The Navy I joined was steeped in tradition, ceremony, and honors. We would wear Dress Whites to pull into a port in a foreign country. It did not matter that the pier we were using was covered in animal feces and the people were about as interested in us as they were in the rats that were running around in the affore mentioned feces. We were in a dress uniform, in ranks, at attention, looking SHARP. I remember handling wet mooring lines, that were dragged through the water that was filtered through that affore mentioned animal feces, in dress whites!! Looking good was more important that anything.
And ceremonies were at the top of the list. I have written before that I remember being underway on the USS Mullinnix, no water to take showers for weeks, covered in oil from the gun mount, and being REQUIRED to put on an undress whites or blues uniform to eat the evening meal on the mess decks!! I guess the Navy thought beanie wienies would be more palatable, dressed up.
I also remember being required to fall into ranks, while approaching the replenishment ship, oil, food, or ammo, at 3 AM, 3000 miles at sea, where no one but the tired sailors on the replenishment ship could see us. But, we looked good!! When I was the Command Master Chief on the USS Caron, on one of these 3AM replenishment, the Captain, who I still have the utmost respect for, complained that some of the men on the in haul line of the fueling rig, had white socks on. He know because we tucked our pants into our socks for safety reasons. It made it harder to trip or get your bell bottom dungarees caught on something protruding from the deck. That is true and a good safety rule today. But I was required to get those offenders in black socks before we went along side!
One of the most hallowed traditions was the reporting of the approach of the hour of 12 o'clock. It was called "12 o'clock reports" and was presented to the Captain, normally while he ate his lunch in the wardroom, prior to noon. Now this is a time honored tradition, dating back to the British Navy and sailing days. The purpose of the ceremony is to report the status of the ship to the Captain. Like he did not already know. I always thought it funny that the messenger of the watch was required to interrupt the Captain's lunch, regurgitate a verbal report that was written in the ship's Quarterdeck procedures manual, and hand him a stack of paper reports ranging from magazine temperatures to the draft of the ship. Of course the amount of fuel on board, water available, and, the all important report on the chronometers being wound and compared were also included. Most of this has been available on the ship's LAN for 30 years!. But to this day, the messenger of the watch, knocks on the wardroom door, proceeds into the officer's inner sanctum and nervously salutes the Captain while stating from memory: "The Officer of the Deck sends his respects and reports the approach of the hour of 1200. All chronometers have been wound and compared, and he requests permission to strike 8 bells on time." I always thought, what if the Captain said, "Permission denied!"? Would noon be late? Probably not.