"A sketchbook is a secret thing, a collection of unfinished and often times abandoned ideas never intended for public consumption—at least not in their current state. It’s a private space for honing one’s craft and workshopping, separating good ideas from those best left unexplored." -Brian Heater at The Daily Cross Hatch.

16 June 2010

Brown Water Sailor

This is a Vietnam War US Navy Brown Water Sailor receiving an award.
Dig the relaxed grooming standard...Must've been the Zumwalt era...
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  1. Whadya mean relaxed grooming standards?I had a beard and it wasnt during Zumwalt.

  2. I was just trying to make a joke... Though I've seen photos of sailors with beards up through WWII, I thought the practice was discontinued afterward.

    A Marine once told me that Adm. Zumwalt had allowed sailors to have beards but again, that practice was discontinued after it was discovered that it didn't allow for an appropriate seal to be created when wearing gas masks or firefighting equipment. My Marine friend noted (with relish) that bearded Corpsmen in his unit found this out the hard way during gas chamber training.

    When were you in, and under what circumstances were you allowed to have a beard? I'm sure there are a lot of USN sailors today who would like one...

  3. OK,OK,my bad.
    Was in from '75-'79,after Zumwalt.
    Zumwalt noticed that sailors on riverine duty were getting lax with facial hair but he let it slide on account of the conditions they had to endure.He eventually let the whole Navy do the same.But as usual some dudes abused the privelege and it got taken away.Also the gas mask thing.A lot of brass thought Zumwalt had gone a little too far in other areas as well and a lot of things were taken away too.
    Oh,yeah my beard was pretty long too.

  4. Had a beard 81-82,shaved it a few months before they went out because of the "mask problem" noted. Started mine on WestPac when we were on drinking water hours; no showers (obviously) but no coffee in the Mid was unprecedented. Life was suckin pretty hard.
    Was also a post-Nam Riverine guy. We still wore the black beret at SBU-XI

  5. @Anonymous: I don't know too much about Zumwalt except that he had a reputation as being controversial. I'm sure being CNO during Vietnam was a very difficult job to have. A SWO friend of mine who served on a frigate in the 90's told me that his captain once had a beard growing contest, so I guess the practice persists in certain contexts.

    @Boat Guy: No coffee during the midwatch!? That's practically a safety violation...

    By the way, if anyone has any sea stories they'd like to see illustrated drop me a line at coldisthesea09@yahoo.com and I can add it to my list of projects I'm working on for this site.

    And thanks for stopping by...

  6. river division 15 1970-71, 14 corps-nha be

  7. Welcome aboard jlzesing. I have a lot of respect for you guys.