USS FORMOE DE 509

Shellback Certificate

Submitted by Roger Swanson, son of Plankowner Arthur Swanson

This is an example of a prized certificate which testifies that the Sailor has passed from Pollywog to Trusted Shellback.  It notes the Latitude and Longitude and was usually addressed to all Mermaids, Sea Serpents, Whales, Sharks, Porpoises, Dolphins, Skates, Eels, Suckers, Lobsters, Crabs, Pollywogs and other living things of the sea.  The Sailors name was inscribed followed by, "has been found worthy to be numbered as one of our trusty shellbacks, has been gathered to our fold and duly initiated into the solemn mysteries of the ancient order of the deep", or wording to this effect.

The certificates and cards sailors received as mementos for crossing the Equator or the Arctic Circle were purchased by the individual command from various printers. These were/are not official USN documents.


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