ORIGINS OF NAVY TERMS & SLANG

....and now you know!

 
NAVAL UNITS OF MEASUREMENT Members of the world's navies have a colourful way of expressing themselves and the following are just a few examples
GUTFULL The amount of experience required prior to discharge
TAD A squirt of sunscreen which is slightly more than that required to cover a patch of skin and will not be absorbed by the skin, but will leave greasy smears on skin and clothing.
DOLLOP The amount of sunscreen which will cover all bare skin and be absorbed without leaving a mess, and which you asked for in the first place.
SMIDGEN/SMIDGE Enough oil to lubricate a device and still leave enough to drip freely onto a freshly painted deck.
YONKS Either the time it takes for seaweed to grow on the hull or to get a chief out of the mess.
SHIT TIN A weight measurement indicating the precise amount a person may carry plus 2 kilograms
POOFTEENTH The distance the end of your rifle barrel moved while you were at attention in the guard which caused the Gunnery PO's red faced tirade and apparent epileptic fit.
2/5 of 5/8 of the square root of FA The formula used by DEFPAY to calculate pay increases after tax.
HEAPS The approximate amount of ice cream the guy in front of you has been given by the cooks.
STUFF ALL The amount of ice cream you receive
BUCKETS The amount of ice cream available to the (apparently) vindictive and mean minded cooks who have seemingly singled you out for ice cream starvation.
SQUILLIONS The contents of the pay packet of an average "S" rate maintainer.
TRUCK LOADS Approximate amount of stores which have been delivered to the ship and which must be brought onboard by you and one scrawny writer with a bad back.
STINKING HOT The temperature achieved only in the tropics which is noted when the paint dries on the brush before it can be applied to the deck.
HUMUNGOUS The size of the bouncer you just called a "fuckwit" for not letting you into the club/pub (he claims you are too pissed) and who intends to discuss it with you in the car park.
2 SQUIRTS OF CATS PISS The exact amount of concern the COXN shows you when you advise him you have lost your wallet.
MEGA A"new age" expression which indicates an exceptional run ashore where we had a great time, but just can't remember the details right now.
BEE'S DICK The difference between the length of the piece of shoring you have cut too short and the actual distance it needs to stretch. This is only discovered after an enormous amount of effort has been expended to get the shoring back to where it was needed and
GYNORMOUS The size of the piece of equipment you have to fit into a compartment that is smaller than a shoe box.
STUFF ALL How much toilet paper is left in Naval Stores a week prior to the end of the deployment.
HUGE A point on an open ended scale used to judge how good a run ashore was which lies roughly between GREAT and BRILLIANT.
CHOCKAS How full your boot bag has become over the course of one deployment.
DIDDLEY SQUAT The amount of concern the entire mess feels when the cooks run out of parsley.
NIPPLY The temperature has dropped to the stage where you are covered in goosebumps but the QM will still not let you wear your woolley pulley.
SHITLOAD Although often confused with SHIT TIN this is an estimation of the amount already carried from the wharf and around the ship before someone finally decides where to store it.
CROCK The amount of misleading information given to you by a Leading Hand who thinks he's funny.
PINCH-O-SHIT The amount of misleading advice you include in good advice which makes it hilarious and adds spice to vital points.
YOU BEAUTIS an approximation on how new and useful a piece of equipment is despite having no experience on it.
POOFTEENTH OF A FAIREY'S FART This is the exact amount by which your pay will increase when you get promoted.
SCHMICK This is a measurement of the minimum amount of common sense the new Seaman will require but which they appear not to have.
ZIP Whats left in your wallet after a good port.


The origin of the DBF ........
<Two versions>
In June/July 1969, the USS Barbel (SS 580) was proceeding to WESTPAC to relieve an SSN that could not complete an operation. Throughout the 50's and 60's, this was not uncommon.

The Barbel was enroute to Japan and the skipper, Commander Jack Renard, thought it was time to recognize the Diesel Submarine Navy for their efforts: thus the DBF concept was born.

A contest was held and the winning design, by ETR3 Leon Figueriedo, was selected. Upon arrival at Yokosuka, the COB headed for "the Alley". The mold was fabricated and the original 200 silver pins were cast. The holes in the bottom for mounting stars signify the number of times you were on a diesel that replaced an SSN.

Unfortunately, when they went back to pick up the pins, they left the dies at the factory. Consequently, the pins have been manufactured by the thousands and are being sold in Japan. So what started out to be an exclusive pin for the Barbel, turned into a Pacific wide emblem.

Upon their return to Pearl, the Barbel crew proudly wore their DBF pins. This did not make COMSUBPAC very happy, and he ordered that no DBF pins be displayed or worn on Naval uniforms. The major complaint was not the design or the mermaids, but the stars that designated the number of times you were on a diesel that relieved an SSN.

Another rumored significance of the this insignia is that the DBF pin symbolizes successful patrols in Vietnam. The Submarine Combat Pin was issued to denote successful war patrols during WWII and Korea. No such distinction was awarded during the Vietnam War, thus the DBF pin is being substituted. The DBF insignia is unauthorized, and there are no regulations concerning wearing the device. So all sailors that relieved an SSN, made patrols in Vietnam, and those sailors that served on or support "diesel boats", wear the "DIESEL BOATS FOREVER" emblem with pride.

Or.....

A number of unofficial badges also exist. Perhaps the most famous is the

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'Diesel Boats Forever' badge. This was a 'lament' for the phasing out of diesel/electric submarines in the USN. It originated with EMCS (SS) Doug Smith of the USS Barbel and a group of his shipmates during a cruise in the Western Pacific in 1967.

One from this group, Leon Siguerito, had been a commercial artist before he joined the Navy. Siguerito drew five sample sketches of a new pin. These were taken to the 'Thieves Alley' section of Yokosuka where the designs were discussed with Japanese craftsman. They decided on the design of a Tang Class submarine hull and two mermaids along with the letters 'DBF'. They had one thousand of these pins made up at $1.00 each. When they returned to Pearl Harbor the word of these pins soon got around and they were soon sold out, apparently at cost. They were evidently worn on navy bases and on leave.

In 1968 the drawing was sent to the Navy Department for official approval which was never given, it seems likely that some commanders were lenient about this, pending word from the Navy. It is thought to have been worn by the crew of USS Tigrone in 1971. It is now sometimes seen on the chests of diesel boat veterans at annual reunions. The badge was made in gilt for officers and dull gray metal for enlisted men. They measured 66mm x 25mm and were secured with clutch fasteners. Many restrikes have been made.

Excerpt taken from: Submarine Insignia & Submarine Services of the World by LtCmd W. M. Thornton MBE RD* RNR (Rtd)



Freeze the balls off a brass monkey


In early days, every sailing ship had to have cannon for protection. Cannon of the times required round iron cannonballs. The master wanted
to store the cannonballs so they could be of instant use when needed, yet not roll around the gun deck.

The solution was to stack them up in a square-based pyramid next to the cannon. The top level of the stack had one ball, the next level down had four, the next had nine, the next had sixteen, and so on. Four levels would provide a stack of 30 cannonballs. The only real problem was how to keep the bottom level from sliding out from under the weight of the higher levels.

The solution was a small brass plate ("brass monkey") with one rounded indentation for each cannonball in the bottom layer. Brass was used because the cannonballs wouldn't rust to the "brass monkey" as they would to an iron one.

When temperature falls, brass contracts in size faster than iron. So as it got cold on the gun decks, the indentations in the brass monkey would get smaller than the iron cannonballs they were holding. If the temperature got cold enough, the bottom layer would pop out of the indentations, spilling the entire pyramid over the deck. Thus it was, quite literally, "cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey."

And now you know "the rest of the story".

Thanks Fred Fisher



A little bit of trivia to give meaning to some old fashioned sayings!

1. In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. That's where the phrase, "goodnight, sleep tight" came from.

2. It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we know today as the honeymoon."

3. In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's".

4. Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle," is the phrase inspired by this practice.

5. In ancient England, a person could not have sex unless you had consent of the King (unless you were in the Royal Family).
When anyone wanted to have a baby, they got consent of the King, the King gave them a placard that they hung on their door while they were having sex. The placard had F.*.*.*. (Fornication Under Consent of the King) on it. Now you know where that came from.

6. In Scotland, a new game was invented. It was entitled Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden....and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language