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Shipboard Etiquette



Naval R. O. T. C. Pamphlet No. 16
Second Edition, July, 1941.
    Naval R. O. T. C. Unit,
Georgia School of Technology,
Atlanta, Georgia.

Republished by Commander Service Force, U.S. Pacific
Fleet on 15 May 1944 for the information and guidance
of the younger officers of the Fleet.


This pamphlet was written to be used by graduates of the Naval Reserves Officers' Training Corps, Georgia School of Technology, as a brief guide and ready reference for their conduct when first reporting for duty on board a naval vessel or at another naval activity. It should be retained and referred to until the officer has been fully indoctrinated into the customs and habits of the ship or station to which he has been attached.

It must be realized that some differences will be found in the degree of formality that exists between the officers in individual ships. This will depend primarily on the size of the ship and the policies of its commanding officer. It will therefore be well to preserve this pamphlet indefinitely for frequent reference and study.

The first edition was compiled and edited by the officers of the Naval ROTC, Georgia School of Technology; namely:

Commander P. R. Coloney, U.S. Navy.
Lieut. Comdr. F. M. Adams, U.S. Navy.
Lieut. Comdr. B. Davis, U.S. Navy.
Lieut. H. T. Jarrell, U.S. Navy.
Lieut. (jg) P. D. Ellis, U.S.N. (Ret.)
Lieut. (JG) H. H. Strozier, U.S.N. (Ret.)

"SHIPBOARD ETIQUETTE" was first used by the class of 1941, and its use is being continued at this unit. It is further being used in the indoctrination of newly commissioned officers of the E-V(S), U.S.N.R., at the Naval Reserve Officers' Training School, Georgia School of Technology, July-August, 1941.

Copies of the first edition were widely distributed to naval activities, especially to battleships and cruisers, with request for comment and criticism. Many helpful suggestions were received and have been incorporated in this second edition. Grateful acknowledgment is made to those who contributed their interest and valuable criticism, thereby making it possibly to bring this work up to date and more in agreement with actual conditions existing afloat.

Parts of the pamphlet were taken verbatim from "Your Navy", by Captain Claud B. Mayo, U.S. Navy, and the reading of that entire book is recommended.

Acknowledgment is made to the U.S. Naval Institute and the authors of Naval Leadership for the material taken therefrom. Naval Leadership is used as a text at the institution. It should be used as a reference in connection with the use of this pamphlet. Every officer should have a copy.


"It is by no means enough that an officer of the navy should be a capable mariner. He must be that of course, but also a great deal more. He should be as well a gentleman of liberal education, refined manners, punctilious courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor.

"Coming now to view the naval officer aboard ship and in relation to those under his command, he should be the soul of tact, patience, justice, firmness and charity. No meritorious act of a subordinate should escape his attention or be left to pass without its reward, if even the reward be only one word of approval. Conversely, he should not b e blind to a single fault in any subordinate, though at the same time he should be quick and unfailing to distinguish error from malice, thoughtlessness from incompetency, and well-meant short-coming from heedless or stupid blunder. As he should be universal and impartial in his rewards and approval of merit, so should he be judicial and unbending in his punishment or reproof of misconduct.

"In his intercourse with subordinates he should ever maintain the attitude of the commander, but that need by no means prevent him from the amenities of cordiality or the cultivation of good cheer within proper limits. Every commanding officer should hold with his subordinates such relation as will make them constantly anxious to receive an invitation to sit at his mess table, and his bearing toward them should be such as to encourage them to express their opinions to him with freedom and to ask his views without reserve."

John Paul Jones
September, 1775


Section I
Period From Receipt of Orders Until Reporting On Board

On receipt of your orders to report for duty, examine them carefully, noting all the details. Refer to Page 14 of the pamphlet "The Naval Reserve of the United States Navy" for necessary endorsements. Your first endorsement should be the hour and date of your receipt of the orders. About 25 extra copies of your orders should be mimeographed and certified. They will be used in the taking up of your accounts, etc.

Your orders will state for you to report immediately; to report without delay; or to proceed.

This wording designates how much delay you may have before starting travel for your new duty. You are allowed the normal railroad travel time from your home to the place where you are to report plus delay as follows:

Report "immediately" means within 12 hours exclusive of travel time.
Report "without delay" means within 48 hours exclusive of travel time.
"Proceed" means within 4 days exclusive of travel time.

The following is an example of how to compute date to report upon the receipt of "proceed" orders which authorize a delay in reporting. Take the date on which the 4-day allowance would have expired and add to it the number of whole days travel time. This will give the date on which the officer would report without any authorized delay. To this add the authorized delay, which will give you the latest day to report.

For example:

Detached (or orders received)   7 July.
Four days proceed   4  
Two days travel time     2  
          Normally due to report   13 July before midnight.
Fifteen days, delay to count as leave    15 (if allowed)
  Date on which to report   28 July before midnight.

Guard your original orders carefully so that they will not be lost. You should maintain a permanent personal file of all original orders that you receive.

Your orders may read to report at a certain station by a certain time and date, and in this case there is no question of delay. You must reach your destination by that time. It might happen, however, due to delay in mails or other circumstances, that it is impossible for you to reach your destination by the date required. In this case address a straight telegram to the Bureau of Navigation, Navy Department, Washington, D.C. Refer to your orders, state reasons for being unable to comply and request authority to delay in reporting until the date by which you can reach your destination. Only a short delay


should be requested, however, and your reasons must be valid and not of such nature as to imply a mere desire to convenience yourself.

If time permits, a letter to the Commanding Officer of your new ship requesting pertinent information is not amiss.

If, when reporting to a certain port to join your ship, you find that the ship is not present you should go on board the ship of the Senior Officer Present for instructions.

In certain cases, for reasons of security, the Bureau may word your orders such that the location of your ship would not be divulged. Officers may be ordered to report to a district or operating base commandant for further directions as to how to proceed. In such cases the commandant will endorse your orders and give you instructions.

If your first to report to a shore station, it is well to report during the forenoon, preferably about 0900. For example, suppose that you have orders to report to the Commandant of the Fifth Naval District, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, for further transfer to the U.S.S. New York. You should preferably arrive in Norfolk the evening before the date you are required to report. Inquire in the city as to the best method of reaching the Naval Operating Base, and as to the time required to reach the Base from where you remain overnight. Report in the morning with your orders and ask the sentry at the gate where you may find the Officer of the Day or Personnel Officer. If you are not wearing your uniform, have it with you in your hand baggage. When you report to the Officer of the Day you may find that it is not necessary for you to report in uniform, or if it is necessary, he should be able to provide you with a place in which you can change. On large stations when you will remain only as a transient, it may not be necessary for you to report to any other officer, but the Officer of the Day (or Personnel Officer) will inform you as to what is expected of you. Temporary quarters may be available for you at the Base. You may inquire as to this, and will of course ask for all necessary instructions. If you are reporting to a small station, such as a school, the Officer of the Day or Duty Officer will take you in to see the Executive Officer immediately.

Let us now take a specific case. You have orders to report to the U.S.S. Colorado at San Francisco, California, on June 22. If you have arrived in the city the night before you will have time to look around and obtain information as to the Navy Landing and where the Colorado is anchored. Several means of finding this out are available, first by contacting the 12th Naval District Headquarters which are located in the city; second, from the city Police Department; third, from Shore Patrol if patrol is ashore; fourth, but least satisfactory - from taxi drivers. Assuming you have located the officers' boat landing, report at this landing before 0800. Many ships may not have an officers' boat scheduled to run after 0730 until 1000, or even later. The Beach Master should have [a] copy of your


ship's boat schedule. Ask to see it and make your plans accordingly. You may, of course, report on board at any time during the day before the day your are required to report. It is very desirable to report the day before, going out to the ship in the late afternoon or early evening. This will give you a little more time in which to orient yourself. You may take your hand bags out in an officers' motor boat, but leave trunks on the dock requesting the beach guard to look out for them, with the understanding that you will request the O.O.D. to send in a boat for them. It is well to have had your trunks or boxes of clothes plainly marked with your name and rank and tagged for the "U.S.S. _______________". All baggage should be taken on board when reporting for duty.

Inform the Coxswain (steersman) of the Colorado's boat who you are, showing him your orders, and request passage to the ship. His men will assist you with your bags.

If there are other officers in the boat it is proper to introduce yourself. If you note the presence of an officer your senior, salute him. When the boat comes alongside the Colorado allow any officer in uniform to precede you in order to take side honors. Seniors always disembark first.

Ascend the ladder and upon reaching the top grating, face aft in a military manner and salute the colors (you should be wearing a hat); then turn, facing smartly and salute the Officer of the Deck saying "Ensign _______________ reporting on board for duty, sir", and present him with a copy of your orders. He will send down for your bags and will furnish a messenger to guide you to the Executive Officer's office or stateroom. Uncover when passing through the Officer's country and when entering the Commander's (Executive Officer's) stateroom. You will be announced and invited in; stand at attention and say, "Ensign __________ reporting for duty, sir", giving him your orders. Continue to stand at attention until invited to sit.

Do not smoke unless you are invited to do so.

The Executive Officer will question you and give you special information and instructions. He will then probably have you shown to your room.

It is usual that your arrival will have been anticipated. However, if your room is not made up, ring the bell marked "pantry" and when the watch boy reports, tell him to have your room boy make up the room. By this time the O.O.D. will probably have had your luggage delivered. Start unpacking and shift into the uniform of the day, usually blue service with white cap.

On some ships the O.O.D. will first have you shown to your room in order that you may shift into uniform before you go in to see the Executive Officer.


The Executive Officer's Office will send you notification as to your assignment to a Ship's Department, a Division, and as to your watch, quarter and station bill duties (which assigns you your various emergency stations). These latter details may be assigned by your Division Officer. On some ships the Head of Department makes the division assignment.

Locate your Division Officer and inform him that you have been assigned to his division. He will take a personal interest in you and will assist you in becoming acquainted with the ship. He is your immediate superior and will assign you your special duties. Officers are usually given sufficient time, however, to become settled and orientated before any special responsibilities are required of them.

The Executive Officer will have notified you as to the time when you should make your call on the Commanding Officer. Report promptly at the stated time, send in your card by the Captain's orderly and you will be announced and invited in. Uncover when entering the cabin. The Captain will usually ask you to be seated and will converse with you for five or ten minutes, welcoming you to the ship. Make the call brief. The Captain will give you opportunity to bow out gracefully.

You will be shown your place at the wardroom mess table. Always be on time for meals. Most Executive Officers require you to be there several minutes beforehand. Appear neatly dressed, immaculate as to uniform and linen. Your neighbors at the table will give you needed information. Experienced officers are glad to advise and be of help to the newcomer.

Generally, keep your wits about you, your eyes and ears open, and your sense of good manners active and you will be received cordially as a brother officer. Don't be afraid to ask questions - sensible ones; try to find out what are your mess neighbors' duties and lead them on to talk shop - they all love their profession. Don't advance your opinions too brashly - let the others do most of the talking.

Go to the Executive Officer's office and obtain a copy of the "Ship's Organization" and the "Ship's Orders". The First Lieutenant's office will give you a copy of the "Ship's Plans". These booklets and orders contain a wealth of information which should be studied in detail.

The above procedure will be less formal when reporting on board a small ship, but it will be generally the same. If the required procedure on any ship is different from the above, you should follow the instructions of the Executive Officer and be guided by the advice of the other ship's officers.


Here is a brief summary:

1. Report on board, generally in civilian clothes.*
2. Arrive with all your baggage. (It may be necessary to have heavy baggage picked up from the dock by ship's boat.)
3. Shift into uniform - your best uniform and cap.
4. Report to the Executive Officer. Remain standing until told to sit.
5. Receive your instructions from the Executive Officer.
6. When calling on the Captain announce yourself to the orderly. (The uniform for this call will be prescribed by the Executive Officer.) Always remove your cap when entering the cabin.
7. When the Captain dismisses you (the call will generally be for about 10 minutes), report to the head of your department if you have not already done so.
8. On most ships, especially on the smaller ones, there is little room to store a trunk. Present strip ship bills usually require that all trunks be kept ashore. It is desirable to send your extra clothes in a strong wooden box which can be broken up after you report on board. When you are transferred, most ships will have the carpenter make you such a box for shipment of your effects. The use of a sea bag for extra equipment has been found very useful and practicable.

Section II
Conduct and Etiquette On Board Ship

Remember all organizations in society have certain customs and etiquette. These are especially necessary for smooth cooperation between men living close together as is done on board a man-of-war. Live up to these customs. Disregard of them will mark you as careless, ignorant or dilatory. It is true some ships, especially smaller ships, may not follow these customs as strictly as the larger ships, but strict compliance with the following is your only safeguard until you have become thoroughly familiar with any slight variations allowed on board.

Below is summed up procedure to follow. Check yourself frequently to see that you are not violating some fundamental and incurring a poor opinion from your brother officers.


1. Do not enter or lounged in the Wardroom out of uniform. On some destroyers and small ships some latitude is allowed in this, but you should be certain the Commanding Officer


* Civilian clothes are not worn during time of war.


sanctions such variance. Be on guard against following example of a careless or slovenly individual. The Captain may not have spoken to this individual but his opinion has been formed which will be reflected in the fitness report of that officer. It is best not to wear your hat in the wardroom at any time, but it is essential that you never wear your hat in the wardroom while your shipmates are eating. This applies to officers coming in the wardroom after meals and finding the watch-squad eating their late meals. Apropos of taking your hat off in the wardroom, - it is an old Navy custom and a mark of respect to their men that officers always take their hats off when entering the crew's spaces while they are at meals.
2. Never sit down to meals before the Executive or Senior Member sits down.
3. If necessary to leave before completion of meal, excuse yourself to Senior Member at your table.
4. Always introduce your guests to the wardroom officers, at least to those at your table.
5. All guests are guests of all wardroom officers. Be friendly and sociable to guests. Don't continuously talk shop to guests. It gives the appearance that you know nothing else and that your are showing off. In addition, you may reveal confidential information.
6. Whenever an officer from another ship enters wardroom - introduce yourself, extend all courtesies, and ask to help him in any way possible.
7. Never be late for meals. If you are unavoidably late make your apologies to the Senior Member.
8. Only those on the sick list have the privilege of eating in their rooms.
9. Do not loiter in the wardroom during working hours. You are supposed to be at work, not playing cards or drinking coffee to kill time. This will mark an officer as being of the indolent type. Besides, there is always plenty to do to keep you busy and ways in which you can advance yourself. When a young officer reports on board it is best that he devote most of his spare time to professional reading and getting acquainted with his ship's organization and regulations. Save a certain amount of time each day for professional study.
10. Do not be boisterous or otherwise noisy in the wardroom. This is the home of all the officers and their rights and privileges must be respected. All must share equally.
11. Pay your mess bill and all other personal ship bills promptly. Your wardroom mess bill and mess entrance fee is payable in advance. It is proper to ask the mess treasurer within the first twenty-four hours the amount of the mess bill and mess entrance fee and to pay them at that time.


12. Be civil and just in all your dealings with mess attendants. If you have a complaint it is best to make it to the mess treasurer.
13. Some messes have local rules - i.e., not to talk shop at meals, not playing radio during meal hours, etc.
14. Don't abuse the use of the Watch Boy by sending him on long errands.
15. Remember that gambling, drinking or possession of liquor on board ship are General Court Martial offenses.
16. You will find that most of the regular Navy men are just as anxious to help you as you are to learn. After all there is a job to be done and if you can learn how to do it and do it well, they will be pleased to let you help carry the load.
17. Remember that the more experienced officers in your mess will respect you for your frank admission of ignorance, whereas they will soon "have your number" if you assume a presumptuous attitude and continually make blunders.


1. Never appear on quarterdeck unless in uniform of the day except in crossing to enter or leave a boat or as your duties may require.
2. Never stand around on the quarterdeck for any length of time in civilian clothes.
3. Salute the quarterdeck every time you come on to it. (This applies to large ships which have a quarterdeck with defined limits).
4. Never smoke on the quarterdeck.
5. Never engage in recreational athletics on quarterdeck unless it is sanctioned by [the] Captain and then only after working hours.
6. Never walk on the starboard side of the quarterdeck - that belongs to the Captain.
7. Never stand around on topside with your hands in your pockets. It is unseamanlike everywhere, but especially undesirable on the topside.


1. Never be in wardroom eating breakfast after 0800.
2. Always be in your part of the ship in morning before your division officer - always be there at about 0800. It is always an excellent idea for a junior division officer to keep a complete notebook of his division, showing names, initials, rate, bunk and billet numbers, along with all watch, quarter, and station assignments. This book is valuable and should be small enough to carry on your person. It is also a good idea to keep a separate list of notes somewhere in the security of your room where remarks concerning various men can be


kept. This will help a great deal when giving quarterly marks, and recommending men for advancement in rating.
3. Ask for and accept responsibility. It is true that the officer who merely does his job and what he is told to do takes few chances provided he carries out his orders. In our nomenclature he is playing safe and "not sticking his neck out". But the young officer who asks for and does take on added responsibility is creating a reputation and showing his superiors that he is not afraid. Accepting responsibility strengthens a man's character. Some of our finest officers are afraid, yet they take responsibility and drive themselves on and eventually break down this fear. On the other hand we often see fairly senior officers who dislike responsibility, who fear it and can't make a decision. These officers get along well enough, but when the Captain marks their fitness reports they usually end up with a "satisfied to have" mark under their desirability. A Captain desires an officer who will step up and take any job. He doesn't necessarily have to be an expert, but he must be unafraid and willing.
4. Never address your Division Officer except as Mr.
5. Always be at general drills before your Division Officer. Be at drill a few minutes before drill call.
6. Be military. Wear your good clothes to quarters. Wear your best at inspection.
7. Handle your men through your leading P.O. Never by-pass our P.O.'s.
8. Be firm but not a "stuffed shirt".
9. Learn everything about your job. If you don't your men will quickly find out your lack of knowledge and will have little confidence in you. Don't try to bluff.
10. Praise your men in public; censure them in private. Their self-esteem means as much to them as yours does to you. Refer matters of internal divisional discipline to Division Officer.
11. Avoid sending enlisted men into the officer's country. Seldom should an enlisted man other than a mess attendant, messenger or cleaning detail be allowed in the officer's country.
12. Listen to suggestion from your men - you will learn a lot. Decide for yourself whether or not to adopt their suggestions, or refer them to your Division Officer.
13. Never under any circumstances call an enlisted man by anything but his last name. (Failing knowledge of his name - call him by rate). Learn the names of your men, their troubles, their characteristics. A man's name is his most prized possession.


15. Often times orders come down from above which you don't understand or with which you don't agree. Whether you like them or not is unimportant. You must follow these orders and see that they are followed by the men below you. The promulgating of such an order is a hard job. When you have to do it, don't apologize for it. Brace yourself, tighten up your belt, stick out your chin and produce. Never question an order in front of men. If you have any questioning to do, refer it to higher authority.
16. Always show initiative. When given a job, do something about it; take action, even though you may make mistakes. Remember that "No matter how small a job, if it is worth doing at all it is worth doing well", and what the Navy requires is results, not excuses. Don't be afraid to ask questions. You will command far more respect if you learn your job than if through fear of ridicule you fail to ask vital and necessary questions.
17. Remember that you are not just working for "Uncle Sam". You are building your own career and will rise or fall on your own efforts.
18. Do all that you can to build up the morale of the ship - both that of the officers, the men and the families ashore. Make yours the best ship with the best ship's spirit. You will be rewarded by a great sense of satisfaction in the end, and much more can be accomplished in a contented ship than in one in which there is contempt, jealousy and hatred. Try to work in complete harmony and cooperation with the others about you.
19. If given a job, do it at once. Do not procrastinate. Never request permission to leave the ship until you have completed the work assigned or expected of you for the day. And in regard to this last statement, the less shore going during the first couple of months - except for urgent business and athletics - the better. Indicate a sincere desire to learn as rapidly as possible. A young officer who creates the impression of being a "beach hound" will be handicapped.
20. Some officers are prone to think that their badge of office will carry them through all difficult situations without their being fully qualified for the responsibilities of their office. You will this to be absolutely untrue.
21. You should salute your Commanding Officer on every occasion of meeting. Salute all of your seniors on the first occasion of meeting on board ship each day and give them a cheery "Good morning, sir". Return all salutes given you promptly and smartly. On shore you should salute your seniors on every occasion of meeting. Show the same marks of respect and courtesy to your seniors whether they be in uniform or in civilian clothes. Make it a point to recognize them if they are in civilian clothes.


22. Part of each Friday afternoon is usually devoted to Captain's inspection of all lower decks, holds, and storerooms. It is the duty of the junior officers to insure that the parts of the ship assigned to them are in good order and condition and ready for inspection. This requires that the junior officer make sufficient inspections beforehand and give necessary instructions to remedy defects, in order that no adverse comments will be made. The junior officer must give this matter his continued personal supervision. This applies equally well in preparation for the Captain's inspection of upper decks and personnel which occurs usually on Saturday mornings. In addition, junior officers will assist their Division Officer in seeing that their men are immaculate for inspection and that lockers, bags, bedding, etc., are in proper order.
23. One more caution. At the Naval Academy we have a word known as "greasey". In the Army and Marine Corps it is known as "boot-licking". Nothing in an officer's make-up is so noticeable and contemptible as that trait. Fortunately we don't have much of it but it does crop out from time to time. It is sometimes mistaken for an officer's desire to please and make good. Be willing, be cooperative and ambitious but don't be "greasey". When you have done a job to the best of your ability be content with your own satisfaction. Don't run to your superiors with the word that you have done so and so, unless of course you have to make a report to that effect. When you have done your work well, your superiors will know it - don't tell them.


    (For special duties of J.O.O. W. at sea, see "Watch Officers Guide".)

1. Always relieve 10 minutes before the hour - earlier if you contemplate a busy watch.
2. Wear your best uniform, cap, gloves and shoes.
3. Stay on the port side of the Q.D. unless O.O.D. directs you otherwise.
4. Report everything you see and do to the O.O.D.
5. Be military.
6. Permit no infractions of ship's orders, routine, or regulations.
7. Never show favoritism.
8. See that daily routine is carried out. If changes in routine are necessary, report same to O.O.D.; he in turn reports to the Executive Officer.
9. Never shove a boat off early - likewise never let a boat be late. The O.O.D. will usually handle the starboard gangway and designate the J.O.O.W to handle the port gangway.


10. Never permit a boat to leave unless the Coxswain clearly understands your orders.
11. Inspect boats frequently fort cleanliness - the O.O.D. is responsible if a dirty or unseamanlike boat leaves the ship. (Crew out of uniform - gear adrift, etc.).
12. If you have difficulty in getting boats alongside on time - keep the crews in the boats at the booms - this will very shortly correct this deficiency. Do this under the cognizance of the O.O.D.
13. Be considerate of your boats' crews as regards their meals, running n dirty weather, late trips, etc. Keep the O.O.D. advised.
14. Never send a special boat away from ship unless Executive Officer is first contacted concerning his desire in the matter.
15. Meet every boat at the gangway. The J.O.O.W. should personally supervise the collection of liberty cards from the men who return from liberty. This will prevent duplicate cards and possible forgeries.
16. Insist on the observance of proper etiquette by all men coming on board or leaving the ship.
17. Do not permit men on topside in other than in the uniform of the day.
18. Permit no laxness in your enlisted watch section.
19. Be courteous.
20. Keep topside of ship shipshape.
21. Above all be alert to any eventuality.


1. Enter first - leave last - when seniors are present.
2. Always stand when senior enters or leaves boat.
3. When a senior officer is present, do not sit in stern sheets unless asked to do so.
4. Always give your seat to a senior (without being asked to do so).
5. When leaving ship, get in boat prior 1 minute boat gong - don't make a last second dash down the gangway.
6. Never wear unseemly civilian clothes when leaving the ship. Present custom requires a complete civilian dress, including coat, hat and tie on leaving or returning to the ship, unless going ashore in athletic uniform.


    In making calls on shore it is considered that a call is made if you call and leave cards, regardless of whether or not you find the family at home. If the family is found to be out, it is considered friendly to make another call within a reasonable length of time. Calling at a time when it is obvious that the family will not be at home (as when officer has the duty) is exceedingly discourteous and this


discourtesy will not be readily overlooked. Calls are sometimes regarded as a bore by junior officers, but they are the basis of all social life of the Navy. Careful adherence to these social duties will go a long way towards making you a well-liked officer on board ship. Try to arrange your calls, especially those on the Captain, Executive Officer, and your own immediate superior officer's families such that you will find them at home. Some higher ranking officers designate a special time for "at home" which is a time they wish calls to be made.

It is strictly good form to call on all married officers as soon as possible.

Also, remember that small ships are more intimate than large ships and most officers' families will appreciate your making a friendly call at reasonably frequent intervals. A strictly duty call requires that you remain from 15 to 20 minutes. A friendly call may last longer, but be careful not to overstay your welcome and be quick to sense a situation when you have called at the wrong time. It is always possible that another couple that has just come in has been invited for some special engagement, or that the family may be wishing to go out. A social sense and an unselfish manner will quickly detect these situations. Don't do all the talking, but do some. Acquire a friendly sociable attitude. Don't talk too much about yourself or air your own opinions. Talk about something other than "shop" or "where you came from".



You must become a leader. You are one in name by virtue of your rank. It is up to you to prove yourself.

Here are some qualities of leadership that are essential:

1. Develop INITIATIVE.




2. Develop DEPENDABILITY. - make a reputation for yourself that


you can be depended upon, and guard this reputation jealously. In this connection your pocket notebook is indispensable. Many of your instructions and orders will be verbal. It will be impossible for you to remember all these instructions and orders unless you make a written memorandum of them and later use them to refresh your memory.

Make it a rule to always carry this notebook on board ship. Without a notebook it will be almost impossible for you to develop either initiative or the essential quality fo dependability.


Captains demand officers who can think smartly and quickly. One must anticipate what is wanted and what may happen. When on watch always mentally picture any of the numerous casualties that can occur and have an answer ready for any one of them. When you decide to put the wheel over, to increase speed, or any other movement involving ship control, do so quickly and smartly. Don't grad out your commands and don't hesitate to give them when the right time arrives. Nothing marks an officer so much as hesitation or indecision.

4. Develop CHARACTER.

Above all remember that the very fundamental of an officer's value to the Navy is his character. Without a solid foundation of character the officer is building his career on sand; nothing is so important to a naval officer as a true appreciation of the "Eternal Worth of Character". One who understands this and is imbued with a real "Pride of Achievement" cannot and will not be stopped. Character, common sense, initiative and industry will carry any naval officer a long way up the ladder of success.


Courtesy costs you nothing, but it pays big dividends. The Service demands that you be courteous to your seniors. Good breeding demands that you be courteous to your juniors.


To be a leader you must KNOW YOUR PROFESSION. You must study. Experience is the best teacher and is indispensable, by experience is slow and you must supplement experience with reading the lessons learned from years of experience of thousands of other officers and men.


No one likes a grouch or a sullen malcontent. Cheerfulness is infectious - and with it comes enthusiasm, an ingredient of any really successful work.


8. Maintain your SELF-CONTROL.

This means do not get excited or lose your temper. In other words, do not follow the ironical saying, "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, yell and shout".

If a man misbehaves, it is usually sufficient to speak to the man firmly -announcing to him that he shall "go below immediately" or merely, "you are on the report for __________". Avoid all arguments or heated discussions. In dealing with intoxicated men avoid any show of temper and carry on as little conversation as possible. if a man is particularly objectionable, call the corporal of the guard or the master-at-arms and direct him to take the man below. If you find it necessary you may have the man confined in the brig, provided you obtain the assent of the Commanding Officer.

9. Be LOYAL.

This means loyalty to your superiors and to your juniors. Gossip and thoughtless criticism of either your seniors or juniors is utterly despicable.


Common sense is Judgment - being able to distinguish relative importance of problems.


One of the most important duties of a naval officer is to work in harmony with others of the Service.

12. Other essential officer-like qualities are stated below. See if you can define them. SIMPLICITY; EARNESTNESS; ASSIDUITY; JUDGMENT; JUSTICE; ENTHUSIASM; PERSEVERANCE; TACT; COURAGE; and TRUTHFULNESS.


One of the qualities of leadership mentioned above was "Know your profession". Any officer on active duty, regardless of his previous training, must continue to improve his professional knowledge. If he does not he retrogrades and becomes a mediocre, if not a useless officer. Diligent continuous study will be necessary for you to carry on the duties to which you are assigned in a competent and commendable manner.

The following is a priority list of publications which you should study:

1. U.S. Navy Regulations (Chapters and articles pertaining to your own duties on board ship).


2. Watch Officers Guide (Every officer should own a copy).
3. Blue Jackets' Manual.
4. Ships Organization Book and Battle Bill.
5. General Information Book and booklet of Ship's Plans.
6. Ship's Orders.
7. Executive Officers Orders and Memoranda.
8. Special departmental orders of your own department.

When you have mastered the above assignment, become familiar with the following additional publications:

1. Force, Type, and Fleet Regulations.
2. U.S. Fleet Doctrine and Tactical Instructions.
3. Tactical Instructions.
4. War Instructions.
5. Case Instruction - Collision and Grounding.

When you have time the reading of the following books is recommended. They will serve to introduce you to the reading of non-fiction and to advance your education.

Psychology & The Day's Work - Edgar J. Swift.
Marks of an Educated Man - A. E. Wiggam.
Building Your Life - M. E. Bennett.
Making the Most of Books - L. A. Headley.

On practically all ships junior officers are required to keep a journal. This matter is of special importance and benefit to reserve officers. Whether or not you are given assignments to keep up, you should maintain a journal on your own initiative. You will find that such a record of important facts which you learn will often be an invaluable reference.


The following is the letter that was written to the ship's officers by the Commanding Officer on the occasion of the commissioning of the U.S.S. Clark.

"At this time when we are commissioning a new ship and all starting fresh on a clean slate practically strangers to one another, it may be of value to you to have some idea of the point of view, likes and dislikes, desires and peculiarities of your Commanding Officer.

"Accordingly I have set forth below a few observations, some original, some not, in the hope that they may give you a helpful insight into my philosophy of naval life.


"A ship cannot be imagined without organized leadership. It is obvious that the first essential in any military body is an established system of controlling men. We have the benefit of the system as it exists in the Navy. We are backed up by all the machinery of law, regulations, and custom. They help a lot, but such things are only externals - means to an end. Obedience itself is not the object. It is only a step toward the end - a necessary step, but it should be a demonstration of willingness and not an evidence of compulsion. The end sought is the coordination of individual strength to produce the maximum concentrated effort toward the accomplishment of the object in view.

"We shall never be leaders as long as our men are giving only the measure of obedience COMPELLED by law. We shall be leaders only when our men look up to use with confidence, when they are anxious to know our wishes, eager to win our praise and ready to jump at a word from us in the execution of our orders regardless of whether they think them right or wrong.

"How is this to be done? How can we arouse this sentiment in the men of this ship? The answer is simple, but the practice is difficult.


"In the morning when we appear on deck let us think what we would like very man in the crew to be and then let us try to be that man ourselves. Men unconsciously imitate their officers. We stand before them constantly as examples. If we are military, smart, decisive in our bearing they will brace up and try to be like us. But if we are sloppy, careless and seem congenital sufferers from that 'tired feeling,' no amount of nagging will make the men otherwise. If we are active, energetic, enthusiastic, and perhaps best of all, cheerful, our example will be contagious.

"A ship, like a navy, is as good as the men in that ship - NO BETTER.

"Officers can guide, can influence, can mould men. But whether their efforts are successful depends upon the officers setting the very best example in everything and of PRACTICING WHAT THEY PREACH. There is scarcely anything more infamous, more destructive if discipline and loyalty, than the officer whose philosophy of life is based on the principle of 'Don't do as I do, do as I say.'

"Know the practical business of going to sea. The examination papers of many officers reveal the fact that while they are able to make a diagram of a radio set or a sketch of a Diesel engine, they are often deplorably deficient in elementary seamanship, in rules of the road, the different kinds of buoys, and how to lower or hook on a boat in a seaway. Whatever your other technical qualifications, you must be a good sailorman. I want you to know more about every man and everything in your department or part of the ship than any man in


it. Know where the fire plugs are, the spanners, nozzles, magazine floods, water-tight doors, and how to handle them. Know where everything is stowed. I want every officer in the ship personally and without assistance to be able to veer chain, let go an anchor, put on a stopper, and heave in. In case of fire, collision or other emergency, lead your men through knowledge acquired beforehand. Be ABLE to take charge, and when you are in charge, the BE in charge. You know theoretically far more than any enlisted man. The same is true of all graduates of the Naval Academy. Yet you have seen, as I have seen, a lot of officers standing around like tailors' dummies, afraid they might be mistaken.

"If your powers of general observation are not of the best, develop them by conscientious training. When you go up topside or walk about the decks learn instinctively to look round. Drill yourself constantly until you notice without effort and make a mental note of such things as the direction of the wind, whether or not it is freshening or the sky becoming overcast, the absence of the admiral's flag form the ship where it usually flies, that some ship has gone alongside the tanker, that another is painting or preparing to weigh, etc. And in this process don't forget the Clark. If you see lines or swabs hanging over the side of the Colors are foul, don't pass it all up because you are not on duty - DO something about it. We are all on duty 24 hours a day, although not necessarily at all times engaged in executive duty. And in this connection if you return aboard at 0311 and fail to see the O.O.D., don't turn in and forget it because you're not on watch and it's not your pigeon anyhow. If you do you're infinitely more remiss in your duty than was the O.O.D. in being in the fireroom or on the bridge over a bowl over a bowl of coffee.

"It is NOT how much ability an officer HAS, but HOW WELL HE USES what he DOES have that determines his value to the Navy.

"A man's character expresses itself in everything he does.

"It is said that 'responsibility makes cowards of us all.' How many of us are but too inclined to criticise and hold forth on what WE would do were we in so-and-so's billet. Yet when we actually do step into his shoes and shoulder the responsibility for the success or failure of operations which seemed so simple from the outside looking in, we find this responsibility so discouraging to our dash and conceit that we only too frequently follow thee path of least resistance - excessive caution.

"Any fool can criticise. Most fools do.

"Don't nag your men; don't neglect them; don't coddle them; don't play the clown.

"Almost any man with brains can run a reasonably well designed piece of machinery. But it takes a lot more than brains successfully and continuously to run the human machine.


"Let no man leave an interview with you with a feeling of resentment in his heart.

"I want you to feel the same responsibility when the man breaks down and fails that you do when the machine gets out of adjustment. I want you to use the same observation, attention, and care with the man that you do with the machine. I want you to study the human failure just as you examine the reason for mechanical failure. I want you to feel a personal pride in the man, who under your command, becomes a self-respecting, upstanding man-of-war's man, just as you feel a PERSONAL sense of FAILURE for the unfortunate who becomes a deserter and a bum. I ask you to undertake your solution of the human problem with the firm belief that the personnel you are given to control and to lead can be ruined or perfected; by your own individual efforts, by your own observation, foresight, care and intelligence.


"Remember that your are by no means your own master nor even entirely your own property, and that anything you may do to bring temporary discredit to yourself may bring lasting discredit to the United States.

"No important question should ever be decided without considering PRIMARILY its effect on the efficiency of this ship for WAR.

"Know when to say NO and have the guts to do so.

"In handling men it is well to remember that often it is not so much what you do as HOW you do it that counts.

"Cultivate a personality that will inspire obedience. You will recall those teachers at school who could keep a large roomful of boys quiet and orderly merely by an occasional glance round; while others were in a continual state of apprehension, dispensing punishments broadcast; and the tumult increased in direct proportion to the impositions inflicted. Cultivate a personality. The ingredients are: a calm demeanor, a voice and temper under perfect control, a firm conviction of the righteousness of your cause, and a fixed determination to see that cause triumph. And you must know what you're talking about.

"Try to earn for this ship the reputation of a next ahead on whom it is possible to keep station.
"You will never earn it.
"No ship ever has.
"But it is worth trying!

"Discipline is impossible without silence. So is efficiency. Whenever a general exercise such as coming alongside, casting off, inspecting the liberty party, handling stores, paying off, etc., is in progress, INSIST on absolute silence except from those giving the necessary orders.


"In matters of personal bearing, uniform, etc., I shall expect you to be guided by my example. There are certain practices to which I strongly object. They are:

1. "Failing smartly to return salutes rendered you.
2. "The wearing of unstarched collars with blue uniforms in port.
3. "The wearing of dirty, spotted, torn, or frayed uniforms at any time except when working on greasy machinery.
4."Lounging in the wardroom in dungarees or out of uniform.
5. "Pacing or lounging on the weather decks with hands in trouser pockets. If your hands are cold put them in your blouse or jacket side pockets. It does not look unseamanlike and that is what the jacket pockets are for.
6. "Chewing gum at any time in uniform.
7. "Leaning over or against the life lines or against anything on the weather decks thereby telling the world that one is a victim of that 'tired feeling.'
8. "Needing a shave after 0800.
9. "Any kind of cheap, vulgar, uncultivated talk, especially to or in the presence of an enlisted man.
10. "Pencils and fountain pens in sight in uniform outside breast pockets.
11. "He who suddenly bursts into a frenzy of energy and zeal when unexpectedly he finds himself under the eye of the captain.

"At sea in matters of uniform take your cue from me.

"Avoid, as you would the plague, hostile criticism of authority, or even facetious or thoughtless criticism that has no hostile intent. Our naval gunnery instructions state that 'Destructive criticism that is born in officers' messes will soon spread through the ship and completely kill the ship spirit.'

"Admiral Lord Jervis said: 'Discipline begins in the wardroom. I dread not the seamen. It is the indiscreet conversations of the officers and the presumptious discussions of the orders they receive that produce all our ills.'

"Hewlett Thebaud, Comdr., U.S.N."


Below is a copy of an actual fitness report submitted by the commanding officer of a ship on the performance of duty of one of our recent Georgia Tech NROTC graduates:

"Ensign __________ is enthusiastic and intelligent. He has made the most of his five months' active duty in becoming familiar with his duties. He had admirable characteristics of cooperation, loyalty, and is a good leader. He is industrious, readily accepts responsibility, and has a fine sense of subordination. As boat officer he contributed greatly to a successful practical airplane rescue, directing first aid to injured pilot and successful salvage of plane in a moderate sea. Ensign __________ ability to handle the ship in maneuvers and in the harbor shows definite promise. He has definite capabilities of becoming an above average regular line officer. Fully recommend Ensign __________ for promotion to Lieutenant (j.g.), U.S.N.R."

May this serve as an inspiration to all of you.

And may it always be a mark of distinction and of honor to say: "I am a graduate of Georgia Tech".



Published: Tue Oct 31 08:17:47 EDT 2017