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The wearing of a gold earring by sailors goes back for thousands of years. In ancient time, sailors wore a gold earring in case their ship sank, or they were swept overboard. After they drown, their body would hopefully wash ashore somewhere. Wherever that was, the sailor hoped that the gold earring was of enough value to those that found his body to give it a decent burial. Anything else upon his person would of been destroyed by salt water, but not metal attached to his body. By WW 2 this was no longer needed, but done as a custom to indicate that you were a sailor. One could chalk it up to "Navy Pride." Richard V. Horrell WW 2 = = Answer = = LOOK AT THAT SAILOR'S EARRING In Honolulu recently a malihini (newcomer) lady made a startling discovery. Noticing a huge, red-bearded sailor seated several tables away, she declared: "Look at that! He's wearing an earring!" Now that demobilization is under way, and America's cities are filling with ex-servicemen, civilians will see more and more brawny men with a ring or pendant in their left ear. At first, they well be amused, but eventually will come to accept the custom as unquestionably as they accept jewelry dangling from the lobes of our ladies. Men's earrings are nothing new, old salts will tell you. Even before the days of pirates, mariners who had sailed the China seas or had done any Asiatic duty took to wearing earrings as a mark of their service in the Orient. It was the campaign ribbon of its day. The modern gob, after he has sailed in Asiatic waters, gets his ears pierced and a ring inserted, then goes to a tattoo parlor and has various Chinese legends etched on the shank of his left leg. But not all men who wear earrings are veterans of Asiatic sea service. The custom has been adopted by many who have sailed in the Central, South, or Southwest Pacific without entering the waters of the China Sea . . . --Hal J. Kanter From: The Saturday Evening Post, December 8, 1945, page 119

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2008-01-09 17:22:37
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Q: Was it a popular tradition in the US Navy during World War 2 to wear a gold earring?
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