Coast Guard Cutter Morgenthau Holds Line Crossing Ceremony

PACIFIC OCEAN — Crewmembers onboard Coast Guard cutter Morgenthau held a Crossing the Line Ceremony Saturday while transiting the Pacific Ocean en route to the Philippines.

The honorable Golden Dragons of Morgenthau planned and hosted a Line Crossing Ceremony for the 75 Morgenthau crewmembers who had never crossed the 180th meridian at sea on a naval vessel. The ceremony was all voluntary and was comprised of a number of events and challenges. Both seasoned Golden Dragons and soon-to-be Golden Dragons, or “Wogs,” handled the preparations and ceremony with spirit, teamwork and fun. The Wogs who completed all the events and challenges were awarded the Golden Dragon Line Crossing Certificate.

“There are a lot of clubs and societies that anyone can be part of, but not anyone can become a Golden Dragon,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Popo, a Golden Dragon for three years and an information technician assigned to the cutter.

The Line Crossing Ceremony is a tradition that dates back to 1870. May 15 of that year, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John Rodgers, in command of the Asiatic Squadron, and aboard his flagship USS Colorado, declared that everyone who should cross into the “Realm of the Golden Dragon” would have to pay tribute to Davy Jones, supernatural ruler of the Seven seas and captain of the Flying Dutchman. As the legend goes, once a vessel crosses the line and all its sailors pay tribute to Davy Jones, they will forever be a Golden Dragon and exempt from any tolls, fines or taxes levied by Jones or his successors.

While the ceremony is a sacred naval tradition few people may get to experience, those who do will likely not forget it.

“It was smelly, hard and long, but it was one of the most memorable moments in my life, and I would have regretted it if I had not participated,” said Seaman Sean Rubino, a deck force member aboard the Morgenthau.

Morgenthau, a high endurance cutter homeported in Alameda, is participating in the exercises Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) and South East Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism (SEA-CAT) 2008. This represents the 14th time that the U.S. Coast Guard has participated in these bilateral training exercises.

This year, CARAT will be hosted in the countries of Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. The Morgenthau will be acting as the lead unit for most of the security boarding team events that include visits, boardings, search and seizure exercises, and legal discussions. The focus is to foster cooperation between the various nation’s naval and Coast Guard forces.

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