Until 1998, platoon-sized Marine detachments were standard on deploying battleships and carriers (as well as cruisers and even some small gunboats through WWII). These dets served various administrative duties (door guards for the skipper and afloat admirals, honor guards for port visits) as well as a legitimate military purpose (TRAP, “special munition” guard, ship defense et.al).
Below are some 1988 images of the MARDET of the USS Dwight D Eisenhower (CVN 69), then in the 6th Fleet on a Mediterranean Sea cruise, working up with their WWII vintage M1911 .45-caliber pistols in their berthing space aboard the ship.
Dig those bright green woodland BDU cammies.
Photo by PH3 Gregory A.Pinkley/National Archives 6450632
In the same set is this August 1985 image of 1SG Holmes– wearing starched ERDL leaf pattern jungle fatigues– preparing to fire a (personally owned?) Browning Hi Power from Ike’s fantail. Now that‘s unusual.
Note the shotgun in the background.
The art of tying cordage around Boatswain’s pipes, handrails, ship’s wheels, bell pulls, boat paddles and just about any other gripping surface goes back hundreds of years to the days of sail and canvas where such reinforcement was needed to give those at sea a grip on wood that could become slippery with spray in times of peace and blood in times of war.
Fancy work board crafted by NEDU chiefs over the years in Panama City. (Photo: Chris Eger
When steam came along, ventilator openings were added to the list to keep wayward objects and animals from popping down on the snipes. Over the years, such knotting techniques as coxcombs and turksheads evolved and were past down by experienced bluejackets and tars to the incoming swabs as tribal knowledge.
And it remains very much alive to this day:
BM3 Schroeder instructs SN Pelchar, and SN Ramos in fancywork aboard CGC TACKLE (Photo: U.S. Coast Guard Northeast)
160623-N-JQ675-013 MEDITERRANEAN SEA (June 22, 2016)- Aviation Ordnanceman Airman Michael Lease ties a line on a pole in a passageway of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike). Ike, the flagship of the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, is conducting naval operations in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Neo Greene III/Released)
Image via Chris Powell shared Research Library, USS Midway Museum’s photo
18 October 1985: This congregation of carriers moored in numerical order from front to back at Piers 11 and 12 at Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia, are the nuclear-powered aircraft carriers USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and USS Nimitz (CVN-68) (both Nimitz-class), and the conventionally-powered USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) and the Kitty Hawk-class USS America (CV-66).
While Ike and Nimitz are still on active duty and will be for some time, JFK has been laid up since 2007 and is currently berthed at the NAVSEA Inactive Ships On-site Maintenance facility in Philadelphia on possible museum hold.
America, on the other hand, was decommed in 1996 as a cost saving measure as she was up for refit and is the largest warship and only supercarrier ever to be sunk, scuttled in very deep water after live-fire testing 14 May 2005.
Atlantic Ocean (May 14, 2005) – The decommissioned aircraft carrier, USS America (CV 66) was “laid to rest” after being sunk at sea. America was the target of a series of tests designed to test new defense and damage control systems for the CVN-21 program. The conventionally-powered carrier, left active service in 1996. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg (RELEASED)