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Friday, April 24, 2015

Small Stores!?

How many of you remember "Small Stores"?  You know, those baggy dungarees that would never wear out!  Boon Dockers, Dress Shoes you had to polish.  Small stores uniforms were good, basic, sturdy, uniforms at a CHEAP price!!

Of course, we wanted the Seafarer Dungarees, the Corfam Dress Shoes, and tailored whites and blues.  Small Stores went away and the Navy Exchanged owned the Uniform Supply.  How did that turn out!!  Not well.  I just saw an add in the Navy Exchange mailer that had Corfam shoes on sale for $147.!!

Now, I read that the Exchange system is going to take over the Commissary System!  In my opinion there coned not be any worse news to retired or active duty personnel. We might as well shop at Walmart!  The price of groceries will be higher than shopping t one of those Hippie "Greenie" Stores.

We are truly in trouble shipmates.  It is pitiful, just pitiful!!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

What makes the IDEAL Gunner's Mate?

I was playing Billiards tonight with a groups of men that live here at Azalea Trace.  I truly enjoy these times of fellowship.  And, I am even getting better, not good, at pool.

In any case, I was watching one of our players shoot. Since he is tall, about 6"3", he has to do some gymnastics to get into position to shoot.  As I watched him I wondered what the ideal billiards player would be built like.  My mind quickly moved to my theory on the design of the IDEAL Gunner's Mate.

Since I came up with this theory when I was on a MK 45 ship, it is based on that gun mount.  In any case, the IDEAL MK 45 Gunner's Mate would be 6"5" tall.  Weigh 135 pounds.  Have a 52 inch arm reach.  Be able to bench press 450 pounds.  And have eyes in the ends of his fingers!

Remember, everything you need to work on in most gun mounts is hidden behind something immovable, has 20 different size cap screws, and requires a complicated alignment procedure.  There is no room for a protruding belly.  You might remember a story I wrote a while ago about the first female MK 45 field service engineer that could not get around in the gun mount, from the gun pocket, because of her beautiful female shape!

In any case, I never had the IDEAL Gunner's Mate to work with.  But, I did work with some of the  BEST Gunner's Mates the Navy had.  I miss those men!!


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!!

there was a comedy movie in the 1960's titled; "The Russians are coming, The Russians are coming!"  Every comedian in the business were in that movie including the Three Stooges!!  It was funny and it even shows up on television every now and then.

That is NOT my point here.  There were two news articles that should cause your worry factor to spike!  First, Russia is selling Iran a state of the art missile defense system capable of tracking and shooting down 100 targets at a time!!  It does not take a defense Guru to figure out Iran needs that Missile Defense system to protect their nuclear facilities from attack.  You know, those nuclear facilities our President and Secretary of State have negotiated away.  Right!

Then, I read an article that stated that Germany had halted the decommissioning of their main battle tanks.  Their plan was to reduce their main battle tank population from 350 to 225.  Now, they are recommissioning and updating all of their battle tanks!!   They will be back at 350 battle tanks with new updates, by 2016.  Why?  The Russians are coming!!

Putin, the ex-KGB operative and now President for life, is storming Europe and Germany knows it.  Putin is building alliances with Iran, North Korea, Red China, Egypt, Venezuela, and taking over other nations once strategically part of the Soviet Union.

I am not a defense analyst but I can see the rise of Russia and the fall of the United States.  We are decommission ships, building high tech, one of a king, untested ships at astronomical prices.  We built the LCS, the Russians build Battle Cruiser with long range cruise missiles, guns, air to air missiles, ASW capabilities, and redundancies a plenty.

Look shipmates, the proverbial solid waste material is about to hit the reciprocating air displacement device!  And we don't even have enough Charmin to clean up after it hits the wall!!

Oh well, just saying!

Friday, April 10, 2015

The meeting! I learned a few things.

We had our meeting with the Executive Director of Azalea Trace this afternoon.  I must admit, he was a very congenial and honest person.  He explained some events that lead up to him and us not meeting or forging a relationship and I agreed with him on those points.

Right up front, we both agreed that if we had started out on the right foot, this disagreement would not have happened because we would have had an open line of communications.  We have now established that circuit.

That being said, he completely answered my issues concerning the parking lot issues.  We did differ on the treatment of certain members of our community.   But, it is OK to have different opinions.  The bottom line her is, I honestly believe the parking issues will be solved, to the betterment of the community, very soon.  The truth is, based on our written question, the ED was already working on the solution.  I did encourage him to publicize the actions from the Resident Meetings on the Community Cable Channel or an email to the residents.  This would help at least me, if not most of the residents keep informed.  Waiting a month for an update seems sort of secretive.  Especially when he and his staff are actually solving the issue in a timely manner.  Why NOT take credit for your good work.   Open, frequent, informative, communications serve to beat down rumors and soothe bruised egos.

Our refrigerator issue was a little different.  It seems I did not hear the entirety of the first offer from the ED to solve our problem.  This is where I learned something today.  I either did not hear what Ginger told me or I confused what she said with my own view.  Either way, it is entirely possible that I caused the misunderstanding and I am very sorry about that.  In any case, he was very understanding and helpful concerning our refrigerator issue.  He even came to our apartment to see the problem  and after seeing it, he commented;  That would be very annoying."  In any case, we will be able to remedy this problem too.

If you read my Lewy Body Dementia blog, you know I have been having anger and agitation issues.  In his defense, the ED did not know this or even that I had LBD.  That relates back to our not meeting in the beginning.   So, another thing I learned today is, from now on, Linda will have to take the lead on these issues.   My brain can no longer logically look at issues without interjecting the emotion of the moment into the mix.   To keep peace in the community and our life, it makes sense for me to completely remove myself from these negotiations.

This has turned out to be a very draining and upsetting situation that I most likely caused.  I probably caused Ginger and her boss, Dave, more problems than I am worth.   Not to to mention the indigestion I caused the ED.  But, we are all on the same sheet of music and I learned a few things.  So, it was not a total loss.

Now, I think I will just sit down and shut up.  Good night.

Stories I have not told, until now.

Admiral Mike Boorda was COMCRUDESGRU Eight when I was early in my Force Master Chief tour.   He had enacted a policy within CCDG 8 that required everyone competing for promotion to E-5 be ESWS Qualified.   I had a number of complaint from sailors in CCDG 8 and I decided to discuss this with Admiral Boorda, in person.

I requested an appointment with the Admiral and told the Flag Secretary the topic of the meeting.  I was granted that meeting.   I arrived and discussed the ESWS issue with the Admiral.  I told him that requiring sailors desiring to promote to E-5 to have an ESWS qualification was unfair because sit was not a Navy wide policy.  I also told him the qualifications for advancement were outlined in the Advancement Manual.  I also explained the problem with a sailor, transferred from another Group, without a ESWS qual, but having been recommended before, loosing that recommendation once he got to CCDG 8.

Admiral Boorda told me he expected me to support him on this.  I told him, that the Board of Corrections and Review would overturn him!  We parted company on amicable terms, but, not in agreement.

When I got back to SURFLANT the Chief of Staff was quite agitated that I went to see the Admiral.  I told him, would you rather I put him on report to Vice Admiral McCauey without giving him chance to explain himself?

Some time later, Admiral Boorda was promoted to Chief of Naval Personnel.  I was at an event that Admiral Boorda was the guest speaker.  He came up to me and we shook hands.  I told him; "Now you are in the position to make the ESWS change, Navy wide."  He replied; "Now I am in the position to understand you were right."

During that CCDG 8 meeting, we shifted gears to other topics and the Admiral told me a secret.  Then he told me;  If you ever tell anyone what I just told you, I will ruin your career.  I never told anyone.  Maybe someday, I will write about that secret.  But, I really think he used that secret to see how loyal I was.

Admiral Boorda was a great man and am proud to have known him.

 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Another "obstinate" story

Since I have struck a theme of being "Obstinate" in the last few posts, a story about a Commanding Officer that stood up for his men came to mind.

Just before I reported to Attack Squadron 55 as the Command Master Chief, they bombed Benghazi.   Our Commanding Officer was the Strike Leader and our Executive Officer, the only person in flying in the squadron with actual combat experience was on the strike.   We flew six A-6E Intruders to bomb the airport.  The Air Force F-111's attacked Khadaffi's palace.

Our crews encountered enemy fire all the time they were over land.  The each member of the flight crews were submitted for Air Medals.  The awards came back downgraded and the now Commanding Officer, the previous Executive Officer at the time of the strike, was outraged!  Believe me, I know this from personal knowledge.

The day of the Awards Ceremony, the Commander, Naval Aviation Forces,  U.S. Atlantic Fleet came to present the awards.  At the end of the ceremony, our Commanding Officer addressed the Crew, assembled friends and family, and the Vice Admiral!  In so many words, the CO said it was BS that the awards were downgraded and that what the Air Crews accomplished was degraded by the actions of the Navy!!

I thought, "WOW!" he will never make O-6!  But, you can't defeat a loyal Commanding officer.  Maybe the Admiral knew "Gator" was right!  But it did not slow down his promotions one bit.

So, again, I say for those of you who have leadership positions, Always stand for that which is RIGHT !!   Doing things right is not the same as doing what is right!   You and the people that work with you will be better for it.


Command Climate and Customer Service go Hand in Hand! Corrections.

Yesterday I wrote a blog making a connection between Command Climate and Customer Service, in the Military and in the civilian world.   I never look at my blogs after I write them.  But, today, I received a telephone call from the Executive Director about yesterday's post, so I read it.  Because of that, I have to make a couple of clarifications and corrections.

But first, let me give you some back ground.   When I married my wife, she told me;  Always do the right thing, no matter what the cost. If they bust you, we will deal with it.  But do the right thing.

When I was the Force Master Chief of the Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet,  I lived by those instructions.  I dealt daily, with senior Flag Officers.  They are opinionated, stubborn, professional men that are not accustomed to being corrected or challenged.  So, I paid my dues in challenging decisions of superiors.

When the second Vice Admiral came into the job, Joe Donnell, I tried to see him over a bad decision made by the Awards Review Board in the case of Master Chief Bobby Scott.  I went up around 1400 and the Flag Secretary told me the Admiral was busy and could not see me.  So, I returned to my office wrote a letter of dissent over the Board's actions, and slipped it under the Admiral's door after everyone left.

The next morning, the Quarterdeck Watch told me to go see the Admiral immediately.   When I walked into the Admiral's office, it was apparent he was not happy about my letter.  After he let me know that, he agreed with my premise and asked why I did not come and see him first.  I said: "That Doberman Pincher that sits outside of your door would not let me in yesterday at 1400!  He said you were too busy to see me."   Admiral Donnell said he was not busy.  I told him;  "The doberman pincher is a LCDR and he is senior to me and works for you."  Then the Admiral asked me what I was not at the morning meetings.  I told him; " The same reason, the Chief of Staff does not want me there and he works for you."  The Admiral told me to get a cup of coffee and sit down.  Just then the Chief of Staff came into the Admiral's Office and scowled at me!  The Admiral saw that and yelled; "I want him here, you have a problem with that!?"  I made my point.

Another time, when I was a GS 13, a friend told me senior management was angry with me because I challenged their decisions over a safety issue and they were "Gunning" for me.  I told Gary,  they were angry because I was right.  They never came after me.  They just baited Gary to see if I would back down!  I didn't.

Now, back to my corrections.  In the case of the refrigerator, the person who was our guide through the remodeling process was a lady named Ginger.  She was great.  It was Ginger that I asked about changing the refrigerator and she said the Executive Director had to make that decision.  She later called me and told me the ED would not let me change the refrigerator because then he would be stuck with a refrigerator he could do nothing with.  I then asked Ginger, what if I sold the refrigerator.  She asked the ED and he said that would be fine.   Now, I probably have put poor Ginger in the middle of my issue.  And for that I am sorry.  But, the ED's answer of "He would be stuck with a refrigerator" is the same as my statement of; "sit down and shut up."

Now I ask you, does "Stuck with" sound like the attitude of a 501C3 Tax Exempt organization?  I don't think so.

Second, the parking issue.  The ED was out on a paid leave of absence issue.  The stand in told us, at a monthly resident's meeting concerning our written question on parking, that; "The residents have to police the parking lot and tell people that are not residents not to park close to the building."  Now, if the spots are not marked, how is that going to work?  Then, the following month, with the ED back, he said in response to our second written attempt to solve the issue;  "We will look into it."  The stand in told us the management has known they have had a parking problem at the Mid Rise building for a long time and they were NOT going to do anything about it or revisit the policy on covered parking!!  Again, we were told;  "sit down and shut up!"

I think that clarifies my position.  I will not make any changes to spelling errors.  If you got my meaning, the words worked.  I have dementia, I think I do pretty good!

So, tomorrow, I will meet with the ED.  That should be interesting.  But I will reserve judgement until after the meeting.  I will report on that tomorrow.