the purpose of Side Boy Honor Guard aboard military ships

July 18th, 2003  
Mark Conley

Topic: the purpose of Side Boy Honor Guard aboard military ships

In todays military, we have many unique customs. What is not realized is that what is now custom formely had a real purpose. Take the use of Side Boys to welcome a ranking visitor aboard a military vessel. It is the task of assigning two, four, six, or eight men to line both sides of the gangplank based on the ascending rank of the officer visiting the vessel, with two being assigned for ensigns and Lts, up to eight for admirals and above. More rank, more honor guard, right? But this system originally served a darker purpose....

this custom came from the British Navy of the 17-18 century. back then, men did not often have the luxury of walking on to their ships: most had to transfer from a small boat to the larger ship by Ladder, or by a device called a bosun's chair, which was essentially a seat attached to a yardarm by a block and tackle. Here where the revelance comes about: the younger and less rank you had, the lighter you were. thus, a light midshipman or LT needed only two men on the haul rope, while a long endurance and often very stout Admiral, having eaten everything and then some over their forty year carreers, tended to need eight men to pull them up. additional jobs, such as availng themselves to steady the person after getting them to the deck, and helping with the persons luggage and other dunnage they would bring with them, also necessitated a required number of hands based on their weight or amounts of belongings collect thruout the years.
July 18th, 2003  
Good one..

Didn't know that one.
A lot of our military traditions and customs have originally served another purpose, without us realizing it...
October 10th, 2004  
Yes, and we need to really need to start pruning the useless stuff away.
October 10th, 2004  
A Can of Man
It reflects culture anywhere in general. It serves a purpose or served a purpose and that's why it's there. But no one can quite remember why.
October 11th, 2004  
If nobody remember's why, then it's time for it to die. If people start dying left and right because the geneal's building isn't playing that carosel soung at 8am (or is it 730?), then we can reinstate it. But it serves absoutely no purpose anymore except to cuase us privates to stop in complete amazement and dumbfoundment.... the salutes I can understand keeping around, the ranks as they are, yes...... but the akward dress uniform and gay blue infantry cord, the ceromonies, etc have got to go.

(I am so angry with my Class A Uniform.... it is ironically the only outfit I have in my entire wardrobe that isn't combat effective... and it's a military uniform! WTF?)
July 23rd, 2005  
It is rather like lining the decks of a ship while leaving port, this came about to show people that your cannons where not manned.
December 21st, 2005  
That's cool. I didn't know that
December 21st, 2005  
Navy Boy
May 15th, 2006  

Originally Posted by Airborne
Yes, and we need to really need to start pruning the useless stuff away.
I disagree, It's what seperates us from the Civvies.

"Weasling out of things is important to learn, It's what separates us from the animals... except the weasels."
July 4th, 2006  

Topic: Tradition

Tradition is part of giving us a history. I for one think that we need history and traditions to give us a unity. This is important in all life but more in the armed forces where H and T ties bonds with your teammates. It all ads up to when, if need be you give the greatest sacrifice of all, your life , to something larger than you. Keep traditions I say.