The History of Alcohol and Tobacco Bans on Naval Ships

Aboard a US Navy ships, wine messes were apart of daily ship's life. Josephus Daniels, a moralizer with prohibitionist issues, tried to convince the Secretary of the Navy in 1913 that officers should not engage in drinking nor have the privileges that were not granted to the Sailors and Marines that they commanded. Since the age of sailing vessels, the rum ration was switched to whiskey in 1806 but was halted altogether in the year 1862. The sale of alcohol to enlisted men was ended all together at land base naval stations. Enlisted men could not drink, but the officers were allowed to buy alcohol and even drink wine aboard their ship. Daniels arguments were not heard with this angle so he tried to tell the Secretary that the officers of the fleet were drunkards and limited the productivity of the fleet.

This argument finally prevailed and the Naval Secretary took it to the president and the ban of alcohol was finally approved. The General Order No. 99 became law and all alcohol was banned from U.S. Navy vessels. This law remains in effect today and does not allow sailors or marines to consume any alcohol on a ship no matter which rank. Many officers were outraged and held 'going dry' parties in their wardrooms. This was relived many decades later when the Navy also placed a no smoking or tobacco free ban on all navy ships. Prohibition seems to be reemerging as the tobacco ban spread and many dollars were spent helping the sailors and marines quit the smoking habit.

Comments 2 comments

Rick Marlow 7 years ago

That`s an interesting hub dk. Informative. How you doin over in the big state buddy?

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Tom Schumacher 3 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

Nice hub. I couldn't imagine living under those conditions and not being able to have an occasional drink and smoke to calm the nerves.

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