line, Plank Owner and Other Unofficial Certificates Acquired by Naval Personnel

There are serious ones, humorous ones and unusual ones. But any Sailor worth their salt will never rest until they have a scrapbook full of them.

They are the unofficial certificates that document where a Sailor has been, what they have done, and most importantly, what they are – a Shellback or a Blue Nose or a Mossback or a Double Centurion. Or even a Goldfish or Sea Squatter.

On any noteworthy occasion – and perhaps on some that might be otherwise forgotten – somebody in the crew is sure to spend hours at a drawing board to create a memorable certificate, replete with salty language, drawings of mermaids and Tritons and anchors and chains, and the signature of Neptunus Rex or some other high potentate, And forever after, the crew of that ship will treasure their copies as they treasure their rating badges.

Nowadays it’s all in fun and without official recognition. But mariners of earlier years, when it all began, were in earnest. As all sailors knew well, Neptune, god of the sea, was fickle. He played an important role in ancient rituals just as he does in today’s initiations into the Orders of the Deep. At his slightest whim, Neptune, it was believed, might throw a storm into the path of a ship that would splinter her oars and spars like matchwood, or cast her onto the rocky coast.

The superstitions of the sea provided for ways to stay out of that kind of trouble. In the earliest days, oxen and goats might be sacrificed to make the old man of the sea more favorably disposed. He could, under proper circumstances, become downright protective and benevolent….

Below are some examples of the UNOFFICIAL certificates bestowed on Sailors throughout the years. I’ve included a text version as well.

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Duffel Blog: Obama Hawaiian Vacation Enhanced By Marine Barracks Stay

KANEOHE BAY, HI — President Barack Obama returned to Washington today, after announcing that he and his family had a “wonderful experience” staying in a Marine barracks during their Christmas vacation in Hawaii.

According to White House spokesman Jay Carney, because of budget shortfalls the First Family was unable to afford their normal residence in nearby Kailua, and for security reasons had to settle for temporary quarters in a military barracks aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Read more

Japanese Surrender in Color (1945)

This color footage of the Japanese surrender ceremony on board the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) on 2 September 1945, was filmed by Commander George F. Kosco. In 2010, the Kosco family had the film restored, and the footage is presented now for viewing by the public. Source: Naval History and Heritage Command, Photographic Section. (Note: The original footage is silent. The 2010 restoration of the film by the Kosco family includes overdubbed music by the United States Navy Band, which has been removed to avoid possible YouTube copyright violations).

VJ Day. The Bravest Generation Celebrates

See more videos at

August 14, 1945: Waikiki erupts in joyful celebration as the first news of the surrender of Japan comes over the radio. Shot by my dad, [not Anna’s father] and presented here as a heartfelt tribute to his generation.

Gulf War Illness Talk Radio Invite

File:U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard Carmichael, with the Warfighter Express Services Team assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 2, disposes of trash at the burn pit at Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge, Helmand

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard Carmichael, with the Warfighter Express Services Team assigned to Combat Logistics Regiment 2, disposes of trash at the burn pit at Forward Operating Base Zeebrugge, Helmand, Province 


Mark this date on your calendars!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014   7:00pm until 8:00pm in EST
Hey everyone… Our Gulf War Illness show is back on the air this coming year with good friend Mary Ann Parker who is a vet of the First Gulf War

She will be discussing events, information on gulf war illness, causes, symptoms, trial and tribulations with the disease and much much more

Please join us for this great show

Call in number 310-982-4253 or you can call in on skype

Today in History: 1912, New Mexico joins the Union

Being a native to New Mexico’s high desert, my choice for today’s History post was a no brainer. Enjoy!

On January 6, 1912, New Mexico is admitted into the United States as the 47th state.

Spanish explorers passed through the area that would become New Mexico in the early 16th century, encountering the well-preserved remains of a 13th-century Pueblo civilization. Exaggerated rumors about the hidden riches of these Pueblo cities encouraged the first full-scale Spanish expedition into New Mexico, led by Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1540. Instead of encountering the long-departed Pueblo people, the Spanish explorers met other indigenous groups, like the Apaches, who were fiercely resistant to the early Spanish missions and ranches in the area. Read more