The US Navy has been in business since 1798. In the days of sail, the bosun's mate of the watch would use his whistle to pass orders. When ships became electrified, information and orders could be passed over the 1st Main Circuit, the "1MC". By tradition, the bos'n's whistle is still blown at the beginning of an announcement over the 1MC public address system, followed by the words "Now Hear This..."
The Navy Recruiting Service, in cooperation with the National Broadcasting Company, used these words as the title of a Sunday afternoon radio drama featuring real stories of the modern Navy in 1951. In the early fifties, WWII was still a fresh memory. The Navy and the Nation it serves were becoming more involved in conflict on the Korean Peninsula.
Told from the point of view of the enlisted, working sailor, Now Hear This is unique among Navy dramas. Battles are won, and history is made by the exploits of brave Naval Officers, but their heroism would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the Sailors they lead.
The stories told on Now Here This come to us through the eyes of a rugged old Chief Bos'n's Mate, who has seen it all in his thirty years at sea. Any Navy vet can tell you that the real backbone of the Navy is the old Chief Petty Officers, those senior enlisted personnel who have been around long enough to learn all the lessons there are to learn. A Chief has taken on the job of teaching those lessons to the younger Blue Jackets, as well as teaching the Junior Officers what it means to lead men.
The well written series is a little fantastical at times; we can certainly expect a program from the Recruiting Service to show the Navy in its best and most attractive light. At the same time, Now Here This gets a great deal right about life in the Navy. Listening to the show, the audience can feel the men's frustration over the long days and months at sea, as well as the closeness and dedication they feel for one another, and for their ships. The well written stories feature characters allowed to develop fully. We can feel for the sailor whose kid brother joined the Marines, especially when we find out the Marine has married the sailor's girl back home. Next we find that the Marine is on the same transport as his older brother, and they are on their way to Guadalcanal. In another episode, the crew of a submarine, the USS Baracuda, is cruising to the Philippines on Dec. 7, 1941. We learn that one of the sailors who has named a torpedo after the first girl he ever kissed ("Boy, did she pack a wallop!")
See also: Voice of the Army