The Old Salt

An “Old Salt” and a young sailor stroll past a recruiting poster in 1920. It highlights what their boss, Secretary of the Navy Josephus “Cup O Joe” Daniels, wanted to highlight to attract the best and brightest enlisted talent: an honorable profession, exotic travel, the chance to learn a trade, good food, and generous wages (but no shipboard beer or rum ration)

NHHC NH 95614

The ‘Salt wears an 1890s period Spanish-American War-era uniform, complete with old style flat cap and what could very well be a Shore Patrol or Master-at-Arms badge (there are so many variations out there almost any chest badge in that shape could be SP or MAA). Tucked in his waist could be a bosun’s whistle, knife, or watch chain. 

Meanwhile, the more modern Blue Jacket wears a more 20th-century cracker jack and “Dixie cup hat,” even though the old flat cap would remain an authorized item until as late as 1963.

By which time, the younger sailor was a seasoned Old Salt himself.

Old Salt of the Sixth Fleet Letterpress reproduction of an oil painting by Frank E. Zuccarelli, depicting a Salty Sailor on board USS Strong (DD-758), while on duty with Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, July 1972. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, D.C. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph. Catalog #: NH 97953-KN

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