"I have not been on a Navy ship in a while, so I don't know how the "New Navy" does things. Maybe they have become kinder and gentler, like the Coast Guard with their traditional "Coffee Break' in the morning and the "Snack Break" in the afternoon. Yes, they actually pass those words over the 1MC. But those of us old enough to have a few gray hairs remember the melodic pronouncements from the Bridge underway or the Quarterdeck in port. Some of them were humorous and some of them made little sense. For instance the announcement for rain; "Haul over all hatch hoods and gun covers!" Now most sailors who have been to sea on a Navy ship since 1970 or so, have NEVER seen or know what a hatch hood is. And, if you were not on a ship with open gun mounts, like 3"/50 or open 5"/38, have never seen a gun cover. But, just the same we bow to tradition and pass; "Haul over all hatch hoods and gun covers" and we all know it is raining! Curious.
Or how about sweepers? In the morning, just after reveille, they would pass; "Clamp down all weather decks, polish all top side bright work. Sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms. Give the ship a clean sweep down fore and aft. Sweep down all lower decks, ladder and passageways. Dump all trash abaft the stern. (Or in port, dump all trash in the proper receptacles provided on the pier)". Now we passed that word rain or shine, heavy seas or smooth. My first ship, the USS Mullinnix (DD 944) actually did morning watch and it included movement checks, called "T" Checks, at the same time. That always caused me to wonder. Men were sweeping and swabbing the decks while we wildly swung the gun mounts around! And this was before outside safety observers were required! Yet, I don't recall anyone getting hurt. We must have been smarter back then! One other point, "Morning Watch" had to be held BEFORE we ate breakfast. And the First Class made sure of it!
Another interesting thing. "Secure the mess line" seemed to fit at the end of any word passed. Like; Muster all restricted men on the quarterdeck with the duty Master at Arms. Secure the mess line!" Or; "General Quarters, General Quarters, all hands man your battler stations. Set material condition Zebra through out the ship. Secure the mess line!" See what I mean?!
Many times, the Petty Officer of the Watch would add the word "NOW" before everything thing he passed. It was sort of weird. For instance, if he did not say "NOW" could I wait a while before I went to General Quarters? Again, just a thought.
Another fond remembrance was the "Boatswain's Pipe" shrieking us awake in the morning. I always understood that, but what did they have to "Pipe" Taps? I you hit the pit early, that shrieking would wake you up! But, did you know that the "Piping" part of the announcements were NOT sent into "Officer's Country? At least on every ship I was on.
Again, the Boatswain's Pipe was a tradition kept, from a Navy that had NO power announcing systems. Much like the Bugle on Cruisers, Battleships, and Carriers. In the movies, like "Tora Tora Tora" or "In Harms Way" you would see the Bugler call General Quarters, then the Boatswain Mate "Pipe" General Quarters and then the Petty Officer of the watch "Pass" the word for General Quarters. By the time the three of them were done, Zebra was set! Oh well, just a thought.
And, on ships without dial telephones, you always knew if you passed the word wrong, because the "Growler" would JUMP off the bulkhead!! On the USS Stein, (DE 1065) I actually knew the Executive Officer's "Growl.
Most days, I sit here remembering the Navy of my past, the Navy that I love. Those thoughts keep my mind active and my heart warm. Thanks for sharing my memories!