MCARA Sea Stories
The Squadron originally had a pretty simple mascot that accompanied us to Happy Hour every Friday. The last five junior officers to join the Squadron were assigned to guard the "bunny" by splitting the Happy Hour time frame. On a particularly Friday night, officers from a NKT fighter squadron bribed the bartenders and wearing their vests stole the "bunny". They set up a line of officers and passed the mascot through the bar area and out the window with J2 officers in hot pursuit. As the J2 chasers gained on the thieves, the holder of the "bunny" panicked and threw the mascot down an outside stairwell into a muddy puddle.
The following Friday we organized a New Orleans style funeral procession for a proper burial. The eyes of the rabbit were blackened, a wooden casket with a clear plastic cover was constructed, or spouses dressed in black with black veils, the S2 Officer, a first-class musician, blasted out the "when the saints go marching in" and we paraded down the hall, around the bar and onto the lawn outside the Club. The "bunny" was lowered into a previously prepared grave and buried to "taps." The fighter squadron officers, not to be outdone simulated (I think) urinating on the grave.
One of our officers, I think his name was Bertinelli, built a beautiful glass-fronted mascot holder that had a bar motif with a new "bunny" sitting on a bar stool and the following Friday, the new "bunny" made his first appearance at Happy Hour accompanied by repeated announcements that "the rabbit arose". It was around Easter time and we passed out little candy bunnies to all the customers until we were reminded by a Base Chaplain that it was Good Friday and our conduct was inappropriate. Parting continued but we were less vocal.
A related "bunny" story involves the "bunny watch". As previously stated, the last five junior officers to join the Squadron made-up the watch team; one of these appointees requested to talk to me, stating that his religion was against any and all forms of alcohol consumption, requesting to be relieved of the duty. I informed him that the duties did not include drinking alcohol and that he would stand the watch like all the other "new boys". Several months later, as he was leaving to go to West-Pac, he again requested Mast thanking me for the decision, stating the time spent on the "bunny watch" had resulted in better communications with the fellow officers and better prepared him and his family for the pending reassignment.