John, Wow, what a great story!I've printed your posting and am going to keep it with my grandfather's membership card so that my family and future generations can see what he may have gone thought to become a "trusty shellback."
I still have a couple of questions though. First, were the ceremonies you participated in/witnessed involving only Navy personnel?Reason I ask is that I'm wondering whether the Navy would have conducted such extravagant ceremonies for non-Navy personnel (ie. like those simply being transported to a theater of war like my Army soldier grandfather).Similarly, do you think that such an extravagant ceremony would have been conducted during a time of war?Last, does "U.S.A.T." stand for US Army Transport??I was going to post this last question under a new heading, but given your Navy background I thought you would know.Also, do you have any idea how can I find out whether the "Sea Barb" has been decommissioned or where it might be located if still in existence?
Thanks again for the great description of the ceremony (I would love take you up on your offer of pictures - I'm at "Rodneyatcavc@yahoo.com").I look forward to hearing from you again.