Signalling, Why I joined , Why I stayed and Lady Sea Scouters
William H. Sills (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 10:33:29 -0500
Roger Crossland wrote:
> I have bit my tongue thus far on this issue because it appears to be a fait
> accompli, but I just can't stand it any more. . .
> I must point out that though CW (auditory - Morse sent by radio) may no
> longer be part of the Navy curriculum, blinking light (visual - Morse sent
> by light) is still very much a maritime and aviation skill. It will be for
> decades to come because it requires minimum equipment. I could go on
> and on about military technological weapons (non-US) designed to wipe
> out all electronic capabilities, but suffice it that simple visual stuff is still
> necessary. Morse is still taught and used, just not by radiomen.
> Semaphore is used daily by all naval ships steaming together -- both
> officially and unofficially. Signalmen normally get the scuttlebutt about
> the other ships by signaling semaphore by hand without flags. It has
> been traditionally taught to frogmen so they can signal from the beach
> when no radio is available.
> If the USCG-A doesn't teach it we shouldn't either, I guess. Since there is
> a strong Coast Guard presence in Sea Scouting these days, I might point
> out that that of the WWII Coast Guard Medals of Honor was won in that
> very way by a signalman on Omaha beach. No radio and waving his
> hands conspicuously. Got a lot of attention. Especially from a German
> sniper. Scratch one brave scivvy waver.
> Signaling, Morse or semaphore, is very traditional scouting. It seems
> Norman Rockwell paintings abound with scouts using semaphore or
> wigwag. It is useful in emergencies. It fits with our self image that we
> are more than just young people learning about outdoor stuff, we are
> ready to be helpful in emergencies. We are into more than sunshine
> recreation, we are the all weather guys with grit.
> I fear we are drifting into duplication of recreational boating courses and
> redundancy. If you want to get down to it, you could get away with only
> knowing a bowline, a figure 8, and how to cleat a line and only sailing
> afternoons throughout your entire sailing career. I know a lot of
> yachtsmen who have done just that. Most sailing clubs get by on that.
> Trouble is we are more than that, I least I hope so. My opinion is if we
> are looking for "relevancy" we should be adding electives such as boat
> building, underwater exploration, marine biology, etc. but the core should
> be readiness for emergencies at sea.
> I can live with the current changes, but we will continue to teach both
> Morse and semaphore here. I would strongly oppose any further
> erosion though. I might add that Fairfield County Council with seven
> Ships was not consulted either. Sometimes I wonder if only the Sunbelt
> gets to vote. I know Hollywood has convinced youth that palmtrees are
> the norm, maybe the answer to standardized uniforms is Hawaiian shirts
> in Admiralty blue.
> I assure you that I can get agreement with any group of teenagers that
> anything under the sun is "dumb" if I let them, it's not hard. Bouys and
> light characteristics are dumb, too, I have heard it and ignored it. All in
> the packaging.
> I don't question anyone's motivation. Anyone who spends time with this
> age group is dedicated and tough. I do fear, however, that we can
> water down this program so far for Generation X that it will be "cool" for
> 15 seconds then cease to exist.
> Roger Crossland
> Sea Exploring Squadron
> Fairfield County (CT) Council
Again, I love CW. i teach it to the Sea Scouts in my squadron that
want to learn it. I also don't believe in the infallable reliability of
electronics through experience as a merchant mariner and Marine.
However, it has become very nearly impossible to "play" with it because
I couldn't find anyone on the other end. <G>
The greatest tonnage and most licensed merchant mariners are found
on the Great Lakes and the Western Rivers. Nowhere on these waters is
any form of CW practiced nor, for that matter, is celestial navigation
required. Celestial is an elective. I believe that signalling should
also be an elective. BTW, Marines pretty much dropped semaphore after WW
II. We did, however, use wig wag. My experience of eons ago was talking
to the USN by wig wag. As a good Sea Scout, I knew semaphore but the
need for it NEVER arose in the military. Still, we learn it here and SSS
HATHOR (1) has even produced its own instructional video tape.
Drill, celestial and signaling should be electives. That way, they
are not lost and we skippers can offer them to our charges and. thusly,
Why I joined the Sea Scouts 100 year ago: I loved to sail on hard
and soft water. The Sea Scouts sailed on hard and soft water. I didn't
like camping and the Boy Scouts that much. Ergo, I left Troop 17 after
1st Class and joined the Sea Scouts! Why I stayed in Sea Scouts: I love
to sail on hard and soft water. There were too many kids uninterested in
Boy Scouts and too many girls never in Boy Scouts so I just took them in
and stayed in Sea Scouts. Now, I'm too old to change my ways. :-)>
Now, I try to encourage as many young ladies as possible to
remain in Sea Scouts as mates. I have little trouble finding young men
so I concentrate on encouraging ladies to become a vital part of our
program. I have met incredible young lady mates from the east to the
west that will, if encouraged, some day be the prime movers of a
wonderfully strong Sea Scout program. They just need to know that
despite our being noisy and opinionated, we old guys really care about
they're remaining involved. Also, many young ladies are unaware of the
fact that there are many lady fleet, flotilla, squadron and ship
officers. The new generation of ladies will rise, the older generation
won't leave <G> so we need to encourage the ladies in their 20s and 30s.
Central Flotilla "Flotsam"