Jabberwocky Variations
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Introduction by the author:

When I was in the U.S. Navy (1971-1977), I read a book about a Naval Reserve officer's adventures in World War II. He made the remark that Naval abbreviations "were so much Jabberwocky" until he became accustomed to them. Inspired by that remark, here is what I wrote:


Clifton Palmer McLendon

'Twas UNREP, and the NAVSURFPACs
Did DIV and NESEP in the NEX.
All BuSHIPS were the DoD-ENT-NACs

"Beware the COMSUBPAC, my son --
The teeth that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the MOTU bird, and shun

He took his CONUS sword in hand,
Long time the COMZONE foe he sought.
Till rested he by a MILSTRIP tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in JAMTO thought he stood,
The COMSUBPAC, with eyes of flame,
Came MINSYing through the PACREP wood
And ALNAVved as it came!

One! Two! One! Two! And through and through
His CONUS blade went CRUDESPAC!
He left it dead, and with its head,
He went RIVFLOTting back.

"And hast thou slain the COMSUBPAC?
Come to me, thou MILPERS boy!
He DESRONned in his joy.

'Twas UNREP, and the NAVSURFPACs
Did DIV and NESEP in the NEX.
All BuSHIPS were the DoD-ENT-NACs

Clifton Palmer McLendon can be reached at Clifton.McLendon@mci2000.com.

Glossary (by the author):

UNREP: Underway replenishment. Refueling a ship at sea while the ship is moving.

NAVSURFPAC: Naval Surface Forces in the Pacific

DIV: Division

NESEP: The Naval Enlisted Scientific Education Program. A program in the 1970's that involved sending enlisted men to university to get their degrees in engineering, then commissioning them as officers.

NEX: Navy Exchange. A department store for sailors.

BuSHIPS: The Bureau of Ships

DoD-ENT-NAC: Department of Defense Entrance National Agency Check. An investigation into the background of each sailor entering the Navy, with a view to determining his ability to be trusted with classified information.

WESTNAVELEX: Western Naval Electronics Laboratory

COMSUBPAC: Commanding Officer of the Submarine Forces in the Pacific

MOTU: Mobile Technical Unit. A repair team that goes to a ship to fix equipment (rather than having the equipment removed from the ship and sent ashore).

CONALOG: a type of computer used in the 1970's

MARDET: Marine Corps Detachment

ATCH: Attached

CONUS: The Contiguous United States. The United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

COMZONE: Zone Commander

MILSTRIP: Military (Landing) Strip

JAMTO: Joint Airline Military Travel Office. An office set up on each base to help military personnel purchase airline tickets (instead of having to go to the airport to do so).

MINSY: Mare Island Naval Shipyard (located at Vallejo, California)

PACREP: Pacific Fleet Representative

ALNAV: All-Navy. This heading on a radio or teletype message means that it is addressed to all Naval units in general.

CRUDESPAC: Cruiser and Destroyer Forces in the Pacific

RIVFLOT: Riverine Flotilla. A group of ships operating up and down a river, such as the gunboats in the Mekong during the Vietnam War.

MILPERS: MIlitary Personnel

LANTFLT: Atlantic Fleet

MMFA: Machinist's Mate Fireman Apprentice. A level of expertise below petty officer.

DESRON: Destroyer Squadron

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