Release No. 230414-001
WASHINGTON NAVY YARD – “As New Year’s bells ring out tonight/ We celebrate our warship’s might/ In poetic form we must recall/Bunker Hill’s life before her 2023 mothball” wrote Lt. Artem Sherbinin on the first night of 2023 while aboard USS Bunker Hill (CG 52).
Those lines, written in Bunker Hill’s deck log, are not a typical deck log entry but rather one of naval tradition.
The tradition of the Midnight New Year’s Day Poem allows Sailors to write the first deck log entry of the New Year in verse. Naval History and Heritage Command encourages the preservation of this tradition through an annual New Year’s Day Deck Log Contest.
NHHC announced the 2023 New Year’s Deck Log Contest winners, which are as follows:
1st Place: Lt. Artem Sherbinin - USS Bunker Hill (CG 52)
2nd Place: Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Austin Canterbury - USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62)
3rd Place: Quartermaster 3rd Anthony Bentley - USS Farragut (DDG 99)
The purpose of the New Year’s Day Deck Log contest is to celebrate Sailors voices and promote the tradition of the Midnight New Year’s Day Poem.
“Traditions ebb and flow, and sometimes fade away, but the tradition of the Midnight New Year's Day Poem is one worth continuing,” said NHHC Director Samuel J. Cox, U.S. Navy rear admiral (retired). “In each of the winning poems, the authors demonstrated great pride in their ship and the accomplishments of their shipmates, under the often arduous conditions of operations at sea, far from home. Such traditions remind Sailors today that they are part of something bigger than themselves, and like the log itself, part of an unbroken chain of service to our nation.”
Bunker Hill’s deck log entry reminisced on important milestones in the ship’s history.
“Our ship is slated to decommission in Fall 2023, so this will likely be our last-ever deck log poem,” stated Sherbinin, author of the first place winning entry. “Our team focused its poem on Bunker Hill’s history, given that she is the oldest commissioned grey-hull surface combatant in service.”
This tradition is distinct in that it offers Sailors a chance to express their creativity, providing insight into their shipboard life.
"These poems help illustrate the mindset of Sailors because they are not restricted by the usual constraints of what goes into a deck log,” said Alexis Van Pool, deck log program coordinator at NHHC. “They can write about what they feel and what has happened."
First place winner receives an engraved piece of copper sheathing from USS Constitution and a certificate. All of the winners will receive an NHHC commander's coin. To read the winning entries, visit the 2023 New Year's Deck Log Contest page.
NHHC, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for preserving, analyzing, and disseminating U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC comprises many activities, including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, 10 museums, USS Constitution repair facility, and the historic ship Nautilus.
Note to Media: For more information, contact the Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs Office at 202-433-7880 or firstname.lastname@example.org