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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lost Shipmates

The Navy, by it's very nature of transfers, makes holding long time friendships very difficult.  We get transferred every three years or so.  Shore duty, split tours, reenlistment's, broken legs, you get the idea, we move around alot!  I was stationed on the USS Leftwich when an old friend from my MK 42 "C" school days, recommended me to be the Gunner's Mate (Guns) detailer, Relieving Master Chief Jerry Tisdale.  It was an honor to be selected for this job and I cherished it.  Prior to leaving San Diego, then Chief Harold Wheeler invited me over to the Chief's Club for a hydraulic lunch!  Yes boys and girls, that's how we did business in the dark ages, and plenty of good things were hatched in the confines of the Chief's Club!   Harold was the commissioning Chief Gunner's Mate on the USS Cushing (DD 985)  We had been in the Pre-Com pipeline together and in Pascagoula together and had become friends.  He wanted me to promise that I would send him to the USS Kidd (DDG 993) as soon as I got to BUPERS.  He really wanted to get back to the east coast since his family had stayed there.  Now, I knew the last thing a Detailer wanted to do was make a promise,  but I did anyway.  Who says beer does not weaken one's resolve!  Shortly after getting in the job, I fulfilled my commitment.  My three years as Detailer were very eventful and I had put in place some very challenging programs for the Gunner's Mate community that I wanted to make sure were fully implemented.  But, I wanted to go back to sea.  Now one of the benefits of being the Detailer is that you get to pick your relief!  Yes, we are supposed to present a group of eligible individuals for the Rating Assignment Officer to choose from, but you can skew that group, trust me.  If the three picks are a superstar and two dead heads, well you get the picture.  SO, when the pick was made, I called then Senior Chief Wheeler, we made E-8 at the same time,  and told him the good news.  Let me say that Harold was not too happy about the good news!  I believe his comment was; "I will break both of your arms off and beat you to death with them!"  I took that as a yes,  Also, I told him I was calling in the favor.  Remember, I sent him to the USS Kidd three years before.  SO, kicking and screaming, Harold relieved me and did a superior job!  We saw each other off and on even after I retired.  The he retired and we lost touch. 

I just found out, through a Gunner's Mate School, Great Lakes, site on Facebook that Master Chief  Gunner's Mate Harold Wheeler died, in February, 2008 of cancer.  He was 62.  Harold and I made Master Chief at the same time also.  He was Command Master Chief of a Cruiser and did a great job, but he always did the best.  I will miss Harold, I wish I could have talked to him one more time.  I wish he could have yelled, at me one more time.  I wish we could have gone to the Chief's Club for a hydraulic lunch, one more time.  Maybe we will.  At our next duty station.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another reason I don't like Officers.

I was thinking about past ships and past adventures the other day.  I seem to do that more and more these days.  I was thinking about my "Battles" with the limp wristed, linguini back boned Combat Systems Officer and the Commanding Officer who thought he knew everything but was probably the most hard headed, stupid, Officer I ever met.  I believe I wrote about the issues we had about the first firing of the MK 45 Gun Mounts.  He wanted me to fire both guns, 40 rounds rapid f1re, without a structural test firing.  You see, NAVSEA has a documented, structural test firing procedure for every type of Naval gun and missile system.  The Captain wanted to ignore the documented procedures, safety and all!  I didn't!  But this story relates to his inability to follow the ammunition regulations for a ship yard.  When we were commissioned, we departed Pascagoula for our home port of San Diego.  One day after we arrived in San Diego, the Captain wanted me to set up an ammo onload.  That made sense, we had to shoot structural test firings and Refresher Training. (RefTra)  So, I set up a minimal onload, with small arms ammo, some pyrotechnics, some exercise torpedoes and ASROC, and that was it.  We would be headed back to Pascagoula for a 6 months yard period to fix any issues under warranty.  We would have to off load everything and be empty before we entered the yard.  The Captain had to sign a certificate stating we were empty.  I explained this to the Combat Systems Officer, (CSO) and the Captain, to no avail.  The Captain wanted me to onload every piece of ordnance the ship was designed to carry!  Ridiculous!!  But, I did it.  He WAS the Captain.
Then, 4 months later, I took the initiative and set up an off loaf at NWS Seal Beach.  I took the plan to the CSO and then to the Captain.   He said, I am not going to Seal Beach to off load.  I said, OK, maybe we can get into La Playa.  He said NO again.  I told the Captain we had to be empty when we arrives in Pascagoula and he had to certify that!  He told me;  "Unload it at the pier!"  I tried to inform the Captain tat the piers had an explosive handling limit strictly enforced by Base Ordnance.  He didn't care.  I was in trouble.

I managed to get ships in San Diego to take much of the ammo.  5" gun ammo went pretty well.  I managed to off load ASROC's and Torpedoes, 6 at a time, using a MIKE Boat and shipping them to La Playa in San Diego harbor.  But I could not get rid of the pyrotechnics, small arms ammo and the grenades.  To make matters worse, I had the "Special Weapon's Demolition Kit" and no one wanted it!!  I explained this to the CSO and the Captain, and they decided we would take the ammo with us.  I again explained to the Captain, that we could not take ammo into the yard.  He dismissed me!

Once in the yard, work began quickly, and after a few days in the yard, I told the Chief Fire Control man I was going to go up on the 03 level and look at the Pyro Lockers to see what work they needed.  As I stepped out of the skin of the ship, on the 03 level, I saw ALL of my Pyro Lockers dangling from a wire rope, 50 feet in the air!!, ALL of them, the Demo Kit, the Grenades, the Smoke Floats, ALL OF IT!!!  And to top it off, they cut them off the deck with a torch!!!  What they did not go BOOM is beyond me.
  
I yelled; "Put them down, gently!!"  The the solid waste material hit the fan!  The crane operator told his supervisor, who told his boss and the next thing I knew, the SURFLANT AND SURFPAC Ordnance safety Teams were in Pascagoula looking up my skirt.  I did some research in OP 4, Ammunition Afloat,  and found a way to stow the ammo, under the "not compatible" stowage rules.  The rule said we could stow the ammo together if the Commanding Officer ordered it, i writing.  I showed the Captain and he said;  "Good, stow the ammo and I will give you the letter."  I said,; "No, give me the letter and I will stow the ammo."  So, I wrote the letter, had the Ship's Yeoman type it on Ship's letter head, serialized, and had the Captain sign the letter.  Then, he wanted to keep the original.  I made a copy for him and I kept the original!!!  It was my get of of jail free card if anything went wrong!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thanks for remembering me.

When I was the Force Master Chief for SURFLANT, I did a Navy event with Ken Stabler, the great quarterback of the Oakland Raiders.  He is a real gentlemen and a supporter of our Military.  He is a giant of a man.  He looked so small on TV!!  He even passed his SUPER BOWL ring around so all could see and feel it.  It was quite a day.

A few years later, when I was a Tech Rep for NAVSEACENLANT, I ran into Mr. Stabler at the Mobile airport.  He was sitting quietly, at an empty gate, alone, waiting for his flight.   I walked over to him and introduced myself by way of my recollection of that special day he and I represented the Navy.  He remembered the event and we chatted a few minutes.  Then I wanted to give him back his quiet corner, so I made my apologies and prepared to depart.  He shook my hand and said: "Thanks for remembering me."  At the time, I thought that was a strange comment.  He was a SUPERBOWL winning quarterback.  He played for Bear Bryant in college.  He was on television as as football analyst!  How could anyone forget him?

Last week, I called an old friend's wife.  He has been gone for ten years.  I still miss him and I should call his widow more often.  After we had a long conversation, catching up on each others lives, I was preparing to hang up and she said; "You are the only one of Jim's Navy friends that keep in touch with me."  What a sad commentary.  

Call an old shipmate, friend, or friends widow today.  Visit them if you can.  Send them a hand written letter, or a card.  Let them know they are not forgotten.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Security clearences

I remember when I got married, it was a wonderful time filled with happiness, excitement, and questions about my new wife's loyalty to the U.S. Constitution!  That's correct, I was in the Navy's Personnel Reliability Program, and therefore my new wife was under scrutiny also.  She even had to fill out the security clearance information form.  My wife is a first generation American and her Father was with General MacArthur in the Philippines before World War II.  Just the same, the Navy wanted to know who I was sharing my bed with.

I also know a Navy Gunner's mate Missiles (GMM) who used to be a Navy Cryptologist.  He went to China with President Nixon.  He had the highest clearance an enlisted man could have.  Then he married a foreign national from Taiwan, and his clearance was GONE!  The Navy made him change rates, then and there.

Why do I bring this up?  It seems times are different.  Congressman Weiner's wife, Huma works for Secretary of State Clinton.  She is very high up in Mrs. Clinton's organization and I am sure she has a very high security clearance and access to just about anything the Secretary sees.  Knowing that the Clintons do not believe in following security protocol.   How do I know that?  Look at the Clinton White House and the problems that they had even getting clearances for their folks.  The CNO, at that time, Admiral Kelso actually stopped a high level security brief for the President when the First Lady came into the room.  The President told the Admiral to continue, but Admiral Kelso would not because Mrs. Clinton was not cleared to hear the information he was briefing.   Kelso was a class act!

Back to Mrs. Weiner.  I read in Drudge that her Mother and Brother are both members of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Seems to me the State Department needs to investigate their vetting process for security clearances since both of these organizations are enemies to the United States and someone with connections that close to a subversive enemy of the State should be excluded form a security clearance any higher than "mess decks intelligence"! 

At least, that's how I see it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Sea Story

Back when I was on the USS Stein, the second time, we were on a WESTPAC cruise and operating in the Persian Gulf.  We were scheduled to pull into some Middle East country that did not like us.  Now this was 1978 and even back then there were Muslim countries shouting "Death to the great Satan" meaning us.  You may also remember that then LCOL Oliver North told Congress about the most dangerous person in the world, who was hell bent on destroying America, and his name was Usama Bin Laden.  The year was about 1985.  Now, back to the scheduled sea story.

We were scheduled to pull into this port that had some terrorist chatter and the Executive Officer was worried.  We were an ASROC equipped ship and  had a well trained security force.  But, the XO was worried that they may not have the"Kill" response and might not shoot when attacked.  This has been historically proven in the past and he was wise to understand human nature.  In battle, untested soldiers are afraid to fire their weapon at the enemy.  I have no such fear and the XO knew it.  So, he called me to his state room and asked me if I was going on liberty in this unfriendly port.  My answer was no.  So, with the door closed, he told me to stash a M-60 machine gun somewhere on the ship that only I knew, have enough ammo there to defend the ship in case of an attack.  So, I hid an M-60 and 1000 rounds of ammo in the crash and smash locker in the Helo Hanger and locked the door with my lock.  I also squirled a 1911A1 .45 pistol in my locker with 10 magazines full, and 4 concussion grenades.  I then reported back to the XO of my plan.  He approved and as I left his stateroom I stopped, turned, ans said, I hoe we don't have a surprise locker inspection!!  He smiled.

I trusted my XO, so I did not worry.  He obviously trusted me too.  We were never attacked and I put all the weapons away after we got underway on the following Monday.

The moral of this story is trust!  And there was plenty of trust between us.  

 with the door closed

The Navy, a way of life!

I have commented on this before, but I feel I need to expand on this some more.  When I joined the Navy in 1969, I saw Gold Hash Mark designated Seaman and Third Class Petty Officers!  I saw Chiefs with over 30 years of service.  This dedication came in a time when there was little shore duty and no creature comforts.  Until you made Chief, you wore your dress uniform every where you went on liberty!  Civilian clothes were not permitted on the ship, and if you were at a school, the privilege was closely monitored.

I personally knew many Master Chiefs with over 40 years of service, still on sea duty, and tough sea duty at that.  They were at work every morning at 5AM and were the last to leave in the evening.  I personally watched as Master Chief Bosch got physically angry at the MCPON because the Navy had instituted the High Year Tenure program!  Rudy challenged the MCPON to a PRT contest.  Rudy would have won hands down!  Some of these master Chiefs that I knew made Master Chief in 1958 and they were still on active duty in 1989!  The two Master Chief Longs come to mind in this case.  One was an ET and the other an FT.

Why were all of these men so dedicated to the Navy?  The 12 year Seaman with Gold Hash Marks, the 48 year Master Chief Boat's wain Mate, the Chief Gunner's Mate with 30 years of service.  What made them so dedicated?  It was the Navy itself.  Many of us who made the Navy a career were from lower middle class families.  Many of us joined the Navy at the bequest of a Judge over some trivial (now) juvenile crime.  Some of us just had no where else to go.  And in the Navy we found order, discipline, sensible rules, fellowship with men of like mind, respect, and yes, a sense of service to our country.  Another thing you should learn is that poor people tend to be more patriotic than rich people.  Now the rich folks will get all puffed up over that statement and tell you how proud they are to be an American.  They count that pride in dollars and cents.  Poor people count that pride in their own blood and sweat!  If you don't believe me, look at who has been awarded the Medal of Honor!  Mostly Enlisted men and most of them from humble beginnings.

I remember a time when the highest personal award an Enlisted man could get was a Navy Achievement Medal.  That has changed and I am glad.  But the selfless dedication to duty has changed also, and I am sad about that.  I remember when, if your equipment was down (broke) you did not go on liberty!  Not even to go home to your family.  That does not happen today, I know from personal experience as the Search Radar Branch Head at MARMC.  Calling a Tech Rep was an act of desperation, now it is the first action taken, as the ship's technician goes on liberty!

I also remember when the Chief's mess was full the night before getting underway.  Why, so they could make sure everything was ready, tested, and all their people were accounted for.  Again, not so today.  Much has changed in our modern Navy.  We cannot design ships, we have communities of Officers that don't go to sea, we have Ratings that were once collateral duties, and we have lost our professionalism, even though every sailor out there, even the Supply Corps Officers have a War Fare pin!  It's a shame.  We have become a paper tiger.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The ED duds, chapter two

As I was mentally reviewing what I wrote, a few other historical events came to mine.  The Navy has been searching, in the dark, with their collective eyes closed, and their hands tied behind their back, for an intermediate caliber gun for over 20 years!!  I remember, when I was the Force Master Chief at SURFLANT, we did an experiment with an older LPD class ship.  We put a number of Army guns, I believe 8 inch, (whatever millimeter that is) on the flight deck, which is aft.  Griped them down and fired the guns at some Naval Gun Fire Support targets.  It worked!  No body remembers that.

Why does everything the Navy does have to be ten generations ahead of today's technology, cost more money that King Solomon's Temple, and only be invented by Navy ED's?!?

Another colossal failure was the DDX, DDG 1000, CG 1000 class program,  There was an ED Admiral (that is in itself  a shame) that wanted all electric drive, invented by the Navy.  Heck, commercial ships are driving all over the world with electric drive.  What makes us special that we need to invent our own?  Are we going to invent water proof electrons?!?  How much did we spend on that class of ships that never happened?   And what about the Seawolf class submarines?  Enough said!

I am sure I will think of more.  Maybe you know a few also.  I remember when the last Battle Ship was decommissioned, THEN, the Commandant of the Marine Corps spoke up complaining that he Navy did not have a major caliber gun for Naval Gun Fire Support. Where was the General when the suits in D.C. were planning on decommissioning these wonderful platforms?!  I hate to say this about our Marines, but he was another D.C. politician, not a warrior.

And while I am on the subject of the Marine Corps, they don't seem to have the problems we have.  Of course, they don't have ED's.  All of their Officers and Enlisted personnel go to war.  The Officers that make decisions on shore duty have to live with them in the battle field!  Now there is an incentive.  They also don't have problems with Marines shaving!!!  More latter.

The Navy's Engineering Duty Officer duds strike again!

If you read my blog at all you know how little respect I have for the Navy's Engineering Duty Officer program.  Although it has always amused me that the worst things that could happen to a man and the Navy both go by the same initials, ED!  Do you realize that since the inception of the ED Program, the Navy has not delivered a ship on time, on budget, and capable of doing it's mission?!  Look at the LPD 17 class ships, the LCS class ships,  even the much lauded but under performing Burk Class DDG.  Then look at the systems that have failed to make production, after billions of dollars have been spent on the star wars fantasies of some over educated, never been to war, in the rear with the beer and the gear, limp wristed, fat, shore duty sailors called ED's!  These degree heavy fools fail to look at HISTORY!  And we all know what they say about not knowing history.  Look at the remote controlled, mine hunter vehicle that was supposed to make the LCS class ships the best mine hunter/killer in the Navy.  It failed.  Not one ever returned to the ship.  Not one found a mine,  well enough destroyed on.  Did the Navy ED's ever hear about the D.A.S.H. program of the 1950s?  (Drone Anti Submarine Helicopter)  They should have.  It would have saved big bucks.  Now, the Navy's darling project, the Rail Gun is being scrapped.  The Navy ED community  bypassed on the Liquid Plasma Gun, even though it was production ready, to spend billions of dollars on a star wars fantasy weapon that required a bank of generators as big as the ship itself, to fire ONE ROUND!  Rapid fire was out of the question, it took a week to recharge the capacitors to fire the gun!  The ED answer, technology will catch up, someday.  We need a long range intermediate caliber gun, now!  By the way, intermediate caliber is above 5 inch!  We are talking 6-8 inch here.  The Army has 6-8 inch guns the tow behind trucks.  We had the MK 71, 8"/55 that President Carter scrapped.  Oh, he was a bubble head ED, I forgot.  The Liquid Plasma Gun had so many pluses that it was the hands down favorite for anyone who ever went to sea and fought.  The propellant came as a two part mixture and either part was non-flammable.  You could have used it for fire fighting!  When combined in the breech of the gun, it became a propellant, without the cost and effort of a powder tank or bags.  The charge could be altered to change the range of the gun and to compensate for the differing weight of multiple application rounds.  But, it was not star wars fantasy slick, like the Rail Gun.

We need to do away with the ED program, fire all of the ED Officers and Civilians that were ever ED's.  We need to take our Navy back and make it a fighting force.  Line Officers, it's time you all grew a set and spoke out!  No one listens to this old retired Master Chief.  At least, no one in the Pentagon! 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The straights of Japan, 1973

Picture this, the straights of Japan, 1973, Sunday morning, on a Knox Class DE 1052 class ship,  it's rougher than anything you can imagine.  It was the first Sunday morning we were permitted to sleep in, thanks to Admiral Zumwalt's "Z" grams.  I slept in the second compartment back from the bow.  It was rough like a roller coaster ride.  The bow would rise out of the water, and you weight twice or three times your weight thanks to the "G" forces, then the ship would drop below the waves and the screw (propeller) would come out of the water and shake the ship as it rotated, beating the air.  The waves crashing on the forecastle would shake the ship from side to side violently,  then the bow would start it's rise and the whole cycle would start again.  Then, the bow started down.  This was not like any drop I had ever experienced.  We kept going down, and down, then two waves collapsed on the ship, each one sounded like the gun mount had just fired!  Boom, Boom!!  It took a long time for the bow to rise this time.  Longer than I had ever experienced

I was trying to sleep, while holding on to prevent from being thrown out of my rack when I heard the 1MC blair; "Chief Mowery lay to the bridge!"  After that crash I knew that was not good.  I got up, got dressed and made my way, as quickly as I could, considering the ship was rolling 40+ degrees from side to side and it was bouncing up and down 30+ feet every time.  When I got to the bridge, Chief Mowery handed me a piece of fiber glass about 6 inches square.  He said that was all that was left.  I looked out the bridge window to see my beautiful gun mount shattered by the waves.  The Chief and I went down to the Carrier Room, the space one deck below the gun mount.  The space was flooded with 3 feet of water and water was running down the lower hoist tubes.  Of course, the power was on to the gun mount, so there was 440 vac, 115 vac, and synchro power, 115 vac 400HZ, to secure.  But, I could not walk in the water, because that was a certain electrical shock.  So, I hung from the overhead (ceiling) angle irons and access holes, until I got back to the main circuit breaker.  I secure the power and then we began to access the damage.  With every wave, more water was rushing into the gun, down the gun pocket, into the carrier room and down the lower hoist tubes into the magazine which was another deck below.  I opened the scuttle in to the magazine, an access hole from the carrier room into the magazine.  Water rand in to the magazine like i pulled the plug from a bathtub.  It did not matter, there was 6 feet of water in the magazine, and it was easier to remove from there because the magazine had an eductor. (drain valve)  But first we had to stop the water from coming in!!  No easy task.

Chief Mowery and the Chief Boat's wains Mate devised a plan to put a giant herculite tarp over the gun barrel and over the top of the gun.  Then we would tie it onto the gun house with line.  The plan was for me to climb on top of the gun mount, in 30 foot seas.  OK, sounds good to me!  I am brave, but maybe not too smart sometimes.  I had a Kapok type life jacket on and a life line tied to me.  The purpose of the line was to retrieve my body after I was washed over the side, dashed against the ship's hull, ground and chopped in the ship's propeller and drowned in sea state 10!  But, it looked good on the safety report.  There I was, on top of the gun, the ship was laying too in the trough, I was looking up at ground swells that were taller than the ship's mast!.  I was wrestling with a herculite tarp about 40 feet square, in a 20-30 knot wind.  Not fun.  The top of the gun mount was slick with salt water.  The damage was primarily to the front of the gun mount.  The cheeks of the weather shield that protrude out, around the barrel were forced apart by the power of the wave and the weather shield, (Gun House) was split open back to the vent dome.  The OMC side of the weather shield was complete beat in with part of that missing.  Inside the gun mount, the shield stiffening alteration, two big 3 inch angle irons at 45 degree angles were "popped" off the shield completely buy the force of the waves.  Everything was wet with salt water.  But the tarp idea worked.  We secured it to the barrel with line, wrapped line around the gun mount to secure the tarp all the way around, and we were mostly water tight.  Now the clean-up could begin.

Other places on the ship had water entry problems also.  The ships Damage Control Chief was very concerned that we had actually cracked the hull up near the chain locker.  We were taking on more water that the eductor could remove from the chain locker.  That could sink the ship by the bow!  He later determined, after scaring the hell out of us, that the water was coming down the house pipe. (the pipe that the anchor chain travels through to the main deck from the chain locker.)   They actually had to put a portable eductor into the chain locker to de-water at a rate that would keep up with the influx.

We worked for 36 hours, fresh water washing all of the components of the gun systems, blowing everything dry with LP air, and lubricating everything there was, to save the gun.  I am proud to say we did save that gun.  Mount 51 on the USS Stein was Serial Number 29.  The ship was commissioned and decommissioned, may years after this event, with the same gun mount and as far as I know, it is still on the ship as it serves in the Mexican Navy.  Under Chief Mowery's inspiring leadership, in the face of extreme danger, we did not give up!  We did the impossible! 

That was the USS Stein's first Westpac cruise.  The weather shield was replaced at SRF Subic under the direction of Master Chief "Bones" Clark.  He was a story unto himself and I will write that story soon.

Who says peace time sailing is easy!  And another point.  We were headed for Kobe Japan, but we never got there.  I never did get those Kobe steaks!!!

Bigger is Better!

There has been some chatter of late about the puny 9MM round that our government pencil pusher foisted upon the American fighting man over two decades ago.  Let's review history, since the pencil pushers forgot that if you don't know history, you are doomed to repeat it.  In the early 1900, we were fighting in the Philippines. The infantry side arm was the Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver.  Our troops complained that the .38 round would not stop the determined and drug embolden locals.  So, the Army went searching for a side arm that would do the job.  We settled on the Sam Browning designed 1911 Auto loading pistol in .45 caliber.  The 230 grain bullet at 950 feet per second would stop just about any human, even those with a few shots of chemical bravery in them.

The, a couple of decades ago, the military, (read here, the non-combat, in the rear with the beer and the gear, pencil pushers) held a competition to replace the tried and true 1911A1.  After disqualifying any American company and deciding, without any ballistic data to it's superior performance, the 9MM round (.38 caliber) was the round of choice, the pencil pushers chose Beretta's PT 92F in 9MM.  The round was probably chosen to be compatible with our weak knee NATO sisters.  Beretta was chosen for the same reason.  Don't believe me?  We chose the MK 92 Gun and Missile fire control system for the FFG7 class Frigates and the PHM class hydrofoils, even though it NEVER passed opeval and we chose the enemic Otto Melaro 76mm MK 75 naval gun for the same class of ships.  Both were manufactured by NATO countries!!  I am sorry, but American fighting equipment should be made in America.  Oh, before you go off half cocked, Beretta did agree to manufacture the guns in America and they did build the plant in Indian Head Maryland, on Maryland route 210.  But all the components are made in Italy and assembled in Maryland.

In any case, the troops have had no success with the 9MM round.  It is .38 caliber the same as the one used in 1900 with a few more grains of powder.  The Special Forces folks have gone back to the .45 in an H&K configuration I am told.  I was also told that all sorts of side arms were issues in Iraq after the first influx of troops was complete.   After 9/11, many Police departments decided they were tired of being under gunned and changed to the .40 SW round.  I remember you could not find a Glock in .40 SW for a long time at gun shows.  And the FBI learned that the 9MM was a piss poor defensive round in the ill-fated drug shootout in Florida about two decades ago.  I recommend you try to find the FBI final report on that event.  I remember that the FBI's final statement on caliber was; "We don't care what caliber you carry as long as it begins with 4!!"  Can you defend yourself with a 9MM.  Certainly, from a hampster!  And only if it is not hopped up on drugs!  Yes, many people have been killed with 9MM rounds, and many people have been killed with arrows made of sticks with stone heads.   But I don't want to go into combat with Tonto's bow and arrows.  The military should follow what the Special Forces folks, the FBI Armorer, and most gun fighting professionals say;  If it does not begin with a "4", leave it at home.

That's my historically backed view in any case.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sea duty

Yesterday, I met the parents of a career Sailor.  He has had a successful career so far, he was a Submarine qualified First Class Petty Officer who went into the Seaman to Admiral program and is now a Commissioned Officer.  As the father told me this story, I was proud of the young Sailor for being professional, applying himself, and taking advantage of the Navy's programs.  Then, the father kicked me right in my solar plexus!  He told me how successful his son was at avoiding major deployments!   He told me that his son has never made a major deployment and has 16 years in the Navy!  He also explained, proudly, how he went from pre-com unit to pre-com unit, then into college, at the Navy's expense, and then he applied for the Navy Meteorological Program.  So, he is an officer who is a weather guesser, who will probably never go to sea again!  His father justified this by saying it was only fair, since he had a wife and three children!  By this time, I had all I could do to be civil!

I knew people like this when I was in the Navy and I did not have any respect for them.  If you are in the Navy, in a sea going rate, it is your duty to deploy!  If you don't deploy, someone else will have to do extra deployments to make up for your selfishness.  But I question the manhood of anyone who does not want to be in the front lines.  The phrase; "Tip of the spear" is very appropriate.  That is where the action is, where your metal is tested in the fire, where you earn your shipmate's others respect, and where you find out what you are made of.

I really don't like people, in sea going rates, that don't ride ships.  Yes, someone has to do the Type III duty in Diego, Garcia.  But leave that to the Construction Battalion folks.  Another sore point with me is the cost of training.  This no load was a graduate of Submarine Training and had earned his "Dolphins", yet there he is in a community that this expensive training will never be used again!  The Navy needs to get smart and keep people in their trained and qualified areas for the entire length of their career.  To do less is wasting tax payers money.

I guess you can tell that thgis is a major beef of mine.  If I offend some of you, TOUGH!  I really don't care and I really don't respect you.   One idea that I had when I was Force Master Chief, that did not gain any traction because the MCPON at that time had a grand total of one year of actual sea time, but, my idea was to include sea pay in the retirement computation!  That would really reward the men who do their duty!!  And if you think I am crazy, the Navy is presently working on a plan to permit the SEALS and EOD personnel to have their specialty pay included in their retirement calculation.  I agree with this as well, but it does not go far enough.  It is time we reward the real Sailors for doing their duty!! 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Career advice.

I have been careful during the writing of these 110 posts not to offer advice of any kind.  But the generation of new adults, I don't know what their moniker is, seems to have a commitment problem!  They do many things and have many interests, but they, collectively, are not experts at any one thing!  They seem to be happy with that condition but I also hear them complaining that they are not moving up their respective corporate ladders fast enough.  I have the solution to that problem.  GET DEDICATED TO YOUR JOB!  That's right, to move up the ladder quickly, you must be the best at what you do.  You must know everything there is to know about your chosen profession and you must be a walking book of knowledge about your chosen profession.  You must know all the technical aspects, the history, the names of the super stars of your field, and most of all, you must be the best at doing what ever your chosen field does.  Yes, volunteering at a national park is nice, but it will NOT help you promote.  Knowing how to photograph ants running towards a melting candy bar may be a good conversation starter, but it will only get in the way of your professional growth.  That is, unless you are a professional photographer.

Young people, choose your profession, and be the best at it!  That is how you promote, gain others respect, and prosper.  Save all the volunteering, interests, and off the wall classes until you are retired.  For now, be the best at what you do and let your doing be the witness to your abilities.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A drinking song...

You may know that Gunner's Mates are, or at least were, known, for hard work and hard play.  Someday before my memory completely fades, I should write some of my more rowdy stories of liberties past in places you may or not know.  But this one is closer to home.  When I was in the Pre-Commissioning crew for the USS Leftwich (DD 984), in San Diego, I quickly got bored.  I had heard from a friend of mine who was a senior engineer in the MK 45 program at Louisville, that another Spruance class destroyer was going to sea to test a new, larger, powder charge for the gun.  I knew the Chief Gunner's Mate on the ship and asked if I could ride.  He and the chain of command agreed.

Now this Chief lived up to and maybe exceeded the "Play Hard" part of the Gunner's Mate motto.  He was only sober after two days underway.  In any case, the test firings went off without a hitch.  As we were pulling in, after a few days underway, the Chief and I were standing on the flight deck watching the ship moor.  His wife, who was a sight to see and not in a good way, was standing on the pier, all 5 foot, 100 pounds of her.  Dyed blond hair, a mini-skirt, knee high white Go-Go boots, more make-up that Tammy Faye Baker, and two eyes that looked in different directions.  (Her trade mark)  The Chief looked at me and said;  Now you know why I drink!  Enough said.     

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The bullet proof Chief

If you have not noticed, I post almost every comment I receive on my posts.  I believe you, the reader, should be heard, even if you don't agree with me.  There was only one comment that I did not post.  That was because of the language and tone of the comment.  It was not against me but against a group of  people and I thought it was inappropriate.  You can't hurt my feelings, I am bullet proof!  Well, that though brought a story to mind.

When I was the Gunner's Mate detailer a Chief called me from San Diego looking for orders.  Since we did not have today's computers but only microfiche of individuals records, I asked the Chief where he was in San Diego as I searched the tiny print on the microfiche.  He stated that he was at the Brig in San Diego.  I found him at the same time he told me that and I retorted with;  I have you at Sima San Diego, are you TAD to the Brig?  He said, sort of, I am an inmate!  Wow!  A Chief in the Brig.

I later found out that he was caught stealing shore power cable and selling it as scrap metal.  He was Court Martialed, received half pay for 3 months, 60 days in the brig, and a reduction to E-6.  Here is the kicker.  Only BUPERS can bust a Chief!  I know you may have heard that, but it's true.  Now, I would believe that most Court Martial proceedings would be approved by BUPERS, but in this case it was not.  So, he did 60 days in the Brig as a Chief and I wrote him orders to a ship as the Chief Gunner's Mate!  I will bet the Commanding Officer was shocked when he arrived.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

If you don't like America, LEAVE!

I am OK with people not liking the United States of America.   We are a country founded on individual freedom, and freedom of speech was guaranteed as one of the Bill of Rights.  That being said, if you are embarrassed, ashamed of, or hate what America stands for, don't let the door hit you in the ass when you leave.  As Ken Hamblin wrote; "Pick a Better Country".  Go ahead, I dare you!  Find a country in the entire world that has the freedoms that we have.  With all of all of our bickering,  political discourse,  and disagreement, we are still a pretty homogeneous country.  If you think not, try attacking us and find out what happens!

I read a story today that a Mennonite College, that seems like an oxymoron, in Goshen, Indiana, has banned the National Anthem at all sporting events because it is too "war like", their words not mine.  First of all, what sports do Mennonites play anyway?  Checkers, no, that requires someone to be Kinged.  Certainly none of the contact sports, because they have to be fully covered at all times.  Maybe debate society.  But that would require independent thought.  Nope, I can't think of one Mennonite sport.  Can you come up with a great Mennonite sports hero.  Did they do well in an Olympic sport, Football, Lacrosse?  No.  They live in the 19th century and treat their women like Muslims do, terribly.

Just the same, if the Mennonite Church does not like America and what we stand for, go back to Germany where you came from.  Try your life style there!  At this point, I would really like to add some expletives to describe how angry I am.  I spent 40 years defending these druids?!  They don't deserve it.  I don't even believe they serve in the Military.  My view is, no national service, no voting, and no land ownership.  But that is my view.

However, for the Mennonite College in Goshen, Indiana, stick your pacifism in your antique clothed behind and pack you bags and leave America.  I have had my fill of people who hate America.