By MC1 John Bellino
San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Arlington (LPD 24) Sailors and Marines gain acceptance into the “Order of the Blue Nose” April 22, days after crossing into the Arctic Circle.
Navy tradition dictates when Sailors cross into the Arctic Circle, they enter the realm of Boreas Rex, King of the North, and must complete a series of challenges before being deemed worthy of the title “Blue Nose.”
At the time of the ceremony only nine Sailors and Marines aboard the ship were previously designated as “Blue Nose”. They were critical in the planning and execution of the ceremony to ensure safety and fun for those who chose to participate.
“I became a ‘Blue Nose’ in 2016 with 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment in Norway,” said Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Brandon Peterkin. “Getting to help plan it this time for my shipmates was a lot of fun. All the homemade costumes and different traditions made this a priceless experience full of fun and laughter for everyone involved.”
Arlington Sailors and embarked 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit Marines completed four cold water challenges before presenting themselves to Boreas Rex, played by Arlington’s Master Chief Engineman Arcent Vazquez and Sergeant Major Gerald Furnari, Sergeant Major of Troops aboard Arlington, for acceptance into the “Order of the Blue Nose.”
“When the Chief’s Mess was putting the plan together, we wanted to ensure we delivered a lasting impression for the crew,” said Vazquez. “This is my last deployment and to have been asked to play Boreas Rex and provide everyone with an experience they will cherish was something I will forever be grateful for.”
The ceremony is 100% voluntary and all those who participate receive a certificate notating their crossing into the Arctic Circle. Receiving the certificate is purely morale-based and does not benefit the Sailor in any professional manner. The Navy has a similar line-crossing tradition at the equator, referred to as a “Shellback” ceremony.
“It was a privilege to participate in a time honored Navy tradition as fun and unique as the ‘Blue Nose’ ceremony,” said Cpl. Henry Rodriguez, attached to the 22nd MEU. “This is something I’ll never forget from my time aboard the Arlington.”
After recently completing exercise Northern Viking 2022 off the coast of Iceland, Arlington made the trek north to cross into the Arctic Circle. Northern Viking 2022 is a U.S. European Command-directed and U.S. Naval Forces Europe-led, U.S. Sixth Fleet planned and executed Joint and Coalition live exercise that strengthens interoperability and force readiness between the U.S., Iceland and allied nations and enables execution of multi-domain command and control of joint and coalition forces in defense of Iceland the Sea Lines of Communication in the Greenland, Iceland, United Kingdom (GIUK) gap.
USS Arlington, attached to the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and 22nd MEU, is on a scheduled deployment under the command and control of Task Force 61/2 while operating in U.S. Sixth Fleet in support of U.S., Allied and partner interests in Europe and Africa.