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One for the Birds

Reprinted from the August 1962 issue of All Hands

The question -- "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" '' had plagued man through the ages. Endless debate had raged, but the egg people have never retreated an inch from their position, while chicken fanciers have remained equally adamant.

Now, however, in the unlikely setting of the South China Sea, two ships think they've solved the problem -- at least to their mutual satisfaction.

question arose this time during the recently concluded SEATO maritime exercise Sea Devil, in which the navies of six SEATO member nations participated. Seems the captain of the destroyer USS Lyman K. Swenson (DD 729) discovered his ship had run out of eggs. It was definitely no yoke as far as he was concerned.

In something less than a trice the CO of the nearby Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Queenborough heard of his counterpart's plight, and scrambled to the rescue with an offer to send over some eggs. Now Swenson's skipper wanted those eggs, all right, but he didn't want to accept charity, so in true Yankee trader spirit he suggested a swap -- frozen chicken for fresh eggs.

The two ships promptly came alongside one another, and highlined the respective goodies onto each other's decks while underway. Then they got back to the business at hand -- the training exercise. 

Oh, and which came across the first highline first? The chicken.

February 2000

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