Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Tags
Related Content
Topic
  • Boats-Ships--Amphibious Warfare Ships
  • Crew
  • Boats-Ships--Submarine
  • Fleet
  • Boats-Ships--Aircraft Carriers
  • Boats-Ships--Battleship
  • Boats-Ships--Destroyer
Document Type
  • Deck Log
Wars & Conflicts
File Formats
  • PDF (Portable Document Format)
  • Image (gif, jpg, tiff)
Location of Archival Materials
  • NHHC-Archives

New Year's Day Deck Log Contest

 

Sailors, we want to hear your voice! The Naval History and Heritage Command is hereby reviving the tradition of the New Year’s Deck Log Poetry contest. Let your poetic prowess be celebrated! 

The deck log is the official record maintained by all commissioned U.S. Navy vessels. While the contents of a deck log are generally fiercely regulated, the United States Navy has long held the tradition of the Midnight New Year’s Day Poem. The first entry of the New Year, written in verse, gives a brief glimpse into the minds of the sailors and shipboard life, and provides a human voice to the otherwise impersonal deck log. Unfortunately, this tradition is waning with each passing New Year’s Day. Contests held by Navy Times in the 1960s drew hundreds of entries, but the number of official deck log submissions with special New Year's Day content has dwindled each year.  By reviving the contest, the Naval History and Heritage Command hopes to preserve the tradion and boost participation throughout the Fleet.

This page has details on how to enter, a brief history of the tradition, and historical examples available for download.


<p>MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 01, 2019) Quartermaster Seaman Isaiah Kiel reads a New Year's poem as Quartermaster Seaman Dalton Rodgers enters it as the first official deck log entry of 2019 aboard amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3). Kearsarge is on a scheduled deployment as part of the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group in support of maritime security operations, crisis response and theater security cooperation, while also providing a forward naval presence. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mike DiMestico/Released)</p>
Title: 190101-N-UP035-0042
Description: MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 01, 2019) Quartermaster Seaman Isaiah Kiel reads a New Year's poem as Quartermaster Seaman Dalton Rodgers enters it as the first official deck log entry of 2019 aboard amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD-3). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Mike DiMestico/Released)

Contest Information

Submissions may be made by mail or email. All entries are considered anonymous unless recognition pictures are included with poem. All submissions must be Unclassified and must be received by Friday, 2 April 2021.

A note requesting entry or the inclusion of recognition photographs when submitting your January monthly deck log by mail will constitute entry. If submitting by email please include the ship name and “New Year’s Day Deck Log Contest Submission” in the subject line.

If Sailors are concerned their physical entry won’t be received in time, they are encouraged to submit electronically.

Submissions should include:

      - A scanned PDF of the New Year’s Day Deck Log Poem [email submissions only]

      - (Not required but encouraged) Name and picture of Sailor who wrote the poem

      - (Not required but encouraged) Name and picture of Navigator

      - (Not required but encouraged) Name and picture of CO

Poems will be judged on coherence, imagery, originality, and how they reflect the sailor experience. Selections will be made for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. Winners will be featured on the NHHC website alongside historic examples from generations past. Top prize for 1st place is a piece of historic USS Constitution copper. Winners will be announced on Friday, 4 June 2021.

(return to top)

 


<p>PHILIPPINE SEA (Dec. 31, 2019) Quartermaster 3rd Class Luke Farley, from Springfield, Ill., writes the New Year deck log entry on the bridge of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62). Chancellorsville is forward-deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeremy Graham)</p>
Title: 191231-N-HI376-1040
Description: PHILIPPINE SEA (Dec. 31, 2019) Quartermaster 3rd Class Luke Farley, from Springfield, Ill., writes the New Year deck log entry on the bridge of the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeremy Graham)

History of the Tradition

 An article in the January 1969 All Hands magazine reminded Sailors of the importance of ship’s deck logs. It begins with the following practical, if somewhat oddly-worded description - “A ship’s deck log must always record the important things that happened aboard—events which affect the ship or its crew, or having with history something to do.” However, the use of such tortured wording becomes clear as it goes on to say, “There is also a time that it should be in rhyme. For better or worse, and written in verse, it’s the midwatch log on January first.”

It’s unclear just when this tradition began, though it seems to be in place by 1926, judging from a Commanding Officer’s disapproval of a rhyming entry in USS Pennsylvania’s (BB-38) deck log. Then Lieutenant (jg) Arthur Ageton recalled that the “Skipper was a humorless fella who had never heard of this tradition and sent the Log back to me for rewriting in less rhythmical style.”

Whenever it started, the tradition continues on to this day in the U.S. Navy, and also in the U.S. Coast Guard. Through times of peace and war, whether underway or in drydock, New Year’s Day deck log entries allow Sailors to express their hopes, their humor, and even their grievances, all while recording the required information: “which hawsers are tied; the ships alongside; who SOPA might be; the state of the sea; the ship’s position; the material condition; the soundings and draft; what objects are aft…” (as explained in All Hands).

This article gives more information about this tradition:

https://usnhistory.navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/12/28/the-navys-tradition-of-the-new-years-day-deck-log/

(return to top)

 


<p>PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 1, 2020) Quartermaster 3rd Class Ryan Gouger, from Newberg, Ore., writes the first deck log of the year while standing Quartermaster of the Watch on the bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. With Abraham Lincoln as the flagship, deployed strike group assets include staffs and aircraft of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2 and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dan Snow/Released)</p>
Title: 200101-N-ME568-1001
Description: PACIFIC OCEAN (Jan. 1, 2020) Quartermaster 3rd Class Ryan Gouger, from Newberg, Ore., writes the first deck log of the year while standing Quartermaster of the Watch on the bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dan Snow/Released)

Historical Examples

USS GILMER (DD-233)


USS GILMER (DD-233) 1942 New Year’s Deck Log Scan Image

 

1 Jan 1942

At Port Townsend, Washington

Of Note: GILMER was on submarine patrol in Puget Sound. Deck Log entry includes references to several crewmembers.

 

USS GILMER 1942 New Year’s Deck Log Scan (PDF, 2.8mb)

USS GILMER 1942 New Year’s Deck Log Scan Transcription (PDF, 109kb)

Original Deck Log held at:

                        National Archives at College Park

                        Record Group 24

                        Series: Logbooks of U. S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1983

                        National Archives Identifier (NAID): 74770970

                        https://catalog.archives.gov/id/74770970

(return to top)

 

USS IDAHO (BB-42)


USS IDAHO (BB-42) 1942 New Year's Deck Log Scan Image

 

1 Jan 1942

At Norfolk, Virginia

Of Note: Ship in dry dock; Deck Log entry recognizes the hard work of all those who were serving at the Norfolk Navy Yard, but still strikes a melancholy tone – sailors were ready to get back out into the fight.

 

USS IDAHO 1942 New Year’s Deck Log Scan (PDF, 299kb)

USS IDAHO 1942 New Year’s Deck Log Scan Transcription (PDF, 104kb)

Original Deck Log held at:

                        National Archives at Washington D.C.

                        Record Group 24

                        Series: Logbooks of U. S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1983

                        National Archives Identifier (NAID): 23742733

                        https://catalog.archives.gov/id/23742733

(return to top)

 

USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64)


USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64) 1962 New Year's Deck Log Scan Image

 

1 Jan 1962

At U.S. Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York

Of Note: The Deck Log entry was written in the style of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, author of "The Song of Hiawatha" and “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere.”

 

USS CONSTELLATION 1962 New Year’s Deck Log Scan (PDF, 1.9mb)

USS CONSTELLATION 1962 New Year’s Deck Log Scan Transcription (PDF, 106kb)

Original Deck Log held at:

                        National Archives at College Park

                        Record Group 24

                        Series: Logbooks of U. S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1983

                        National Archives Identifier (NAID): 146176890

                        https://catalog.archives.gov/id/146176890

(return to top)

 

USS THRESHER (SSN-593)


USS THRESHER (SSN-593) 1963 New Year's Deck Log Scan Image 1

 

1 Jan 1963

At Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Of Note: The last New Year’s Deck Log from this boat before her tragic sinking in April 1963. The OOD was one of the casualties.

 

USS THRESHER 1963 New Year’s Deck Log Scan (PDF, 2.3mb)

USS THRESHER 1963 New Year’s Deck Log Scan Transcription (PDF, 109kb)

Original Deck Log held at:

                        National Archives at College Park

                        Record Group 24

                        Series: Logbooks of U. S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1983

                        National Archives Identifier (NAID): 181924801

                        https://catalog.archives.gov/id/181924801

(return to top)

 

USS BASILONE (DD-824)


USS BASILONE (DD-824) 1966 New Year's Deck Log Scan Image

 

1 Jan 1966

At U.S. Naval Station, Newport, RI

Of Note: The Deck Log entry was written and can be sung to the tune of “Downtown” by Petula Clark.

 

USS BASILONE 1966 New Year’s Deck Log Scan (PDF, 767kb)

USS BASILONE 1966 New Year’s Deck Log Scan Transcription (PDF, 192kb)

Original Deck Log held at:

                        National Archives at College Park

                        Record Group 24

                        Series: Logbooks of U. S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1983

                        National Archives Identifier (NAID): 6596004

                        https://catalog.archives.gov/id/6596004

(return to top)

 

USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62)


USS NEW JERSEY (BB-62) 1969 New Year's Deck Log Scan Image 1

 

1 Jan 1969

At Off East Coast of Vietnam

Of Note: The end of the Deck Log entry was updated to reference an engagement with the enemy that occurred as the entry was being written.

 

USS NEW JERSEY 1969 New Year’s Deck Log Scan (PDF, 472kb)

USS NEW JERSEY 1969 New Year’s Deck Log Scan Transcription (PDF, 96kb)

Original Deck Log held at:

                        National Archives at College Park

                        Record Group 24

                        Series: Logbooks of U. S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1983

                        National Archives Identifier (NAID): 6596083

                        https://catalog.archives.gov/id/6596083

(return to top)

 

USS TORTUGA (LSD-26)


USS TORTUGA (LSD-26) 1970 New Year's Deck Log Scan Image

 

1 Jan 1970

At U.S. Naval Station, Long Beach, California

Of Note: The Deck Log entry was written a few days before the ship was decommissioned and makes many references to the ship’s long service and imminent decommissioning.

 

USS TORTUGA 1970 New Year’s Deck Log Scan (PDF, 746kb)

USS TORTUGA 1970 New Year’s Deck Log Scan Transcription (PDF, 109kb)

Original Deck Log held at:

                        National Archives at College Park

                        Record Group 24

                        Series: Logbooks of U. S. Navy Ships and Stations, 1941-1983

                        National Archives Identifier (NAID): 6278090

                        https://catalog.archives.gov/id/6278090

(return to top)

Published: Wed Nov 18 07:57:39 EST 2020