Crossing the Line

Steele is one of my friends I train in the ROTC program. Very interesting character. He is a freshman at USC. In his spare time he reads The Prince by Machiavelli on the Realism; an International Relations school of thought. He dates 5 women at a time and loves clash of clans.

Because Steele is in his first year he is required to take the primary courses in his first semester on Naval Contemporary and Historical Life. One of the events, when I started asking him about naval tradition as a part of folklore was an event called crossing the line. The ceremony of crossing the line is an initiation rite in many navies across the globe including the United States, Great Britain, and Dutch navy. The ceremony commemorates a sailor’s first crossing over the equator. It is rumored to have originated when the ship was passing what are called “headlands”. It’s meant to boost morale. Sailors were stuck at sea for months at a time away from spouses, family and friends. It was also dually created as a test. Senior Enlisted sailors were to make sure that the newbies on board would be able to handle themselves in the long run. Originally this was seen as an event where hazing took place. Kicking, shoving, hitting, and yelling. Now a days it’s less violent and more humiliating to coincide with the Chief of Naval Operations orders.

Analysis: This once gruesome initiation process now, entertaining tradition goes to show that the Navy is changing. We’re looking less to beat and use fear to retain our sailors. Obviously there is an appeal to toughening up the people that have to go out there and fight our wars for us. But like the Chief of Naval Operations deems necessary, one of them isn’t battering our own sailors. Today it seems like it is much more a test of mental strength. Can words break you. If words make you cry, your in the wrong business here.