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Trusty Shellback Initiation

It has been a long naval tradition to initiate pollywog's into the Kingdom of Neptune - the legendary god of the seas, upon their first crossing of the Equator. Known as shellback initiation, Captains of ships have always taken time, either in war or peace, to uphold this long practiced ceremony. The ceremony has changed in recent years due to gender factors, but the intent is still very much alive. It should also be noted that the tradition holds no regard for rank. Officers and enlisted wogs are treated equally (or nearly so, as you will see below). Every sailor and marine about a Naval ship is given the opportunity to become a Trusty Shellback

A ship knowing it will cross the Equator will pile up stores of garbage and smelly clothes and anything that is vile but not life threatening. On the appointed day and time the uninitiated are led out on deck, instructed to get down on all fours and crawl, (unless directed otherwise) usually in humiliating garb (for example you start with your dungarees on inside out and backwards, and finish with your "huggies" on top inside out and backwards), take the wog to breakfast where they get to eat all sorts of green stuff, like green spaghetti, green eggs, green donuts washed down with green milk.. Yeeech! Then the lowly pollywog is paraded around the deck, and made to do unspeakable things. Actually it is great fun and no one is supposed to get hurt (although the occasional accident occurs).

The wogs are made to run a gauntlet, being belted with greased socks stuffed with rags or other such instruments, crawl through the garbage, and suffer other indignities, and at the end you HAVE to kiss the belly of the Royal Baby. This is usually the fattest, biggest beer gut guy they have on board. He'll grab you by the ears and rub your face in his belly which is covered with mustard, oil and stuff.

Afterwards, a good hot shower is had, and at the evening chow, the new shellbacks are treated to a steak and lobster dinner by the older shellbacks. You are later issued an official Shellback wallet card and a big wall certificate you can frame. Make sure you keep your card, because if you lose it and it is not documented in your Service Jacket you will have to go through the ordeal again unless you can prove otherwise. There are no exceptions to this rule.

The Subpoena

Every wog gets a subpoena. And based on your behavior and attitude, its full of "charges." Here is the front cover on mine



And here are the charges in my subpoena



Plan of the Day (POD)

Nothing is complete without your Official Wog Plan Of The Day. This sheet outlines what happens, when it happens, etc


Shellback Service Jacket Certificate

Being a shellback is serious business. Its even part of your official Navy record. This is a copy of mine

Shellback Service Jacket Entry Certificate


Shellback Wallet card

Once you join the ranks of a Trusty Shellback, you get an awesome wallet card to carry around. I got mine in 1986 and I keep it stored in a safe place. As you can see it's very discolored with age


the front
Spike Robbins Shellback Card front

the back
Spike Robbins Shellback Card back