Haze Gray and Underway

Updated: December 13, 2012


By Grin and Barrett

There is a very serious danger that poses a significant threat to the brave men and women serving in our naval fleet. Specifically, those men and women whose daily life takes place upon the grand confines of the most devastating piece of seafaring awesomeness – The Aircraft Carrier. Aircraft Carriers are some badass death delivering mofos. Death from above and SEALs from the pond, Aircraft Carriers are as fine a tool of death as exists in our military today. But even the heralded Aircraft Carrier has its weakness, and that weakness is…

(**FOUO – The information you are about to read is highly sensitive, and should be viewed only by those persons of utmost discretion and loyalty to the U.S.**)

…the monkey.

Transit the Suez Canal, and you will know that one of the most important jobs on the carrier is the “Monkey Watch.” Not to be confused with the Mail Buoy Watch, or the DV Balloon Watch, the Monkey Watch exists for one sole purpose: To combat feisty monkeys who may wish to jump on the flight deck during the Canal transit. Young Seamen, Airmen, and Firemen all stand the watch, armed with a 12 foot wooden pole, and prepped for watch with the knowledge that all that stands between peace and monkey-mayhem is their keen eye and 12 foot pole. Now, any references to “pole” and “navy” in the same paragraph are sure to elicit the involuntary snigger and guffaw, but don’t underestimate the ferocity of the threat. Rabid monkeys stand ready to hurl themselves at the deck of the carrier with the tenacity of an Angry Bird in sight of a giant egg-stealing pig. Ask any Chief Petty Officer, and he/she will tell you:

“The safety of the deck is in your hands seaman. Your shipmates sleep safely beneath the umbrella of your protection, knowing that you stand proud, along with your brothers and sisters on watch, to hold fast and secure this ship. So stay alert, grab your pole, and if need be, beat that monkey.”

But the Monkey Watch, while certainly an important aspect of Maritime Security, is not the only important job at sea for a new Sailor. The aforementioned Monkey Watch is only eclipsed in importance and prestige by the ever popular Mail Buoy Watch and the numerous and varied quests that young Sailors are sent on…


“Uh, excuse me, Petty Officer?”

“Yeah, what do you want?”

“Uh, my Chief sent me down here for a Hull Tech’s punch.”

“Oh he did huh? You want a big one or a small one?”

“Uh, I guess a big one…..OOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!”


“Seaman Schmucatelli, I need you to run downstairs to personnel and get a spool of Gridline for the Commander, hurry up, she’s waiting for it.”

Twenty minutes later, and trips to Personnel, Medical Records, Patient Liaison, Public Affairs, the ER, and Pharmacy, Seaman Schmucatelli returns to find his Petty Officer on the phone…

“Yes Ma’am, yes Ma’am…Oh wait, he just got here. Yes Ma’am, so sorry, I’ll send him up right away, sorry it took so long.” A repressed smile, then “Schmucatelli, hurry up and get that Gridline up to the Commander, she is PISSED it took so long, but I told her you were on your way so HURRY UP!”

Tears flow, words chokingly come out, “I…uh…I couldn’t find any! No one had any on hand, everyone was out! Pharmacy had some but they said they could only give it up if I found them a black highlighter…sniff….sob…..I don’t know where to go!”

“Well Schmucatelli, you better get up there and explain yourself…”

Between Monkey Watch, fetching the Hull Tech “Punch,” and chasing down spools of gridline, black highlighters, left-handed tools, and Halogen fluid, there is plenty to keep a new Sailor at sea occupied. I know there are plenty of stories from Airmen, Marines, and Soldiers as well, so don’t be shy, feel free to share your stories below. Don’t worry, we all know it was your “friend” it happened to….




  1. Instinct

    December 13, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    That goes along with sending a young airman to get the keys for the jet, 20 feet of flight line and a bucket of prop wash.

  2. Ken H

    December 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    The cooks always wanted a sharp pea splitter for dinner or a dough stretcher for the morning rolls. At sea, we always had a good supply of water line; never can have too much of that.

    There was a grease I heard about once but I think it had been replaced by the time I got in.

  3. McIntosh

    December 13, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I know for soldiers it’s always to go look for chem-light batteries…

  4. McIntosh

    December 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I know for soldiers it’s always to go look for chem-light batteries and some individual grid squares… Good times

  5. Saptastic

    December 13, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Hey Private, we need to zero our compasses. Find me an aluminum magnet…

  6. McIntosh

    December 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I know for soldiers it’s always to go look for chem-light batteries and some individual grid squares… Good times.

  7. dement

    December 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    While stationed at Cherry Point as a Marine Air Traffic Controller, we’d break in the newbies with Light Gun alignment checks. (Tower Light guns have non-adjustable sights) We’d made a large cardboard target, and we’d send them down to the flight line with a handheld radio. We also sent them all over the base with a BA-1100-N form; only to end up in the Weather office, picking up a….balloon…

  8. Jake Majka

    December 13, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Key’s to the ship,
    ID10T form
    PRC E-7 (this one is borrowed from the Army/Marines but still works)
    Bucket of Steam
    Mail buoy watch.
    Sea Chest,
    Sound powered phone batteries,
    chem light batteries.
    DC punch
    VCHT sample (bascially a sample of real literal shit)

    Hope this gave you current NCO’s some good idea,
    but remember hazing is “wrong”
    Former QM2(SW)

  9. Sirius

    December 13, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I love telling Privates to get me an ST-1 and case of chem-light batteries and a box of grid squares. And while they’re at it find me a PRC E-7.

  10. Sistermedic

    December 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    “Sorry, Chief…they told me you need to sign an ID-10-T form before they’ll issue any.”

  11. Cav Guy

    December 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    My personal favorite: the shock test on tanks. “It’s a dangerous procedure, so you need to announce what you’re doing so everyone else can take precautions.”

  12. Hawkeye

    December 14, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Yeah, and looking for an ID-10-T form

  13. Blanch

    December 14, 2012 at 12:07 am

    In the Army we have BA-11’s, ID-10T forms, ST-ONE’s, a box of grid squares, go get the keys to unlock the land nav range, prickE5’s, prickE6’s and the (gasp) prickE7, get an exhaust sample. That’s all I can think of.

  14. Greg Pochowski

    December 14, 2012 at 4:49 am

    In my first couple days in the 1-82 AVN Airborne, I (and this is really embarrassing) a not so young (23 years old)E-2 was sent out to get a bucket of “Rotor Wash”. I was told to find it fast. I run out of the office looking everywhere and asking everyone where to find it. Finally one E-7 took pity on this poor, not so young private, and told me where to find it. He said “PVT, grab that bucket. Now you see that aircraft running up out there? Go stand under the rotors as they are spinning, and catch what comes off them.” I start running for the hangar doors and make it to the flight line. I get the pilots attention and get permission to approach. As the bird is running up, i’m standing there…. arms straight out in front of me… holding the damn bucket…. I think it was about 30 seconds into it (and the fact that both pilots were now in tears laughing) that I caught on. My nickname for many years was “Jumping Pollock”

  15. Juan Rico

    December 14, 2012 at 4:58 am

    I was on the USS Sylvania from ’81 to ’87 and the preferred tool was the BT(Boiler Tech) center punch.

  16. hmmm

    December 14, 2012 at 6:18 am

    I need you to go get some gridsquares.
    I need you to check the armor on the FISTV– use this chalk and this hammer, tape the sides circle the spots that sound weak.
    I need some squelch greace for the raido

    the old days

  17. Open Channel D

    December 14, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Back in the 70’s, I was a corpsman at NRMC Great Lakes. I worked in the ER and Corps School students would often do their week of practical experience there, usually on the night shift. Of the many devious things we did, this was our favorite.
    We had disposable, water dissolvable laundry bags for our laundry. Around 0600, we’d send the newbs up the the 11th floor wards to get 5 or 6 big bags of ice for our ice machine. The trip back was just long enough for the ice to melt enough to dissolve the bags and somewhere around the first floor, they’d start busting open, usually in the elevator or in the front lobby, right at morning shift change.

    Good times.

  18. Del

    December 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Ah yes
    Be careful I have a seabat here in the bilge. Watch out for Naugas… It is all part of becoming part of a crew. If you can’t take this hazing then you don’t belong.

    Del MT2(ss)

  19. FatDave

    December 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    We would send our new privates to get a 5lb bottle of compressed air so we could pressurize the break systems on HMMWVs to change the brakes. (HMMWVs have hydraulic brakes so no air is needed.) We also sent people to get exhause samples. In the Field Artillery we sent the newbies to get a fuel spout and 5 gallons of fuel for the aiming circles. (These are used to align the howitzers and have no engine.) In Armor the newbies are told to hold onto the engine when it is running on the test stand to keep it from taking off as it is the same engine used in some military helicopters. The fact that there are no rotors is conviently left out.

  20. GI Joey

    December 14, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    The other day, I sent a private around looking for the TM for the “Skyhook”… He checked the armory library, supply (at one point I told him they might be in the arms room but my supply guy wouldn’t let him in), the offices of the commander, 1st sergeant, and readiness NCO, before I finally had to show mercy on him at the behest of my LT. A few months ago I told my new medic to get me an exhaust sample. He managed to wrap a plastic bag around the muffler of a PLS in the motor pool and “filled it” with exhaust. The little bastard then proceeded to devise equations to verify the amount of pure exhaust vs. air in the bag, how to test it individually by chemicals and verify their percentage in the “full” bag’s makeup to within 0.1 percent. He fucking solved the exhaust sample problem, lol… It was almost sad to break the news to him that it was just a prank…

  21. Josh

    December 15, 2012 at 12:18 am

    We would send new guys to the airfield to find an in flight repair kit for a C130.
    Send them to supply to get a BA-1100-N
    Send them to gunny down at the comm shop to find a prick E-7.
    Send them down to the MP station to get an ID-10-T form.
    Have them take vehicles to MotorT because the blackout turn signals don’t work.
    Send them to the artillery battery to find a gun rock,
    Send them on float entrusted with the care of our unit mascot (inflatable sheep love doll.)
    Send them to NBC for night vision inserts for their gas mask
    Send them to the armory to have their compass calibrated
    Make them go through the tool shed for hours looking for field phone batteries.
    And the worst in the field when doing rifle cleaning send them to the corpsman to get their bore plunged.

  22. Sean Woods

    December 17, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Sending a new gunnersmate looking for matches was always fun! lol

  23. Gunship Load

    December 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Things that I was sent out for, some of which I knew didn’t exist and saved myself some trouble…

    I’ll let ya’ll decide which ones I went after…

    1. A back blast bag for an AT-4
    2. Keys to the Hummer
    3. OH-58D solution for cleaning weapons
    4. A black adapter for the M203

    • Gunship Load

      December 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm


      4. A BLANK adapter for a M203

  24. CG-23 Sailor

    December 18, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I had heard all the stories about Mail Buoy watches, Sound powered phone batteries etc…. I was NOT going to fall for any of those tricks. Or so I thought.

    As an EW, we were responsible for maintenance on the Chaff Launchers. A quarterly check was dismantling the launchers. primarily by removing the tubes from the launcher base by means of heavy duty bolts and nuts, checking for corrosion, and then tightening them properly with a torque wrench. My 1st class Petty Officer mentioned that the nuts we were taking off were too corroded. Told me that our DIVO had some new MPA nuts from supply and I was to go down to his stateroom to get them from him.

    I fell for it as far as going off to our DIVO’s stateroom, but caught on rather quickly when I noticed the nameplates on the stateroom door. You see… Our DIVO’s roommate in the two man stateroom was the
    Main Propulsion Assistant (AKA the MPA)

  25. ChiefAllen

    December 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Let us not forget membership in the Royal Order of the Shellbacks, and the Brotherhood of Bluenose. Traditions that take me back…

    On a side note, I was an Interior Communications Electrician, so “Sound Powered Phone Batteries” are especially fun. My addition to the quest for batteries was to tell the young fool that I was out, and hand him a 1250 (specially filled out with NSN’s, APL’s (and all the rest of the data…, with signatures from my Division Chief), and send him on his merry way to the Supply Office to place the batteries on order…

    ICC (SW)


    December 19, 2012 at 8:37 am

    When overhearing complaints of working through the night on a construction project from the new guys it was always fun to send them to Finance to fill out an “overtime” form so their pay could be adjusted.

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