“Crossing the Line Ceremony”
In the Navy there is a time honor tradition, a tradition observed and recognized by naval services worldwide. The ceremony is called “Crossing the Line Ceremony” where sailors shed their pollywog slime for crusty shellbacks as they cross the equator on board a naval warship. The ceremony is designed to ensure that each “wog” has seen his true status in the eyes of the Ruler of the Seas King Neptune. On the morning of June 26th 1994 my father, Paul Fuquay Jr. participated in this ceremony and this is his story. At about five o’ clock that morning he was awakened and instructed to put on his “wog uniform”, which consisted of his wog T shirt worn inside out with the squadron name (VF31), his work pants on backwards, and his underwear turned inside out and worn over his work pants. He was told to get on his hands and knees and start crawling toward a meeting area where other “pollywogs” were. From there they were told to crawl single file down a passageway to an area that would lead him and the other “wogs” to an aircraft hanger bay. As if rounding up cattle, the “wogs” were corralled and herded out onto an aircraft elevator. While they were there some of the ships shellbacks sprayed them with water from a firehose which did not feel pleasant at all. From there they were taken to the flight deck where the real fun began. While on the flight deck, they participated in a variety of ceremonial “games”, such as crawling on their hands and knees while a moldy strip of bacon hung around his and the other “wogs” necks. Coffins filled with garbage, stockades and a visit to King Neptune’s royal court awaited him and the “wogs”. While in front of King Neptune and his royal court my father and his squadron shipmates had to perform a skit where they sang, played pretend musical instruments and danced to the tune of “Felix the Cat” but instead of cat insert wog to be “Felix the Wog”. King Neptune liked their skit so much that he allowed them to crawl...
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