Roger Crossland (RCROSSLAND@hospice.com)
Fri, 07 Feb 1997 09:59:52 -0500
Everyone prefers a name to a number. There was a well known TV
series with Patrick McGoohan where he declares "I am a man not a
number." Navy ships all have numbers but they are known in
nonbureaucratic communications by their names. It is easier somehow
to be loyal to a name. Patrick O'Brien in his books talks of the HMS
Surprise and its crewmen refer to themselves as "the Surprises."
The existence of one or two of the Ships in this council precedes the
numbering of Ships in the 1920's when CDR Keane finally took charge
and set the Sea Scout house in order. Traditionally Ships have Ship's
patches in addition to the numerals they wear on the opposite shoulder.
The patch is often a play somehow on the first or primary vessel owned
by the Ship or something related to their identity. For example, Ship 101
SES Viking out of Stratford, Ct. no longer owns a vessel named Viking
but they still refer to themselves as"the Vikings." Ship 6 out of Norwalk,
CT. cruised and camped on the local Norwalk Islands and there Ship's
patch was a cartoon of a tropical island signifying that they were "the
Islanders." They never owned a vessel named Islander. Often the older
Ships have name plates on their landships which give the Ships
Of late I notice Ships patches have devolved into something like State
Troopers patches, i.e., several unrelated symbols and maybe a motto "To
serve and confuse" or the like.
Just by way of historical perspective Sea Scout/Sea Explorer Ships
were not always universally known as Ships. In the early years your
enrollment determined your status. Smaller units might be barques or
barkentines or sloops depending on their enrollment. Only large units
could be rated fully rigged "Ships."