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There was a tradition at the Horse and Cow tavern in Vallejo that if you brought in your ship's brow banner on the first weekend in port, the bar would give you a free keg of beer. Of course, CDR Uplinger was former enlisted and knew of such things, so he made it clear that ANYONE who tried to steal the ship's brow banner would be court martialed, and any topside watch who allowed it to be stolen would also face punishment.

This would strike fear in the hearts of ordinary mortals but not submariners, (and all those who served with me during my four years on the Bates know well that I could hardly pass up such a challenge).

A couple of us decided right away that we would have that banner hanging over the bar in the Horse and Cow that very evening. We waited patiently for the CO to leave the ship, presumably to conduct some important business with the Mare Island shipyard command personnel. As I remember things, the CO's car had barely turned the corner when I started to cut down that brow banner, to the shock and horror of the topside watch. (He made some kind of comment about shooting me or something, and I don't remember exactly what I said to him, but it wasn't nice.) Someone helped me roll it up and we made a quick getaway towards the town of Vallejo with the banner in the back of the car, I’m pretty sure it was Dave McConnell’s Corvette.

It sure was fun hanging that banner up on the wall of the bar, and I could hear a roar of excitement from the crowd gathered behind me, which I assumed was the arrival of the beer keg. Then I turned around to see who but the cap’n standing right behind me. Of course, I invited him to have the first beer, and somehow we never got around to that court martial. That was one of my very favorite Bates adventures, and many people got to share that keg of beer, the first of many drinks that flowed that night in Vallejo. Indeed, there were those who probably drank so much they can’t recall what happened that night, and others who drank so much they did things they WISH they could not remember, but that is a story for another time…

PS: For those with a hankering to revisit those glory days, the Horse and Cow Tavern still exists. It had moved down to San Diego a few years ago but left for the Seattle area in 2004. They're located just outside the sub base in Bangor. You can check out their web site, if you dare...

Andy Wright
For those of you interested, Mikey still has our brow banner at the Horse and Cow (but then-again, he's really never thrown anything away that was presented to him from a boat crew).
Jamie Hogan
I remember the ever suave Electrical Chief Eckland saying to a rather large lady on a barstool "I'm gonna suck your box 'til your head caves in..!"

That line will be with me always.

Alan Holtzheimer
I remember going there and ordering a rum and coke. Rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, rum, coke. It only had a light carmel color in the upper third, the rest was clear. Makes my head hurt just thinking about it.
Sean Gawne
Of course we had upside down margaritas. That was one of the great traditions of the H&C. Quite fun, as I recall. :silly:
Of course, if you had too many you might find yourself experiencing another "tradition" and being photographed with one of the famous 3-stool ladies in an embarrassing pose. Being a bit of a rogue, I have to admit to taking some of those photos and posting them on the wall. Thankfully I never got drunk enough to "pose" for one! Surely someone else has a story or two they can post about the Horse and Cow. Who's ready to talk?

John Turner
Not sure if it was just the Spooks, but I remember a tradition at the Horse and Cow concerning the bartender.

I believe this was when it was in Vallejo and had the large cut-out of the submarine mounted on top of the tavern.

It was called an upside-down Margarita. You leaned backwards over the bar and he made the Margarita in your open mouth. Then he would blow his sounding board for Dive. :woohoo:

David McConnell
Sean, great story, but how can you write about the Horse and Cow without mentioning the famous "Dance" or "muff dives?" I'm requesting an extension of the this story with some of those details!



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