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Store High In Transit

Even Admirals Can Learn

Written by
Published: July 23, 2007
Updated: February 14, 2019

One day while working at US Navy Recruiting Headquarters I was asked to sit in a briefing with the Admiral and his COS of the British Navy Recruiting Command. They flew over to gain some ideas from us about how to recruit.

There was 6 of us in the conference room, 2 of which were female Captains.

The Admiral during one of his many questions said the word “Sh*t” which was followed by dead silence, the Admiral looked embarrassed so I quickly spoke up, “Sir, don’t sweat it, sh*t is a nautical term.” Everyone in the room looked at me, my Captain rolled her eyes (those who know me understand I have a weird sense of humor and am not afraid to express it).

I said, “yes Sir, back in the days of wooden ships occasionally the cargo would be pressed cow manure stacked on pallets and placed in the hold. During the deployment the bilge would start to gain water and the hold would become very humid. The manure would start to decay and produce methane gas. When the Sailor would enter the space with a lantern the hold would explode. Once they realized the reason for these mysterious occurrences of fire they started to place banners on the sides of the pallets, (I demonstrated it graphically on the dry erase board) “Store High In Transit”. That Sir is the origin of the word, so feel free to express the word sh*t anytime you feel it appropriate.” Everyone laughed and we got back to work.

I don’t remember where I picked up the origin of the word or if it is even true, more than likely on the internet somewhere. I do remember finding “how sh*t is a nautical term” was a task I was given during my Chief Petty Officer initiation years ago. Ah, the good old days.



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Unless otherwise noted, content written by Thomas Goering, NCCM USN(RET).

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