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Fire at Will for New Year’s Day

At the time this blog is posted, most people in the United States are busy readying themselves for a well-deserved evening of revelry ringing in the New Year. They are free to do so, in large part, because at the same time more than 100 #USNavy ships and more than 50,000 U.S. Navy Sailors are forward deployed around the world. Your Navy wishes you a fun and safe evening!

BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Nov. 21, 2014) The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) arrives in Busan, Republic of Korea for a port visit.
BUSAN, Republic of Korea (Nov. 21, 2014) The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) arrives in Busan, Republic of Korea for a port visit.

We’re proud to operate forward to deter aggression, protect the nation, reassure our partners, and maintain the freedom of the sea — the basis for global prosperity. The Navy has the watchBy “the Navy” we mean people like ENS Jackson, USN, who at this moment is standing the watch aboard the Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71). Jackson and the rest of the crew are currently on patrol in the Pacific Fleet where it is already 2015. Just moments ago, in keeping with Navy tradition ¹, Jackson posted the ship’s New Year’s log entry.

USS Cape St. George Midnight Log Entry
Composed by ENS Jackson

With additions from LTJG Fromme, LTJG Hernandez, LTJG Kennedy,  LTJG Maginas, LTJG Thompson, ENS Sleister, ENS Perez, and ENS Schwinn

The hour is nearly here when she and I unite.

She comes from a place of hope; as I come from the fight.

What beauty will she hold, when at sea we meet;

And I record every detail on a Deck Log Sheet?

And what a rare opportunity it is to be,

On a ship to cross the dateline and see,

The new day of the new year twenty fifteen.

I’ve made the preparations to be worthy of her presence,

Through CCS and CIC I’ve learned the pre-watch lessons.

Then up the ladders that seem never to end

Tonight with eagerness I did ascend.

For tonight was not the standard routine

And we COMEX a tradition rarely seen.

As we approach the midnight hour,

2A engine online, more than enough power.

One and two GTG providing our electricity.

Material condition Mod Z, Sea Water Service one and three,

Fire pumps thrive, as always two and five.

Readiness condition three; we stand watch to keep our country free.

Alpha units, starboard cable,

Get us home to San Diego!

CAPE ST. GEORGE steams across the oceans blue

At 17 knots and liberty turns, too.

The Captain upright in his chair,

On the bridge wing takes in the midnight air;

And just beside him stands the XO, stern,

“What a fine Navy night”, he hastens to confirm.

The CONN and JOOD their checklists run through

No contacts in sight, no MOBOARDS to do.

On the weather decks some of the crew anxiously awaits

With safety observers and lookouts in place.

On the flight deck the pilots will play

A celebratory movie on the doors of the Hangar Bay.

Though it sounds like all fun and games there is still plenty work to be done

The Gunner’s Mates standby on all mounts, even Five- One.

The barrels all are loaded with rounds Illum

To light the sky with majesty soon.

The countdown, it starts, with a whisper of ten;

Then soon it is chanted as the whole ship joins in.

The ball it does drop as the hour is struck

8 bells we ring in honor of luck.

The Captain gives me the tiniest of nods

And to GUNNO I give approval to carry on.

He keys in his radio and with a smirk relays

“Fire at will for New Year’s Day.”

The seas ignite with high caliber blaze

My beautiful New Year and I together we gaze.

She with the hope of what may come next;

And me with the saltiest of pins earned on my chest.

Remember Shipmates, our life at sea is glorious,

And CAPE is always victorious!

Happy New Year, CAPE ST. GEORGE

And to the Little Beavers, too.

Happy New Year, Navy,

From the Dragonslayers to you!

Raise a glass of O’Douls to a WESTPAC successful,

May your new year be joyous and hopefully restful!


¹No one knows for sure how the tradition of poetic New Year’s deck log entries began, but it is believed to have begun between the World Wars. In 2004 Stars & Stripes reporter Jason Chudy wrote a piece about New Year’s deck logs. More information about the official nature of ships’ deck logs can be found on the web site of the Naval History and Heritage Command.