The act of writing a ship’s log… there’s nothing special about it. Deck logs are the permanent record of day-to-day life aboard a vessel. They must include who is in command, what the status of the ship is and various other aspects of the ship’s operations. Written in all-caps, the logs are ordinary every day of the year except one: New Year’s Eve.
On most ships, and at all Coast Guard units standing the watch, the midnight entry takes on a life of its own and is traditionally written as a poem. The Compass reached out to those standing the mid-watch to share the tradition of applying verse to the ship’s log as we all rung in 2012.
Below are the watch entries for those who were afloat, but you can also read the log entries from those who were standing the watch ashore.
A Mellon New Year – By Chief Warrant Officer R. S. Clark
In days of yore, traditions set and time awaits the dawn,
Yet here aboard the greatest ship, the Mellon floats along,
Two Thousand Eleven’s come and gone and given us some change,
Twenty Twelve’s upon us now and the mood, it seems quite strange.
COMPACAREA’s OP & ADCON’s set, JIATF TACON too,
At xx.xxN, xx.xxW we sail within the blue,
All lights are lit that need be seen,
Our mast, our stern and in between.
Our propulsion plant plods the course as northward bound we sail,
MDE #1 she sleeps, both turbines rest, MDE #2 she will prevail,
Our engineers, with miracles wrought, have given her some fight,
Soon enough the work begins, to guide her through the light.
“Dog Zebra’s” called throughout the ship, and the light is held within,
Yoke is trimmed about her hull, so that the water won’t get in,
Mel’s one and two are cradled safe, and will stay there through the night,
Unless SN Gilbreath’s watch, detects a go-fast’s flight.
Lt. j.g. Davidson’s about the deck, Ensign Salerno has the CONN,
All other watch stations stood as Mellon pursues the dawn,
The crew sleeps idly by and dreams throughout the night,
Northward bound our course is set, the U.S. is our plight.
And just before the dawn appears, and night turns into day,
Our spirits rise in unison to hear the words we say,
“This glorious ship has brought us here and soon returns us home,
Thank God for the friends we’ve made wherever they may roam.”
Coast Guard Cutter Waesche – By Ensign Meghan Zehringer and Lt. j.g. Rachel Foote
‘Tis New Years Eve Night,
And all through the ship, watchstanders work to get their resolutions just right,
For into the year of 2012 we go,
But what of 2011 have we to show?
CART, TSTA, CSSQT and Helo STAN well completed,
21 days underway left Waesche depleted,
Hot intel and drug busts galore,
And a line crossing leaving some with a new certificate to adore.
On all hallows eve we returned to homeport,
And at Coast Guard Island we now conduct our evening report.
With two sisters forward, a magnificent sight we present,
Moored stbd side to in berth 1 as SOPA we reign,
Destined for greatness to honor our namesake, we are
Under the OPCON and ADCON of COMPACAREA.
Our status is Charlie for the repairs we anticipate,
Our small boats await just their coxswain and crew,
CG-24108 and CG-23174 at the Alameda MSST Pier,
And CG-24017 snug on the pier.
With lights burning brightly and yoke thoroughly set,
Power, phone, water and sewage run from the ship to the shore,
And lines doubled securely with care,
We eagerly wait for what happens next.
For what the new year has in store keeps us perplexed.
Future adventures and challenges will put us to the test,
While all others “Happy New Year!” cry,
And as the ball drops on the opposite coast,
We raise our glasses in a toast.
Looking out toward the deep blue ocean we cheer,
“We wish you all a good night and a happy New Year!”
Coast Guard Cutter Oak – By Lt. j.g. Shea Winterberger
I must go down to the oak again, to the cutter moored port side to,
On pier papa in Charleston, the bollards are wet with dew.
Round-about each, lines loop twice; there the shore ties lie snaking;
And all I ask are services our berth continue making.
I must go down to the Oak again, where FPCON Alpha is set.
In Charlie status we won’t be going to sea just yet.
And all I ask is yoke, and the strength of an old oak tree.
Ops and admin are managed by District Seven, Miami.
I must go down to the oak again, where SOPA is Gallatin;
NOAA ships Ronald H. Brown and Nancy Foster are also in.
Lieutenant junior grade winterberger is officer of the day,
And all I ask is MK3 Dale a taut watch to display.
I must go down to the Oak again, where the lamps burn merry and bright,
And BM2 Sisk will take the next watch this new year’s night.
And all I ask is for buoys and a sail on the Spanish main,
To fair winds, raise your glass, there’re always new goals to gain.
Coast Guard Cutter Spencer – By Lt. j.g. Matthew Malacaria, Lt. j.g. Luke Walsh and Lt. j.g. John Packard
In the Caribbean Sea, we are underway,
Soon to refuel at Guantanamo Bay.
Comlantarea has our OPCON and ADCON,
As we reflect on the year that has gone.
JIATF South has Tactical Control,
Both boats are griped down, against the pitch and the roll.
SPEN 1 is the ready boat, snug in its place,
With luck, we will soon have a go-fast to chase.
The nav. lights are extinguished, the ship she is dark,
Remaining covert is a walk in the park.
As the crew sleeps soundly and awaits the dawn,
LTJG Walsh has the deck; LTJG Packard, the Conn.
As we shift steering pumps, the hydraulics whine,
While back at home, they sing “Auld Lang Syne.”
Coast Guard Cutter Vigilant – By Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Dean
For tonight, as we bring onward the New Year tide, our old steel lady is moored starboard side.
Her iron claws grasping doubled twine bind her girth, to Station Canaveral’s most southern berth.
On this joyful night thee old girl is under Charlie’s light to keep us ready if morrow brings us to flight.
At COMLANTAREA in the town that lays in thy harbor’s jaw our OPCON and ADCON reside in thy state of General Washington.
No need of cisterns to bring us drink for Tera is our link, she gives cables of Franklin and lines of bell to brings us Thors lightning and voices I do tell.
If our fodder be at hand it is relinquished to the land.
For those who ask it be no jester’s joke, to keep our tempest secure, we have set her to yoke.
To ward off dragons fire and griffins bite we have harnessed Edison’s light.
Our two boats be it thee, they are held tight ready for sea.
For on this night do not fret, for we are not alone we share this net.
For be it six one nine and SOPA is her line.
Now I must end this fun for I am told by M.E. One.
Coast Guard Cutter Harriet Lane – By Lt. j.g. Noelle Demarco and Petty Officer 3rd Class Kenneth Shellenberger III
‘Twas the morning of 2012 the year of our lord, with duty section 1 standing a taut watch on board.
At BSU Portsmouth in Charlie status we moor, facing the sea from north pier berths 3 and 4.
With COMLANTAREA in command, SN Fields set yoke so we don’t sink next to land.
All deck, mooring and aircraft warning lights are all burnin’ bright, as six 270s show their might.
The OOD’s still LTJG Demarco and ETC Boughn too, but they’ll be relieved in just a few.
While on the topic of things in command the Campbell (WMEC-909) is SOPA taken from the old 902.
And as the Lane takes hotel services from the pier, duty section 1 wishes you a happy new year!