The Navy's traditions live on in the hearts of those who serve

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Clothes make the man!

You may remember reading a story book in First Grade with the title of; "Clothes make the man".  The premise of the story was a gang of animal characters were going to rob a bank!  The Bear, who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, was cast as a Police Man.  His job was to arrest the others and then they would escape under the ruse of being in custody of the authorities.  The fly in the ointment was, the Bear, in Police clothing, takes the gnu to jail!  When asked why he did that, he replies, I am a Policeman!  He thought if he was dressed as a Policemen, he had to act like a Policeman!

I saw this play out many time in my Navy career.  When sailors could wear civilian clothes on liberty, the number of Liberty Incidents escalated!  One Med Cruise, Sixth Fleet mandated that the first night in port, all ships had to go on Liberty in dress uniform.  The result was, the first night, Liberty Incidents were much lower than the nights the crew could wear civilian clothes.  Based on what I learned in First Grade, it made sense.

Then, as a Government Service Civilian Employee, I saw this work in reverse, sort of.  An Engineer and a Machinist Technician from the Gun Branch at NAVSEACENLANT were working on a gun mount on a Cruiser.  The Captain of the ship, an O-6, wanted an update and summoned the NAVSEAACENLANT representatives to his in port cabin.  Both were dirty, sweaty, and covered in grease and oil.  The Engineer wiped off his hands and was ready to go.  The old Machinist, took off his coveralls, cleaned up, put on his shirt and tie.  They both went to the Captains in port cabin.  They entered and began their briefing.  The Captain told the old Machinist;  Send your worker back to work and you and I will have a cup of coffee and discuss progress.  Naturally, the Engineer was livid!  But, he learned that; "Clothes make the man!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The First Lay was asked to help someone in a Target store!

The President and the First Lady are saying racism still exists because they were asked to help someone or the President, at one time, was mistaken for a parking lot attendant.

So What!!  It happens to everyone.  I was flying back from the Med, we were in baggage claim at Kennedy, I was in Dress Blues, a Master Chief Gunner's Mate, Gold Hash marks and Crow, Cover on, and a Orthodox Jew, sack cloth suit, beard, yam aka, and wide brimmed black hat, handed me $5 and asked me to carry his bags to the car!!

Better yet, Master Chief of the Navy Bob Walker, in Dinner Dress Blues, at a formal Military event in Norfolk, Virginia, was handed the keys to a car and told not to scratch it when he retrieved their car!!

People are unconscious and ignorant most of the time.  They do not know who they are talking too.  They are too observed in their own importance!!  

In the First Lady's instance, she was dressed in a way she would NOT be noticed!  She was undercover, so she could go shopping.  A lady asked her to reach a bottle of detergent because the lady was too short to reach it.  The First Lady is tall!  I get asked to reach things on the top shelf all the time.  People in electric chairs, short people, older people, even kids.  I am not offended and I do not say people are discriminating against me because I am Slovenian, have dark skin, and a big nose!

Again, people don't even know who their neighbors are.  How can we expect them to recognize a military uniform or a public figure dressed to conceal their identity.   It has nothing to do with racial prejudice.  It has everything to do with selfishness and stupidity!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Navy Times reports the Russians are targeting the U.S. Navy!!

How many times have I written about this very topic!  What about the DDG that was incapacitated by the Russian bombers?  Or the Russian submarines in the Gulf of Mexico?   The Russians are gathering intelligence and testing our resolve and readiness for future reference! Now the question is, future reference for what?!

You can draw your own conclusions, but I believe the Russians think the U.S. Navy is their biggest threat for a retaliatory strike in the case of a Russian preemptive attack on the U.S.  I believe Russia is suffering so badly from economic misdealing that Premier Putin is attempting to stir the nationalistic furor of the Russian people in order to have them suffer even greater economic depression.  To accomplish this shell game, Putin needs a fight with an easily hated opponent.  Guess who that is?!

Premier Putin believes America is weak and without political resolve. He believes we will NOT fight back!  And he may very well be correct!  But the fact that he is testing the U.S. Navy tells me we are the only portion of the U.S. Military he is concerned with.  That is good and bad.

Good, because we are causing him to pause and test us.  Bad, because we will be the first ones to engage the Russian forces!  Remember, they have been building up their submarine forces for 20 years.  And we quit doing ASW after the end of the Cold War!!  I suspect we could not prosecute a submarine if the submarine was playing "Dixie" on the ships entertainment system at 1000 decibels!!

So, Navy, we are on the spot.  How do I justify that statement.  The semi-official newspaper "Navy Times" did a front page article on it!  Maybe it is time to brush up on Russian Navy tactics!  Keep your powder dry!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Old sayings on the 1MC

I have received some comments recently about an older post I wrote relating to the things we heard on the 1MC on our ships.  While many of those sayings were humorous on their own, some could be even funnier if you added some ad-libs.

For instance, someone sent me the announcement for divers of]ver the side.  Of course, divers over the side is a safety concern.  moving the screws or rudders could hurt or kill a diver.  Taking suction form the main induction could trap or kill a diver also.  But think about combining the standard diver's announcement with what they tell us about retransmission of a baseball game!

"There are divers over the side.  Do not throw anything over the side, cycle rudders, rotate screws, take suction from or discharge to the sea; Without the express written permission from the commissioner of baseball!

Then, there was always the announcement of the laundry and dry cleaner's trucks on the pier.

Liberty Cleaners is on the pier for pick up and delivery!!  No kidding!  I thought they just came down to look at Navy ships!

And you always knew which Junior Officer was in trouble with the Executive Officer.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Smith, LAY to the Executive Officer's stateroom!!   In stead of;  Lieutenant Smith, your presence is requested in the Executive Officer's stateroom.

Standing Quarterdeck watches was always a challenge.  Rendering Honors to Commanding Officers, maintaining the Plan of the Day, and security of the ship kept you hopping!  But, there was always a chance to find humor in the daily events and that is what makes the Navy a great organization!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another Commanding Officer gets fired!!

The Commanding Officer of the USS Boxer was relieved for trying to make sure his sailors were ready to deploy!!  That is not what the report directly said, but it IS what it said between the lines.

The first allegation is he asked female and male sailors alike if they were using birth control.  Someone thought that was sexual harassment!  Let's see, if a female sailor gets pregnant, married or not, she cannot deploy!  Seems to me, BIRTH CONTROL  is a portion of Combat Readiness.  Also, if a female sailor gets pregnant during the deployment, she has to leave the ship in her first three months of pregnancy.  Again, a trained, experienced sailor has to depart the ship, most likely WITHOUT relief!!!!!  Again, a Combat Readiness issue.

Then there is the complaint that he yelled and cussed at sailors when their did wrong!  What?!?!  I am at a loss for words on this one.  Has the Navy and America became so politically correct and so soft, thin skinned, and feminized that a little cussing and yelling is considered a reason to relieve a Captain??!!  God help us of we ever get in a war.

Look, sailing on War Ships and going to war is tough business.  If you cannot do your job correctly, quickly, and efficiently, someone is going to hurt of even die!  In the gun tubs of the 20MM Anti-Aircraft guns on the USS Alabama, is printed in BIG RED LETTERS; "Lead, Damn It, LEAD!"  This was to remind the Gunner's to shoot in front of the enemy aircraft.  Would that be considered a reason to relieve the Commanding Officer?  It seems in today's Navy, it would indeed.

One other issue was the CO was caustic with his Port Engineer.  Almost every CO I have seen has caustic moments with his or her Port Engineer.  I find many of the Port Engineers self-serving, egotistical, assholes!   I have seldom seen a Port Engineer that had the well being of the crew anywhere in his priority list.   So, again, the CO being caustic to the Port Engineer is his job!!  Just my opinion.

This is a travesty if what I read in the report from the San Diego news paper is correct.  This CO was doing his job.  Trying to make and keep his ship ready to deploy.  If you get fired for that, I recommend never going into the Command at Sea world!!  But I already decided the CMC program has become a political place for those who are not professional enough to be a Master Chief in their Rating!  Again, my opinion.

I believe this firing is the quintessential signal that there is no war fighters in the hierarchy of the Navy.  The Admirals are a bunch of politically correct, brown nose, suits who's only desire id to get promoted and make money, at the expense of anyone that has the misfortune to work for them, Officer or Enlisted!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why I love the Navy

I have not written about some circumstances of my life.  But now, as my disease progresses, I believe it is time, while I still remember all the details, to explain my life and my love for the Navy.

The woman who gave birth to me, was pregnant out of wedlock, to a Marine she met in a bar.  He was a louse and deserted her when he found out she was pregnant.  She was a brave woman and carried me to birth.  Believe me, in 1950 and 1951, that was a brave thing to do.  She could have had a back alley abortion.  Plenty of women did.  But, she did not and I am thankful for that.  I am sorry that I am not thankful for much of anything else she did in my life.  And as far as the man who impregnated my Mother and his family, I only wish they would have given me a chance.   I did talk to him once.  He was aery, 31 years after I was born.  So much for happy endings!!

My Mother could not take care of me and I was taken in by a friend or acquaintance of hers, who had already raised all of her children.  I ended up calling them Mom and Dad and I loved them all of my life.  They were there for me in all that I did.  My bad times and my good times.  They were there when I graduated from Boot Camp, Gunner's Mate "C" School, and when I came back from my first WestPac.  Mom and Dad were there for me and treated me like I was their own.

The man who made my mother pregnant and his parents did not want to have ANYTHING to do with me!  They did pay my mother $10,000 to go away and she did.  To this day, the Dolence family will have nothing to do with me.  You know those TV news articles about children that are reunited with their mother that abandoned them or siblings they never met.  How those stories are all love and happiness.  Well, in my life that is not true.

Another issue is, my Mother did not like her Step Mother, so she had little or nothing to do with her father or her brothers and sisters.  So, I have little or no contact with anyone related to me by blood.

Therefore, I was always trying to fit in with people I was not related too.  We lived in a rented home next to Puritas Springs Park on Puritas Road in Cleveland Ohio.  No plumbing, coal furnace.  I was about 5 when I was told, by the oldest Gooding boy, the family that owned Puritas Springs Park, that I was not Mr. and Mrs. Mills' child and my name was not Mills.  He told me my Mother paid them to take care of me.  I was heart broken!! Devastated!!

I am not sure I ever got over that.  My Mother was in and out of my life.  She gave birth to three other illegitimate children.  Two girls and another boy.  Every time she got pregnant she came back to the Mills' for help.  I really don't remember the pregnancies, I was small then.  All of this was hidden from me until after Mom dies and I pried some information out of they son, then my Foster Sister, and then, finally, my Mother.  She was bitter that I wanted to know the truth.  She lied to me my entire life.  Told me my father was killed in Korea!!   Of course, there was never any survivor benefits, college or help of any kind.  I guess I was gullible.  I was never told the truth until I was 31 years old!!

My Foster Sister has told me about them and brought some memories back to memory, but those are fuzzy at best.

As far as Mom and Dad Mills' children, I was really not welcome.  The oldest girl, had her first child, a boy, 11 days after I was born.  But Mom and Dad were paying attention to me and probably neglected David.  I can understand their bitterness and I hold no grudges there.

The Mills' middle child, a girl, and I made friends and she has stood by me and helped me through out my life.  I was close friends with her husband and her children.  I love her like a sister.  But the other children and me have not been close.  Again I understand.

I looked and looked for acceptance.  I was not the most popular kid in school.  I quit High School in the second half of the twelfth grade.  I joined the Navy, because that seemed like a good idea, and it was!

I took me until my first ship to fully understand how well I fitted in the Navy.  I did well in Boot Camp, but I still felt like an outcast.   The last day in Boot Camp, we were paid, in cash!  We we are all rolling in dough, about $100 a person.  During the day, one of our shipmates stole some one's money.  I went to my Company Commander and told him about my juvenile record and asked him to search my locker and belongings first.  I felt guilty, useless, and like trash!!  I did not take the money and the Company Commander told me so.  He also said, he would NOT search my locker because I was honest with him!!  The light of hope was beginning to show in my eyes!!

Then, because of my color vision deficiency I was sent to Personnelman "A" School.  I was not the typewriter type.  I was a car mechanic.  But, I went, and soon got in trouble over a girl!  I went UA for two days.  Then, because Mom threatened to kill me, I went back and turned myself in.  I was sure I was going to the Brig for twenty years.  But, the Chief actually understood.  The Executive Officer didn't!  He thought the fact that I was saying I was wrong and I expected to be punished was some sort of scam!  The Commanding Officer, the first Four Stripe Captain I had ever seen, actually appreciated my honesty and only gave me two weeks extra duty and two weeks restriction.  Oh, and he charged me two days leave for the days I was gone!  Then he asked me;  Do you want to be a Personnelman?  No Sir!  I want to be a Gunner's Mate.  SO, he sent me to sea.

I reported to the USS Mullinnix (DD 944) in Norfolk Virginia.  Three 5"/54 gun mounts and a twin mount 3"/50.  I was sure it was a Battleship!!  The smell of the steam lines, the gray sky, ships moored everywhere was mesmerizing to me.  I was placed in First Division with the Boatswains Mates and non-designated seaman.  I did whatever I was told!  And I noticed, the harder I worked, the better things were.

One day, I was in the chow line for lunch.  The Chief Gunner's Mate, GMGC Sadowski, came up to me and said;  I hear you want to be a Gunner's Mate?  Yes sir Chief!!  He then asked;  What is you GCT/ARI.  Those were the tests we took that showed our aptitude.  I answered; 122, Chief!   Chief Sadowski said;  You're a Gunner's Mate.  Muster with me in the morning!!

In Gun Division, I did everything as I was told!  Why, the two GMG1's took me on a space tour and in Mount 51'a magazine, the beat the shit out of me.  Then they said;  If you do what you are told, and you don't talk back and you don't get in trouble, you MAY not come down her again with us!!   Good motivation since GMG1 Phillips ad GMG1 Straight were both gorillas!!  I made GMG3 on the Mullinnix.  I also got my GED which also qualified me for a High School Diploma from John Marshall High School in Cleveland, my school, since I had met all the graduation requirements before I quit!

From there, I was sent to Gunner's Mate "A" School and "C" School.  I made GMG 2in school through the Fleet Wide Advancement Test.  I also met Chief Mowery and Chief Morris who became my career mentors!!   Then to the USS Stein (DE 1065).

I met my wife while I was on the USS Stein in the yards in Long Beach.  She was a student at BIOLA College in LaMirada.  That was almost 42 years ago!  She is the first individual, outside of the Navy, that accepted me as I was.  And yes, I did tell her my entire life's story before we were married.

I learned that no matter where you came from, how rich or poor you were, how much education you had, or who you know, you would be judged by your performance, dedication, and ability to follow orders in the Navy!  I had found the one place I really fit in!!

So, in my mind today, I am still IN the Navy!  Why, because I am comfortable there.   My past, before the Navy is not pleasant or comfortable for me.  But even the hardest Navy days are a good memory for me.  Yes, I failed and succeeded in the Navy.  when I failed, the Navy Leadership and my Shipmates picked me up, kicked me in the rear, and told me to do better!  Now that's family!

I wish, very much, that someone named Dolence or Kampf would be glad to see me or hear from me.  But, I know that is a futile wish.  But, every week, a shipmate calls me and we reconnect, like we were never apart.

As my Lewy Body Dementia progresses, I know I will once again be a Navy Master Chief, at least in my mind.  And I will be with friends that accept me for what I am, not where I came from.  Thanks Shipmates!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How we did things in the "Old Days"

I need to think about the Navy I served in.  The happenings of the present just cause me problems of the highest magnitude.  For instance, before the MK 42 5"/54 gun mount, we could fire our guns without any electricity!  We could manually train and elevate the gun into position, load, and fire the gun either using the emergency battery or the food treadle that activated the percussion firing pin!!  Even 16"/50 turrets could be fired with out electrical power.  But, you coned not get ammo into the gun room without electrical power, so, you were limited to maybe one round per barrel if you had ammo in the gun room.  But 5"/38 twin, single, open or enclosed could fire all day with our electricity!  Of course, the 40 MM and 20 MM could also.  The 3"/50 RF could not, because of the loader but the old 3"/50 slow fire could!  Heck, a Gehering Class Destroyer could keep firing until it sunk!!  Not so today.

Then, I got thinking about battery alignment.  My dogs were barking at the Mailman and it reminded me of "Shooting the Moon" for battery alignment!  We used to place bore sight in the gun barrel and align it with the muzzle disc.  The Fire Controlmen would place a scope in the dish of the radar on the director and they would sight on the moon.  The, we would hand crank the gun mount in train and elevation, until we saw the moon in our scope.  The, on the sound power phones, the Gunner's Mate looking through the bore sight in the gun and the Fire Controlman looking through the scope in the radar dish would start saying; "MARK, MARK, MARK" every time the moon was in the reticle they determined they would accept.  When the two of them said; "MARK" at the same time, we would read the position dials on the Receiver Regulators for train and elevation.  If they were nit exactly the same, the gun mount would have to adjust their receiver regulator to match the master element, the Fire Control Director.  That was how we did battery alignment before the Theodolite Alignment system we use now!!

And yes, when the two were saying; "MARK, MARK, MARK" they sounded like a hair lipped dog!  That's why my dogs reminded me of that story.

Maybe, we need a few weapons systems that don't need electricity!  Just in case.