He doesn’t ask for much.
Just more than his share of the duty
and respect for his knowledge
and the chance to do more than is expected of him.

He’s always been more than willing
to volunteer for those duties that others find dangerous
He likes the caliber of people you meet here
people who function well under extreme pressure.

He believes in getting the job done right
regardless of how many liberty hours are lost in the process
He thinks there’s a time to work and a time to play
and until the job is finished, it’s time to work.

He’s always eager to pass his knowledge on to the youngsters
Because he knows they’ll be carrying the torch tomorrow.
He encourages them to study and to make something better of themselves
and he teaches them responsibility and attention to duty – by example.

He likes to have a good time with his friends
and sometimes he’ll have a few more beers than he should.
But he’s always there when he’s needed, ready for a hard day’s work
He says “If you hoot with the owls, you damn well better soar with the eagles.”

He doesn’t ping on his shipmates in the After Battery.
He’ll joke and have a good laugh but not at someone’s expense.
He says shipmate’s have to stick together all the time
and things can’t get done proper if anger makes a man not think about the job.

He loves to see the Stars and Stripes flying in the breeze
and he’s the guy ashore who always stops and salutes at colors.
and he’s quick to throw some harsh words at those who don’t.
He’s proud of that flag and of what it represents.

His favorite songs are “Amazing Grace” and “Anchors Aweigh.”
It’s not wise to make fun of either when he’s humming them in the lower flats.
He says those are the two most important things in his life
His God and his Navy.

He doesn’t go to church too often but he’s reverent in his own way.
He’s ready to die for God and Country
and he says that’s what Americans are supposed to do.
He says that’s why we enjoy our freedom and our way of life.

His dungarees get kind of grungy when he’s on patrol
but he says diesel fumes and snorkel dust give them character
His knuckles are always busted and scabbed over
but you never have to worry about a nut working itself loose.

He’ll be one of the first to grab a rag and clean the waterways
and sometimes you’ll see him helping the mess cook clean tables.
He thinks you hang your crow on the brow when you walk aboard
and that teamwork is what makes things work right.

He says being a snipe is the best job on the boat
but that every soul on board is needed to make it work.
He never complains about the pay, the hours or the discomfort
and says if it got any better his heart wouldn’t take it.

He says he hopes someday he’ll make chief
but being a first class is still an awesome job.
He says if you want to see a really fine chief
just take a good look at his knuckles.

He doesn’t ask for much
Just that everyone pull together and help each other
He says that’s what makes things work
just like living in a big family where even the bad are good.

He hopes he can retire someday
after his old bones can’t make it down the hatch.
Buy him a chicken farm somewhere in Carolina
and tack his dolphins over the mantle where everyone can see them.

I say good luck and thank you to him
That ole gray-haired snipe I used to know.
He didn’t ever ask for much
But he sure could make you feel safe on a diesel boat.


©Larry Dunn