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 Crew's Mess.
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 sea devils.
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.
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