Welcome!

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

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Shipmates!

I had a long telephone call from an old shipmate from the USS Stein today.  We made a deployment to WESTPAC in 1978.  We spent a long time talking about the past and catching up on where we were today.

A couple of weeks ago, a Gunner's Mate that I commissioned the USS Stein with called me out of a clear blue sky.  He got my number from another shipmate that contacted me through Facebook.  I had not talked to him for decades!  I gave him our Chief's phone number and he called him.  About an hour after, That Chief called me.  That was a great day of remembering.

Two or three weeks ago, my best friend and his beautiful wife came to visit us in Florida.  I first met him when I was an instructor at Gun School, Great Lakes!  He is my best friend and has been for decades yet every time I get together with him it makes the sun shine!

A few months ago, a shipmate from the USS Caron knocked on my apartment door in Virginia Beach.   I had not seen him in decades, yet it seemed like we just walked off the ship!

There was this GMT Chief that I was stationed with as a detailer in Washington D.C.  He was a fun guy to be with and a great professional.  He went to teh Dark Side and became a Warrant Officer.  He regretted that from the first day!  But one day, through Facebook, we got back in touch and had a wonderful telephone call.  Again, it was like we expected to be at work together on Monday.  But, it was 25 years since I had seen him.

Those of us who were career military have something others will never have.  That is "Shipmates"!!  My wife says she can't take me anywhere.  Not because I pick my nose in public but no mater where I go, I seem to run into an old Shipmate.  Many times in the Commissary, a short shopping trip turns into a long trip down memory lane.

At this point in my life, Shipmates are one of the things that keep me going!  Thanks for being there.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

How Presidents act with the troops.

Much like you, for the most part, I only know what I see on the television and read in the newspaper when it comes to the actions of the President, except one specific occasion.  I was the Force Master Chief, Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet when the Iraqi Military decided to shoot an Exocet missile at the USS Stark.  The story of the Stark stands on it's own but as the Force Master Chief, I attended the memorial service for the families of the dead and injured held in Mayport Florida.  President Reagan and Mrs. Reagan were in attendance and participated in the memorial ceremony.  The MCPON, the Fleet Master Chief, and myself were seated with the families of the injured.  After the service, as the Atlantic Fleet Band played the Navy Hymn, the President and his wife went through the rows of the families of the dead and spent quality time with every family member.  I saw the President and Mrs. Reagan hug family member after family member.  I was just a few feet from the President, so I had full access to the entire event.  They spent at least two hours talking, grieving, and hugging each family member.  It was a truly emotional time and I was proud of our President and our Navy.

The time went on so long that the band wore out!  The broke into combos to play quite music while other band members rested, put ice on their lips, and probably went to the head!  As the President came to the last row of family members, a middle aged woman fell suddenly to the floor and began to moan.  I was sure she was overwhelmed by her emotions.  And who could blame her.  The Navy was ready and three Corpsmen came out with a gurney and attended to her, wheeling her to a medical room previously set up.  Again, I was proud of their care and swiftness.

Later, we boarded the Fleet Commander's aircraft and I sat next to the senior Atlantic Fleet Chaplain.  He was a Captain Chaplain and a Catholic Priest by denomination.  I sat down and we began to recount the events of the day.  I said that I thought everything went well.  He said;  All but that last lady who fell out.  I replied that I had observed that and was sorry she was overwhelmed by her grief.  The Chaplain then said;  "That was not grief, it was her religious traditions.  She was Pentecostal and we had not planned for that!  He then went on;  But, do you know that the President and Mrs. Reagan went back to the medical room to make sure she was all right and spent a long time with her!  Now that is a President who understands the troops!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Americans have forgotten about individual sacrifice!

We have been at war for over ten years.  With the exception of the "Cold War" this is the longest war in the history of the United States of America.  Yet, to look at how we live, you would never know that we were at war.  Life goes on, much the same as it did before 9/11.  Yes, they search us at the airport, but that is really no big deal and no individual sacrifice.  Are there any food shortages?  Has anyone planted a "Victory" garden?  Did the car makers quit making new model cars?  Is there a salt shortage?   Is there a shortage of clothes in the stores?  The answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO.

During World War 2, 1941 to 1945, all of these things were in short supply.  We lived without to make sure our troops had what they needed.  Another big shortage was men!  Almost EVERY able bodied man was in uniform fighting a two front war.  Women took the manufacturing jobs building ships, airplanes, tanks, and weapons.  It was considered a disgrace for a man to be rejected for military service.  There are cases where men actually committed suicide after being rejected for military service because of the perceived shame. Now, all that patriotism, personal sacrifice, and support for the troops is gone.

We play at supporting the troops, but it is just a show.  There is an old Navy colloquialism we used when someone senior was trying to tell us how much they cared or understood our pain; " Don't piss down my neck and tell me it's raining!"  As this war has worn on, the American public has grown weary of the effort and turned it's collective back on the few men and women in uniform.  As I have written before, Staff Sargent Bailes is an example of this.  He has been convicted and sentenced to the gallows before he has even been charged.  The "Talking Heads" love to berate the Staff Sargent and his brothers in arms.  They talk about us like we have a genetic defect.  They portray us as people who like to kill, who enjoy maiming people.  They treat us as if we were blood thirsty savages.  All except the Army Captain at Fort Hood.  He was a misunderstood Muslim who was mistreated by his bigoted comrades.  They acted like the Captain, who NEVER served in combat, had a right to kill those terrible American combat veterans!

Well, let me tell the American public something.  You, those who will not serve, who will not sacrifice, have made us as we are.  If we had a draft, maybe combat men would not have to make 4,5,6, or more tours in the combat zone.  Let me ask you another question;  How would you feel if every other year, you had to deploy to an inherently dangerous and deadly area for 12 months!  Then when you return, you would spend the next 12 months getting ready to deploy again.  Field maneuvers, combat arms training, live fire exercises in villages built to look just like the place that terrorized you the last 12 months!  The fact is, our fighting men and women, Soldiers, Marines. Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen have been continually at war for over ten years!! And that continuous stress, the 24/7/365 wear of being ready to fight at a minutes notice.  Sleeping WITH your loaded weapons, even at home!  That level of stress, that over extension of the senses of a human, will lead to men needing a life time of mental therapy.  Killing another human leaves a scar that never heals.  Killing many humans makes a man calloused and hardened to any human feelings, even love.

The question has been asked of me; Why do men volunteer for multiple combat tours?  Yes, many men do volunteer for combat tours, I did.  The answer to the question is;  Once a person is initiated into combat, once an individual has killed other humans, he is a different person and most likely will never be the same again.  The only place these individuals feel comfortable and at home is in the combat zone.  The place that made them what the are now and will always be.  That's why many of the Viet Nam vets stayed in for a career.  It was a comfortable place for them and a type of therapy.  Just as I explained about my friend Jim Smith.  As a Civil Servant, I even volunteered and went to the Persian Gulf in the war zone to lead a team in the repair of ships for six weeks.  A small sacrifice but one I gladly did, even as a 55 year old retired Navy Master Chief, who happened to work for the Navy command tasked with world wide tech assist for all Navy ships.

The events that Staff Sargent Bailes is involved in have brought many emotions back to the forefront in my mind.  I see the terrible treatment of the Viet Nam vets.  I remember how were were treated by the news media when we had issues in civilian life.  I remember hearing every news story about a veteran who did something society did not understand starting out with;  Mr. Bill Jones, a Viet Nam veteran...  They never used that approach when they did a story on a person who worked for the Ford plant or an insurance company.  But the news media loves to call out an ex-military member as a mad man who loves to kill!

I started out telling you that the American public has NOT sacrifices one thing for this monumental war.  The American public is comfortable, warm, well fed, has it's IPADS, cell phones, 60 inch LCD televisions, new cars, college educations and $500 Michael Jordan shoes!   If they don't watch the news on television, they don't even know there is a war going on unless they know someone in the military.  And, since we do not have a draft, Americans can make a decision NOT to get involved in this war or any other war.  So, there IS NO sacrifice by the American public.  And, since all Americans are not involved in this war, those of us who choose to serve will be mistreated and looked down on by those who choose not to.  Again, there are very few if any sons and daughters of the Politicians in the military and even fewer of them in the war.  Now if the people who send us to war don't want to participate, why should we.  The President talks of sacrifice, but he has NEVER sacrificed a thing in hie entire life.  He has lived like a king, has never worked a real job, and has never served his country.  Yet he sends us to die or be so damaged we cannot fit into society.  And when one of us has a problem, he calls those actions "deplorable" and condemns the Staff Sargent for his actions.  He did this without addressing why this happened or if the Army of the American Government had anything to do with the event.  So, again, I tell you in my opinion, this ten year war will leave us with tens of thousands of physically and mentally damaged veterans who will need constant or near constant care for the remainder of their life.  We as a nation, need to decide, right now, how we are going to deal with these men and women.  Is it going to be like 1974 when we blamed everything on the Viet Nam veteran?  Or are those who did not sacrifice one iota, try to understand what their indifference and self-indulgence created and try to actively help the victims of this war.  It is your choice America.

The dark side of the combat veteran. Part two

I said in my last post that I had first hand knowledge of the problems that combat vets had.  Viet Nam was a very unpopular war.  It divided the country, was the topic of riots, left wing resistance, and much posturing by liberal, progressive, politicians.  But the living, breathing, problem, represented by the men who suffered from PTSD, lost limbs, and Agent Orange, was completely ignored.  There were few, if any, support groups.  The VA hospital was a place to go die.  Some of these men survived by staying in the military as long as they could.  Most self-medicated with booze and drugs and some committed suicide outright.  I knew many of these men, but one really was the poster boy for the neglected, unwanted, military victim.  His name was Jim Smith.

I have written about Master Chief Gunner's Mate James Smith before.  He was a great Chief, my friend,  and a moral man who would help anyone.    He also drank bourbon by the bottle, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, and had three major heart attacks, two bypass operations,  a Quad and a Sextuple, and died of a massive heart attack in his den at the age of 55.  He served 34 years of active duty.  He did two  Viet Nam in country combat tours as a part of the Riverene Forces.  One tour on PBRs and one on "Zippo" boats.  He was wounded twice.  He also did numerous trips to the Gun Line on Navy Destroyers providing naval gun fire support for the troops ashore.  

Why did he make so many combat tours to Viet Nam?  Because he wanted too!  You see, his brother was killed in Viet Nam while serving in the Army early in our involvement in the Viet Nam civil war.  Jim never got over his brother's death and, I believe, actually had a death wish of his own.  He once told me as much after a long night of drinking.  Jim would not have lived to 55 if he did not have his support group, the active duty men of the Navy.  But the veterans of this war will not have that support group.  Why, because we are severely down sizing our military.  We are, at this moment, terminating sailors, mid contract, to shrink the Navy.  Other services will follow.

Again, the unfortunate truth is, the "Suits" did not expect as many of us to survive THE war.  In past military incursions, the majority of the wounded died.  But, thanks to major advances in field hospital capabilities, we are surviving.  But, those surviving are terribly injured both physically and mentally.  The VA is not prepared to deal with this influx of damaged veterans.  Furthermore, the "Suits" do not want to spend the money or the political capital to change that.  That leaves us with the obvious, we will have more of these incidents where a veteran, suffering from physical and mental injuries, is over whelmed by his combat senses and kills some innocent people.  In Afghanistan, in Chicago, it really does not matter where, it will happen, just like it did after Viet Nam.  But, there are more damaged veterans this time, and that is the tragic part.  One that will certainly bring us all pain.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The dark side of the combat veteran.

The news coverage of our Army Staff Sargent who is accused of killing the Afghan civilians is without any consideration of what that man has gone through.  The premature apology that the President and the Secretary of State offered up is an affront to the fighting men and women of our country.  The news media has already tried and convicted the Staff Sargent in the court of public opinion, without addressing any of the facts or mitigating circumstances in the case.  This symphony of misinformation is meant to discredit not only this individual but any other individual that may have the same issues in the future.

Compare this to the coverage of the Army officer that shot a number of Army and civilian personnel in Texas.  We were told by the news media that we need to understand him.  That Officer ha never been tried and probably will never be.  Oh, by the way, he is a Muslim.   The President or the Secretary of State have never apologized to us for that Officers actions.

The Staff Sargent is on his fourth tour of combat duty.  He was a front line soldier, not some feather merchant who was in the rear with the beer and the gear.  He was previously wounded and lost a part of his foot.  He was previously diagnosed with PTSD.  He told his superiors he did not want to go back to the combat zone.  All of these are warning flags that were ignored in this case.  The Army ignored the obvious and the blood of those Afghan civilians rests squarely on their shoulders.  But I doubt that the civilians that run our military and country, those in uniform and in the $5000 suits do not have the character or courage to take the blame for their actions.

Unfortunately, there will be more episodes like this one.  In Afghan, other combat zones, and here at home.  The mental conditioning and trauma of being a combat Soldier, Marine, Sailor, or Airman does not heal!!  I know from personal experience.  I watch my Brothers in arms suffer after Viet Nam.  No one cared then and no one cares now.  Yes, THEY say they care, but it is a facade, a ruse!  It is politically expedient to get your photo taken with a Veteran, especially a disabled veteran.  The politicians give us medals, shake our hands, and then show us the servants way out!  We are the House Servants that are suffered to be in the master's house to do his bidding.  Then we are dismissed with prejudice.  Banished to the slave quarters to exist in obscurity and to suffer silently from our wounds.

I wrote before; What if they gave a war and no body came? The "Suits" can't and WON'T fight, and maybe we should not either!  It is a voluntary military.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Traditions that probably should have gone away.

I was sitting here, drinking my third cup of morning coffee and thinking about the traditions of the Navy.  Not don't get me wrong, I like many of the traditions and customs of the Navy.  I believe they continue a certain level of decorum and respect and should be continued at any cost.  However some of them have gone by the wayside or should very soon.

For instance, tacking on one's Crow.  This was a crude gesture to ensure someone kept their new promotion.  That "Good Luck" was ensured by hitting, no PUNCHING the recipients rating badge as hard as you could.  I have seen newly advanced Petty Officers with left arms so bruised that they could NOT move their arm for a few days after the advancement day.  When I made Second Class, I had my "Crow" tacked on all day as I went about my business on the ship. Then, we went out in the evening for a "Wetting Down" party where I was expected to but drinks.  As the evening wore on, I was continually having my "Crow" tacked on.  Then, after I was sufficiently inebriated, my Chief, a mountain of a man, had another man hold me up while HE tacked my "Crow" on.  When the Chief hit me, he knocked me and the guy bracing me, to the ground!  Believe it or not, I STILL have a lump in my right bicep from that day.  My arm was bruised, black, blue, and yellow all the way around!

Did that make me a better Petty Officer or ensure I would not do anything foolish to get "Busted"?  No, but it made sure that I carried a reminder of the day, forever, in the form of a sensitive lump in the middle of my left bicep!

There are other traditions, like CPO initiation, Shell Back initiation, and some I no longer remember that have either been officially discontinued or have been officially toned down.  Most of these resulted in pain being inflicted on the initiatees and  large dose of embarrassment.  Some of them left lasting physical and mental scars.  Some were combined with the consumption of copious amounts of adult beverages and NONE of them made one sailor better at his or her job.  Did they build unit morale and cohesiveness?  In some cases, yes.  But we can do that without leaving scars and embarrassing everyone involved.

Again, remember, I said I want to preserve the traditions that preserve the decorum and respect for the individual and the organization.   You do not preserve respect and decorum by having a prospective Chief kiss a live chicken's behind!   And you do not build unit cohesion by crawling the length of the ship on your hands and knees while being beat on you behind my a paddle made from cut up fire hose.

Now there are good, purposeful, traditions, like retirement ceremonies, command advancement ceremonies, and even Change of Command ceremonies that celebrate accomplishment, hard work, and dedication.  Those traditions must be continued.  But let us, together, stop embarrassing, harassing, and injuring our shipmates for the express purpose of welcoming them into the group.  We will all be better off for it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Those quaint sayings on the 1MC.

"I have not been on a Navy ship in a while, so I don't know how the "New Navy" does things.  Maybe they have become kinder and gentler, like the Coast Guard with their traditional "Coffee Break' in the morning and the "Snack Break"  in the afternoon.  Yes, they actually pass those words over the 1MC.  But those of us old enough to have a few gray hairs remember the melodic pronouncements from the Bridge underway or the Quarterdeck in port.  Some of them were humorous and some of them made little sense.  For instance the announcement for rain;  "Haul over all hatch hoods and gun covers!"   Now most sailors who have been to sea on a Navy ship since 1970 or so, have NEVER seen or know what a hatch hood is.  And, if you were not on a ship with open gun mounts, like 3"/50 or open 5"/38, have never seen a gun cover.  But, just the same we bow to tradition and pass;  "Haul over all hatch hoods and gun covers" and we all know it is raining!  Curious.

Or how about sweepers?  In the morning, just after reveille, they would pass; "Clamp down all weather decks, polish all top side bright work.  Sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms.  Give the ship a clean sweep  down fore and aft.  Sweep down all lower decks, ladder and passageways.  Dump all trash abaft the stern. (Or in port, dump all trash in the proper receptacles provided on the pier)".  Now we passed that word rain or shine, heavy seas or smooth.  My first ship, the USS Mullinnix (DD 944) actually did morning watch and it included movement checks, called "T" Checks, at the same time.  That always caused me to wonder.  Men were sweeping and swabbing the decks while we wildly swung the gun mounts around!  And this was before outside safety observers were required!  Yet, I don't recall anyone getting hurt.  We must have been smarter back then!  One other point, "Morning Watch" had to be held BEFORE we ate breakfast.  And the First Class made sure of it!

Another interesting thing.  "Secure the mess line" seemed to fit at the end of any word passed.  Like;  Muster all restricted men on the quarterdeck with the duty Master at Arms.  Secure the mess line!"  Or; "General Quarters, General Quarters, all hands man your battler stations.  Set material condition Zebra through out the ship.  Secure the mess line!"  See what I mean?!

Many times, the Petty Officer of the Watch would add the word "NOW" before everything thing he passed.  It was sort of weird.  For instance, if he did not say "NOW" could I wait a while before I went to General Quarters?  Again, just a thought.

Another fond remembrance was the "Boatswain's Pipe" shrieking us awake in the morning.  I always understood that, but what did they have to "Pipe" Taps?  I you hit the pit early, that shrieking would wake you up!  But, did you know that the "Piping" part of the announcements were NOT sent into "Officer's Country? At least on every ship I was on.

Again, the Boatswain's Pipe was  a tradition kept, from a Navy that had NO power announcing systems.  Much like the Bugle on Cruisers, Battleships, and Carriers.  In the movies, like "Tora Tora Tora" or "In Harms Way" you would see the Bugler call General Quarters, then the Boatswain Mate "Pipe" General Quarters and then the Petty Officer of the watch "Pass" the word for General Quarters.  By the time the three of them were done, Zebra was set!  Oh well, just a thought.

And, on ships without dial telephones, you always knew if you passed the word wrong, because the "Growler" would JUMP off the bulkhead!!  On the USS Stein, (DE 1065) I actually knew the Executive Officer's "Growl.

Most days, I sit here remembering the Navy of my past, the Navy that I love.  Those thoughts keep my mind active and my heart warm.  Thanks for sharing my memories!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Killings in Afghanistan are the price of a ten year undeclared war.

OK, I was going to keep my opinions to my self, but the statements by the President, the Secretary of State, and the Presidential candidates has me ready to fight.  The recent event in Afghanistan is a tragedy, for sure.  But, that Staff Sargent may not be the MONSTER the news media wants to portray his to be.  For instance, this is his FOURTH combat tour!  He had a Traumatic Brain Injury caused by a vehicle crash.  He also has been treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  So, while I will agree that the killing of 16 supposed innocent civilians is a tragedy, it may be the fault of the counrtry's leadership that sent him.

The men who have been on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan have made multiple 12 and 13 month long tours to the combat zones.  When they are home, they are subject to intense, realistic, stressful, live fire training to keep them sharp!  Well, let me tell you, if you keep a combat trained man on ALERT 24/7/365 for 5,6,10 years, he is going to snap!  The human mind is not made to be held at the alert stage without significant down time.  What this does to an individual is dull his sense of right and wrong and cloud his moral judgement.  So, if a person in that state saw someone as a direct threat to him, he would react, AS TRAINED, to eliminate that threat.  It become an automatic reaction of function that the individual cannot stop.  You who have not been in combat may want to disagree with me.  Well, take your uninformed opinion and stick it some where smelly!  I know what I am talking about.

These wars have worn out our combat equipment and our fighting men.  Ten years, multiple combat tours, intense training, has worn our fighting men out!  We are broke, and the politicians don't care.  And trust me, just like after other wars, police actions and conflicts, when this is over, the civilian populace will not want the retired, former, or disabled military man or woman around.  We will be discarded like yesterdays garbage.  They suffer us now, but all of us will be forgotten and held in disdain when they are done using us.

Back during the War Protest days, there was a song by one of the "Hippie" groups that posed the question; "What if they had a war and nobody showed up?!"  Since the landed gentry,  the political leaders, and the educational elite do not send their son's and daughter's to war, I wonder what would happen if we, the lower middle class people of this country told the leadership to fight their own wars that the politicians declare without following the Constitution.  The oath we take says; We will "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."  It is time we determine just who are the "Domestic Enemies" before they destroy us.

DId the Staff Sargent do wrong, yes.  Who's fault is it?  That remains to be seen.  But I am afraid the liberal news establishment and the Politicians, in uniform and in $5000 suits, will sacrifice this patriot without due process.  He would not be the first enlisted man to suffer that fate!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Iraq and Afganistan are lost!

This opinion has NOTHING to do with the skill, bravery, and dedication of my brothers and sisters in arms.  It has everything to do with the actions of the politicians, in uniform and in $5000 suits.  The leadership of our nation is incompetent, insane, and uneducated.  Iraq was lost years ago when we decided we would not use the force necessary to subdue then militants.  We pulled out and the Taliban took over, again.  Nothing has changed in Iraq except Hussein is dead.

Afghanistan has been invaded by nations for the last century.  The, like Iraq and other middle east nations, is a tribal culture that is really NOT controllable by a central government.  Afghanistan is not winnable, in any scenario.  We would have to kill every man, woman, and child to subdue the populace.  Unlike Red China or The Soviet Union (Russia) we will not do what is necessary to win.  Red China and The Soviet Union will and have killed people until the remaining populace surrenders and becomes subjected to the invaders.  Again, we will not, nor we should do that.

There are other factors in the Middle East that make the situation untenable.  Pakistan is not our friend!  The hid and helped Osama Bin Laden for seven years!  We send them billions of dollars every year and we get NOTHING but resistance and lip service from them.

The fact is, we have NO friends in the Middle East including Saudi Arabia and Bahrain!  Why do we send billions of dollars in aid to these countries, for what.  Both nations are rich beyond calculation and both nations support and house groups that are our enemies.

I believe it was ill advised for President Bush II to commit troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.  If we wanted to do anything to punish the Taliban we should have bombed Afghanistan into the stone age.  Trust me, it is not too far for them.  And, as I have said before, we have nuclear weapons and we should have used them in that case!  We should have turned the hills of Afghanistan, the location of the Taliban's hide outs in to a glowing, molten, radioactive mess.

So, what should we do?  With draw immediately from Afghanistan.  Stop ALL foreign aid to any country that does not support us without question.  Take every necessary step to make The United States energy independent.  Drill, Keystone pipeline, windmills, solar, and nuclear power.  Additionally, every time OPEC raises the cost of oil we should raise the cost of grain, meat, corn, or anything else that we make that they need.

It is time that we defend America and support America.  To HELL with the other countries that don't like us!  It is high time that we quit spending American money and shedding the blood of American military personnel in the defense of people who don't like us.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The last voyage of the USS Enterprise

The USS Enterprise departed on her last deployment.  I am not defying security, it was all over the news including FOX News.  The "Big E" is 50 years old and you could make the argument that the tax payers have gotten their money's worth!

The "Big E" was the first nuclear powered Aircraft Carrier.  We also built a number of nuclear powered Cruisers that were very capable war ships, but they have all been decommissioned and destroyed!  One thing that is common in the decommissioning of the Cruisers and the "Big E" is all of these ships have many serviceable years left!  When we decommissioned the USS South Carolina, it was just a few years after her reactors had been refueled!  The same is true with the "Big E"!!  She was refueled three or four years ago. That would mean she does not need to be refuel for another twenty years!  Why would we discard that much capability that is already PAID for?!  It makes no sense to me.  Some Engineering Duty Officer will tell me the hull, other systems, or the tanks, are in bad shape and it would cost too much to repair them.  If that's so, why did we pay to refuel the "Big E" a few years ago?  No, this is a political decision, just like the AEGIS community KILLED the nuclear Cruisers.  In the case of the Cruisers, AEGIS did not like the fact that the CGN's were more capable than their CG 47 hulls.  In the case of the "Big E" it is probably a decision made higher up in the civilian chain of command.  Yes, we are destroying our Navy and all of our military, on purpose.  The political people in charge today do not want America to be a world power!  That is clear to the most casual observer.

So, again, we are destroying a capable ship, that any other nation would cherish as part of their naval capability.  And, just like the CGN's, we do not have anything as capable to replace her.  It continues to be a sad state of affairs.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sometime we get full of ourselves.

When I was the Force Master Chief for SURFLANT my wife and I attended many official functions.  We even went to an event for the Navy Memorial call "Hollywood Supports the Navy".  We met Barbara Eden, Macdonald Carey, and Tony Curtis.  Cool.  I also was at an event with Kenny Stabler, the Oakland Raiders Quarterback, he was a real gentleman.  I also visited most ships in the Surface Force of the Atlantic Fleet, visited the bases we supported and met with crews, Chief's messes, and Commanding Officers.  Admiral Mike Boorda and I were friends when he was CruDesGru Eight.  At the request of the Recruiting Command, I rode the Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG 7) into my home town of Cleveland and did some Television, radio, and newspaper interviews .  Sort of a local boy does good event.  It was fun and I cherish those memories.  In any case, all of this high level attention can really cause a person's head to swell.  Mine did!

We were at a Congressional cocktail party celebrating the re-opening of the Washington D.C. train station.  The Under Secretary of the Navy, Chase Uttermier, was there and we were talking with him.  In an effort to make interesting, intelligent, conversation, I mentioned that the workers were still carving some numerals into the marble walls.  I said to the Under Secretary;  Those men are real artesians.  After he left us, my wife, who is much more intelligent and cultured than I am quietly said to me;  The word is Artisans.  Artesians are a type of well.  Of course, I remember the word artesian from the Olympia beer commercial.  So much for intelligent, interesting, conversation from me.  That served to deflate my ego for a while.