View Full Version : OT: Caine Mutiny - what is the purpose of the grease paint?

05-07-2006, 12:55 PM
I was watching The Caine Mutiny this A.M., the portion where they were leading the landing craft to the shore (the yellow marker dye incident) everyone has either white or gray grease paint in their faces. What is/was the purpose of the grease paint?

Just wondering,


05-07-2006, 01:10 PM
most of the grease sticks from WWII were a pale/light green and had dark green/olive drab on the other end. can remeber buying sticks of it in double lidded tin cans. in mid 50's at the real army navy surplus store. To play army and kill the nazi's and nips. Which of course is now politicly incorrect. Only sold stuff with the govt name and number over the counter. plus guns and ammo and hunting/fishing equipment. Had a very large duck type truck parked as a sign in the lot.
It was camoflogue paint so the blend in better in the foliage after the beach.
it would show up pale in the b&w or in the early color flicks as shades that were
ov a lighter side didn't photo well.

The urban camo's and face paint in gray and white and black are a recent trend with the city block to house fighting predicted.:D

05-07-2006, 01:46 PM
You use the light colored camo in the shadowed area of the face: around the eyes, around the base of the nose, etc. The dark goes on the higher parts of the face: nose, chin,etc. That way it makes your face harder to see because everything is shaded the opposite of what it should be.

05-07-2006, 05:08 PM
the paint you are talking about was a flash or glare screen like the football players use and some baseball players under the eyes. some was on the face to protect from sparks. no need for camo on a ship at see.

05-07-2006, 06:20 PM

Ah, that's what I sort of thought. I was thinking it might have been for some sort of "fire protection", but then the only ship I was on was a cruise ship where there was food available 22 hours per day, the other 2 hours were covered by cabin service. The only "grease paint" I saw was sun screen and old ladies make-up (ugh, with a little shiver).



05-07-2006, 07:48 PM

05-07-2006, 08:44 PM
There were in a landing craft about to hit the beach in the movie. They were ground pounders not swabbs. Being a snipe on a DD the only two things like that we saw was grease and paint but sometimes they did get mixed together.:D

05-08-2006, 02:05 AM

Snipes do not get it from a tube, they get it from wiping the sweat off their brow with their bare forearm, usually up to the elbows in grease or crankcase oil, black from the blowby.

And, if you get something near your eyes from whatever, mebbe some finger stripes, to make a nice accent.

We DID look pretty bad going off duty, no?

I don't know if you are old enough to be a Motor Machinist's Mate or an Engineman, as I was, but then, I am only in my 60s. Good God, near 40 years out of it. How time flies!


George, formerly of the Black Gang, and that ain't racial.

05-08-2006, 02:58 AM
I was an engineman too, Black gang, A-gang, Small boat unit. I can still smell the 9250. My favorite words to hear were "NOW SET THE COLD IRON WATCH". After a 30 minutes hollywood shower you became presentable again,
a fat wallet helped too.
I remember those diesel boat bubbleheads, always smelled like moth balls and DFM even after a month on the beach.

05-08-2006, 06:35 AM

High end of 50's, was on a WWII age Destroyer, in Nam. Even being an Electricains mate we did get grime and grease on every thing and from it seemed everywhere. For us it was shore power connected !:D

05-08-2006, 07:17 AM
I assumed this board would have number of snipes as members i did not go down there very often , we did have to do pms on the heat exchangers on the radar units. Eventually when they got know you, they invited me back down to visit . It sure was hot down there and pretty clean except the bilges. I liked it when they did cold iron too, it meant hollywood showers, for you land lubbers it is big deal after months of making water from the evaporators to have fresh water piped aboard to use . For me "Secure the special sea and anchor detail", were the words i wanted to hear. I was on a tin can and i got out in 68.

05-08-2006, 09:58 AM

Oh yeah, snipes and twidgets. I was a twidget, FTM-1 aboard the USS Hoel DDG-13 guided missle destroyer, a tin can. (FTM=fire control technician missles). I spent some time in the after engine room PMS'ing my heat exchangers for both fire control and 3D air search radar's. As long as you didn't dump sea water in their engine room and picked up after yourself the snipes didn't mind. They weren't going to do the maintenance on your gear anyway so didn't really have much choice but we tried to get along. I didn't care much for the boiler rooms, way too hot. I spent almost four years on that ship, six total enlistment. Got out in 1977. "Now Liberty Call, Liberty Call"

George Seal
05-08-2006, 03:56 PM
Snipes every where I go, oh well

DD 528 torpedoman here

Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club member also

05-08-2006, 04:25 PM
While were doing this, any Coasty snipes here?


And before I hear any, stick your shallow water jokes.:D

05-08-2006, 10:45 PM

OK, no jokes. You are probably over 6 foot though

We had one CG Reservist on a deployment, nice guy. He somehow got special dispensation. We were a MSO, a Mine Sweeper, but an Ocean boat, not a C or Coastal boat.

All diesel, almost all non-magnetic, beryllium copper tools when at sea, monel tanks, wooden hull.

To get a litle on the theme of the forum, I think the only machine we had on board was a drill press in the EM (Electrician's Mate) shack. DC didn't even have any more than cutting torches. A grinder, here and there.

Aux Engine Room, motor whaleboat engineer, fun with the Buda and Joe's Reduction Gear.

Badger Vapor Compressor for water, hard to keep up, my job. First night on picket during Cuba blockade, called Bridge a dozen times, can't make water, troughs too deep in waves, made Midnight Report (Fuel, Oil and Water King) 50 % water on board. Water rationing immediate. 6 weeks of saltwater showers. THAT was no fun. I think that was when I decided once a week was adequate.

Ah, well, fun at the time, not what I would want to do for 20 years, 4 and out, in '66.



05-09-2006, 03:00 AM

Not a Coastie snipe, but a Coastie Corpsman. Spent time on a sea going buoy tender, that was recip steam powered. Believe it or not, I had collateral duties standing boiler watch as well as throttle platform watch. Semper Paratus

HM1, USCG, 68-72

05-09-2006, 08:17 AM
As a snipe in the USCG, depending where you where stationed, you were expecting to learn a lot of different jobs.

From repair of everything mechanical, gas and diesel engines, fire pumps of all types, outboards etc.

Two of the places I was at had Southbend lathes. And I was the only one there that had any idea of how to run them. (Ran my first lathe at the age of 11)

Spent most time in the bilges of small boats. But at the same time I could also operate them quite well.

I could, if needed, operate an 82 footer all by myself. From starting the engines and generators to operating the radios and radar. I could also steer it, stop it , and make it walk sideways if neccasary.

They would not let me shoot the "gun" though. Darn I really wanted to shoot that.

So what does this have to do with grease paint? Nothing. :)

charlie coghill
05-09-2006, 08:42 AM
Hay this thread sounds like a Salt water reunion.:D I was an electrican, Navy from 61 to 65. Uss Gridley DLG 21.

40 years ago. How time flys when you are having fun.

Weston Bye
05-09-2006, 02:46 PM
Aviation Fire Control Technician 2nd Class - an Airedale. Spent my days at sea on the flight deck of the America and Enterprise fixing the radar and inertial navigation on RA-5C Vigilantes. When not deployed, the squadron, Reconaissance Heavy Attack-13 (RVAH-13), was based in Albany GA. 1969-1973. Med cruise, Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club.

05-09-2006, 04:19 PM
Ok, I've heard of pollywogs and shellbacks, but what's a "snipe"?

05-09-2006, 06:22 PM
Shellback, someone who has crossed the equator. A pollywog is an initiate about to cross the equator.

A snipe would be any rate that had to do with the repair and maintinance of any and all of the mechanical systems that kept a ship running.

Then you had the deck apes. And the sparks. And boats. And airdales. And many more I'm sure.

And for our friends from the UK, Jack of the dust. :D

05-09-2006, 06:53 PM
Shellback here,'76-80 ,USS Albert David FF1050, USS Tripoli LPH10

MS turned BM, Never a deck ape.

Don't forget the fresh air Snipes,Ears,supply pukes, and Sigs,Hope I didnt leave anyone out.

05-09-2006, 07:05 PM
Snipes= boiler Tech's, (boiler ops) Engineman, (engineer/turbine ops) machicist mates, (machinest's in all forms and AC repairman) Damage control (plumbers, welders, carpenters) Electricians mate,(Electrician) Ineterior communication mate( phone repair, gryo compass operator).
titless waves( pencil pushers and paper shuffeling)
pecker checkers,D*cksmiths, penis reamers ( medics) as DD's tin cans didn't have Doctors on board.
Really want to freak your self out google your ship number there are a large number of sites out there for the ships and what is amazing the number of guys out there looking for ole ship mates to reconnect with. Looking for the guys that still owe them money LOL:D

05-09-2006, 07:13 PM
Ahh yes, the ol' slush funds.

charlie coghill
05-09-2006, 08:29 PM
I did not nention it befor I am also a shellback. Went to Perth, Alaide and Gerlton. Probably misspelled the towns sorry.

05-10-2006, 01:35 AM
Favorite liberty, Subic bay, Japan, Sinagore, thailand. Hong Kong has really improved in the last ten years. A few years ago as a contractor, I was stuck in Hong Kong for 10 days on 1K a day per diem. Boys, you should have been with me, it was out of control.

05-10-2006, 02:50 AM

No slush fund, just guys who didn't run out of money who lent money to the guys who went wild at 5 for 7. Slush fund would be like political stuff that goes on today. Unaccounted for money, nobody knows where it belongs.

I knew where my money belonged and when to collect it. Pretty good pinochle player, won WAY more than I lost, had a few bucks to lend, too, stand at the end of the pay table, 99.99 percent of the guys would say, hey, I owe you 17.12, here you go, see you when I'm broke.

Nobody screwed anybody, they wanted to go get laid, guys could lend the money to let them do that. You don't need the cash for your own conveniences, few of them, except for smokes, and health and comfort items, soap, toothpaste and shaving cream, etc, a lot of military people had an excess of money.

In my own case, I had an initial salary of 78 bucks a month, upon promotion, went to 83 bucks a month, made out an allotment to my mother and after about 6 months, the Navy decided it was not allowed. Spent about a year paying back the allotment, all but 16 bucks a month, for health and comfort. 1/2 a buck a day income. Can any of you youngsters imagine living on 1/2 a buck a day?

Pinochle and 5 for 7 was the only way to get by. Kinda crimped MY style, but survived.

Actually, the Coast Guard never went out beyond 6 foot deep water, that's why they were all tall, not because the REAL Navy had low overheads, or ceilings, but so they could keep their nose above water.

Truth be told, I do hear their motto is "You Gotta Go Out, You don't Gotta Come Back." That makes me want to deep six the assholes who were the prototypes for that "Perfect Storm" type of movie. Them, they shoulda let sink.



05-10-2006, 03:02 AM
Juat did a Google, 750 tons of boat sold to someone for 22,229 bucks in 1984. What a shame.



05-10-2006, 06:18 AM
I just googled my old ship found a couple of old shipmates email addy's and saw a pic of her DDG2 rusting away waiting for the scrappers to cut her up.
Brought back a lot of memories. PT was better at remembering all the names we called each other it seems everybody was called something .
Seems like so long ago and was so young hard to remember that far back but i do remember the good times.