USS MENHADEN (SS-377)
OFFICIAL REPORT OF CROSSING
By tradition, when a ship crosses the Equator, all hands participate
in a Crossing The Line Ceremony. During this ceremony, Polliwogs are initiated
by Shellbacks into the Royal Kingdom of King Neptune. Polliwogs are those
slimy, unkempt and frivolous individuals who have never crossed the Equator,
while Shellbacks are those staunch, seasoned mariners who have, and who
keep the tradition of the high seas in balance.
When within 400 miles of the Equator on 14 September 1970, the
immature Polliwogs were found to be in high spirits as they began to plot
an un-called-for rebellion against the Shellbacks. Their major task was
to determine who the enemy, or Shellbacks, really were. Some Shellbacks
were known, others suspect, but as could be anticipated, their efforts
proved fruitless as they meekly managed to develop a highly inaccurate
list of Shellbacks.
On the afternoon of the 14th, the Polliwogs held a meeting to
plan their insurrection. This reporter managed to attend and now the ringleaders
can be named. Eaton, TM2, was clearly in charge, with MM3 Bufford sparking
the agitation in the crowd. Never in the history of man has there been
a massive gathering of confused, slimy, odiferous creatures. Many suggestions
were made and discarded, and as the meeting broke up, little had been accomplished.
The decision had been made that individual guerrilla action was best. It
was noted by this observer that Shellbacks were located at strategic locations
writing down the names of the insurrectionists as the Polliwogs scurried
off to their individual holes to await the time.
Dave Eaton, TM2(SS), Leader of the Polliwog Rebellion.
Joseph Bufford, MM3(SS), Polliwog Rebellion Agitator.
As unorganized as they were, the Polliwogs were full of fight
and happily went about their inept plans of rebellion. Only their ignorance
of the extreme gravity of the crimes which they were about to commit, and
the fact that they did not know their efforts would be useless, served
to maintain them in their blissful state. Even though they were warned
by King Neptune himself, the Polliwogs plunged headlong into the comsummation
of their heinous deeds.
At approximately 0123 on the 15th, furtive movements were seen
about the Control Room. This, however, went unreported as all the personnel
in Control on watch at that time were Polliwogs. By 0200 the rebellion
was underway and building in strength. Among the crimes of these early
moments were the theft of the Chief of the Boat's boots, one of the Captain's
boots, the Exec's clothes and shoes, and obscenities in and about the Captain's
and Exec's staterooms. Many other small actions were underway at this time.
Later, the Navigator lost his bunk. The first reliable report that the
rebellion had started was passed by a Shellback who had relieved the Chief
of the Watch.
By this time, it was too late for many hapless Shellbacks. As
they began to awaken in the early morning hours, they found eggs in their
racks, coffeemate in their shoes and various other horrendous acts committed
which were in complete violation of the Geneva Convention.
About 0730, while most of the Shellbacks were still unaware
of the events of the previous few hours, the Polliwogs, their confidence
increased by the early successes, grew bolder and swooped down upon the
slow moving, bewildered Shellbacks with a furious attack equaled only by
the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In rapid succession, Shellback Chiefs Hoffman and Fort were
manacled together in the After Battery. Hoffman was chained to the table
in leg irons, while Fort was spread across a bench in a kneeling position.
Shortly after that, Shellback Grant was lashed to the ladder in the After
Battery with the Polliwogs gleefully dancing around him, taunting him unmercifully
and spitting out vicious threats.
Through it all, those three stalwart Shellbacks remained silent
and grim. Not one plea for mercy was asked, and I doubt that any would
have been given. The greatest atrocities ever recorded were done to Shellback
Hoffman. They teased his thirst by pouring water over him. Polliwog Ealson
then rubbed Shellback Hoffman's face in sticky buns and poured syrup and
flour over his head. As Polliwog Ealson was about to loose his collection
of fire ants against this courageous soul, other Polliwogs, as horrified
by the sadistic acts as I, stepped in and stopped this final act of mayhem.
Barry Ealson, QM3(SS), Sadistic Polliwog.
Polliwog Ealson's rage at being thwarted in what to him was
his crowning achievement was terrible to behold. Immediately gathering
his remaining loyal followers, Ealson led a charge into Control, and he
and his motley gang of thieves fell upon the hapless Navigator, Shellback
Harper. Ignoring his bellows of pain and rage, the Polliwogs dragged the
unfortunate brute into the After Battery and trussed him up on the bench
so securely that he could scarcely wiggle a finger.
Shellback Navigator, LCDR Harper, trussed up in the After Battery
Other roving bands of rebellious Polliwogs roamed through the
boat, under the leadership of Deputy, Eaton and Deweese, wreaking havoc
wherever they went, and leaving fear and terror in their wake. By this
time, the bloodlust was so strong that neither Shellback nor Polliwog was
safe. Shellback Arata was locked in the forward head, but soon managed
to escape. Shellback Rodgers hid in the Goat Locker, and Shellback Anderson
locked himself in the Ship's Office, putting up a fierce resistance to
any Polliwog happening by. Shellback Hicks was barricaded in Radio, and
his haven soon became a prison. Only Granddaddy Shellback Glendening, who
was Chief of the Watch, and the Shellback Captain were safe from the marauders.
One group of Shellbacks were fortunate enough to barricade themselves in
Maneuvering, and the cries and howls of frustration that came from the
Polliwogs who were unable to reach them sounded like the wail of a thousand
Shellback Chief of the Boat, EMC Rodgers, and the Executive
Officer, LCDR Arata, tied up in the Goat Locker.
Dave Deweese, ET1(SS), Co-Ringleader of the Polliwog Rebellion.
Polliwog Rebellion Co-Ringleader Deweese was lured into the
Forward Torpedo Room by several Shellbacks.
Despite a stoic three-minute struggle with the outraged Shellbacks,
Polliwog Deweese was nevertheless overwhelmed, subdued, hog-tied, stuffed
into an empty lifejacket bag (lower right corner of the photo), then abandoned
until the Initiation Ceremony.
Toward noon of this infamous day, the bloodlust and energies
of the Polliwogs began to wane, and by 1300 the rebellion was over. The
Polliwogs had returned to their slimy dens, and the Shellbacks retired
to lick their wounds and plot the revenge that was to be theirs when Davy
Jones and his loyal army would arrive from the Domain of King Neptune.
Shellbacks resting in the Crew's Mess after the Rebellion.
Shellbacks at rest in the After Battery Crew's Mess.
TO PART 2 -- DAVY JONES ARRIVAL
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