Crossing the Equator Aboard the USS Joseph Strauss

Photos and captions were provided courtesy of Fred Clark who served aboard the USS Joseph Strauss from 1968-71.

The date was 27 January 1969 and if you were aboard the USS Joseph Strauss you were about to participate in a legendary naval tradition. I asked Fred if he had any commentary he'd care to add.

He said:

"As far as commentary is concerned, it has been so long that I don't remember a lot of the details (getting older is a pain in the @$$).  However, some things I definitely do remember:

* Those who had crossed the line before were known as "Shellbacks" and were in charge of the initiation ceremony, while those being initiated were known as "pollywogs;"

* Commander Layman was CO and was a pollywog, too;

* There was a route around the deck of the ship that each pollywog had to traverse, on his hands and knees (no standing), from one initiation station to another; at each station, the "Shellbacks" manned the station for various initiation rituals."

Fred Clark
Ensign and LTJG, USS Joseph Strauss, '68-'71
Gunnery Division Officer, then First Division Officer, then Navigation Department Head

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