THE "Sea Stories" of PROVIDENCE

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Hello, Sam,
You are really taxing my memory regarding Nip and Tuck. I can't even
remember the skipper's name. We had an Admiral aboard also, since we were the
flag ship.
I remember one night in the early hours of the morning, I was
desperatly trying to make contact with the Little Rock via UHF ( it was very
new at the time) . The Admiral was interested in what I was doing and we
shared a short chit chat over real bad coffee.
As to the two dogs: they were tawny to white, full size boxers,
friendly to all, had their sea legs, were allowed on deck only in port and
billeted with a couple of BMs. Any other information would be pure
speculation on my part. Bill


Sorry I couldn't have been of more help on this. May put something out in
newletter to see if anyone has photos of the boxers 'Nip and Tuck."

They certainly were the life of the party aboard CL 82 and brought morale up
well over the standard. Very funny and lively animals and full of complete
mischief as taught by the Masters-at-Arms guys.

Maybe Bill Fitch might have a better memory of the dogs and some photos to
help out. Hope so. These two animals would never be forgotten by any CL 82
crewmember at that time. They were loved by all. As I am an animal lover, I
had lots of contact with them up on deck in their playful moods.

Once in a while they would get into officer's country, pick up some officers'
shoes and hide them in the most unusual places, usually in enlisted quarters
like the enlisted lounge.

Take care and stay well.

This is a real photo of Nip and Tuck as submitted by Mike Desider.

How large? 50-60 lbs approx.
What pedagree? Boxer
Color? Brown/Tan
Disposition? Fun-loving and easy
What did they like eating? Officer's Shoes (not steady diet)
Who took care of them? MAA Shack (BM3 don't recall name)
Where did they sleep on ship? (usually MAA Shack)
What division? 1st or 2nd Division
Who got them? (slips my mind)
Did the captain authorize them on board? Yes (to best of my knowledge)
Any better photos of them? (wish I had some)
By the way, Don Harribine remembers them. (I do, very well)
How old were they? (2-3 years) approx.

Re: uss Providence
Wed, 29 Dec 1999 22:08:46 -0600
"Bob" <>
"Sam Villa" <>

I hope you are not too disappointed in the quality of the picture, but with
a little help with software, I think you can fix it up fine. I do have two
or three more, but not of any salvos. I took the negatives and had reprints
made and they came back with a bluish tint. This picture was taken I believe
in 1972 off the coast of Viet Nam. If I remember correctly, I was impressed
with the fire power you had, and was lucky enough to catch the fire coming
out of the barrels.
I was aboard the USS Rupertus from 1971 to 1973. I am really impressed with
your Web site, and it makes me want to start one for my ship. Any ideas on
how to contact shipmates would be helpful. Last of all, if you zero in on
the hull you can make out the number 6, which I hope is indeed the
Providence. For some odd reason, I was thinking that it was the Newport News
all this time. Let me know what you think, and I will send a couple more
> >
> > I spent two years on the USS Rupertus DD851, and went on two west pac
> > cruises during that time and I took a few pictures, one of which I am
> > sure is the USS Providence on the Gun Line in Viet Nam, firing a salvo
> > from it's forward gun turrets. If you like I can copy the picture and
> > send it to you.

> >
> > Bob

The day the antenna was hit
Thu, 23 Dec 1999 08:00:20 +0200
"C. W. Klaus" <>

I remember about the day the antenna was hit. As radarman we, our watch was longer than the normal 4 on 4 off. Many times we would
go transfer goods or amunition during our time off watch and at other times, we would have longer watches when those who transfered goods
were bring on goods. Sleep was something that you really treasured.
When the ship was hit, I was asleep. Some one woke me up and said we are being fired upon. I asked this question, "Did they call general
quarters?" The response was "No." Then I said, "Let me sleep."
We sure have funny memories at times. Like the place we bunked, it was so hot that you could almost fry an egg on the floor.


Tue, 4 Jan 2000 18:30:55 -0800 (PST)
From: (Carl Dustin)


Subject: Military Old And New

1945 - NCO's had a typewriter on their desks for doing daily reports.
1999 - everyone has an Internet access computer, and they wonder why no
work is getting done.

1945 - we painted pictures of girls on airplanes to remind us of home.
1999 - they put the real thing in the cockpit.

1945 - if you got drunk off duty your buddies would take you back to
the barracks to sleep it off.
1999 - if you get drunk they slap you in rehab and ruin your career.

1945 - you were taught to aim at your enemy and shoot him.
1999 - you spray 500 bullets into the brush, don't hit anything, and
retreat because you're out of ammo.

1945 - canteens were made of steel, and you could heat coffee or hot
chocolate in them.
1999 - canteens are made of plastic, you can't heat anything in them,
and they always taste like plastic.

1945 - officers were professional soldiers first and they commanded
1999 - officers are politicians first and beg not to be given a wedgie.

1945 - they collected enemy intelligence and analyzed it.
1999 - they collect your pee and analyze it.

1945 - if you didn't act right, the Sergeant Major put you in the brig
until you straightened up.
1999 - if you don't act right, they start a paper trail that follows you

1945 - medals were awarded to heroes who saved lives at the risk of
1999 - medals are awarded to people who work at headquarters.

1945 - you slept in barracks like a soldier.
1999 - you sleep in a dormitory like a college kid.

1945 - you ate in a mess hall, which was free, and you could have all
the food you wanted.
1999 - you eat in a dining facility, every slice of bread or pad of
butter costs, and you better not take too much.

1945 - we defeated powerful countries like Germany and Japan.
1999 - we come up short against Iraq and Yugoslavia.

1945 - if you wanted to relax, you went to the rec center, played pool,
smoked and drank beer.
1999 - you go to the community center, and you can play pool.

1945 - if you wanted beer and conversation you went to the NCO or
1999 - the beer will cost you $2.75, membership is forced, and someone
is watching how much you drink.

1945 - the Exchange had bargains for soldiers who didn't make much
1999 - you can get better and cheaper merchandise at Walmart.

1945 - we could recognize the enemy by their Nazi helmets.
1999 - we are wearing the Nazi helmets.

1945 - we called the enemy names like "Krauts" and "Japs" because we
didn't like them.
1999 - we call the enemy the "opposing force" or "aggressor" because we
don't want to offend them.

1945 - victory was declared when the enemy was defeated and all his
things were broken.
1999 - victory is declared when the enemy says he is sorry.

1945 - a commander would put his butt on the line to protect his people.
1999 - a commander will put his people on the line to protect his butt.

1945 - wars were planned and run by generals with lots of important
1999 - wars are planned by politicians with lots of equivocating.

1945 - we were fighting for freedom, and the country was committed to
1999 - we don't know what we're fighting for, and the government is
committed to social programs (used to be called 'socialism').

1945 - all you could think about was getting out and becoming a civilian
1999 - all you can think about is getting out and becoming a civilian

submitted by Carl Dustin

Subject: UR e-mail 1-26-00 re Across the Line Ceremony
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2000 17:54:58 EST


It's hard to say whether you had many friends or enemies. In this crossing there was orders "NO BLOOD," but still some went before the mast. The pix you ran showing the Dunk Tank. I was assisting the Royal Doc on the operating table. First assistant on the right with my paddle in my belt. The paddle was made by folding sail canvas, having the shoemaker sew a bit, soaking in salt water and hung up to dry. Made a pretty good saber and paddle. My first days in his royal domain came in early 1944.
I am not sure whether they do it any more or not. I went to pasture in 1966.

In an earlier e-mail I mentioned that I had spent some time in San Diego. I attended boot training at USNTC San Diego, 1942. While attending radio school, following boot training, Henry Fonda (the actor) was a class behind me going to Quartermaster School. That was in Camp Decatur (at USNTC) which was School Command. Now this will set you back a bit. They had a Bugler School, Signalman, Quartermaster, Cooks&Bakers, Storekeeper, Machinist Mate, Marine Quartermaster School, Metalsmith (Shipfitter) as well as Radio School for young 17 Year olds.

Now that's a sea story for you. I said "if I make it to Kansas City." Lad, this old man was 75 last year. If you passed general
math in high school, you can figure out how old I will be when I pay for the first round. I'll even loan you my K&E slide rule.
Take care


Origins of Navy Terminology
Sat, 13 Jan 2001 14:32:13 EST

United States Navy ..... Origins of Navy Terminology

Every profession has its own jargon and the Navy is no exception. For the
Navy, it's bulkhead, deck and overhead and not wall, floor, and ceiling. Some
nautical terminology has found its way into every day use, and you will find
the origins of this and Navy terminology below. More terminology will be
added from time to time.

Ahoy! • Between the Devil and the Deep • Chewing the Fat • Crow's Nest •
Cup of Joe • Devil to Pay
Eight Bells • Fathom • Forecastle • Galley • Gun Salutes • Head • He Knows
the Ropes • Holystone
Log Book • Mayday • Pea Coat • Port Holes • Scuttlebutt • S.O.S. • Splice
the Mainbrace • Starboard
Taken Aback • Three-Mile Limit • Took the Wind Out of His Sails • Watches

This old traditional greeting for hailing other vessels was originally a
Viking battle cry.


Between the Devil and the Deep
In wooden ships, the "devil" was the longest seam of the ship. It ran from
the bow to the stern. When at sea and the "devil" had to be caulked, the
sailor sat in a bo'sun's chair to do so. He was suspended between the "devil"
and the sea — the "deep" — a very precarious position, especially when the
ship was underway.


Chewing the Fat
"God made the vittles but the devil made the cook," was a popular saying used
by seafaring men in the 19th century when salted beef was staple diet aboard

This tough cured beef, suitable only for long voyages when nothing else was
cheap or would keep as well (remember, there was no refrigeration), required
prolonged chewing to make it edible. Men often chewed one chunk for hours,
just as it were chewing gum and referred to this practice as "chewing the


Crow's Nest
The raven, or crow, was an essential part of the Vikings' navigation
equipment. These land-lubbing birds were carried on aboard to help the ship's
navigator determine where the closest land lay when weather prevented
sighting the shore. In cases of poor visibility, a crow was released and the
navigator plotted a course corresponding to the bird's flight path because
the crow invariably headed towards land.

The Norsemen carried the birds in a cage secured to the top of the mast.
Later on, as ships grew and the lookout stood his watch in a tub located high
on the main mast, the name "crow's nest" was given to this tub. While today's
Navy still uses lookouts in addition to radars, etc., the crow's nest is a
thing of the past.


Cup of Joe
Josephus Daniels (18 May 1862-15 January 1948) was appointed Secretary of the
Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Among his reforms of the Navy were
inaugurating the practice of making 100 Sailors from the Fleet eligible for
entrance into the Naval Academy, the introduction of women into the service,
and the abolishment of the officers' wine mess. From that time on, the
strongest drink aboard Navy ships could only be coffee and over the years, a
cup of coffee became known as "a cup of Joe".


Devil to Pay

Today the expression "devil to pay" is used primarily to describe having an
unpleasant result from some action that has been taken, as in someone has
done something they shouldn't have and, as a result, "there will be the devil
to pay." Originally, this expression described one of the unpleasant tasks
aboard a wooden ship.

The "devil" was the wooden ship's longest seam in the hull. Caulking was done
with "pay" or pitch (a kind of tar). The task of "paying the devil" (caulking
the longest seam) by squatting in the bilges was despised by every seaman.

Eight Bells
Aboard Navy ships, bells are struck to designate the hours of being on watch.
Each watch is four hours in length. One bell is struck after the first
half-hour has passed, two bells after one hour has passed, three bells after
an hour and a half, four bells after two hours, and so forth up to eight
bells are struck at the completion of the four hours. Completing a watch with
no incidents to report was "Eight bells and all is well."
The practice of using bells stems from the days of the sailing ships. Sailors
couldn't afford to have their own time pieces and relied on the ship's bells
to tell time. The ship's boy kept time by using a half-hour glass. Each time
the sand ran out, he would turn the glass over and ring the appropriate
number of bells.


Fathom was originally a land measuring term derived from the Ango-Saxon word
"faetm" meaning to embrace. In those days, most measurements were based on
average size of parts of the body, such as the hand (horses are still
measured this way) or the foot (that's why 12 inches are so named). A fathom
is the average distance from fingertip to fingertip of the outstretched arms
of a man — about six feet. Since a man stretches out his arms to embrace his
sweetheart, Britain's Parliament declared that distance be called a "fathom"
and it be a unit of measure. A fathom remains six feet. The word was also
used to describe taking the measure or "to fathom" something. Today, of
course, when one is trying to figure something out, they are trying to
"fathom" it.


The appropriate pronunciation for this word is fo'ksul. The forecastle is the
forward part of the main deck. It derives its name from the days of Viking
galleys when wooden castles were built on the forward and after parts the
main deck from which archers and other fighting men could shoot arrows and
throw spears, rocks, etc.


The galley is the kitchen of the ship. The best explanation as to its origin
is that it is a corruption of "gallery". Ancient sailors cooked their meals
on a brick or stone gallery laid amidships.


Gun Salutes
Gun salutes were first fired as an act of good faith. In the days when it
took so long to reload a gun, it was a proof of friendly intention when the
ship's cannon were discharged upon entering port.

The "head" aboard a Navy ship is the bathroom. The term comes from the days
of sailing ships when the place for the crew to relieve themselves was all
the way forward on either side of the bowsprit, the integral part of the hull
to which the figurehead was fastened.


He Knows the Ropes
In the very early days, this phrase was written on a seaman's discharge to
indicate that he was still a novice. All he knew about being a sailor was
just the names and uses of the principal ropes (lines). Today, this same
phrase means the opposite — that the person fully knows and understands the
operation (usually of the organization).


The last Navy ships with teak decks were the battleships, now since
decommissioned. Teak, and other wooden decks, were scrubbed with a piece of
sandstone, nicknamed at one time by an anonymous witty sailor as the
"holystone." It was so named because since its use always brought a man to
his knees, it must be holy!

Log Book
In the early days of sailing ships, the ship's records were written on
shingles cut from logs. These shingles were hinged and opened like a book.
The record was called the "log book." Later on, when paper was readily
available and bound into books, the record maintained it name.

"Mayday" is the internationally recognized voice radio signal for ships and
people in serious trouble at sea. Made official in 1948, it is an anglicizing
of the French m'aidez, "help me".


Pea Coat
Sailors who have to endure pea-soup weather often don their pea coats but the
coat's name isn't derived from the weather. The heavy topcoat worn in cold,
miserable weather by seafaring men was once tailored from pilot cloth — a
heavy, course, stout kind of twilled blue cloth with the nap on one side. The
cloth was sometimes called P-cloth for the initial letter of "pilot" and the
garment made from it was called a p-jacket — later, a pea coat. The term has
been used since 1723 to denote coats made from that cloth.


Port holes
The word "port hole" originated during the reign of Henry VI of England
(1485). King Henry insisted on mounting guns too large for his ship and the
traditional methods of securing these weapons on the forecastle and aftcastle
could not be used.
A French shipbuilder named James Baker was commissioned to solve the problem.
He put small doors in the side of the ship and mounted the cannon inside the
ship. These doors protected the cannon from weather and were opened when the
cannon were to be used. The French word for "door" is "porte" which was later
Anglicized to "port" and later went on to mean any opening in the ship's
side, whether for cannon or not.

The origin of the word "scuttlebutt," which is nautical parlance for a
rumor, comes from a combination of "scuttle" — to make a hole in the ship's
hull and thereby causing her to sink —- and "butt" — a cask or hogshead used
in the days of wooden ships to hold drinking water. The cask from which the
ship's crew took their drinking water — like a water fountain — was the
"scuttlebutt". Even in today's Navy a drinking fountain is referred to as
such. But, since the crew used to congregate around the "scuttlebutt", that
is where the rumors about the ship or voyage would begin. Thus, then and now,
rumors are talk from the "scuttlebutt" or just "scuttlebutt".



Contrary to popular notion, the letters S.O.S. do not stand for "Save Our
Ship" or "Save Our Souls". They were selected to indicate a distress because,
in Morse code, these letters and their combination create an unmistakable
sound pattern.


Splice the Main Brace
A sailing ship's rigging was a favorite target during sea battles since by
destroying the opponent's ability to maneuver or get away would put you at
obvious advantage. Therefore, the first thing tended to after a battle was to
repair broken gear, and repair sheets (sails) and braces (lines – improperly,
ropes – passing through blocks and holding up sails). It was the custom,
after the main braces were properly spliced, to serve grog to the entire
crew. Thus, today, after a hard day (or, not so hard day), the phrase has
become an invitation to have a drink.


The Vikings called the side of their ship its board, and they placed the
steering oar, the "star" on the right side of the ship, thus that side became
known as the "star board." It's been that way ever since. And, because the
oar was in the right side, the ship was tied to the dock at the left side.
This was known as the loading side or "larboard". Later, it was decided that
"larboard" and "starboard" were too similar, especially when trying to be
heard over the roar of a heavy sea, so the phrase became the "side at which
you tied up to in port" or the "port" side.


Taken Aback
One of the hazards faced in days of sailing ships has been incorporated into
English to describe someone who has been jolted by unpleasant news. We say
that person has been "taken aback." The person is at a momentary loss; unable
to act or even to speak. A danger faced by sailing ships was for a sudden
shift in wind to come up (from a sudden squall), blowing the sails back
against the masts, putting the ship in grave danger of having the masts break
off and rendering the ship totally helpless. The ship was taken aback.


Three Mile Limit
The original three-mile limit was the recognized distance from a nation's
shore over which that nation had jurisdiction. This border of international
waters or the "high seas" was established because, at the time this
international law was established, three miles was the longest range of any
nation's most powerful guns, and therefore, the limit from shore batteries at
which they could enforce their laws. (International law and the 1988
Territorial Sea Proclamation established the "high seas" border at the
12-mile limit.)

Took the wind out of his sails
Often we use "took the wind out of his sails" to describe getting the best of
an opponent in an argument. Originally it described a battle maneuver of
sailing ships. One ship would pass close to its adversary and on its windward
side. The ship and sails would block the wind from the second vessel, causing
it to lose headway. Losing motion meant losing maneuverability and the
ability to carry on a fight.


Traditionally, a 24-hour day is divided into seven watches. These are:
midnight to 4 a.m. [0000-0400], the mid-watch; 4 to 8 a.m. [0400-0800],
morning watch; 8 a.m. to noon [0800-1200], forenoon watch; noon to 4 p.m.
[1200-1600], afternoon watch; 4 to 6 p.m. [1600-1800] first dog watch; 6 to 8
p.m. [1800-2000], second dog watch; and, 8 p.m. to midnight [2000-2400],
evening watch. The half hours of the watch are marked by the striking the
bell an appropriate number of times.

YNCS Don Harribine, USN(Ret)

Sun, 13 Aug 2000 23:36:19 EDT

I was very glad to find information on the USS Providence at the web site of I filled in some dates that I had forgotten. I
joined the Providence about the time that Carl Dustin left (maybe I was his
replacement) in March, 1946, at Naples. I was a 17 year old who had taken
Boot at NAS Memphis, and trained for Aircrew,Radioman,ARM2c . Strange things
happened at the end of WWII. Of course they explained to me that the
aircraft aboard the Providence were single seaters, and I was assigned to the
deck crew. I worked hard and finally qualified for S1c at sea. Later, after
I had swabbed decks, chipped paint, painted the sides and anchor, and learned
to splice cable in the locker, they discovered I had radio training, and I
was assigned as a Radioman striker, with duty in the Radio Shack.
I was there for the trip to Istanbul, Turkey, where we escorted the USS
Missouri when she returned the body of a Turkish Ambassador who had keeled
over on the steps to the Capitol in Washington,D.C. We also went to Beirut,
Lebanon, and to Alexandria, Egypt. There, leaving the harbor, we ran up on a
freighter that had been sunk in the harbor, and wasn't on the charts. We
finally got off with the help of a couple of tugs and two British Four
stackers providing heavy wakes from both sides, and limped back to Naples.
Our evaporators were out, and we became a smelly bunch. Divers determined
that we had substantial damage to the hull and screws, so we limped to
Gibraltar in to dry-dock, stopping at Tangier and Algiers on the way. We
spent quite a time in dry dock at Gibraltar. There was not much to do there,
then. We sat in pubs, drinking warm dark beer, and occasionally saw an old
movie (imagine what "old" was back _then_!).

When we got out of dry dock, we had a slow (bad screw) trip back to
Philadelphia. After couple of weeks there, my "duration plus six months"
came up (USNR), and I was sent to Great Lakes for discharge.

My experience on the old girl was short, but one of my great memories.

Congratulations on the web site!

David A. Williams
USNR 753-98-60

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