Prostitution

Being on a small ship like a destroyer had its advantages. During deployments, every port around the globe was able to accommodate our ship, whereas the larger ships like the carriers didn’t get to make as many port visits. One negative aspect of these many port visits was that these cities we frequently visited always had prostitutes, and they were often so numerous we would continually be accosted to give them business.

Benteng with people from the Maasai tribe in the Kenya Amboseli National Park. December 24, 1981

Chet with people from the
Maasai tribe in the Kenya Amboseli National Park.
December 24, 1981

During a two-week stay in Mombasa, Kenya (December 1981), many sailors took advantage of the services provided by the prostitutes, then afterwards were found lining up at sickbay the next week after we left port to get their penicillin shots. Even though we were all warned of the risks, the pleading and meowing of the prostitutes cast down many strong men.

For she has been the ruin of many; many men have been her victims.” (Prov. 7:26).

“Hit the Beach” is the phrase sailors use after their ship is tied up to the pier and they are given liberty to leave the ship. A number of the men, Christian and non-Christian, decided that they wanted to accompany me whenever I would “Hit the Beach,” because they thought if they were with me they would be able to resist the prostitutes who were out to destroy their lives (Prov. 7:21). They also didn’t want to carry some dreaded disease back home to their wives or ruin their Christian testimony.

One of the guys who chose to go into the City of Mombasa in a group, for security from prostitutes. This picture was taken while we were cliff diving in Newport, Rhode Island. July 1981

One of the guys who chose to go into the City of Mombasa
in a group, for security from prostitutes.
Picture was taken while we were cliff diving in Newport, RI.
July 1981

There was tremendous peer pressure placed on the new believers to maintain the “typical sailor behavior” as it pertained to prostitutes. It was a great honor for me, knowing that a number of these young men looked up to me to keep them from falling into the temptation these prostitutes would bring. At the time I was no bastion of spirituality—nothing I could boast about—so their wanting to be with me for protection from temptation worked both ways!

During the USS Barry Revival there was also tremendous peer pressure placed on the new converts to conform to the “typical sailor language.” For an example, there is significance behind the phrase “cuss like a sailor.” It is almost impossible to carry on a conversation onboard a ship and not use cuss words. Many common objects about a ship are referred to with slang/cuss terms. In the middle of an emergency or casualty, when we wanted to communicate quickly and efficiently, it was hard not to use the words that were known and understood well in the common vernacular!

Go Back to Table of Contents…………………………………………………Go to Next Chapter

This post was written by
Comments are closed.