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Admiral Throws Uniform Overboard




Vice Admiral Robert B.Baldwin tosses and anchor with a set of dress blues over the side

From 1977 to 79, Oscar Sommer was a cook on the USS Oklahoma City, assigned to the Seventh Fleet Flag. He was promoted to MS3 and assigned as personal cook and staff person for Vice Admiral Robert B. Baldwin, then Commander, Seventh Fleet.

As the Admiral neared the end of his tour of duty as Com7Flt, he asked Oscar to help him with a project that Oscar supposed was a Navy ritual. Admiral Baldwin intended to throw a set of dress blues, with lots of gold on the sleeves, into Davey Jones locker.

The admiral asked for a weight to help the uniform sink rapidly into the deep. Oscar went below to ask the Hull Technicians for help. True to the Navy's motto of CAN DO, the HT's fashioned a brightly polished piece of heavy metal, formed into the shape of an anchor. The admiral was so impressed with the workmanship that he later went to thank the HTs personally.

And under the watchful lens of a Navy photographer, the admiral threw the anchor over the side, with a set of his dress blues attached.

At the time, Oscar was not told about this curious tradition and protocol probably dictated that he didn't ask. Research since then has not revealed any history for this tradition, at least so far.

But this sure makes a great story, and in most cases, it would be just that; a great story. But in the case of MS3 Oscar Sommer, it was much more than a great story, because he has the photographs to prove it.

Vice Admiral Robert B.Baldwin and MS3 Oscar Sommer on the fantail with the HT's great looking anchor

If anyone can shed more light on this activity, please let us know so we can properly finish this story.






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