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Buffalo Pup: 1900

Circa 1900. "U.S.S. Buffalo, ship's company." A certain amount of mugging for the camera here, as well as various props and a canine mascot. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Circa 1900. "U.S.S. Buffalo, ship's company." A certain amount of mugging for the camera here, as well as various props and a canine mascot. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Edward Hart, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Great Photo!

I'm a retired Chief Machinist's Mate and I'm happy to see another MM in the front row (far left - Second Class Machinist's Mate). Man, I loved being a Second Class. A little authority, but not enough to be a hassle. If it paid better I'd have been happy to stay an MM2 forever.

This can't be the Ship's Company - no Officers - but there's mixture of rates here. There's another Snipe (Engineering), a First Class Electrician's Mate - on the right in front of the guy with the HUGE hat. Several Boatswain's Mates (pronounced Bosun's Mate) from Deck (lovingly called Deck Apes), the Gunner's Mate and a boat load of Non-Rates.

There are TWO Chiefs in the photo. The Bosun Chief in the crowd and another looking out the porthole.

The First Class PO sitting behind the dog has FIVE hashmarks (Service Stripes). Each represents 4 years of service. It looks like the Bosun Chief only has two.

Finally, the number of Senior Enlisted is capped by law at about 9%: ~6% for Chiefs (CPO) and 3% total for Senior and Master Chiefs (SCPO and MCPO).

Re: Uniforms

landtuna, the answer to the lanyard can be found in this previous comment on Shorpy.

Tin in the foreground

Can anyone identify that tin container? Biscuit box, perhaps?

["Seabury's Corrosive Sublimate Gauze" - tterrace]

No names on tallies from 1940 on

To landtuna: The U.S. Navy ceased the practice of issuing tallies (the ribbons that were worn with the enlisted men's flat hat) with the names of ships or shore installations in 1940, prior to the start of WWII. The rationale described here suggests that the change was made due to security reasons ("to restrict knowledge of ship's movements") but it has also been said to be due to rapid expansion of the U.S. fleet. At that time the specific tallies were to be replaced with tallies reading "U.S. Navy" or "U.S. Naval Reserve." The Coast Guard also issued tallies that read "U.S. Coast Guard." The Navy ceased to issue flat hats altogether in early 1963.

My father served during the Korean War and shortly thereafter and was issued a flat hat with the standard "U.S. Navy" tally, which he still owns to this day. I don't think he wore it much if at all during his enlistment.

Buffalo Sailors

An interesting but brief career for the Buffalo, designated both as an auxiliary cruiser and, later, a destroyer tender, she was only in service with the USN for about 20 years. Built at Newport News, VA she wasn't built for the Navy but was purchased from Brazil 5 years after being launched. This photo is far from the ship's entire company as she carried 350 men and only 80 or so are pictured here. The chief is a boatswain's mate as is one of the petty officers so I'd guess these are the deck crew, sometimes known in the vernacular as "deck apes". I doubt the squid with the Massachusetts hat is a visitor (or that the one with an Iowa band on his hat is either) but just hasn't switched the band from his previous duty station. I can't believe that 20% of enlisted men are CPOs in the modern navy, either....too many chiefs, not enough Indians. Takes a long time to become chief and typically there aren't more than one to a division aboard ship. I'd be surprised if they were 5% of the enlisted crew.


The sailor in the back row center is holding up lunch, a hardtack biscuit, and probably made by The National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) in 1861.

U.S.S. Busby Berkeley

All of these seamen & petty officers, but only one CPO that I can see. Chiefs would probably be 20% of the crew these days.

What time was that photo shoot?

And the guy atop the bridge seems to be thinking: "Oh, shoot - I overslept; hope I can sneak into the picture without the captain seeing that I got there late"

Queen of Hearts

Back row, third from the right. Wondering about the significance.

USS Massachusetts

At least one of them seems to be visiting from another ship (right end of the third row).

Popcorn and peanuts and ...

The swabbie with the dog could have modeled as Sailor Jack and Bingo on the Cracker Jack box.

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