In Appendix:U.S. Navy slang
, the goat locker
is a lounge, sleeping area, and galley onboard a naval vessel which is reserved for the exclusive use of Chief Petty Officers
. By tradition, all other personnel, including officers and even the Commanding Officer, must request permission to enter the goat locker.
Possible Origins of the Term
- The term takes its name from the slang term "old goat," and is a recognition that CPOs are generally the oldest individuals aboard a navy ship.
- In early sailing years, there was no refrigeration available so livestock would travel on ships, providing the crew fresh milk and eggs. To keep the supply of milk safe and available, the goat was kept in the Chief Petty Officers quarters. This is believed to be the source of the old Navy term, "Goat Locker."
- Entertainment on liberty took many forms, mostly depending on the coast and opportunity. One incident which became tradition was at a Navy-Army football game. In early sailing years, livestock would travel on ships, providing the crew fresh milk, meats, and eggs, as well as serving as ships' mascots. One pet, a goat named El Cid (meaning Chief) was the mascot aboard the USS New York. When its crew attended the fourth Army Navy Game in 1893, they took El Cid to the game, which resulted in the West Pointers losing. El Cid (The Chief) was offered shore duty at Annapolis and became the Navy's mascot. This is believed to be the source of the old Navy term, "Goat Locker."
The United States Navy out of respect and in recognition of the senior position of the Chief Petty Officer provided dinnerware made specifically for the "The Goat Locker".
The special insignia (or topmark) used on this fine china to denote the Chief Petty Officer's Mess (or Goat Locker) were the letters "USN" beneath the U.S. Navy's traditional "Fouled, Fluked, and Stocked Anchor".
Official Naval and Nautical China was produced for the U.S. Navy by leading china manufacturers such as Tepco, Shenango, Buffalo, Sterling and Homer Laughlin from the early 1930s through WWII, and was used up until the 1960s until supplies ran out. This Navy China made for the Chief Petty Officer's "Goat Locker" is rare and hard to come by, as it is typically kept as family heirlooms along with sea stories originated by the Chief Petty Officer and passed down from generation to generation.