Plank Owner & Shellback Certificates

A "plank owner" is an individual who was a member of the crew of a ship when that ship was placed in commission. In earlier years, this applied to a first commissioning; since then, it has often been applied to one who was part of a recommissioning crew as well. "Plank owner" is not an official Navy term, and has consequently been variously defined by different Navy units.

Plank-owner certificates are procured by and issued to crew members of the ship being commissioned; they are not officially issued by the Navy. Some ships' crews design their own, while others purchase them from commercial sources. Perhaps the best-known of these are the ones sold by the United States Naval Institute. These color certificates can be obtained as blanks; if the purchaser wishes to provide the necessary information, they can be filled in for an additional charge.

In the case of ships with wooden decks, if the veteran has a plank owner certificate or statement of service showing that he was on the ship when it was commissioned, the veteran can write to the Naval Historical Center's Curator Branch, and request a piece of deck planking. If the veteran meets the above criteria and the Curator Branch has possession of deck planking, the plank owner or his widow can receive a small section of the deck. For more recent ships with metallic decks, the Navy is regretfully unable to issue deck sections.

To order a Plankowner or Shellback certificate, go to Tiffany Publishing's website.

Equator Crossings

18 Nov 64 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 106o 00' E

28 Oct 66 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 106o 00' E

07 Jun 69 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 105o 00' E

09 Jun 70 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 105o 05' E

17 Nov 71 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 106o 17.5' E

22 Oct 72 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 105o 10' E

25 Sep 73 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude

25 Jan 75 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 108o 30' E

09 Feb 76 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 105o 35' E

01 May 76 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 119o 20' E

22 Aug 77 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 119o 10' E

28 Apr 78 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 150o 44' E

06 Aug 79 Latitude 000o 00' Longitude 106o 00' E

Crossing The Line 09 FEB 76

Crossing the Equator 1976
Members of the Seventh Fleet Band

Crossing the Equator 1976
R. Batt, RMSN

Crossing the Equator 1976
RM2 Randy Rippberger is the "Queen" being dressed by RM1 Rich McDaniel

Crossing the Equator 1976
LT(jg) Del Pfranger

Crossing the Equator 1976
The "Royal Baby" MS1 Jim Royal, with GM1 Carr, BM1 Cantu (top hat) CWO3 Braswell and BM1 Bohike

Crossing the Equator 1976
EM1 Campbell with HT1 Cooper (left) and BM1 Huckabee (right).

Thanks to shipmate Jim Hall, RM1 75-78 for the great photos.