Ringing in the new year with rhyme: Afloat

The Coast Guard as a service embraces many traditions that binds us together and enriches our heritage. One of these maritime traditions falls but once a year, on New Year’s Eve, and allows watchstanders to show their penchant for prose as they write log entries in rhyme.

Writing a log entry onboard a Coast Guard cutter is a routine matter in which material condition, watchstanders and the ship’s status is recorded. But, in seafaring tradition, watchstanders sweat over military jargon and nautical terms each mid-watch on New Year’s Eve to pen lyrical masterpieces.

This year, the Compass reached out to all those standing the mid-watch to share the tradition of applying verse to the ship’s log. Click here to read log entires from those ashore.

CGC Vigilant – Written by Chief Frank Parenti

CGC Vigilant

Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant is a medium endurance cutter homeported at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. The ship’s motto is “Semper Vigilans…ALWAYS VIGILANT.” U.S. Coast Guard photo.

Both cutter and crew Vigilant in bravo twelve status,
So our midnight chorus won’t be deafening madness.
Force protection condition BRAVO is certainly in effect,
to ensure we are safe additional watch stations are kept.

Material condition yoke keeps us buttoned up tightly,
with all exceptions noted in the closure log nightly.
COMLANTAREA keeps the ADCON and OPCON tight,
with JIATF-South as TACON ready to deploy our swift might.

Lines one through four are doubled up and in place,
the white hull rests smartly against the gentle pier face.
Generator two is steadily on the line tonight,
providing this quite ship with power and light.

All deck, anchor and aircraft warning lights brightly burn,
to illuminate 617 from top to bottom, stem and stern.
Fast as she is sleek Vigilant 1 is gripped down in the cradle,
on the port side zero one deck Vigilant 2 sits ready for sail.

Liberty expiring at zero two hundred onboard ends the fun,
on zero one January two thousand one one.
With no foreign navies or treasure fleets in port nor missed,
King Neptune and Davey Jones rest deep below in the abyss.

Leaving only our commanding officer to enforce the laws of the sea,
he can brag, swagger, spit into the wind and otherwise be.
In the manner of so many honorable crews who sailed these seas before us,
Vigilant represents both SOPA and the bright American fortress.

Of course on such a special night only a boatswains mate chief can answer the OOD’s call,
to maintain good order and discipline Chief Petty Officer Rhoades watches over us all.
A special note for all sailors this year,
ends this mornings entry but have no fear.
Come all ye tough young cutterman, a warning take by me,
take caution, leaving your happy homes this year, to sail the raging seas.

CGC Escanaba – Written by the mid-watch

CGC Escanaba

In September of 2010, CGC Escanaba confiscated 963 pounds of cocaine from a vessel 21 miles west of Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA3 Sabrina Elgammal.

The year turned as we wait to head into Mayport,
Our position lies xx-xx.x n and xxx-xx.x w after searching for migrants and that sort.
Our OPCON and ADCON, LANTAREA, enjoyed their holidays ashore,
While our TACON at District Seven was all quiet like before.

After a patrol where we have seen it all,
We will pull into Mayport to drill ‘til we fall.
Stability and watertight integrity is maintained by material condition Yoke,
But the bridge is flooded by those who still smoke.

All standard navigation lights are illuminated and brightly burning tonight,
Although the radar might die at first light.
Both engines are turning while both generators provide power,
The 31st to the 1st shifts the port steering pump at this hour.

OOD has the deck and the conn,
While being watched by OOD from beyond.
We sailed north and south last year, always ready for multi missions,
Both cutter and crew led the fleet and exceeded all our ambitions.

Looking for migrants can be such a snooze,
But a month of Mayport will complete our cruise.
The past year saw many shipmates move to new places,
Each are missed but our family always welcomes new faces.

The New Year’s schedule is full of missions and new goals to stress,
But we look forward to the challenge and continued success.
We sit off the shore waiting to pull into port,
A new year awaits us, with good spirits and good sport.

CGC Dallas – Written by the mid-watch

CGC Dallas

Commissioned in 1967, CGC Dallas is the sixth cutter to bear the name of Alexander J. Dallas, the Secretary of the Treasury under President James Madison, and is homeported in Charleston, S.C. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA2 Bobby Nash.

By the change of a second, the midnight hour is past,
with it the new year has begun at last.
The watch is set and starts a new sheet,
to log the ships status, come rain snow or sleet.

In Charlie DALLAS sits to begin the New Year,
Moored starboard side to Charleston’s Papa Pier.
Should the winter storms blow we have the fix,
all lines are doubled, lines one through six.

The crew is on Stand-Down for all they’ve endured,
Hotel services are provided, the small boats secured.
Deck, mooring and aircraft warning lights burning ever so bright,
Provide the only fireworks for DALLAS tonight.

ENS Neumann is the OOD, for it is his turn,
Ensuring that DALLAS will neither flood nor burn.
For soon we’ll again feel the roll of the swell,
Then return to our homes with new stories to tell.

CGC Dependable – Written by the mid-watch
The first watch of 2011,
Our TACON is held by D7,
We struck 16 bells, 8 for last year and 8 for next,
The white picket fence that we uphold puts us to the test.

Westbound on a trackline mighty Dependable glides,
ADCON and OPCON with COMLANTAREA resides,
8 knots ahead on the #1MDE,
Power is provided by the #2 SSDG.

xx:xx.xn, xxx:xx.xw is the lat and the long,
Able 1 and 2 are cradled, just where they belong,
The DC closure log and all exceptions are par,
Darken ship is how we run, we cant be seen from afar.

Intel was provided, smugglers may be near,
They wouldn’t be if they knew shark 26 was here,
Ferries and friendly coast guard vessels Now that’s a different matter,
We detect fast ferries and once intercepted the latter.

A patrol resolution was to cook a big fish,
So the toxic gas alarm doesn’t announce the next chicken dish,
45 days underway, the crew below safe and sound,
Dreaming of family and cape may’s good ground.

The new year’s first watch standers look forward, Semper P,
The deck and the conn rests with Seebeck, BMC.
Written by BMC, BM1 Doughty and the midwatch teams,
Happy New Year Dependable, sweet dreams.

CGC Decisive – Written by SN Bailey Walker

CGC Decisive

In August of 2010, CGC Decisive was involved in Deepwater Horizon response operations. U.S. Coast Guard photo by PA1 Adam Eggers.

Here we are, upon the midnight watch,
Ahead 210, making 13 knots.
We welcome a brand new year,
Nav lights energized, to home we steer.

A 2 month stint in the Caribbean Sea,
Now to our homes and our families.
Number 2 generator is providing us light,
Number 1 is on standby this starry night.
Both MDE’s are providing power,
Trying to improve our ETA, if only by one hour.

Petty Officer Burns has the deck and the conn,
We take our orders from JIATF-South TACON,
Small boats cradled, secured for sea,
Standing by Channel 16, in case there is a plea.

LANTAREA takes charge of this Coast Guard cutter,
Dog zebra is set and not a word we utter,
Last known position upon the sea,
Xx degrees-xx.x north, xxx degrees-xx.x west, just south of Haiti.

Now we celebrate on the crews mess,
Another mission completed with success,
Steaming toward our Pascagoula pier,
I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year.

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  • Gabriel Vigil

    Ohhh,, the writings of the ne w Log year,, those were the good days,,, how I miss it now,,, but back then, well, one just did not notice in young feble mind all the history and traditions one was a part of….. BZ!!! CGC crews for keeping our traditions alive.

  • Sharon

    I haven’t been to sea in a number of years and I had almost forgotten this wonderful tradition! Thanks for so vividly bringing it back to me. An excellent job by all!

  • Macie

    I have the one from the Seneca, 2009-2010 printed & posted proudly on my wall at work. I really like this tradition. BZ CG crews. Thanks for keeping us safe.