Sunday, July 1, 2012

You Saw a Poopie Suit Where?

As a Submariner Emeritus, my sonar tends to be highly attuned to all things Sub related or at least Navy related.  I'll usually say hello to the local recruiters (who, for some reason, tend not to be Submariners) or speak to any Ruptured Duck wearers or strike up a conversation with anyone wearing a boat hat.

Since I live in an area with a Naval deficiency, I just don't run into many Sub related uniform items roaming the streets.  So, imagine my surprise when someone walked into my son's scout meeting wearing, of all things, A POOPIE SUIT?  Now, I'll admit, it is not beyond reason to expect someone to wear blue coveralls for reasons other than hunting the Red Banner Northern Fleet.  Maybe you're painting your house or working on your car.  Who knows?

What set off the klaxon in my head was the guy happened to be wearing a khaki belt.  Now where in the world was this guy coming from or going to wearing a clearly underway uniform while we are standing 300 miles from a Naval Base.  (BTW, skimmer/targets have started wearing the Poopie too though in a much more limited way.)

Now, I have seen the Coast Guard working uniform up close but those look more like something the local fire department would wear. (No offense intended Coasties, er I mean Guardians.)

So I determined angle on the bow and and range rate and moved in for a closer look.  Turns out, he works for the US Public Health Service.  If you have never heard of them, you're not alone.  They are considered one of the 7? uniformed services of the US Government.  (OK, let's count A, N, AF, M, CG are the usual suspects, then the USPHS and then Nat. Oceanic & Atmospheric Admin.)  Think about the USPHS's boss, the Surgeon General.  Ever since C. Everette Coop brought the uniform back, federal health professionals have been bringing what is essentially a Naval uniform to locations near you.

Usually, you see them in Summer Whites or Khakis.  So, how does the Submariners' venerable poopie suit fit in with the USPHS?  Turns out, this fellow works at a federal prison.  Certainly, a prison is no place for Summer Whites but why not wear khakis?  There's a good reason for that.  It seems that khaki is also the uniform of the inmates.  So you have a choice to make in working uniforms at the big house: BDUs or the Poopie Suit!

And that, gentle reader, is how Submariners Emeriti get a strange look on their face at the scout meeting.  Long Live the Poopie Suit!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mystery Dolphins Sighted

While perusing the display cases of a Airborne Jumpwings from around the world at a military show, I casually asked if the dealer had any Dolphins?  Usually, you may find a pair of Silver Dolphins tucked in between the parachute wings.  On this occasion, he did have a pair of newer dolphins that were priced higher than the NEX so I figured I'd move on to the next table when he asked me a question that left me scratching my head.

"Have you ever seen any Marine Corps Dolphins?"

I laughed and said sure, right next to the bush pilot wings & DBF mermaids.  No, he insisted, USMC Submarine Badges.  He said he had run across a set of Dolphins and when he looked closer at them he noticed the had the Eagle, Globe & Anchor (EGA) displayed in the middle.  He promised to send me some photos for the blog.  Where did these mystery dolphins come from?

During the BIG ONE (WWII), a number of downed Naval Aviators were fished out of the pacific by Fleet Boats while on Lifeguard duty or in transit of War Patrols.  (You may recall one fellow went on to become President.)
Reverse of badge shows manufacturer's marks.  EGA really shows up as an "add on" from this view.  Can any Dolphin Experts shed some insight on these?

Some of these Aviators were of the embarked Marine variety.  Once aboard the subs, Aviators were not allowed to become Wardroom Cushion Testers or rack hounds, they were put to work as Assistant Officers of the Deck, Look Outs or any other needed task.

Could these Dolphins have been "created" outside of the chain of command by some of the Submerged Marines and given as gifts and passed around the fleet.  I have never heard of this happening before and would love to hear the story first hand from some of the Sub Fleet's Marines.

I have also heard tales of Marine Raiders being embarked on Submarines for special missions so I suppose it is possible for there to be some silver Marine Dolphins in existence too.

Any number of special order patches were made in the P.I. and I even have one of the belt buckles so I guess some Marines went rogue and made there own damn Dolphins.  Can't be any worse than giving the regulation ones away to Midshipman for a two week cruise.