Bread and water

Maritime history buffs might be interested to know that the U.S. Navy has changed a long-standing punishment: reports that as of Jan. 1, there will be no more “Bread and Water” sentences for minor offenses (

Originally, this particular penalty often involved being shackled, and could last up to 30 days, as a supposedly more humane alternative to being flogged (which was outlawed in 1862). In 1909, it was away with the shackles, and the bread and water treatment was reduced to seven days.

Since the 1980s, the punishment, though rare, was limited to three days in the brig, could only be administered after a medical exam, and the offender was allowed an unlimited amount of bread three times a day.

It’s a good guess that the only person who will be seriously disappointed at this turn of events is Capt. Adam M. Aycock (pictured, inset), apparently the only commander to use this demoralizing punishment several times in recent years for minor infractions aboard the USS Shiloh. Maybe now the ship can shed its nickname: the USS Bread and Water.

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Daily Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or

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