Shellback Initiation...Crossing the Equator

Uss Bennington CVS-20
Photographed: July, 1968

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This picture shows the canvas garbage filled chutes we had to crawl through. You can see the garbage on the deck. The last activity of the initiation was a huge dunk tank filled with sea water, with a chair on a long pole. Each pollywog had to sit in the chair and was dunked once, then asked if they were a pollywog or shellback. If they answered pollywog, they were dunked again and asked again. They were not done until they correctly answered shellback, since they had completed the initiation. Finally at the aft end of the flight deck, a couple of sailors were washing people off with fire hoses, since by now their bodies were covered in garbage.