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The Name

From "The Mad Hooligan Story" by Brooks Hamilton

This is a good place to explain the unofficial name, Mad Hooligan, given the L.S.T. 832 by her crew, and how it came about. It all has to do, of course, with the fact we were a Coast Guard bunch who frequently were called upon to educate some of the men of our sister services, expecially gyrenes (officially known as United States Marines) as to the seagoing nature of the Coast Guard. If the name "hooligan" as applied to Coast Guard sailors is familiar to some, the origin of it is not. At any rate, like some other nicknames used for us, the use of "hooligan" often brought strong reactions from "Coasties", who frequently found as much water under their keels as navy sailors did. For some reason gyrenes hooked onto the name "hooligan" to describe us -- "here comes the hooligan navy", they would say, sarcastically. Navy sailors sometimes used the equally exasperating expressions, "shallow water sailors" or "sand-pounders". Now, wherever Coast Guard crews appeared, the use of any of the above, but especially "hooligan", started more barroom brawls than the Shore Patrol could handle. Our executive officer, a soft spoken southern lawyer who had the unenviable job of disciplining sailors brought back draped over the military police jeeps somewhat the worst for wear, on one occasion watched a gaggle of them straggle aboard in tatters. He muttered so all in hearing heard, "If some of you guys would just look up that word 'hooligan' in the dictionary, you might not always try to start another war eveytime you heard it!" Of course some of us hangers-on around the gangway at the time went and did just that. We discovered, to our amazement, "hooligan" derived from the name of an Irish seaman of the 18th century who had been impressed into the royal Navy in those days of wooden ships and iron men. He was so recalcitrant about accepting the discipline of the hated British lion, he became known as "the roughest, toughest sailor in all the Royal Navee!" After that we laughed at the nickname and proudly named our little bastion of Coast Guard life and tradition the Mad Hooligan. Artists in the crew fashioned a large canvas dodger for the high conning bridge and painted on it the name and the likeness of a horny, hairy billy goat, which became the ship's mascot.



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