National Geographic : 1965 Feb
Whether in the Mediterranean or the west ern Pacific, our Navy is a powerful instru ment of peace and friendship. Its ships and men are constantly making friendly visits to foreign ports and building good will. Of the 30,000 officers and men in the Sixth Fleet, and more than twice that many in the Seventh, every one is an ambassador, and a good one. Our "white hats" make friends and build good will by the interest they take in the countries they visit. I say "countries" rather than ports because their liberty sometimes extends four or five days-time enough to permit sightseeing far inland. Each fleet has its favorite ports. Sixth Fleet sailors mention Barcelona and Cannes. Most men of the Seventh vote for Hong Kong (next page). Time and time again I saw American sail ors give up their liberty in port to build play grounds and paint hospitals and orphanages. I watched them receive something in turn the love and affection of children. The cruiser Boston, for example, carried all types of hospital equipment. It had medi cines and it had toys-donated by hospitals of the cruiser's namesake city and by major American drug and toy manufacturers. Literally tons of these gifts were crammed into every available space aboard, and as we visited ports around the Mediterranean, Boston's men distributed them where most needed. The recipients will not soon forget the U. S. Navy, or these sailors. Technology Takes Over the Navy The enlisted men of the United States Navy follow dignified and honorable careers, and they hold positions of real responsibility. In days of sail, Navy ships were manned by grizzled "salts." With arrival of steam, firemen and enginemen were added to the list of ratings. Today, of course, the ship's company still must handle the ship, do its housekeeping, and stand many and varied watches. But there the similarity ends. Even the men of the fireroom and engine and ma chinery areas must have technical training. This is the day of the specialist. With the advent of radar and sonar, there is an entirely new breed in the Navy-the highly trained enlisted technician. Many are employing their skills on multimillion-dollar equipment while not yet old enough to vote. Petty officers are usually high-school grad uates-and they have spent additional months and years in specialized training. Many have gone to college.