SOME OF YOU MAY REMEMBER SOME OF THESE PLACES AND KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT......I got this from a good friend. They were famous throughout the Navy………
The Gut in Barcelona; East Main Street in Norfolk; Flatbush Ave in Brooklyn; The Combat Zone in Boston; The Pike in Long Beach; Market Street in San Francisco, Bank Street in New London; Broadway Street in San Diego; Hotel (s**t) Street in Honolulu; The Honcho in Yokosuka, China Town and Sakuragi-cho in Yokohama; Wanchai in Hong Kong; Buggis Street in Singapore; Magsaysay in Olongapo In The GUT!! Feed the alligators. Going over S**t River bridge. 7 Seas!! Top Of The Mark Chiefs Club.
See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Pe1UZYXQfY. It is located on the hill above Subic Bay. I see that RA5C and it brings tears to my eyes. They were and still are a beautiful airplane and way ahead of their time. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyIOyQniNe0 for a better look!!
; and all the other places where fleet Sailors congregated.
People ask......."Where did all the Sailors go?"
Well shipmates......they didn't go anywhere.
You are asking the wrong question. You should ask, "Where did all the fleet Sailors go?"
Long ago........on payday night and in the nights following,.....these streets were a paradise to the American Sailors.
A person could look down the street and see neon signs advertising beer and bars and a sea of white hats bobbing up and down as Sailors made their way from bar to bar.
At liberty call these became a shopping center for intoxicating beverages and female companionship. .
And in some places a Second Class could get that new First Class crow sewn on or on some cases that old Third Class crow sewn back on.
No need for crows these days. It is all collar and hat devices. I don't see much need for dress uniforms these days. The only time you see it worn is when a ship is leaving or returning from a deployment or standing a Quarterdeck watch. Or some old guy at Memorial Day and Veterans Day Services.
The smoking lamp is cold and probably over the side or being saved for recycling or Mary Soo is Fraud, Waste, Abuse and misappropriation of government property.
Instead of trading useless gear to Mary Soo for painting the ship while in Hong Kong, the Navy now recycles and lets a multi-thousand dollar contract to get the job done.
Smoking is now frowned upon. Surface ships limit smoking to a tiny, uncomfortable topside space.
My shipmates in the Bubble Head world can no longer smoke anyplace aboard the boat. Municipalities and states have also jumped on the bandwagon and banned smoking in bars and restaurants.
Drive past any bar or lounge and you will see a group standing on the corner smoking and no, they cannot bring their drinks outside. It is against the law to drink in public.
The base clubs are closed. They no longer exist or have been converted to MWR game rooms where the strongest drink available is a lousy Red Bull.
Quarterdecks of ships, in addition to a podium, log books, long glass, and weapon are now equipped with a Breathalyzer and probably a watch stander to operate it.
Many commands are requiring that Sailors refrain from drinking the day prior to a duty day.
Back in the day, a Sailor ashore knew that his shipmates had his back. Whether in a confrontation with a Sailor from another ship, Marines, or Limeys, he knew his shipmates would stand with him.
Too much to drink? A shipmate would help you back aboard and even help you to your rack. You would do the same for him.
These days, you are assigned a "Liberty Buddy." You are to stay together.
Before you go ashore, you have to formulate a "Liberty Plan" and get it approved by your Department/Division Liberty Coordinator. If during your liberty, you or your Liberty Buddy change your plan, you must contact your Liberty Coordinator and get the change approved.
I surmise that, "I'll be in the Barrio some place getting drunk." would not be an acceptable liberty plan. Always worked for me!
They were more than streets and bars.
First and foremost, they were the repositories of small bits and pieces of the history of America's forces afloat.
They were the unofficial clubhouses of those of us who went to sea on old gray steel under the flag of the United States.
They were places where a thirsty Sailor could go and park his butt where Sailors of earlier fleets had parked theirs.
They were the poor man's Valhalla, where Sailors who plowed deep salt water could go and share fellowship and sea stories with fellow practitioners of the nautical arts.
A place where well-intention exaggeration and BS-gilded, flawed recollection were readily forgiven and accepted.
They were places where lonely strays could tie up alongside a warm feminine fanny on a cold night.
Where did the streets and the bars go you ask?
Where the hell? (Or better yet today, WTF?)
"Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction, I SERVED IN THE UNITED STATES NAVY."
President John F. Kennedy.
1 August 1963
BTW!! The phrase “ drunk as a sailor” still rankles me!!