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

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Best Friends, my anchor to happiness

I have told you before that I have Lewy Body Dementia.  I spend much of the time thinking about my time in the Navy.  What I have not told you is that every week I spend at least an hour on the telephone with my dearest friend, GMC Jerry Hart.

I first met Jerry as a student at Gun School.  He was a NAVVET student converting from Corpsman to Gunner's Mate.  We were stationed together later in our career when he became the Gunner's Mate E-5 and below and schools detailer.  Jerry is a consummate professional.  A dedicated Navy man and lover and he and I became life long friends.

Jerry knows what I am going through and every week we talk for as long as I need to get back on an even keel.  It does not matter what we talk about, Navy becomes the topic.  Most of the time, Jerry mentions an event that I remember and off I go.   Cussing and discussing the events of my Navy experiences as I remember them.  Then, when I wind down, Jerry skillfully interjects another issue that HE KNOWS I will react too.  And off I go again.

Jerry is better at therapy than my Psychologist was!!  Today, as is the norm, Jerry called me and we talked for an hour and 26 minutes!!  It is heaven for me.  A release from my LBD problems and a trip down memory lane.  

Jerry has his own health problems, yet he is such a good friend, that he worries about me more than himself.  There is a Bible verse that says: "a friend sticks closer than a brother."  Jerry is that friend for me.

Jerry has put up with my ambitions, my self-centered nature, and all of my quirks and never complained.  He is closer to me than any blood relative.  Jerry has carried me farther than I have gone on my own.  I appreciate him, respect him, and love him as a brother.

This is a topic I should have written on before.  Tonight, my head has been full of my thoughts of Jerry and our friendship.  I am a luck man to have him as my friend.

Show me your check book, and I will tell you who you really LOVE!

This is an adage from Christian Ministry.  If a person proclaims to love Christ, yet never tithes to the Church to prosper the Gospel, they probably do not REALLY Love Christ.  They may love what Christ can do for them.  But that sacrificial love, is not there.

The same can be said about your spouse.  If you spend money to make your spouse happy, secure, feel loved, you are showing he or she is important to you.  Now, of course, you spend lots of money on the person you are courting.  But, once you are married, sometimes that changes!  I have seen husbands deny their wives things they really wanted or NEEDED, and then spent frivolously on themselves.

I bring this up, because I got in a discussion at a Men's Prayer Breakfast today with a retiring Navy Captain about Survivor Benefits for this wife.  I am a BIG proponent of Survivor Benefits.  You wife, or husband, supported you during your Military career.  They dealt with deployments, raised the kids, solved home issues like broken appliances, cars, children's bones, and other catastrophic issues!  All, while we were deployed and some times, completely out of touch.

Then, when the member retires, he or she says;  "Survivor Benefits are too expensive, I will get a life insurance policy to make up the difference."  Well, First of all, how many actually get that life insurance policy.  Second, how many continue to pay for that life insurance policy.  And third and MOST important, how many life insurance policies have inflation protection?!

Most of you do not remember the ravages of inflation.  Back during the Jimmy Carter years, inflation was 18% for over four years!!  Actually, that $200,000 insurance policy would be worth $90,424.35 in actual purchasing power, after four years of 18% inflation!!   If your wife had to survive on a $200,000 life insurance policy that was loosing a minimum of $36,000 per year in purchasing power, how is that providing for your spouse?!

The Survivor Benefit program provides automatic COLA's every year.  Yes, it reduces your Retainer pay.  So what!  You are going to get a job anyway, and if you are smart, you will bank your Military retirement and live off what you make in your new career.   Yes, I know most of us won't be that disciplined.  But, we should be.  And, we do not have to get the maximum amount of Survivor Benefits.  It is adjustable, so you can make SBP fit your individual budget.

Another argument is; "If my spouse dies before me, I will loose that money from my retainer check forever."  Not TRUE!!   If the spouse dies before the service member, the SBP payment stops and is reinstated to the member's pay.   

No, my view is, if you do not provide Survivor Benefits for you spouse, you are saying;  "Your just not that important to me."  Which is another way of saying I don't love you that much.

So, look at your check book, and ask yourself;  "Do I spend my money on the one's I love?"  If not, maybe you need to adjust your budget, and your thinking!

Just my view.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Civilians have an incorrect opinion of our Military personnel

I have interacted with many, many civilians.  Many of them, have a very inaccurate view of what our personnel go through to defend their prim and proper asses!

Here, where I live, I have talked with older Americans that believe those of us in the Military, Enlisted or Officer, are gentile people, who sit around drinking tea, reading "The Classics", dressed in dress uniforms, and discussing world events in quiet tones using large words.   They believe we live in the lap of luxury, and are home from the front, EVERY night!

True!  Just ask some 70 year old Church woman!  Ask your Mom.  My own sister, who is in her 80's, does not believe Men in was use foul language, as depicted in the movies.  A lady we ate dinner with this week, actually believed those serving on Navy ships were on pleasure cruises, with no loss of the comforts of home.  She did not believe sailors drank beer, chased women, or used coarse language.

The fact is, at least when I wore a uniform, and the men who preceded me, lived in an atmosphere that was anything BUT gentile!  Due to the slack of rest water, we lived without showers and even brushing our teeth for many days, even weeks, at a time.   We worked days on end without sleep, in conditions that would cause the toughest man to faint.  Like the fire rooms that were in excess of 130 degrees!  Or working in a space with toxic gasses, lifting ammunition that weighted more that a engine block, repeatedly, for hours.  Not to mention what our brothers on the beach endured.  The Marines, Soldiers, Airmen, and especially or SPECWAR brothers.  They lived, and still live daily, in discomfort and misery a civilian would never recognize.

These same prim and proper civilians are the folks that want to reduce our pay, our retirement, our VA coverage, and our military budgets.  The live in a fantasy world of fine linen, silk pajamas. and french cooking.   They are the reason America is no longer a world power and that America is on the verge of collapsing.

Wars are won by coarse, strong, closed minded, MEN who give their all to defend our Nation, our way of life, and, yes, those prim and proper morons.  We got drunk, chased women, got in fights, and used language that would peel the pint off of a bulkhead!  So what, we won!

But now, our military has been hamstrung by the prim and proper crowd.  We have are sacrificing our military budge for welfare funding and birth control pills for college girls.  All that will change when the Muslims march in and invoke Sharia law!

Don't say I didn't tell you it was coming!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The NEW Enlisted Community

In the past decades, the Enlisted Community was populated by men who had marginal educations, were brought up on a farm, listened to Country and Blue Grass music, and were mostly mechanics.   The systems were built like the farm equipment they were used to working on.  Chain drives, gear boxes, pumps, electric motors, and diesel engines.

Today's Enlisted Personnel are highly educated, many with Master's Degrees.  They were raised in the city, exposed to cultural events, are very adept with computers and other electronic devices, and have never worked hard in their lives.  The systems they work on and operate mimic the computer games they grew up playing.

Today's Enlisted personnel are more akin to the Officers than they are to their Enlisted predecessors.  The Senior Enlisted personnel, (E-7-9) are highly educated, experienced in leadership, management, asset management, and human relations.

So, why is the old practice of the Government and companies to hire Senior Officers only,  into their board room?  A good example is the present Secretary of the Veteran's Administration.  When they fired the last fool, I recommended in this forum, that the President seek out a Senior Enlisted Military member to hear the VA.  No, he selected a West Point grad who promptly lied his way into the Stolen Valor folks net!   I recommended the past MCPON that was a Master Chief Corpsman and did the majority of his career with the Fleet Marine Force.  Now that would have been a great VA Secretary selection!

You may know that I live in a retirement community owned by the ACTS Corporation.  They have three retired Admirals on their board of directors.  I can understand that as an old practice.  Enlisted personnel normal did not live long enough after retirement to make the age requirement to live where.  At least 34 years ago when Azalea Trace opened.   And 34 years ago, an enlisted person most likely would never amass the financial portfolio required to live here.  But that has all changed!

We have a number of retired Enlisted personnel living here now.  Yet, no Enlisted representation on the ACTS board.  If we use the Navy Federal Credit Union as an example, the inclusion of Enlisted personnel makes sense.

Let me refresh your memories.  NFCU was an Officer's Credit Union. Just as USAA was an Officer's Insurance Company.  Yes, Enlisted personnel could join NFCU, but only when stationed permanently overseas!  If you were on a ship, or in the States, and you were Enlisted, membership was denied to you!

Why did NFCU and USAA change their membership rules?  A shrinking population of Officers!!  They could no longer make enough money catering to Officers only.  So, they slowly opened their membership roles to Enlisted personnel.  And, much to the dismay of some, we have not caused the companies to fold, caused drunken riots, impregnated their wives, or puked in their pools!

It is time for the Government and the private sector to open the board room does to Enlisted personnel.  One reason is too expand the number of retired military personnel they appeal too.  The second, and more important issues is, to broaden the experience base of those management organizations with the vast experience and knowledge that today's Enlisted personnel have amassed.

So, I again recommend MCPON Joe Campa for the position of Veterans Affairs Secretary.  Since it is apparent the present individual is ready to resign from embarrassment.   But, I bet no one listens, again.  How about you folks in the board room at ACTS?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Detailer's Story about an exceptional Enlisted Community Manager

Before I start this post, let me say, as the Father in the "Walton's" used to say; "It's not bragging if you can do it."

My best friend, Jerry Hart, and I talk every week for at least an hour. It is therapy for me and I believe for him.  We talk Navy much of the time, since the news is just too upsetting for either of us.  In any case, Jerry reminded me of a very pleasant series of events that occurred while he and I were Detailers at BUPERS, or NMPC as it was called then.

In August of 1980, when I took over as the GMG Detailer, the community was in sad shape.   We were severely undermanned, with no SRB at all.  So, I got my statistics in order and made an appointment to meet with the Enlisted Community Manager.  The ECM was a Post Command Commander billet.  The ECM for the GMG Rating was a Destroyer CO who had a terrible accident while pulling into port.  The accident lead to a line handling accident that is the subject of the Training Movie the Navy still uses.  You may have seen it and you WILL remember, because the Commander, who was injured in the accident, that ship's XO,  takes his prosthetic legs off at the end of the movie.  In any case, the Lee Helmsman was a GMG and the CO BLAMED him for the accident!  So, I was met with just a few comments from the ECM.  "Get out of my office.  I hate Gunner's Mates, I hope your Community goes out of existence!!

A few months later, a new ECM came in.  A Commander named Gilbert.  He was a breath of fresh air.  He was engaged in his job, was willing to think out of the box, and was willing to take a risk, to solve a valid problem.   He and I, along with Jerry Hart and our FC/GM Rating Assignment Master Chief, Dave Armstrong, came up with the idea of giving the critical NEC's more reenlistment money that the non-coded Gunner's Mates.  The idea was to encourage Gunner's Mates to go to school!!

Now, this was a complete 180 from the way Detailing was done and how it was outlined in the Detailer's Manual.  Prior to this, the "Part Line" was; "We DO NOT detail by NEC!"  Now, that policy always seemed dumb to me.  Why spend $100,000 or more to educate a sailor on a stem, and not send him to work on that system?!  Or worse, educate and grow up a Chief and not send him to lead on that system!!

Well, the Navy bought our plan and it is now widely see in the Navy.

Commander Gilbert helped us rebuild the GMG community.  But that was just the beginning.  Dave Armstrong designed the Fire Controlman rating to break surface Fire Controlmen to break away from the Submarine Fire Controlmen therefore improving promotion to E-8 and E-9 and also permitting us to fill our surface E7,8,9 billets!!

Then, we were able to restructure the Gunner's Mate community.  GMG and GMM was always an awkward division.  At the time, the biggest class of ships we had was the FFG's.  The Main Battery was the MK 13 Mod 4 GMLS.  But, the Leading Gunners's Mate was a GMGC on the MK 76 Otto Melaro Gun.  That made no sense.  We wanted to make it so someone could "Platform" Train.  And now, as a total GM community, we can educate Gunner's Mates throughout their career to make them the System's Chief on a CG, DDG, or what ever class comes along.

Commander Gilbert was the catalyst for all of these good ideas to come to fruition.  He was an exceptional Officer, professional, and human being.  I respected him and appreciated his open mind.   The Navy is better today because of what he did.  Thanks Commander Gilbert!!  And thanks Jerry for bringing such a precious, positive memory back into my mind!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

When it comes to our Military, our population is IGNORANT!!

I was watching "Jeopardy" tonight and the three contestants were all college educated individuals, accomplished in various Liberal Arts.   The knew the answers to the questions about abstract, unknown authors, television shows about abnormal behavior, and other trivia topics.  But, when shown the photo of a P 51 Mustang Fighter, and asked to give the alpha-numeric designation of the aircraft, the only person to try to answer the question, answered; B52!

I have seen other circumstances like this.  I have also witnessed the ignorance of our elected officials when it comes to our Military.  And of course, I rankle every time I hear a news reader call a Surface Combatant a BATTLESHIP!!

The question I have is;  What do our schools teach these days?  And;  Why aren't Americans more interested in the capabilities of the Military that protests their freedom?

When I was a little boy, we played with toy soldiers.  GI Joe WAS an action figure.  We had model ships, submarines that used baking soda to power it as it dove and surfaced!  We new about our Military and we were proud of it!  We looked in awe of the Military Aircraft and Cannons in front of VFW halls.  We drooled in the American History Museum sections of Military history.  We wanted to talk to our older brothers when they came home from Boot Camp.  We asked our Dads and Uncles: What did you do in the War?

Now, I can't get my Grandsons to be interested in the USS Alabama when I offer to give them a guided tour.

It seems Americans do not WANT to know about those of us who served and what we did.  As a matter of fact, they don't respect or like us.  I see Ivy League Colleges trying to do away with their ROTC programs.  One recently called us MURDERERS!

Well, America, let me educate your sorry asses!  Those rag head fanatics in the Sand Box are determined to kill you!!  But before they do that, they will rape your wives, daughters, girlfriends, and Mothers.  They will sodomize the males, just like they did to the American Ambassador in Benghazi.  By the way, they used a BROOM HANDLE to sodomize him!!  Then they paraded him around for all to see!!

So, if you don't like us, and don't want to fund what we do, and don't respect us, then, fight the rag head hoard on your own.  Maybe you can talk them into liking you and leaving you alone!  Fat Chance!!

I don't give a rats ass what some limp wrested Liberal Progressive, College Professor tells you, we did not pick this fight!  And, in case you don't realize it, we are LOOSING BIG!!

This Muslim Empty Suit that sits in the White House is aiding and abetting the Muslim hoards!!  They are coming for Americans, and soon.  They are now 500 miles away from Italy.  They mad all that progress in two years!!  The Muslim hoard OWNS the Middle East, Turkey, Lybia, And now they are headed to Europe.  That assault has already begun.

The sad fact is, they are kicking our ass with little or no resistance.  It seems you same sex, pot smoking, redistribution of wealth, faggots are easy to scare into surrendering!  Hell, Texas has just permitted their first SHARIA Law court to be established!!  Wake up America!!

We have a greatly diminished Navy, Air Force, and Army.  Our Nuclear defense is falling apart because of dimwits in charge and in other positions.  The Military quit inspecting the Nuclear Weapons world years ago, and now, the adage;  "You can EXPECT what you INSPECT!!" is coming home to roost!!

Am I the only person in America that sees things as they are?  Sadly, I think I am!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Rode hard and put away WET!

The Military is a young person's game.  But you know that.  But the wear and tear on our bodies comes back to haunt us later in life.  Just like a past post about the negative and positive "G's" we experienced on a daily basis at sea.  The truth is, I never thought I would live this long!

Remember, I was a head steaming, romping/stomping Navy Fleet Gunner's Mate.   I worked hard and played hard.  When I was 18, I saw a billboard that said: "DRINK CANADA DRY" and I tried too!!

The job of a Gunner's Mate Guns was hard labor.  Constantly moving heavy ammunition, working in a cramped, toxic, environment in the Gun Mount.  Working long, unending hours.  Constantly enduring injuries including concussions, cuts, bruises, inhaling toxic fumes, handling toxic chemicals, and having you body beat up on a daily basis.

Like I said, I never thought I would live to be 63.  But, because of God's perfect plan, I have.  But, I am truly rode hard and put away wet!

I have had my right rotator cuff rebuilt and my left shoulder need rebuilt.  Three hernias, Lewy Body Dementis related to the hydraulic fluid used in the gun mounts, the ascending side half of my colon removed because of a tumor, and now, it seems I have a torn abdominal inner muscle.

This new, old, injury just showed up.  It is particularly painful when I transition from standing to laying or the reverse.  It really does hurt and I have a fairly high pain threshold.

So, I will see my GP in the next few days and we can start the test and evaluate process.  I am sure this will lead to hospital food.  But, maybe I can get them to do my shoulder and abdominal muscle in the same surgery!   That will save Tricare money.  They should like that.  right?