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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The smallest, weakest, military since 1915!

I was talking to a neighbor the other day.  He is an older fellow, who spent 11 years in the Navy a number of years ago.  He then went into industry and retired about 10 years ago,  So, I guess he is about 75 years old.  We were discussing life and the size of the Navy came up.  I asked him; How many ships do you think the U.S. Navy has?  He replied by class and said that he thought we had 30 aircraft carriers!  When I told him we had 11, he was shocked!!   We then got in a discussion about nuclear powered surface ships and he was shocked that we scrapped all the CGN's!!

The fact is, the general public has no idea that the Military is so decimated!  It started back in the First President Bush's administration, continued through Clinton, bush and now Obama.  And the ships we are building could not fight their way out of a paper bag!  I would take a 2250 World War II destroyer against any surface ship in the Navy!  Look at the anemic LCS ships!!  I have better armament in my gun safe that that ship has!  The Navy's own INSURV Board has stated as much by saying the ship cannot meet it's assigned mission.

Today, on Fox News, I heard Congressman West of Florida state that we have the smallest Navy since 1915, the smallest Army and Marine Corps since 1940, and the smallest Air Force in history!!  But, the general public does not hear or read this shocking, disturbing, news.  Instead, they hear the liberal pablum of PBS or NPR, or the networks shows that say government is our salvation.  Well, the first responsibility of our Federal Government is to defend Americans!   But the Federal Government, under four Presidents has decided NOT to defend America and instead has made us very vulnerable to attack by row boat.

It is a dark day for America, the once strongest, most productive, most powerful nation in the world.  Now, we can do nothing except cower in the corner.  Shame on you Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush, and Obama.  Shame on you Congressmen and Senators.  But most of all,  Shame on you VOTERS for electing these Socialists, Progressives, and Communists, who are determined to disarm and ruin the Country that some of us still love.  Sham on you voters indeed!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Reducing shore duty to man the FLEET!!

I read an OPNAV today, stating a new policy that takes sailors from shore duty, early, before their rotation date, to man ships that are deploying.  This is not a new concept.  We have done this before with mixed success.  This time, the Navy will provide monetary remuneration based on the number of months the shore tour is cut short.  So at least the sailor is compensated in some manner.  But cutting shore duty short is not the answer.

First, ships need to be fully manned not only for deployments but also through the training work ups before the deployment.   Since the administration has decided to cut military manning and since the same suits, in uniform and in $5000 Brooks Brother's suits, have decided to reduce the fleet to the smallest size since after World War One, our ships are being deployed more often, for longer, and with less turn around since World War Two.  We need to rethink the utilization of the most precious and expensive capitol investment in our Navy, the American Blue Jacket.

I propose we return to the Seava/Shorva process of detailing.  Under this process, ships were always manned first.  Sailors were only assigned to shore duty after all ships were fully manned.  Second, I recommend we do away with all shore duty assignments with the exception of in rate instructors, recruiters, and Recruit Company Commanders.  All other shore duty assignments can be handled by Civil Service personnel or completely doe away with.  Third, I believe Sea Pay must reflect extended sea tour assignments and not just total sea time.  It is a fact that the longer you stay at sea consecutively, the harder it gets.  Fourth, I truly believe Sea Pay should be a component of the retirement annuity!!  That's right, include Sea Pay with Base Pay to compute your retirement pay!! That alone would keep sailors at sea.  No bonuses for going to sea early, just the promise of an increased retirement check!!

The SPECWAR community has lobbied effectively, for their Speciality Pay to be included in their retirement computation and I agree with that also.  It is a slap in the face to sea going sailors for someone who found a way to stay ashore or in neutral duty non-deploying jobs drawing the same percentage of retirement pay, year for year, as the guy or gal who deploys time and time again.  Sailors belong on ships and ships belong at sea!

So, that's my proposal.  I challenge someone else to come up with a better one.  If we are going to continue to have a small Navy, we have to find ways to accomplish our missions effectively, efficiently, and with little or no disruption to our shipboard continuity.  Bringing someone aboard the day before a ship deploys is not the answer.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

New things I have learned

OK, this has little to do with the Navy and more to do with how I spend my days.  I was watching television tonight and I learned something very interesting and also came up with a question.   On a Perdue chicken commercial, I was educated to the fact that they feed their chickens only certified hormone free feed and that their chicken are cage free.  OK, that probably makes chickens happier, and happy chickens taste better.  And hormone free IS healthier for those of us who eat chicken.  But, if the chickens are cage free, who herds them?  I never heard of a chicken cowboy.  And what do they use to herd them?  Cats??

It's just a thought.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A USNS ship fires on a small boat in the Persian Gulf!

Breaking news states that a USNS oiler, all of our replenishment fleet is civilian manned ships, fired on a small boat that was making aggressive moves near the oiler.  Wow!! Someone pulled the trigger!!  I had heard that there were newly assigned Navy personnel on these to act as a security force.  If so, it looks like the "New Naval Guard" did it's job in the first engagement.   From the sparse news, it seems another USS Cole incident has been averted and that is spectacular news.  US Navy ships are sovereign property of the United States and any attack on one of these ships is the same as an attack on New York.  Our ships should defend themselves aggressively and it appears this USNS ship did!

I remember when I was on the USS Mullinnix, in 1970.  We were anchored somewhere in Tunisia.  I had the forecastle watch and strict orders to keep any boats away from the ship.  There was a local man, in a row boat, with a package in the boat, rowing around the anchor chain.  I kept yelling at him to get away.  I was alone on the forecastle with no communications to the Officer of the Deck.  I war armed with a M1 Garrand rifle and standing on the Lead Line platform on the starboard side.  The man finally grabbed onto the anchor chain and I took that as a threat so I fires two rounds in the water close to his boat.  That got my point accross to him and he rowed very quickly away from the anchor chain.  Of course, the sound of the two shots brought plenty of Officers to the forecastle to see what was going on.  I did not get in trouble and we were not attacked.  Of course, we probably were not in danger, but I had my orders.

However, today, our ships are in danger of being attacked and shooting firs and asking questions later is the best policy.  I am glad the USNS ship shot first.  For the rest of the fleet, take that as a lesson on successful defense of your ship!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

No more urinals!! Now that pisses me off!

One of my Navy friends sent me an article that was on DRUDGE today.  It seems, to make the Navy a better place for female sailors, they are removing the urinals from all ships to make the Heads gender neutral!  Think about that for a moment.  Unless the females are going to use the same Heads as the males, why does it matter if we have urinals and they don't?  On the other hand, if we are going to have co-ed Heads.. well..that opens up a whole other mess of problems!  We will never get any work out of our sailors then!!  And, what about the homosexual crowd?  Maybe the lesbian crowd has figured out how to use a urinal.  Will we be discriminating against them by removing the urinals?  Just a thought, I would not want to upset any of these sensitive people.

The bottom line it, urinals are more efficient for men to use and use less water to flush.  Also, you can't read a magazine or newspaper while using a urinal.  If the guys have to use a toilet instead, they will take 15 minutes to piss every time!   And if you don't think urinals are more efficient, go to a NASCAR race or a concert during a break or caution period.  The men's line is much shorter than the women's line at the Head, even though there are probably more men there.  Standing up to relieve yourself, in the open, is more efficient.  It is not a social event, like females make a tip to the head.  It is a necessity.  Again, think about the last time you were out with another couple.  One women gets up and says; "Let's go powder our noses."  It is a social event for females.   Again, take the urinals out and there will be nothing going on except gossip and farding!!  Look that word up!

It all sums up to the fact that the liberal suits, in uniform and in $1000 Brook's Brother suits, are trying to make out military a group of soft, weak, girlie men.  And, they are succeeding.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Is GREEN better at any cost?

The Secretary of the Navy wants the Navy to run on bio fuel at $26 a gallon!!  Standard fuel oil costs around $5 a gallon! Am I against doing reasonable things to improve our environment?  NO!  I am a big supporter of more efficient engineering discoveries.  I the same vein, I don't want to revert back to sail ships as the first line of defense for our nation.  Furthermore, I can't see how sail powered submarines will be very stealthy!

Honestly, spending billions of dollars to shift our ships to uber-expensive green bio fuel will only further cripple our meager, nearly impotent, Navy.  We should be spending that money on offensive weapons that can destroy the enemy in large numbers before he can even get out of port!!   Remember, the purpose of the military is to kill people and wreck things!!  It is not a social experiment nor a place to implement greening the globe!  

I receive a comment on a Leadership post I recently wrote telling me that the CNO said the New MCPON must be    culturally receptive or some dribble like that!  The MCPON should be the representative, the mouth piece, of the Enlisted Personnel of the fleet, regardless of their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation!  He should reinforce Navy Regs and good order and discipline.  It is not his job to socially promote any agenda.  Again, the military and our Navy is NOT a social experiment. When you go to boot camp, you leave all that personal stuff at the gate and become a Sailor.  Not a black sailor, or a white sailor, or a gay sailor, or a female sailor.  A SAILOR!!  The Marine Corps does this very well.  We should emulate them.

These issues further denigrate the Navy and our national defense.  The question is, is that the adgenda of this administration?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Short Arm Inspections!

Another "Old Navy" evolution was never scheduled but happened as needed.  That evolution was the "Short Arm Inspection".   Many of you never had the privilege of experiencing this event well enough conducting it.  But I was privileged to be the Master at Arms conducting a "Short Arm Inspection" on the USS Stein during my second tour on that fine ship.

We were deployed to WESTPAC and making all of the popular liberty ports.  Hong Kong, Yokosuka, and Subic Bay. After one of these wonderful liberty ports, we had a severe out break of the "Crabs" in the First Division/Gun Division berthing space.  Now if you have never been infested with these little critters, they can be a problem.  And there are may funny jokes about them,  but they are not funny.  Crabs can carry diseases and at the least can leave the one infected scratching liker a dog with the fleas!  But, these little critters jump from sailor to sailor in the berthing space. Again, a lesson.  On the ships built before 1980, there was little or no privacy in the berthing space.  You slept right next to the guy next to you.  Many bunks did not have privacy shields between the bunks.  You slept in you skivvies so the little buddies could jump any where they found another warm body.  So, you can see how fast these critters can multiply in a 88 man berthing space.

In any case, the "Short Arm Inspection" was held so the Corpsman can inspect the genital area of each sailor.  "Doc" Wolf filled that billet and I was chosen, by the XO and Doc to fill the second man requirement.  I was like the nurse in the examining room!  In any case, Doc would require each sailor to drop his pants and skivvies.  Doc would then, carefully inspect the pubic area for any crabs.  If found, he would give the infested sailor some blue salve.  Now as you can imaging, this can be a very sensitive and embarrassing evolution.  But "Doc" Wolf was the perfect man for the job.  He disarmed the inhibitions and fears of each sailor with jokes, come backs, and relaxing discussion.  I do not remember anyone being angry, embarrassed or feeling violated by is gentle inspection.  On the contrary, they were laughing and relaxed and the event passed without incident! We got rid of the crabs and no one was embarrassed.

There are many things we have to do in the Navy for reasons that make perfect sense.  But real Leaders can find a way to accomplish them in a relaxed manner and can actually have some fun in the process.  "Doc" Wolf was definitely one of those LEADERS and I am glad to say that he is still my friend!

The Floating Mattress!

You may remember that the B 29 or was it the B 17 bomber was called the "Flying Fortress"  because of all the machine gun emplacements for defense from enemy fighters.  Well, I was thinking about the Navy last night and I remembered one of the routine things we did that my wife found funny.

The Navy, more than any other Branch of Military service has traditions, many traditions, that we still live by.  Many of these traditions have their origin in the days of sail ships.  It is said they were iron men on wooden ships.  If you have ever visited the USS Constitution, I am sure you would agree.

In any case, one of the traditions that lived on into the Navy I served in was "Air Bedding".   You really need a history lesson to understand this necessary tradition.  When a Sailor went to boot camp, along with his uniforms he was issues his bedding!  Yes, his mattress, pillow, blankets, and mattress cover.  He was taught to roll this bedding into a compact roll and tie it to his sea bag!  Everything he owned was in or on that sea bag.  Thus the saying about wives; "She wasn't issues in your sea bag."  Back to the bed roll.  You took that bed roll from ship to ship.  There was no bedding waiting for you on the next ship.  The mattress was a thin, cotton stuffed mattress.  Instead of sheets, a removable mattress cover was used which was given the nickname of "Fart Sack".  You can figure out why.

Living spaces were sparce.  Nothing like the luxurious spaces on today's war ships.  Early on in the Navy, hammocks were strung from stantion to stantion.  Later, three and four high frames were built to have canvass lashed into the frames makinf 3 or 4 high bunks.  You would put your mattress and bedding on that canvass rack to sleep.  In the morning, the entire rack of buns was raised up and hooked against the bulkhead to make cleaning and passage through the space easier.  Some berthing spaces on World War one and two ships, were in work spaces!  Some even on the mess decks. So you can see how important it was to get the racks out of the way.  Reveille was passed and the crew was instructed to; "Heave out and trice up!"  Now you know why.

Back to "Air Bedding".  Cotton mattresses catch and retain odors, bugs, and dirt.  Laundry services underway were limited due to a lack of fresh water.  So, once a month, each division, on a scheduled day, would take their mattresses  above deck  and tie the mattress, blankets, and pillows over the life lines and let them air out in the sun and breeze.  The berthing space was given an extra cleaning since the mattresses and blankets were out of the space.  Sailors naturally use the space under their mattress, between the mattress and the bunk canvass, for letter, magazine, snack, and what ever else they can stuff under there, as semi secure stowage.  Air Bedding was always an interesting evolution.

Now, picture a man of war, steaming through the water at 20 knots, with mattresses and bedding tied over every life line on every deck!   The Flying Mattress!  I bet a enemy combatant would run for cover seeing that formidable foe approaching.

But, with the advent of foam mattresses, three sets of sheets, air conditioned berthing spaces, and the reverse osmosis plants, Air Bedding is a thing of the past, doomed to fade from memory.  But I remember when the Boatswain Mate of the Watch would pass;  "The following divisions Air Bedding"!