What is Wog?

Wog meaning short for ‘pollywog’, as in ‘wog ceremony’. A wog refers to someone who has not crossed the equator in an official Navy hazing ceremony. Although hazing is technically illegal, the Navy still supports this practice (typically under the watchful eye of the CMC), although it has become relatively benign compared with days of old. Officers and enlisted alike can be targets of this ceremony, run by ‘shellbacks.’ According to lore, if the wogs of a ship manage to find and capture the ‘Jollyroger’ (the black skull and crossbones flag) before midnight of the day before the ceremony, then they will get to run the shellbacks through the ceremony. It is not clear if this has ever been done. Officially, any crewmember having previously crossed the equator, whether in the Navy or not, does not have to participate in the ceremony. Unofficially, if said person cannot produce a Shellback Card, that person will participate.


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