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No Green Beer, but Navy Green with Corned Beef and Cabbage

No Green Beer, but Navy Green with Corned Beef and Cabbage


Somewhere in the middle of the ocean somewhere will be a US Navy ship. Painted light gray in color while wearing with pride a white number bold and big for all to see throughout the world. In parts of the world, the sea looks dark green. There is no green beer, other than the label on the can. But sailors all over the globe will still be celebrating this holiday we call Saint Patrick's Day.

Any day, same ocean. It all appears like groundhog day out there. Believe me, I know. The endless weeks at sea with no land in sight, no one call, no social media, and barely any email. Emailing was new during my world tour. Letters from afar were our excitement.

Green Beer

There are sea stories that back in the day they used to give Navy personnel onboard a ship while at sea some beer. Sea stories can be like fishing stories at times. I want to believe this one to be true. Navy and beer have a history together.

In the modern Navy on an aircraft carrier, they give non-alcoholic beer, occasionally. Not only is it occasionally, or rare, they ration the beer with tickets. Everyone receives two tickets onboard the ship. That is it. If you want more, you have to be creative to pick up more tickets. Some would sell their tickets to those who would want more tickets. Nothing wrong with making a few bucks.

Sounds fun. It is a non-alcoholic beer. Drink enough of it and I'm sure you might bet a little tipsy. One would think you would need a lot of beer in order to do this.

The closest we ever were too green beer was the label on the can. No traditional green beer.

What was traditional was corned beef and cabbage. Most of us had to wait over 2 hours in a line that went up the stairwell several levels up. In some cases I remember going from the mess deck, the 2nd deck, up to as high as the 02 levels (going up - see picture), just waiting for a big meal such as corned beef and surf and turf. It was a long wait, but so worth it!


Sometimes after a long wait, over two hours, we would be at the front of the line and some people would come and cut right in front of us. Chief Petty officers were really known for this. The Navy allows segregation of ranks and they allow these folks front of the line privileges. So after a long wait, we will occasionally have to wait a little longer so our senior folks can eat first.

Every once in a while we will have Navy SEALs and Navy dive teams (Special Forces) onboard the aircraft carrier. At first, we are kind of star-struck. After a while, they are just doing their part in this great thing we call the US Navy. The Special Forces crew would have front-of-the-line privileges as well.

That corned beef and cabbage were always so good and well worth the wait.

We had a few outliers that would dress up as leprechauns. Which made it fun. Some would play their acoustic guitar in the hanger bay to pass some of the time with some fun. After all, we are in a gray box for 6 months, or longer, with nothing but seas all around us. Some of us never get to see the light of day until we have a port call.

Green on an aircraft carrier

In the aviation world on an aircraft carrier, we had green shirts in the maintenance department. Usually, the squadrons wore them. I worked in the maintenance department right off the hanger deck, in the forward part of the ship. We did not have to wear these green shirts. We wore coveralls. We were the outliers there, for sure.

Aircrew of a squadron had other colored shirts for various things that are required for their job. Red, Blue, Purple, Yellow, and so on.


Of course, you had green in the cockpit of a fighter jet.

Even the military lives in a green world outside of St. Patricks Day.

For all my military friends close and far, enjoy this St. Patricks Day. You've earned it.