My Cardboard Box

The Odd Things Done at Sea

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When one is out to sea for a while, shipboard life becomes a routine punctuated by panic. Sometimes, though, things get a little odd.  Especially when you’ve been underway for nine months,  six of them without seeing land.

When ships complete underway refueling, they usually play(ed?) what we call a ‘breakaway song’; a signature tune for that ship.One destroyer used to play Emerson Lake and Palmer’s version of ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’. Others were “Born to Be Wild”, “Radar Love”, “Nobody Does It Better”, the cavalry charge, etc. The USS Ranger used to play the coda from “William Tell”. One Korean ship had a brass band; some of the British and Canadian ships had a bagpiper.

My first ship (an oiler) used to play the refrain from Queen’s ‘We are the Champions”. After one refueling in the Indian Ocean though, somebody swapped out the tape. The crew knew, but not the leadership.

Image 300+ sailors – replenishment teams, air crew, EOD, plus others who showed up just for the occasion. Arms in the air, swaying, all singing along to this:

The leadership was not pleased; we had been refueling the flagship.

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Written by PappyBro

September 29, 2012 at 08:00

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