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

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The NEW Navy...

Like any "Old Salt" I believe the sailors in our Navy today are not as well trained, not as dedicated, and not as tough as the Shipmates I sailed with. I heard that from the "Old Salts" that were there before me and I say it now. We worked together, played together. We worked hard and played hard. The "Chief's Mess" was cohesive. We had close ties, socially and professionally. Today's "Kids" don't play Pinochle or Acey-Deucey after work hours in groups of four or more. Instead, they go off, alone, and play computer games. We had to wait for "Mail Call" before we knew what was going on at home. Today's "Squid" can get an instant E-Mail or just call home, from any where in the world, on a "Sailor Phone". We went out at every opportunity and got pucking drunk, got into fist fights, and chased "Sporting" girls!! That build friendships, camaraderie, and team work. Today's "Sailors" get training on alcohol abuse, Trafficking in Humans, and conflict resolution. We had gun mounts that could shoot when all the power was out and the ship was sinking. Today's "Sailors" have weapons systems that are afraid of EMP. When I was a "Sailor" we did.........

Get the idea, nothing changes. Today's "Sailor" is every bit as good, if not smarter, than the stock that I came from. None were sent into the military by a juvenile court judge, like I was. They still go to sea, leave their loved ones, and face tremendous danger. Today's "American Blue Jacket" still serves a country he or she loves. There are no "Draft Dodgers" in today's all volunteer Navy, like there was when I wore a uniform. Yes there are differences between the Navy I served in and today's Navy. Just like there were differences in the Navy my Uncle John joined in 1941 and my Navy. But All Navy is Good Navy.

Case in point; I have had the privilege, over the last year, to meet and make friends with an extraordinary young Naval Officer. He is an Naval Academy graduate. He just made Lieutenant. He is a Surface Warfare Officer and as sharp as a tack. He knows more about today's weapons systems, Naval engineering, and the threat that our ships face than anyone I ever met. He can expertly discuss quantum physics, the MK 45 Gun Mount, an M16A1 rifle, or the Bible. He is an expert shot with a pistol and a rifle, and he beats me on a regular basis in that endeavor. He loves the Navy, and really understands LEADERSHIP. He has become my friend, even though we are 30+ years apart. And now, he is headed to the Navy's Post Graduate School to get a Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering with a major in Satellites. This young fellow is the Navy's future and I think the future is very bright indeed. If I could get recalled to active duty, I would give all I have to serve with him as my Department Head, my XO or my Commanding Officer. But truly, the Navy does not need me, because it has him, and many more like him. And I, for one, am very glad.