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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sea stories go to waste!

You probably know I moved to northwest Florida.  It's OK but there is no Black Shoe Navy around!  There are a lot of Navy Aviators, mostly Officers, and lots of Air Farce.  But no one who ever made a deployment on a Destroyer.  No one who even knows what a Destroyer is!!

Now I like to tell Sea Stories!  In my 40 years associated with the United States Navy, I have seen and done a lot!!  I have been to places and done things most people can't even dream about.  But when I start to tell one of my stories to someone, their eyes glaze over and they change the subject to some benign thing like SEC football or  fishing!  Who cares about SEC football and local fishing, I have war stories to tell about the Persian Gulf, the recovery of the USS Cole, a hot gun/foul bore emergency in a gun mount.  But no one cares.

So, as I live in my past because of my Lewy Body Dementia, I have no one to tell my stories too.  Now, my best buddy calls me every week and we do reminisce.   But that call only lasts an hour and I am left with many hours to fill.  Yes, my blog helps and I love your comments.  But I am in a Sea story Desert!

Air Farce folks don't have sea stories!  Airedales don't either.  And nobody goes to the "Club" and has a liquid lunch anymore, so those sea stories are lost too!   I will bet the Air Farce guys that live on my street have never puked in a taxi cab before or puked on a lady in a mink coat in the New York Sheraton at Rockefeller Center!  So, here I sit, living in the past with no one who appreciates the stories I have to tell.

I guess I will just keep writing this blog.  But, if someone sets off an EMP weapon, I bet they will listen to my Sea Stories.  Why, because they will not have their computer role play games, Twitter, Facebook, Netflix, or even a television.  Then they will listen.

Where those plans I had for building an EMP weapon.  It was in an old Popular Mechanics Magazine I saw in a box in the garage.  Gotta go....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Old ships vs New technology ships

This topic popped into my mind tonight.  Why?  Because one of the easiest ways to disable modern technology is the use of an EMP weapon.  Electro Magnetic Pulse for those who are not students of world armament.  The idea of the EMP is a bomb that interrupts the solid state electronic equipment permanently.   I am not 100% sure how this works but I know it does work!  So, would we be better with a 1940's 2250 Class Destroyer or a Arliegh Burke Class DDG?

Well, one EMP and the might DDG would be a floating brick!    Where the World War Two Destroyer would be like the old Times Watch, still ticking!  Guns firing, underway on ships power, and ready to fight.  The same could be said for any ship's Class build before the solid state revolution.   Of course, this is a mute argument since the old Destroyers, Adams Class DDG's, and Battleships are either scrap or museums now.

Why do I even bring this topic into view?  China and Iran are getting very bold in rhetoric and action.   Recent test firings of medium range missiles by Iran lend credence to their possible nuclear weapons program.  Oh, by the way, a nuclear air burst is a great way to make an EMP!  Let's see, short range missile so the blast is far enough away from your equipment, and a small nuclear blast to accomplish the EMP.  Sounds like the way China is taking Iran.

Add the fact that the Persian Gulf is a small pond compared to the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans and yo begin to realize how threatening this scenario is.   You may question my view of the Persian gulf as being small.  But I call your attention to history.  Before Dessert Storm, we would NOT take an Aircraft Carrier into the Persian Gulf and have only recently deployed submarines into the gulf. Suffice to say, the navigable portion of the Persian Gulf is tight.  And the Straights of Hormuz is the neck of that funnel!   A great place to make disabled ships play bumper cars!

I realize I am pontificating while standing on a sinking speck of logic.  But I believe we have reached the point of technical development where the technology IS our Achilles Heel.   I believe this is just like the armor wars of Battleships.  The thicker the ship's armor the larger the gun caliber deployed against it!  Pretty soon, you can't float the ship!  

MAybe we can engineer a counter EMP force or shield.  Maybe we have already and I am behind the times!  But I doubt it.  I any case, it is something to consider as the war in the Persian Gulf escalates.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

No more bayonets and horses?!

I listened to the Presidential Debate the other night and President Obama said in his juvenile, condescending, tone in rely to Governor Romney's comments about our tiny Navy; "We have these ships we land airplanes on, they call the Aircraft Carriers, and we have these ships that go underwater, they are called submarines.  We don't use bayonets and horses any more."  Of course the, Marines, Army and SEALS differed with the President on the Bayonet issue.  We still use horses but the are mechanized and some fly, some float, and some carry 20 men in full combat gear!

The bottom line is, the President knows very little about the Military, any branch of service, and he hold is in disdain.  We are pawns on his chess board and when we die, he gets another!  Furthermore, he does not know the purpose of the United States Navy and why we need to keep the world's oceans free for international trade.

If a large, capable, offensive, Navy is not necessary, then WHY are China and Russia building BIG, CAPABLE, OFFENSIVE Navies?!  China just commissioned their first aircraft carrier, this one they bought from Russia, but they are building their own and the first one of them will be in commission early next year.  Russia is building attack submarines and battle cruisers at an alarming rate.  America, is building LPD 17's and Littoral Command ships that can't replenish underway and can only stay on station for seven days!!  Get the idea?

So, the President obviously does not understand what the Navy is for or he is hell bent on our defeat!  Either way, it is dangerous for us.

And while I am upset about our President's disrespect for the men and women in the Military, I am absolutely overwhelmed with anger over his disrespectful and deceitful handling of the murders and desecration of our Ambassador to Libya and three other brave men who gave their lives to defend the Ambassador and the American Consulate.  The President did not sent help, the President will not tell us the truth about his inaction, and the President continues to lie to the American People himself and through the tongues of his minions!!!

He should be defeated this November and in my opinion, anyone who votes for hi should be suspect of un-American activities and should be investigated immediately.   Furthermore, if I had my way, he would be impeached and tried as for treason for what he has done the last four years.

Our country cannot suffer this traitor anymore.  Do you remember the off mike moment when he told the then Russia President that he should tell Vladimir Putin that he would be free to deal after his reelection?!  If that is not treason, I don't know what is!!!

Am I angry, no.  I am far past that.  I am enraged and I am determined, and I am sad.  Sad that many Americans don't see the truth about this traitor.  Or, even sadder that they may be on his side.  Either way, you are my enemy.  And that is not a good place to be.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Do they really trust us?

Those of us who served honorably in the Military were accustomed to being trusted.  Especially those of us who made the Military a career.   We had the keys to the armory, magazines, secret plans, or even more clandestine things.  We had loaded weapons in our hands, on our bodies, and in our work spaces all the time.  We were trusted until, or if, we ever did something to loose that trust!

But time and time again, the politicians, mostly on the left, want to limit or even completely do away with our right to "keep and bear arms."   Their mantra is "Guns Kill"!  Well that is just not true and they and we know that.  I could give you all the pat answers to their trumped up charges, but things, guns, knives, swords, spoons, glasses, shovels, hedge clippers, Nothing, kills on it's own.  People kill people.

If the ideas of the founding gathers were followed, as they included them in the Constitution, the citizens of the United States of America would have fully automatic weapons, howitzers, tanks, shoulder fired anti aircraft weapons, and anything else the military has in their garage, bedroom, and on their person, ready to defend freedom.

Think I m crazy, Israelis have fully automatic weapons in their homes and carry them to reserve drills on public transportation!   They have no gun crimes other than terrorist attacks.   But the politicians of our country want to control us and not the other way around.

Now, President Obama is talking about reinstating the Clinton era gun control laws including expanding that ban to guns already owned by citizens.  If I was not worried before, I would be really worried now.  An armed person is a citizen, an unarmed citizen is a subject!  Look at Russia, China, any where but America!

If I can be trusted with the keys that fired all sorts of BIG, DESTRUCTIVE, weapons, even in home port in San Diego or Norfolk, why can't I be trusted with a weapon in my home?! Again, think about that.  Do you want a government that does not trust you?

I find trust a big issue.  I don't trust the politicians, in uniform and n $500 suits.  They can take anything away from me at the muzzle of a gun.  I believe we need to follow the intentions of our founding Fathers and continue to have an armed citizenry.  Our government should trust us until an individual does something to loose that trust.  Then punnish that individual!  Not the masses.

The Brave men and women who serve..

The President and his predecessors talk much about the man and women of the Military.  They talk about their sacrifices, their deaths, and their maiming.  The President and his predecessors visit Arlington National Cemetery, place wreaths, and look reflective as they stand over someones grave.  But there is one thing missing.

Since World War Two, the children of the Oligarchy do not fight in the Nation's wars.  Let's look at World War Two.  It was considered treason for any able bodied man to avoid National service.  Men who were within the age group acceptable for Military service volunteered, in droves, to serve.  Entire families enlisted.  Look at the Sullivan brothers!!  Sports figures volunteered and served on the front lines of the fight.   Bob Feller, Peewee Reece,  and other sport figures in the prime of their careers volunteered to serve.  Bob Feller joined the navy Seaman.  He served the entire war on the USS Alabama and advanced to Chief Gunner's Mate!  He was on the USS Alabama when it was the FIRST ship to pull into Tokyo harbor for the surrender ceremonies.  There are other examples of Politicians resigning their positions to serve and their children dropping out of college to serve.

But since then, the celebrities and the politicians and their children have actively avoided military service.   Even the son in law of President Johnson, was protected from from line service in Viet Nam eve though he was a Army officer.  And Roger Starbach, who was a Naval Academy graduate, bound to six years of Active Naval Service, was discharged after three years of Naval service which included a tour in Viet Nam, in the rear, with the beer and the gear instead of on a PBR in the fire zone!   We hold up Cascius Clay as a hero because he refused to serve and lost his boxing title.  He said he would not fight for America but he was OK beating someone

Today,  for the most part, the Military is made up of the children of the middle and lower class citizens with few if any children of the Landed Gentry!  Why do I brig this up?  The Presidents and Politicians can show remorse for the death of our Military men and women, but they do not have any flesh in the game!  They are not loosing anyone close to them or even anyone they know, so why should they really care if these people die or are maimed for life.  Again, the celebrities, the politicians, can all look sad, express remorse and sadness, but then they go home to their families, away from us, live their upper crust lives.

It is my experience that if you do not have an investment of substantial personal value in the game, you really don't care about the outcome.   We have been at war, almost constantly, since 1979!  Really, look at  history.  Iran hostages, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Iran/ Iraq war and the mining of the Straights of Hormuz, Desert Storm I, Somalia, Desert Storm II, Afghanistan, and other I have forgot!  Have you seen the report of a Senator's son or daughter killed in action?  How about one serving on the front lines?  The answer is no.  Look at the faces of the Moms and Dads who are at the funerals of these heroes.  There are no rich people there.

My point is, everyone must have an investment in the future of the Nation and therefore I believe that mandatory National Service must be reinstated!  No exceptions for college, religion, sex, or position in life!  That way, everyone has an investment in our nation, like we had in World War Two!  Think about it.

Cruiser hits a Submarine! Really!!

Well, it looks like at least one more Commanding Officer and maybe two have ended their Command tour early, AGAIN!  An AEGIS Cruiser collided with a Fast Attack Submarine, causing moderate damage.  Moderate like in Millions of dollars, not Billions of dollars! This is not the first time a Submarine has surfaced in front of a surface ship and got their little periscope bent.  Not SO long ago, the USS Leftwich (DD 984) had a slow attack submarine, surface in front of her.  The USS Leftwich destroyed her Sonar Dome, both screws and both rudders!    The old SSBN without ballistic missiles almost sunk and was decommissioned after the collision.  The results of the investigation placed the blame on the Commanding Officer of the Submarine because he did not follow proper rules for surfacing.  Something about "Clearing Baffles".

There are other recent examples of these types of accidents.  But the "Root Cause" of these events needs to be found.  Naturally if the Submarine is on the surface, and a Surface Ship hits it, the Surface ship is most likely at fault.  But when a Submarine is submerged and close to the Surface Ship, the Sub may be invisible to the Surface Ship.  Somewhat like "Ground Splatter" on surface radar.  If the Submarine abruptly surfaces to "Surprise" the Surface Ship the chances of getting hit are increased manifold!

I believe we can chalk these incidents up to the old rivalry between Surface Ships, or "Targets" as our Submarine Brothers call us, and Submarines.  Well, rivalry is fine, but we need to realize that we are all on the same team and damaging our ships greatly detracts from our meager maintenance budget.  Then, we must remember that we have damn few combat ships left and breaking two of them is a BIG loss!!

Now if it is proven that these two Commanding Officers were "Playing" then they BOTH should be fired and sent home.  We are now at a serious state.  We have a very small Navy and an even smaller maintenance budget.  We need to quit hitting each other and start hitting the enemy!!    

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Do our Leaders REALLY honor our veterans?

I often wonder just how much our political leaders like the men and women who fight the nation's wars!  That's right, I question their respect for those of us who served and especially those who are injured.  Yes, politicians LOVE to get their pictures taken with us and They never miss an opportunity to talk to the VFW or American Legion, but with the exception or President George W. Bush, no living President does anything for us.

Now, we don't need platitudes, we need action!  For instance, why does it take 4 plus years to process a VA appeal?  Are they waiting for the Vet to die?  Look at Agent Orange.  If it were not for Admiral Zumwalt, our Viet Nam Vets would still be without help for their crippling medical issues.  No one will address the effects of the carcinogenic and neurotoxin chemicals used for decades in the hydraulic fluids used in Naval weapons systems, catapults, elevators, and propulsion systems.   While the impact is much less than Agent Orange, it is still a wide ranging, debilitating, and incurable issue.

What about recognizing what happened to our Soldiers at Fort Hood?  Do you think that was work place violence?  No, it was an act of terrorism by a Islamic Terrorist!  Yet, the President continues to deny our soldiers the benefits they deserve because he refuses to call this what it is, an act of terror.  

No, I believe the Politicians want us to fight the wars they start and then, slink back into our holes and shut up!  They would be very happy if we asked for nothing and only came out for their parades and photo ops.  I have heard the news readers on the television say the Military retirement, Disability pay, and survivor benefits are in the same class of expenditure as welfare.  Really?  Did we fight, serve for welfare?!  We who served, many voluntarily,  are the same as individuals who choose NOT to work and live on welfare, get free cell phones, free food, free housing?  That thought is offensive and the fact that it was spoken on nation television is a call to arms in my mind.

Our elected officials and Civil Servants work for US, the taxpayers.  This is a government OF the People and BY the People!  It is time we, the Veterans, Taxpayers, and Patriots, make the bureaucrats responsible to us for what they did to us!  So, when you vote on November 6, remember those who helped you as a Veteran and those who will help you!  Our vote is our weapon against tyranny.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Color vision is an option!

Some of you may know that I have a color deficiency.  I am not completely color blind, but I can't pass the standard color vision tests.  Dots, Lanterns, lights, nothing.  But I can and do see some colors, just not the colors you see.  Hey, it works for me.

Being a Gunner's Mate, color vision is a supposed requirement.  The late Navy Master Chief Gunner's Mate and one of the first Tech Reps on Gun Mounts, Tom McKenna remembered that I was color blind from a mistake that I made.  We had not seen each other for many years and we met at the Gun Conference in Louisville.  He came up to me and said, you're that color blind Gunner's Mate aren't you?!  He did not remember my name but he remembered that.

But the funniest event centered around my color vision happened during a reenlistment physical.  The Corpsman administered the standard color vision test, you know the one with the numbers hidden in the colored dots.  Naturally, I failed it.  He then handed me a piece of litmus paper and told me to "Pee on the colored end".   I asked the Corpsman; "What test did I just fail?"  He said the color vision test.  I then asked; "Now what end of this paper do I pee on?"

Another humorous event happened when I was a Senior Chief and I was the GMG Detailer.  I took a reenlistment physical at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren where we lived.  I knew the Doctor and after all the testing, he said; "Defective color vision can be a disqualifying factor for some rates."  I uttered an obscenity and told him to sign the form!  He did.

Then, when I went to work at NAVSEACENLANT,  I had the same defective color vision issue getting hired.  My boss, Dennis Robertson, had to sign a form that I was acceptable to work on gun mounts with my issues.  He did and I did an adequate job.

The bottom line is, if you want to do something and are dedicated to it, nothing will stop you.  No matter what the issue, you can overcome it, if you are dedicated enough.

So, quit whining and start taking charge of your life.  Success is based on trying not crying!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Keep your powder dry!

Keep your powder dry is an old admonition that is used today.  But do you really know where that saying came from or what it really means?  You might say it came from the black powder days and you would be correct.  But, what effect did moisture have on black powder?

Black Powder is "Hygroscopic".  That means it sucks in moisture and when it does, it becomes very unstable.  So, running through the woods with a flask of black powder that is soaked with moisture might have a negative impact on you!  Also, loaded in a rifle or pistol, it will react more violently when touched off!

That discussion came up when I was talking with the Curator of the USS Alabama in Mobile Alabama.  I was explaining to him how we used powder indexes sealed in apothecary jars with litmus paper to reveal the deterioration of the old Smokeless and Flashless powders used in World War two.  Also, the USS Alabama has a Powder furnace used to keep powder at a constant temperature of 68 degrees for testing.

So, old knowledge of gun powder is still useful today.  Store your ammunition is temperate conditions, not in you HOT or COLD garage.  Keep it dry, preferably in an ammo can, and keep it out of the reach of unauthorized user like children or bad guys!!

Keep your powder dry!  It still applies today.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Blue Camo Uniform.

I was standing in the check out line at the Commissary and as always, I read the headlines on the Navy Times.  It bothers me that the publishers of the Navy Times feels a need to seal the magazine in Plastic, but, maybe like Hustler, it contains something young people should not read!  Now, back to the topic.  The headline was about the three things that the "Sailors" are telling the new MCPON to fix.  The very first issue was the Uniforms and they had a picture of the new blue Camouflage Utility Uniform!  Wow, I was impressed.

My rantings are just that, the opinion of an old sailor, a has been.  Nothing more.  But to see that the Active Duty Sailors have issues with the powder blue utilities is news.  I believe the MCPON and the CNO need to listed to the men and women who ride the ships of the Navy.  I believe the CNO and MCPON need to listed to every level of the Fleet population on all personnel issues and then formulate a plan to actually address those issues in a constructive manner.  No bureaucracy, no politics, just concrete solutions to heart felt Fleet issues of morale and conscience.  I believe this process must be done in the open!

Other than the uniform issues that I have addressed before, I believe there are other issues that need openly addressed;

1.  The Enlisted Promotion process.  I do not believe that a College degree make you a better Boatswain Mate or Machinist Mate.  Why is College education weighted so high in promotion boards.  This was one of the 3 shown on the Navy Times issue.

2.  Including Specialty Pay and Sea Pay in the retirement calculation.   This could be an incentive for retention and would be an incentive to stay at sea.

3.  A total review of the Command Master Chief Program.  It is my belief that the Command Master Chief must be the spokesman of the junior Enlisted personnel as well as the Chief's mess.  The Command Master Chief should not be in the chain of command, and should definitely not be the Captain's spokesman.  He does need to be the voice of the enlisted community.

Again, I believe the Fleet Sailors have the best point of view on the issues that impact their morale and careers.  They should be listened too.

I don't know the new MCPON, but I hope he is a fleet sailor at heart and has their best interest at heart.