I guess, if am honest, I really do respect officers. They are there for the purpose of command, good order, and discipline. The military needs and requires that type of command structure. It is the culture of the officer that I dislike! That "I am better than you" attitude they project every time they look down their noses at enlisted personnel. I remember when I was on the USS Mullinnix (DD 944). We were ALWAYS on water hours. Showers underway were a dream. Once, we went 30 days without showers or clean laundry. However, the officers took showers and had clean pressed laundry! I also remember us out on deck, naked, trying to shower in a rain storm! No officers there either. So, you can see where my dislike for the culture of the Naval Officer comes from.
If we look at politics, Officers have always made their way to the top. George Washington was the first President under the Constitution. Note, he was NOT the first President. There were, I believe, seven Presidents under the Articles of Confederation, which preceded the Constitution. Look it up! But in any case, there were others, Grant and Eisenhower come immediately to mind. Jimmy Carter was a Naval Officer as was John Kennedy. There were others, but no enlisted individuals were ever President, Vice President, or any other high ranking government position. The highest position held by an enlisted person was Senator John Tower. He was a Master Chief Boatswain Mate in the active Naval Reserve when he was a Senator from Texas. I have heard that he turned down a commission that was offered after he was elected to the Senate. I cannot confirm that. But my question is; Why are enlisted personnel under represented in our elected and appointed government officials?
There have been a number of intelligent, experienced, highly educated, individuals who have served as the top enlisted person of the services. Any one of these individuals would make a superior Congressman, Senator, or even President. To have worked your way from E-1 to E-9, and then through the various leadership positions as an E-9, to the top of your service, is an accomplishment that no one can compute mathematically. I have told you before, but for a refresher, promotion to E-9 is limited to 1% of the service population! Then do the math of that one E-9 that works his or her way to the top enlisted position. Position one of the one per centers! Let me tell you, right now, there are 51,680 Officer on active duty in the U.S. Navy. There are 331 Admirals! I know, I counted them. That's .6% of the Officer Corps! I worked for Vice Admiral that said; "It is easier to make Admiral than Master Chief!" The numbers do not agree with that, but it's close to being the same. Especially if you discount those Officers in the medical community that are only repaying their college time!
All of that being said as back ground, I would really like, no LOVE, to see some senior enlisted member of the Armed Forces to step up and run for a national position. I would also like to see a President take the un-president act of appointing a career, senior enlisted person to a cabinet post! I am tired of Admirals and Generals being paraded out for every post, commission, or election! The retired Enlisted Personnel have just as mush experience, education, and leadership ability as an Officer. It's time WE participate in the process of governing our nation!! What say ye?