Sailors aboard the destroyer Ross recently got the opportunity to take part in one of the Navy's rarest line-crossing ceremonies when they headed into the Arctic Circle and became eligible for induction into the "Order of the Blue Nose."

In a ceremony also known as the "Northern Domain of the Polar Bear," first-time sailors nabbed Arctic Circle certificates as the Ross steamed near the top of the earth on July 2.

"The Blue Nose heralds our cold bodied Sailors — those that have proven their selves worthy of the cold arctic winds and ice as they cross into the Arctic Circle," a post on the Ross's Facebook page states. "This ceremony delves into old naval lore, and USS Ross did not disappoint our sailors by going well over the top."

Sadly, no pictures were taken during the ceremony, according to the Facebook post.

Officials from 6th Fleet did not elaborate on what the ceremony entailed.

"This is a rare event for any mariner," said Capt. Tate Westbrook, commander of the Ross's parent squadron, Destroyer Squadron 60. "Most Navy sailors proudly display the framed colorful certificates that document the maritime and navigation milestones they have experienced in a career."

Many receive certificates for passing the Suez and Panama canals, or crossing the equator, he said, "but very few of us have the Order of the Blue Nose in that collection."

The Ross has been conducting anti-submarine patrols in the high north Atlantic Ocean, Norwegian Sea and Arctic Ocean with fellow destroyers Laboon and James E. Williams, as well as with the cruiser Leyte Gulf during the summer.

The presence of ships is one of the largest in the region at the highest northern latitudes since the end of the Cold War, 6th Fleet officials said. 

The Ross is forward deployed to Rota, Spain.

Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at

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