As the clock turns midnight on Jan. 1, quartermasters on the bridges of Navy warships will scribble a new day entry in the deck log entry under a red-filtered desk lamp.
It’s an old Navy tradition to write the New Years new day entry in verse and, while it may not always be Shakespeare, it is at least creative. Below is the Jan. 1, 2004, new day entry for the destroyer Cole, which was on its first deployment after the 2001 attacks that killed 17 of its sailors, as posted on the Naval History and Heritage Command’s website:
The year of ’03 has come to an end
Sit back and listen to a story, my friend.
The story of Mighty Warship COLE,
And her survival of the “Big Black Hole.”
Was her first cruise of the new millennium
She stopped for fuel in the port of Aden, Yemen.
Alongside with terrorists and bombs, a boat did come,
Intent on stopping the COLE’S engine’s sweet hum.
With fire and flooding in the spaces contained,
Through crew sacrifice, watches of vigilance were maintained.
Put a Big Black Hole in her side, they did,
Finall-y carried to the shipyard with the winning bid.
To Pascagoula, Mississippi the COLE did go
It seemed the work and training was going too slow
But 3 years and two hundred fifty million dollars following
Mission is to find terrorist’s hearts, in fear, wallowing.
So here we are in the Ionian Sea,
Destroyer 67, as bad as can be.
DESRON 18, a part we are,
Sailing the seas, near and far.
Our course 045 TI Speed 7 knots,
Our plant full steam, our guns ready with shots.
Commander Grady is Captain of this mighty warship,
He leads COLE with honor, smart as a whip.
As we sail through the ocean, our boss is COMSIXTHFLT,
The Atlantic is behind us, time to crank up the heat.
Her keel is hot as she tears through the sea,
A warrior at heart she only can be.
As 2004 we see through the haze,
Our determination shines through with a blaze.
This ship stands fox freedom, honoring sacrifice and loss,
We fight for our country, no matter the cost.
The crew sails with honor and soul,
To put right which was wronged, they fight for the COLE.
God bless our families, this ship, and the sea,
As we lay down this year, good bye 2003.
The new year rolls in, it’s 2004,
We’re on our deployment, need I say more.
One last comment, to the terrorists, I leave,
The message we send should be clear to see.
In honor of our shipmates lost in the blast,
Remember our motto “17 Reasons To Kick Your Ass.”
If you have a memorable New Years deck log entry, leave it in the comments section. And a happy New Years from the staff of Navy Times!