By USS Oscar Austin Public Affairs
Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) participated in an “Order of the Blue Nose” ceremony while conducting routine operations in the Arctic Circle, Sept. 6, 2017.
The blue nose ceremony, a distinction reserved for ships and crew crossing into the Arctic Circle, is a ritual rich in maritime tradition and heritage.
"The blue nose ceremony is a procedure designed to boost crew morale and make them proud of their accomplishments,” said Cmdr. Janice Smith, commanding officer of Oscar Austin. “Our Sailors have proven themselves more than capable of handling the frigid arctic conditions, and have accomplished something only a rare breed of Sailors have the opportunity to do."
During the multifaceted ceremony, Sailors participated in physical training and damage control exercises, providing them with learning and training opportunities as they were inducted into the Order of the Blue Nose.
“I had a blast going through the course,” said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Cristy Cha. “It was a little challenging at first, but in the end it made me even more proud to be a Sailor and I’m honored to be called a blue nose.”
The rich folkloric tradition of the Blue Nose ceremony, and similar line-crossing ceremonies, comes from a time when naval warships were still wooden and when such a feat was a potentially deadly occasion. Today, line-crossing ceremonies are far more routine and much safer. The events are intended to be physically challenging, but are strictly voluntary and health and safety concerns are paramount. The ceremony held aboard Oscar Austin was designed to build unit cohesion, boost morale and instill a sense of pride in the Sailors who accomplished the remarkable feat of crossing into the Arctic Circle.
“This has been an extraordinary opportunity for all of our Sailors," said Oscar Austin Command Master Chief Kim Feroni. "Countless Sailors can display their shellback certificates, but not many can hang a blue nose certificate on their wall."
Following the completion of the ceremony, Oscar Austin Sailors will receive a certificate annotating their accomplishments, immortalizing their induction into the Order of the Blue Nose.
Oscar Austin is on a routine deployment supporting U.S. national security interests in Europe, and increasing theater security cooperation and forward naval presence in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint, and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.