Standing ‘Monkey Watch’ Is Just One Rite Of Passage In The US Military

hw bush aircraft carrier

[credit provider=”Demetrius L. Patton, U.S. Navy ” url=””]

There is a very serious danger that poses a significant threat to the brave men and women serving in our naval fleet.Specifically, it’s threatening those men and women whose daily life takes place upon the grand confines of the most devastating piece of seafaring awesomeness – The Aircraft Carrier.

Aircraft Carriers are some death delivering mofos. Death from above and SEALs from the pond, Aircraft Carriers are as fine a tool of death as exists in our military today. But even the heralded Aircraft Carrier has its weakness, and that weakness is…

(**FOUO – The information you are about to read is highly sensitive, and should be viewed only by those persons of utmost discretion and loyalty to the U.S.**)

…the monkey.

Transit the Suez Canal, and you will know that one of the most important jobs on the carrier is the “Monkey Watch.” Not to be confused with the Mail Buoy Watch, or the DV Balloon Watch, the Monkey Watch exists for one sole purpose: To combat feisty monkeys who may wish to jump on the flight deck during the Canal transit.

Young Seamen, Airmen, and Firemen all stand the watch, armed with a 12 foot wooden pole, and prepped for watch with the knowledge that all that stands between peace and monkey-mayhem is their keen eye and 12 foot pole.

Now, any references to “pole” and “navy” in the same paragraph are sure to elicit the involuntary snigger and guffaw, but don’t underestimate the ferocity of the threat. Rabid monkeys stand ready to hurl themselves at the deck of the carrier with the tenacity of an Angry Bird in sight of a giant egg-stealing pig. Ask any Chief Petty Officer, and he/she will tell you:

“The safety of the deck is in your hands seaman. Your shipmates sleep safely beneath the umbrella of your protection, knowing that you stand proud, along with your brothers and sisters on watch, to hold fast and secure this ship. So stay alert, grab your pole, and if need be, beat that monkey.”

But the Monkey Watch, while certainly an important aspect of Maritime Security, is not the only important job at sea for a new Sailor. The aforementioned Monkey Watch is only eclipsed in importance and prestige by the ever popular Mail Buoy Watch and the numerous and varied quests that young Sailors are sent on…


“Uh, excuse me, Petty Officer?”

“Yeah, what do you want?”

“Uh, my Chief sent me down here for a Hull Tech’s punch.”

“Oh he did huh? You want a big one or a small one?”

“Uh, I guess a big one…..OOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!”


“Seaman Schmucatelli, I need you to run downstairs to personnel and get a spool of Gridline for the Commander, hurry up, she’s waiting for it.”

20 minutes later, and trips to Personnel, Medical Records, Patient Liaison, Public Affairs, the ER, and Pharmacy, Seaman Schmucatelli returns to find his Petty Officer on the phone…

“Yes Ma’am, yes Ma’am…Oh wait, he just got here. Yes Ma’am, so sorry, I’ll send him up right away, sorry it took so long.” A repressed smile, then “Schmucatelli, hurry up and get that Gridline up to the Commander, she is PISSED it took so long, but I told her you were on your way so HURRY UP!”

Tears flow, words chokingly come out, “I…uh…I couldn’t find any! No one had any on hand, everyone was out! Pharmacy had some but they said they could only give it up if I found them a black highlighter…sniff….sob…..I don’t know where to go!”

“Well Schmucatelli, you better get up there and explain yourself…”

Between Monkey Watch, fetching the Hull Tech “Punch,” and chasing down spools of gridline, black highlighters, left-handed tools, and Halogen fluid, there is plenty to keep a new Sailor at sea occupied.

I know there are plenty of stories from Airmen, Marines, and Soldiers as well, so don’t be shy, feel free to share your stories below. Don’t worry, we all know it was your “friend” it happened to….

*Editor: Check out the comment section from the original post here for more military rites of passage.