USS Arizona
Previous Next

Order of the Ditch

Posted on 11 Feb 2023 @ 7:12pm by Lieutenant Ronnie Broward & Command Master Chief Petty Officer Hector Gonzales & Lieutenant Commander Ciara Mcclellandi & Lieutenant William Orr & Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kemo Paahao & Chief Petty Officer Samantha Gibbons & Petty Officer First Class Rebecca Robinson

Episode: E1: A Historic Voyage
Timeline: Date 2025-05-21 at 1930

The crew mess was abuzz with talk and laughter as the new members of the Order of the Ditch heard the tales of previous ceremonies from those already initiated. Similar to the Blue Nose, the Navy had a tradition for transiting the Panama Canal. After conducting the ritual topside, similar to the Order of the Blue Nose, there had been cake in the crew mess for the new inductees. Hector stood with a few of the other chiefs, all talking about their own experiences transiting the canal. Checking his watch, Hector excused himself and made his way to the front of the mess. Inserting his fingers into his mouth, he blew a sharp whistle which silenced the compartment.

"Now here this," he said with a smile and clap of his hands, "The time has come to present our new inductees with their certificates of membership in the Order of the Ditch!"

Kemo sipped at his coffee as he took in the scene, contemplating yet another mark in the book. This deployment was full of surprises.

Rebecca had been just standing there taking in the ceremony. She had been through many ceremonies, but as this was a first it was another one to add to her memory and a mark in the traditions of the Navy.

Sam was buzzing around the crew's mess, making sure the coffee was full and that there was plenty of cake. She turned at the sound of the whistle.

Ciara was in her usual spot in the crowd and watched the ceremony with interest, her coffee cup was full and she watched the ceremony begin.

"Before we begin, there are a few words I wanted to share. We all know that the Navy has a tradition for almost everything. Earlier in this tour, we inducted members into the Blue Nose. Not many crews can say they've gone through multiple ceremonies on one tour like we have. I remember back when I first crossed the panama canal. At the time, I didn't put much stock in the significance of the ceremony. But, as I look around at the young faces joining us I can't help but feel proud to call you all shipmates," he said looking around at the room.

Sam smiled, she had read about Naval traditions and it was indeed unusual for a crew to have more than one ceremony during a tour.

Tell glanced around those assembled in the mess, half of them still unknown to him though he was working at it. The days events and ability to get a look at the canal from the Arizona's hull had been memorable. And warm... His tan hadn't started to fade yet but he knew that would change over the next couple of weeks.

"Now, without further ado, let's proceed," Hector said before stepping up to the table and pulling the first certificate from the table. He read the name on it before he looked towards the assembled crowd, "Commander Mcclellandi."

Ciara moved from the back when her name was called. She moved to the front of the group.

"Welcome to the Order of the Ditch ma'am," Hector said as he held out his right hand for her to shake and presented the certificate with his left. He picked up the next certificate and read the name, "Lieutenant Broward."

Ronnie had been mingling with the other officers as he sipped coffee. He was due to go on watch soon, having swapped watch rotations with Lieutenant Jopson so he could be available for the ceremony. He set the mug down and made his way towards the COB as the sound of claps echoed around him. He shook the mans hand and accepted the certificate. "Thank you COB," he offered with a smile before returning to his position.

"Welcome to the Order of the Ditch sir," Hector said before grabbing the next certificate, "Lieutenant Orr." Hector had met the new Weapons officer briefly, but had heard good things about him from the CO. He had sure come aboard at the right time to earn some goodwill with the crew.

Tell slipped from his seat and felt the eyes of the crew following him, and gave his best smile as he accepted the certificate from the Hector. "Thanks COB Gonzales, to you, the officers and the crew. I appreciate you taking it easy on this Johnny Come Lately. At least in the Ceremony."

This drew laughs and Tell made his way back to his seat to watch the rest of the show.

"Welcome to the Order of the Ditch sir, and may I say its a pleasure to have you aboard with us," Hector said as he shook the mans hand firmly. He then picked up the next certificate. "Chief Warrant Officer Paahao," he said before looking over and grinning at Kemo. Hector found it amusing that before Kemo had been a member of his tribune for the Blue Nose ceremony, but now he was an initiate.

Kemo held his hands hover his head in triumph as he made his way forward and bowed to the COB a wide grin on his face. "Thank you Command Master Chief. It's a good, salty day for the Arizona and her crew!" After accepting the certificate, he continued through the crowd, shaking the occasional hand among the crew until he was out of the way.

"Welcome to the Order of the Ditch sir. Poseidon is proud of you," he said as laughter echoed in the compartment. "Chief Gibbons," Hector said reading the name off the next certificate.

Sam stepped forward.

"Welcome to the Order of the Ditch Chief. The mess is proud of you," he said referring to the chief's mess where there would be a smaller celebration for her later. "Petty Officer Robinson," he said reading the next certificate.

Sam nodded and accepted the certificate and then stepped back into the crowd.

Rebecca waited until she was at the front of the line and walked up to the COB with a smile on her face.

"Welcome to the Order of the Ditch Ms. Robinson," he said with a grin and a firm shake of the hand before he reached down to pick up the next certificate. "Petty Officer Gunther," he called out as the young man stood and came forward.

As the last initiate walked away, Hector clapped his hands together. "There we are, lets give a warm welcome to our newest members one last time," he said as the room erupted in light applause. As the noise died down Hector addressed the group again, "The skipper wants me to convey his congratulations to you all and his apologies for not being here to celebrate. In the meantime, enjoy I believe the galley has some cake for us. Watch rotation is still on schedule, so those of you watch the time and don't be late reporting for duty." He started to step away from the table but paused and looked back at the group snapping his fingers, "That reminds me, height/weight is scheduled for tomorrow so go easy on the cake." His grin elicited a laugh from those assembled as he shook his head and walked back over to his colleagues.

Rebecca snatched a piece of cake off the table and quickly ate it. The galley food was delicious and she never had a complaint as she finished it she dismissed herself and headed back to her station.

Ciara stopped and got a second cup of coffee and grabbed a slice of cake, she would be heading back to work in a bit but now a little food wouldn’t hurt


Previous Next