Over a 48 hour period, the 15th MEU/PELARG team conducted offensive air operations in Afghanistan resulting in the deaths of 5 confirmed enemy fighters, provided disaster relief in Pakistan to 120 victims who had been without aid since July, and seized a pirated vessel, rescuing a crew of 11 hostages and detaining 9 suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia. A busy couple of days and an impressive battle-rhythm by any standard for this dynamic Navy-Marine Corps team.

For her part, the USS Dubuque was 1,500 miles away from her command ship, the USS Peleliu, and attached to Combined Task Force 151 (CTF 151) – the international counter piracy task force – when the events associated with the pirated motor vessel occurred. She spent the night of 7 September escorting vessels through shipping corridors in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden.

A few hours after first light on the 8th (approximately 0830 Bahrain time), the Turkish frigate TCG Gökçeada, CTF 151 flagship, received a distress call from Motor Vessel (M/V) Olib G, a Maltese-flagged, Greek-owned chemical tanker. Gökçeada immediately launched her helicopters for ISR. Once on station they reported seeing two pirates with RPGs aboard the Olib G.

An hour later, in a second (unrelated) incident, the Antigua-flagged Motor Vessel Magellan Star reported that they were being boarded by pirates and the crew had locked themselves in what they later called their “citadel.”

TCG Gökçeada moved to the scene and discovered a skiff with two outboard motors and no crew. The USS Princeton (CG 59) was less than 15 nautical miles from the Magellan Star and made best course and speed to join the Turkish frigate. The USS Dubuque was ordered to the scene shortly thereafter.

The pirate attack and subsequent boarding and rescue operation took place in the Gulf of Aden, approximately 85 miles southeast of Mukallah, Yemen.

I was in my stateroom that morning having a cup of coffee when Major Mike “Honcho” Ford, a burly southerner with a cowboy’s drawl, knocked on my door. “Hey man,” he said calmly, “we got a ship that’s been pirated. No official tasking yet, I’ll pass you a sitrep when I get it. Go ahead and put the guys on alert-120.” As the 15th MEU’s Maritime Raid Force Commander, the platoon and I had been training with “Honcho” for nearly a year for this mission, so what happened over the next 60 minutes was by now a well-rehearsed standard operating procedure.

I called down to the men’s berthing. Few words were exchanged between my acting-platoon sergeant, Staff Sergeant Hartrick, and myself. “Staff Sergeant, skipper” “Yes sir.” “A vessel’s been taken by pirates – I don’t have much else for you at this time. Set alert-120.” “On it, sir.” We both hung up.

The guys swung into action, pulled pre-staged shooter’s kits, body armor, weapons, ammunition, communication and breaching equipment and moved it to our assembly area. Comm was op-checked, weapons were function checked and set in the best condition possible, shooters performed their pre-assigned tasks to meet our conditions for a 120 minute alert status while assistant team leaders conducted simultaneous individual inspections: flotation devices, chem lights, breathing devices, roster cards, tourniquets, medical equipment, lights, night vision, weapons, comm…all given one last op-check. I barked out a quick warning order and dropped my kit at our assembly area and moved to the ship’s tactical control center.

Lt. Col Clearfield, the overall Mission Commander, was seated at the desk communicating on various phones and computers. I reported in. “Hey Alex, here’s the update (followed by an intelligence and operational update), go ahead and set alert-60.” “Yes sir.” And we did…moving then into a 60 minute ready posture. The next step would be alert 30, which means full kit, waiting for the green light.

An announcement was made over the ship’s loud speaker as the Dubuque made an impressive 20 knots (not bad for the third oldest ship in the Navy) towards the Critical Contact of Interest (CCOI): “Assemble the crisis action team.” It was repeated again. Everyone it seemed was already assembled, busily preparing their notes, thoughts and briefing products as we awaited the arrival of the ship’s skipper, Captain Bolt, and Mission Commander, Lt. Col. Clearfield.

By now it was late morning, early afternoon on the 8th of September. I was sitting behind the BLT’s Operation Officer, Major Tom Tennant, and across from S2 Capt Mark Powers in the ship’s flag plot. Copenhagen in lip, coffee in hand. The excitement was palpable, but all players were calm, focused and prepared to brief and execute what for us had become a well rehearsed assault package.

Lt Col Clearfield entered. The room came to attention, and was quickly put at ease. He broke out his notepad and briefed us on the situation. There has been a ship taken over by pirates (“suspected pirates” the lawyers would later remind us), the crew of 11 is safe and has locked themselves in the engine room, the pirates are showing no signs they wish to surrender, they are armed and aggressively posturing. We have no official tasking to board at this time. But still, he said, we’re going to plan this out and prepare to execute.

Major Brian Dryzga, a Huey pilot and the MRF’s Air Mission Commander (AMC), briefed that his birds (Hueys and Cobra gunships) were spotted on the deck, loaded with fuel and ammunition and ready to launch when we arrive on station if needed to provide ISR (Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance) . Honcho talked us through the template, handed out taskings and provided his guidance as the assault force’s immediate officer in charge.

Captain Bolt and Command Master Chief Rosado walked in the room. “Attention on deck!” “Please, take your seats.” “This is what I know…” and he briefed the most up to date intelligence he had from NAVCENT’s Maritime Operation Center (MOC) and TF 151. He paused, issued his intent with the ship’s maneuver and overall plan once on station with the two warships already in the vicinity of the pirated ship, smiled, ordered us back to work and left for the bridge.

We each broke to our rooms and offices. I readied the 15 slides or so that is the assault piece of the brief package, and as I pressed “send” over to Honcho so he could finish populating the entire brief, we had official tasking to take station and be prepared to execute pending higher’s authority…we didn’t, at the time, know just what “higher” meant…but that’s a funny story for later.

A huge lesson here was just how well the Marine Corps’ Rapid Reaction Planning Process (R2P2) works with a capable and well-rehearsed battle-staff.

All essential personnel, including every member of our 24 man platoon (call sign: Blue Collar) who comprises the assault element, crowded into the ship’s wardroom. The plan was briefed and confirmed. We set alert-30 and made our way to the ship’s side port, kitted up and waited for the command to execute.

That command wouldn’t come that evening…we’d later move back to our rooms to get what sleep we could before our 0300 reveille and would reattack the next morning.

A brief anecdote from those hours we spent at alert-30 in the small confines of that side port that would be our final position before we launched the assault: “Hey sir,” yelled SSgt Homestead who was talking to Capt Doug Verblaauw, the ANGLICO Det OIC managing air up on the bridge wing, “the execute order’s now at the three-star level.” Everyone looked at each other half-suspiciously.

Then reports came to us about the pirates onboard. They were armed. They were aggressive. They were pointing their weapons at the warships. They were making demands. They were non-compliant. They refused repeated attempts by the Princeton to surrender. They said they would stay on and fight.

“They’ll say go now,” someone said, “won’t they?” We waited and waited. “Hey,” Homestead yelled, “listen up, the decision is now at CENTCOM.” Pause. “General Mattis!” someone said, and the entire platoon ignited in a spontaneous cheer. A second pause. A sergeant remarks, “Man, now it’s gonna take even longer,” he said, jokingly. “Whatcha talking about man, it’s General Mattis! We’re golden.” “No brother, now we’ll have to wait for him to get aboard…you know the General will wanna be with us on this hit.” Everyone laughed and felt relieved…this was going to happen afterall.

An hour later, still waiting, we asked each other, “I wonder what the hold up is?” Darkness was less than an hour away, time was running out. Homestead again: “Hey guys, the execute order…” we all pulled our headsets off one of our ears to best hear him, “it’s at the President.” From the platoon: silence.

I think it was Staff Sergeant “Big Daddy” Holm who from right behind me captured the mood at that moment when he broke the brief silence with that wonderful and all-encompassing euphemism: “Holy shit.”

The BLT’s Chaplain, LCDR Mike Foskett prayed for us, and by the next dawn, we were off…

Avoiding a commentary on our tactics, I’ll say that we gained a foothold in short order on what was certainly the most challenging entry we’ve made in all of our 15 full mission profile rehearsals.

As we sped towards our assault point, I took my eye from my scope and appreciated, for a split second, what was unfolding: a spectacular symphony of naval power. Huey, Cobra and SH-60 helicopters, a US Cruiser, a Turkish Frigate, an LPD and a pirated ship in a sort of tactical tango. The sun was rising over my left shoulder. Snipers and the birds were covering our approach. The decisive moment was hundreds of meters away, and closing, fast. Back behind the scope. No time.

I was with Alpha Element, which was led by Staff Sergeant Homestead. We were first on the boat and moved to the superstructure as Bravo Element, led by Staff Sergeant Hartrick, made their way aft and then below decks…

The details of what happened next are important as they highlight the individual actions of 24 highly trained shooters who were put in decision points of the highest moral magnitude: when to shoot, when not to shoot. I can’t go into all those details at this time, but the long and short of it was: some of the enemy threw their hands up when rifles were put in their face, some ran and attempted to elude us in the superstructure but were run down and some hesitated but were taken down by less than lethal force, as the situation dictated. The end result was 9 pirates captured in an opposed boarding and 11 crew members rescued.

I’ve never been more proud than I was watching the balance of violence of action and professional restraint that is the hallmark of a true professional warrior.

The crew rescue, which was Bravo Element’s doing, was a second, equally important story. The recovery amounted to a 3 hour effort. And Blue Collar seemed a fitting call sign as I watched my guys defeat half a dozen obstacles in confined spaces using thermal torches, power saws, and heavy tools. The physical stamina of the Marines cutting the doors and barricades the crew set in as their own defense against the pirates was impressive. I watched as they rotated on the equipment, all the while holding security, and thought: these are some tough ass blue collar pipe hitters.

Despite announcements I was making over the ship’s loudspeaker to the crew (in Russian and English), despite loudspeaker callouts made inside the spaces by the Marines, and despite a pre-planned arrangement between the crew and Captain Bolt (which was briefed to me, Cold War style, at 3 am on the morning of the assault, and involved British maritime shipping and insurance agencies, soviet-bloc code words and authentications, a Polish captain, Russian and a mixed international crew, Somalian pirates with hostages who threatened to “burn her” and a Turkish command vessel) the crew kept falling back to defensive positions, scared and uncertain of what was happening. In classical Murphy fashion, they lost their phone’s battery power the very minute we boarded their ship.

Deep in the engine room, Bravo Element continued to work the problem, as 1st Lt Williams and his trailer Marines rushed to conduct a detailed clearance of all spaces as well as augment the breaching effort. Alpha Element coordinated the entry of the US Coast Guard LEDET (Law Enforcement Detachment), NCIS, the Dubuque’s VBSS team and a constant resupply effort that was underway to bring us water, breaching tools, and the ship’s damage control experts.

They finally cut one last hole, and called in with our loudspeaker that it was safe, the Marines had control of their ship, and to please come out. The ship’s captain peered hesitatingly from behind a steel bulkhead, still unwilling to come forward. Sgt Chesmore ripped an American flag patch from his shooter’s kit and held into the room as a final identification. The captain broke into a huge smile and immediately called his crew from their hiding places. They ran forward, unlocked the final barricaded door in their “citadel” and were escorted topside. Excited. Exhausted. And happy to have their ship back.

As I walked the captain up to his bridge, he examined all the cut doors, and burnt hallways and remarked, “bastard pirates, they really did a number to my ship.” Walking behind him I replied, ironically: “Yeah. They sure did.”

While this was the end of the day for us, the Navy’s day (which had started much earlier and ended much later) was still far from over. The Navy’s VBSS team, led by Lt. Danny Rigdon and Ens. Mark Bote boarded and took charge of the bridge while their aggressive and highly trained petty officers set to work at once on the rest of the ship (now a highly sensitive crime scene). The Dub’s veteran (read: old) DCA, Lt Jg Mike Fought came aboard and assessed all the ship’s damage and aided with damage assessment. The entire crew of the Dubuque – from those in Combat, in the bridge, down in engineering, out on the boat decks, and up on the flight deck – contributed to the day’s success. It was a 1,000 man effort. Blue and Green.

The actions of the day reflect the potency of a Navy-Marine Corps team afloat that, above all else, trusts each other. It reflects the importance of actually performing VADM McRaven’s tenants of: simplicity in planning, repetition in rehearsal, and security, speed, surprise, and purpose in execution. But really, the Dubuque’s Commanding Officer, Captain Bolt, said it best when he closed the debrief saying that “the word of the day was professionalism.” And I think that captured the true spirit of this operation. Well, that and the few choice words of Big Daddy Holm…

***From Admin***

See also: Pirates Beware: Force Recon Really Does Have Your Number

More from Alex on Piracy: The Reality of Piracy




Posted by Alexander Martin in Coast Guard, Foreign Policy, Marine Corps, Maritime Security, Navy, Piracy


You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Byron

    Outstanding, Capt. Martin. Big double thumbs up to your and your terrific boarding platoon.

    Derrick, because he’s the President. The commander in chief of all US armed forces.

  • Mary Anne

    Alex, I am so proud of you and your team of Blue Collar guys. What a great accomplishment….I am sure that First Lieutenant O’Bannon is raising a glass or two in your honor. We’ll do the same tomorrow when we gather our young Seal reading group here.
    Stay safe!

  • BJ Armstrong

    Alex, I know that you won’t have time to read this for a bit…but I wanted to drop a quick comment. Next weekend I’ll be at the Maritime Heritage Conference in Baltimore presenting research on the USS Potomac’s counter-piracy operations on Sumatra in 1832. What did it involve? Marines and Navy landing divisions working together, strict rules of engagement, several weeks of rehearsals aboard ship as they crossed the Indian Ocean, cooperation/partnership of merchant sailors, and the aggressive leadership of LT Irvine Shubrick (USN) and 1LT Alvin Edson (USMC). Sounds familiar.

    BZ to you and the entire task force. You guys are the Shubricks and Edsons of today. Hoo-Freakin’-Rah.

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    You make me proud to serve, Sir.

  • charly

    a very intense thanks to your great mission to resceue the crew!

  • Robert C

    BZ to all who participated.

    Glad to hear that the first USNA Mid that my family sponsored, LT Rigdon, is finally doing some meaningful work. Good going, and about time Danny! ;-)

    In all seriousness, this was a great result and highlights the professionalism, esprit de corps, and talent/training of all who played a role, however small or large.

    Be safe, and know that you are supported and not forgotten while afloat!

  • http://www.unleashed-technologies.com Michael Spinosa

    The accounts of this story are terrific and it’s remarkably well written. Thank you blogging about it and also for an amazingly executed plan.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    CAPT: BZ. I hope my oldest son, now a PLC-Juniors Complete, will someday have the privilege to serve under you. Just a few quick hip-shots:
    — This op is proof that you fight like you train. All the sweat everyone previously expended paid off handsomely.

    — You had to take time to do a PowerPoint brief?!? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, over. Someone, somewhere was wasting everyone’s time in an organization as tightly knot as you all were on Dubuque. (That’s just me)

    — Concur in the opinion that this should have NEVER had to go to POTUS, or even CENTCOM for a “go,” CTF should have the con.

    Nonetheless, well planned, well executed. A tribute to your SNCO/NCO/Junior Enlisted team. Thanks for the brief.

    VR,
    Andy

  • Vladimir Putin

    Next time, wait for me. I want to harpoon the pirates myself.

  • http://fredfryinternational.blogspot.com/ Fred Fry

    Wow! A great story and great accomplishment.

    That said, the one thing that strikes me most is the question of whether or not anyone tried to call the engine room on the sound powered phones to explain that the ship was retaken? I can understand that the crew phone batteries died, but onboard there are ways to communicate. A question for the crew too is how on earth did they not setup a power point for their cellphone in the engine room…

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    All – this is not a political blog. Do not go there. Thank you. Comments of that nature will not be approved or they may be deleted

  • Earlene OBrien

    I LOVE IT! This story gave me Chills reading it! Being a former Marine and now Sailor it makes me feel good to see we are still an AWESOME combined fighting force! One Team One Fight One Mission!

  • Tim D

    My old man was NAVY and his brother USMC.In Korea.They would have loved this.These warriors showed restraint and the utmost professionalism under extreme pressure.Makes me proud to be an American and a vet.Thank you.SemperFi

  • David Tiffany

    This makes me so proud to be an American and a veteran. Kudos to you folks! Out-f***ing standing!

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    BZ all involved.

    I am just so pleased and proud that the Marines and Sailors serving where the rubber meets the road are keeping the faith and doing the job in such an outstanding manner.

    You guys pulled angel duty today, answering prayers promptly and in full. Something to tell your Grandchildren.

    This great, just great!

    best wishes, Gramps

  • Jimmyfrom L.A.

    Gentlemen,
    As a veteran LAPD officer and a proud father of a U.S. Marine I salute your courage and sacrifice. Job well done! God Bless and Semper Fi!

  • Paula Lynch

    “the balance of the violence of action and professional restraint”…that says it all and captures my admiration for the stellar leaders in the USMC.

    Well done, and well told! Look forward to hearing a personal telling from ENS Ruesch, too!

    ooorah!

  • Derrick

    Will these marines cross-train sailors on their boarding tactics?

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    Derrick, You don’t seem to be military so, just so that you know, you don’t discuss or talk about Training, Tactics or Procedures (TTPs) over the internet.

  • Byron

    Derrick: what the YN2 said.

  • LTJG Emmett Lamb, USN

    Alex, congratulations on a fantastic operation. I lead a VBSS team when I was stationed on USS FITZGERALD and man, what my team and I would have given to have had the chance to be involved in an operation like this. You and your team really showed how powerful Blue/Green can be when it comes to MIO.

  • Papa Whiskey

    Spectacular recount of the process. Needs to be required reading so that the youngsters understand completely why we ramp up and ramp back without panicking or complaining but more as part of the rhythm of winning the fight – sometimes without even having to level a permanent timeout on adversaries. Well done Marines and Sailors. All in a day’s work.

    They aren’t having that much fun working at Applebees.

  • arl878tx

    Captain Martin,

    There is a Marine whom I love & care for, more than words can say. He took part in this operation. Thank you for posting this, Sir. I have been worried & have had a very long week and a half since the last time I heard from him. I miss my Marine & reading this made me feel as if I were a witness to what he took part in that day. I am so proud. The smile on my face may very well stay there until I hear from him again, because of your blog. God bless you & your entire crew, Captain Martin. I am still awaiting the return home, no matter how far off that may be.

    Sincerely,
    ARL

  • AS2 Mel – Ex Dubuque Sailor

    I was on the USS Dubuque – 1987-1989. Proud of that ship, and proud it’s still doing her thing. Great work on the crew and marines on it. That is what it’s all about.

    Great story!

  • JD

    BZ, sir! My thanks to you and all others involved for your excellent service.

  • http://www.pointdivide.org Tom Blackshear

    BZ to all involved. I am CO for sixty US Naval Sea Cadets, and this will be required reading for them.

  • betsy kallop

    Alex, We are all so proud of you and all the guys involved in this mission! Will sent us the blog and I have forwarded to everyone who got to know you at the wedding. Will you marry my daughter? Much love Betsy K

  • Steinar W.

    Sir…
    I am a part of the NATO team in Lisbon on operational level. Great story, and explains many of the bits and pieces on this type of operations.. Is it possible that any video will be released ??

  • http://www.grimcity.com gc

    Amazing, Captain Martin… cheers to your professionalism in an environment I’d never want to experience. Thank you all for your service and for saving the lives of the boat’s captain and his crew. Cheers and thanks again for your service. I can’t even imagine.

  • Paul

    Great work. Does the assault team have salavage rights under modern maritime law? I hope so!

  • alexanderrcm

    I am incredibly proud of all the military personnel involved in this and their professionalism and honed competency in performing their missions. While I will always cheer these selfless soldiers, I won’t rest as a citizen until our political leadership only uses them when necessary and without restraint to do what they need to do, to make the worst of mankind think twice before practicing their very sick misdeeds or die in the process. May God bless our selfless and courageous military personnel and always keep them safe as defendors of the USA and the rest of the free world.

  • http://yahoo Camila Sanchez

    my brother was on that raid!!!

  • Popski

    A task force ready to go. Trining all the way to patrol station. A hijacked ship that a)stopped and b)went ‘citadel’ with pirates locked out on deck. And, finally, the necessity for a green light from the White House. NO DEAD PIRATES!!!! Glorioski!

    Are the script witers on this? Clooney, Hanks and Pitt co starring in a mega-blockbuster next drive-in season.

    I’d suggest a bigger ship, more ferocious pirates and a thermonukuler device guarded by AQ in the hold with them anchor chains.

    This does have the optics of a ‘Wag the Dog’ production.

  • http://xtnyoda.blogspot.com/ chuck

    I served in Vietnam with HMM262 back in that day… many opps under the belt…

    Great account.

    SALUTE!

    God Bless.

  • Mark D

    Makes me Proud of My Corps! Even better to see this level of interservice Cooperation when it really matters. We may pick on each other, but don’t let anybody else try it.
    Way to go Guys and Gals ! Glad to see there are those who
    are still getting it done. True Professionals to say the least !
    SEMPER FI !

  • Roy Olsen

    As a former Marine, of 72 years old, all I can say is ” wish I were there ” SEMPER FI “

  • Heidi Martinez

    I am so proud that my brother was a part of this! My father served in the Navy and now my brother is Navy, brother-in-law Army and my husband Army…serving our country is a family affair!

  • accipiter

    Greetings from Germany! Thank you a lot american soldiers for that great operation. The ship is owned by a german shipping company in Dortmund. Sadly in Germany only a few people are interested in those reports. Only bad news are good news here. Especially military operations of the US Forces. Keep up the good work.

    May I also say,
    Semper fidelis – immer treu

  • C S Carlson

    Gonna ask the dorky endgame question. With no LE authorities inherent to the teams, what’s next? Transfer to Justice Dept, no jurisdictions there either? German Ship, International Waters, does the German govt want to prosecute? Transfer the pirates to Kenya? A great mission well needed and phenomenally executed…but what now? Also curious about the “after” Navy VBSS teams are really good..but have no LE authority or Jurisdictions, were there any coasties involved, bringing with them their inherent title 10 title 14 authorities?

    Not at all trying to diminish the GREAT work done, just trying to look at the “what now”

  • http://warandwomen.blogspot.com/ Alexander Martin

    CS Carlson,

    As soon as I’m allowed, and the information goes public and is deemed releasable, I’ll write a follow-on answering all of those questions.

    -ASM

  • C S Carlson

    Look forward to the after action behind the scenes.

  • Rosco

    Just to clarify – I thought Force Recon didn’t exist as such anymore because the Direct Action Platoons etc where taken to form the nucleus of the Marine Special Operations Battalions (i.e. MARSOC) while other Force Recon operators went back to reformed Recon Battalions in each Marine Division. So the were the Recon Marines in the takedown here from Marsoc or 1st Recon Battalion? (and either way a very good effort)

    • Jay

      They reactivated Force Recon Companies to support all of the MEU (SOC) because they need a Special Operations Capable force.

  • Norma Corral Campos

    I am so proud, my son is on that ship…we all salute you Marines, as well as the Navy crews…..Arizona

  • CDR Amy Young Garrett

    CAPT MARTIN-
    Bravo Zulu! I salute you and your entire team! AND you take the time to tell the tale with astute analysis… a lot of moving parts. The Evans School is proud of you and I am proud to serve with you. Keep up the strong work.
    v/r,
    Doc

  • http://www.airtoolparts.net Mark

    Capt. Martin, as prior military myself, I support you 100%

  • Richard del Rio

    Capt. Martin–

    I really enjoyed your firsthand account of the raid. Congratulations to you and all your men. I have enjoyed sharing this story with friends and family and hope that someday soon you will make another visit to my classroom (albeit at the other end of Draper St.). I remember well the last time you visited and gave an impromptu speech on service. It was wonderful.

    Keep up the good work and stay safe!

    Rich del Rio

  • http://att.net Richard Woods

    I am a former Marine. When i read articles such as this, it reloads my faith that we are still the number one fighting force on the planet. Let our military do there job WITHOUT the interferance of polititans and just look at the finest in the world can get accomplished…………OOH-RAH, Semper-Fi, and above all Stay alive.
    Thanks all for your service

  • Mark Clark

    What does BZ, Bravo Zulu, stand for? I’ve been out for a while…

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Mark Clark:

    “Bravo Zulu” from the naval visual signal book for Flag Hoist, meaning the Bravo flag and the Zulu flag are hoisted as a visual signal at the yardarm, Bravo above Zulu. Signal decoded: “Well Done”. Traditionally the highest possible praise, professional to professional. Think of it a the Oscar of praise within the Navy.

    “Oscar”, in the signal book for flag hoist, however, decodes as “Man Overboard”. Therefore, the dummy thrown overboard for MOB (man over board) drills, generally made from a worn out working uniform stuffed with kapok from a worn out life jacket, with a cloth bag for a head and a swab head for hair, is refered to as “Seaman Recruit Oscar”. The head for Seaman Oscar is of non standard design and often quite puckishly artistic,

    A “head”, other than the anatomical feature simulated by a bag coming out of the collar of the dummy, which acts as a mounting fixture for Seaman Oscar’s “white hat” or “dixie cup” refers to (oh, never mind)…

  • Mark Clark

    Thanks Grandpa Bluewater. Or should I say: BZ!

    I was on ships for 2 1/2 of my 4 years in the Marines (7th Fleet for 2; MEU for 1/2 in the Med), but I never heard of it. I do remember getting hazed on my first cruise, told to stand mail-buoy watch; dang thing never showed up. Since we were carrying guns, though, that was the last time I was hazed (except for crossing the line–the sailors loved having us Marines crawl around the 6″ and 5″ guns a few extra times).

  • AFMARINEDAD

    It is a abomination that this was not given the coverage it deserved by the press in general. Congratulations to all for a job well done. You have made this third generation veteran who has two Marine sons proud!!!!

2014 Information Domination Essay Contest
7ads6x98y