Saluting the Spooks - Haze Gray Apparel

Saluting the Spooks

In God We Trust - All Else We Monitor

Let it never be said that the navy cryptologic community, or really any community in the Navy, is without a sense of humor.

This design is not an original design; in fact, far from it. It is a snippet of tradition from the Navy cryptologic direct support community, passed down unofficially over the years.

To understand the reference here, you probably need to know the origins.  In the Navy cryptologic community there is a concept of 'direct support' duty.  Here is how the Navy describes the concept:

Specially trained personnel within this direct support element deploy in teams to support tactical commanders abroad. These sailors provide a highly specialized and technical understanding of foreign threats and are able to integrate their extensive knowledge into forward operations and planning. As information operations specialists, direct support operators predominantly serve aboard Navy ships, submarines, and in support of aircraft squadrons. When deployed, these teams primarily provide indications and warning to support warfare commanders' decisions and increase battle space awareness.

Instead of permanently assigning Navy spooks to a ship or submarine or squadron, the Navy creates a bullpen or pool of these experts somewhere in theatre, say in Japan or in the Med somewhere, and dole them out as needed, in small groups, on short-term deployments.  So these sailors get surface ship assignments, submarine duty and some would be aircrew.  They augment the ships company or assigned squadron personnel.  Often they would be referred to as 'riders'... they would board the ship/boat for the pertinent part of the cruise and then get off and go back 'home' when no longer needed.

Of course, serving in a direct support ('dirsup') billet was something that Navy spooks did with no small degree of pride.  Some became surface warfare qualitied, some submarine qualified, and many earned Naval aircrewman wings, if they served in that capacity.  Over time, direct support spooks would often have more than one warfare designator.  It would be common to meet CT chiefs with wearing aircrew wings and either SW cutlasses or SS dolphins on their uniforms.  It is a reflection of a lot of hard work to have even one of these qualifications and here are senior guys walking around with two or more of them.

Needless to say, these 'dirsup' guys take no small amount of pride in being out there on the front lines, so the 'flish' was something that has floated around in the fleet for years and years.  Just something somebody on deployment somewhere conjured up, and it caught on.

I ran with this design previously in the first iteration of this shop as discussed here in our first blog post, and it went over well.  I had planned to bring it back at some point, once the shop was up and running and serving the larger Navy & Marine corps communities.

So here it is - back by popular demand!

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1 comment

Naval Aircrew and Surface Direct Support NSGA Pyongtaek Korea (1983-1985) and NSGA Philippines (1985-1888)

Richard Tuck

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