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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

You know what makes me angry?

I saw a report today that said the states of New York and California were the LEAST free states to live in!  That came as no surprise.  Taxes higher than anyone should pay, rules against everything, religious persecution, regulations against foods, packaging, cooking methods, types of firearms you can own, where you can live, you get the idea.

Other States are close to these two and  I can name a few, but that is not the reason for this post.

The so called Leaders of these states, I would call them Dictators, are individuals that have NEVER sacrificed anything for The United States of America!  They never served a day in the uniform of this country and they were born rich!  Not well off, but filthy, stinking, rich.  They never worked a day in their life.  But, they know what is good for you and me.

Bloomberg, Gerry Brown, Daniel Malloy, John Hickenlooper, all have armed security guards, 24/7, but they would deny you and I the ability to defend ourselves.  They all have private staffs cooking for them, but they want to deny us the ability to eat or drink what we want.  The President himself is the biggest offender of my premise.  He never worked, never served, and yet he wants to tell us how to conduct our lives down to what type of care we drive.  He rides in an SUV but I must have a small tin can that will fold into a coffin when I get in a wreck!

I am very angry at those who never wore the uniform of this Country telling me what freedoms I can have when they reserve freedoms ONLY for them!!  America may have been founded by some well off individuals, but at least they risked everything to establish the freedoms that they declared for all Americans.  I have written before that I believe every elected office should have a military service requirement!  And I don't mean a Reservist or a National Guard chicken hawk.  OK< I know the Guard has fought and died in the recent wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, but this is the first time since the Revolutionary War that the Guard got their hands dirty!

No, I am sick of the "Landed Gentry" making rules for those who served to live under.  Freedom is for everyone who lives buy the Constitution.   It is time we who served stand up for what we did!  It is time we tell these "Chicken Hawks" to sit down and shut up.  How do we do this, find candidates that have a Military service background and SUPPORT THEM!  Isn't it time we have another Navy Chief in the Senate?  Remember, John Tower was a Master Chief Boatswain Mate!

Monday, March 25, 2013

"The Great Race" Pisses on the Viet Nam vets!

You know by now that the producers of "The Great Race" used the 50th Anniversary of our involvement in the Viet Nam War as an opportunity to stick their finger in the eye of Viet Nam Veterans!!  The choice to use a crash sight of a U.S. B-52, that the Communist Viet Nam Government used to honor their soldiers is a crime.  Yes, CBS apologized, AFTER the show had run and all was past.  But their goal was to let us know they still hate those who served!!

I have written before about Wounded Warrior and how I disagree with them.  They use a former Viet Nam War protester, Fred "The Hammer" Williamson to beg for money.  I get angry every time I see that add.

But what I am most angry about is, all this media "Love" for the men and women in uniform is phony and only for the "Left's" political benefit.  The Progressives don't like patriots and they HATE anyone who would fight to keep America free.   When they are in political power, they exempt their  children or send them to "safe" places.  The wars of our nation are fought by the lower middle class and the lower class citizens.   Name a Senator's, Congressman's, President's, or CEO's son or daughter killed in any war since World War Two.  Do you know President Kennedy's older Brother, Joseph P. Kennedy, was killed in the European Theater of WW II?  And you should know about President Kennedy's exploits on PT 109!  Do you know that President Roosevelt's brother was on the front lines in Europe with General Patton when President Roosevelt was President!!   We will never see that sort of unselfish patriotism from the Ruling Oligarchy again.

I never trust turn coats.  So, I don't trust this recent love affair between the Landed Gentries and the Military Men ad Women.  It is phony and only for the benefit of those who pretend to love us.  They will change back to their real personalities soon.  When they don't need us to make them look good.  Just remember what Pelossi said recently.  Something like, Veterans are not mentally competent to own guns.  Watch your back Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans.  They will turn on you too!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New screening requirements for Command At Sea

A friend sent me a copy of the SURFPAC/SURFLANT message on a new requirement for Command at Sea screening.  The message reads well and it sounds like a reasoned approach considering all the Commanding Officers that have been relieved for cause over the last couple of years.  One thing seems to be missing though, some tough, eye opening, education, on the fact that you can't screw the hired help!!!  Honestly, more Commanding Officers get in trouble for sex with a subordinate or being unduly friendly with a subordinate, or permitting an Officer of Command Master Chief, or other Chief in their Command to fraternize with a subordinate.  Sex, between crew members is verboten!   How many times do I have to say this?!  Now we are adding homosexual sailors to the mix!  This is like a Soap Opera!   I can't keep up.

The position of Commanding Officer at sea is the goal of every Surface Warfare Officer.  If it is not, then that Officer should change communities.   Command at sea is a awesome position of responsibility.  Do you realize that the Commanding Officer of a Navy combatant has at his or her finger tips, the ability to plunge the entire world into a World War?!    If a CO goes rogue, off the reservation, wacko, he or she could, by firing the ship's weapons at a target in lets say, a hostile nation, that nation could and would take that action, attack as an act of war!!  This is a real possibility, yet it has never happened to my knowledge.  But there are NO checks or balances.  Now yea, the Executive Officer or some other Officer or even a Chief may realize the Captain is targeting, let's say the capital of North Korea with a salvo of Tomahawk missiles.  Or, maybe not.  How about prosecuting a Soviet (Russian) sub and firing on it?  See what I mean.  Yet, this possibility has never happened.  No, the Commanding Officers of the U.S. Navy are solid, dependable, patriotic, men and women who do their Countries bidding and nothing else.  That is until their judgement gets impaired by their sex drive.

Come to think of it, we did not have these issues when we had all male crews!!  But I digress.

Josephus Daniels did away with the rum ration of U.S. Navy ships and I guess we are a better Navy for that.  Although, all the other Navies in NATO have beer and alcohol for Officer and Crew consumption on the ship.   Do their Navies have these fraternization issues?  I don't know.   That might be worth looking at.

All I know is, poor judgement is causing too many good Commanding Officers to loose teh one thing they worked for all their career, Command at Sea!!  We need to fix that, and hard nose training in the Command at Sea pipeline is the place to start.   Who should do that training?  How about some of the Officers who LOST their commands to poor judgement.  Let the new guys learn from the mistakes, in person, of those who sinned before.

Don't agree?  Have you ever seen the line handling video with teh Commander walking around the forecastle telling of the hazards of line handling.  It is a boring training video until he sits on a bollard and takes off his artificial legs!!  You see, he lost both legs to a line handling mishap, pulling into Home Port, on a Forrest Sherman Class Destroyer.   The failed CO's would have the same effect!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

My back hurts! I wonder why?

I has a therapy session today!  I spent an hour on the telephone with my best friend, Jerry.  As you would expect in a telephone call between two retired Chief Gunner's Mates, we talked about or Navy experiences and old shipmates.   We talked about some of the real characters that served as Gunner's Mates.  Trust me, back in the 1960-1980 time frame, there were still some "Old Time" Gunner's Mates around.  In today's Navy, they would not have made it past "Boot Camp"!  But they were exceptional Gunner's Mates who did exceptional things and in many cases, made the ultimate sacrifice.  But they were and did Funny things!

We got on the topic of my back pain.  Jerry and I both served on a Knox Class Frigate.   The DE-1052 Class ships were a transitional class of surface combatant.  Modern living spaces, some modern electronics, but everything was done manually, especially handling ammunition.  But before the USS Stein, I served on a Forrest Sherman class Destroyer, the USS Mullinnix (DD 944).  The "Mux" was not modern at all.  She was an old fashion Destroyer with a capitol "D"!  We had THREE   Mk 42 5"/54 gun mounts and one twin mount 3"/50!  When we shot, it was a big deal!  When we took on ammunition, it was an all hands evolution.

During this time, the Navy was having serious problems with MK 42 5"/54 gun mounts.  How serious?  They were blowing up!  Yes, I know some of you remember the explosion on the USS Iowa.  It made BIG news.  But during the Viet Nam war, many 5"/54 gun mounts blew up!  It never made the national news even though MANY Gunner's Mates died and were injured in these explosions.  I lost a number of friends in these explosions and of course, I was in these gun mounts, shooting, very often!  That should tell some of you why I am as I am.

This "Explosion" problem was a complete mystery to the experts back in Louisville.  They had theories, but that was about it.  But, we had to keep shooting to support the Marines and Army troops on the beach in Viet Nam!  There were a number of theories on what was causing the explosions.  One big theory was a failure, during firing. of the base detonating fuzes on the 5" projectiles.  The theory was, the gasses from the propellant, hot gas, leaked through a failed gasket around the Base Det Fuze, and caused the projectile explosive charge to blow up in the gun barrel.  This theory is probably the cause of my back pain today!!  Why, because for a while in 1969, some brain surgeon came out with a required ammunition "Check" that required an immediate report back to the ISEA, on a weekly basis.  Now I was on the USS Mullinnix, and in those days, the Seaman and Third Class Petty Officers did the everyday manual work and checking 1800 five inch projectiles for bad gas check seals on Base Det Fuzes, was everyday manual work!  Each projectile weighed 75 pounds.  To check 1800 projectiles, you moved 3600 projectiles!  I remember a period where we did this three times in one month!!  Boy, my back hurts!

Then there was manually rearming in port or at sea.  Each powder charge and each projectile was carried aboard the ship, passed down ladders, far below deck, to the magazines.!!  Or when we had to off load ammunition and push those same powders and projectiles, reversing the path they took to be removed off the ship.  The bottom line is, Ammo is the reason my back hurts today.  And, I will be, most Gunner's Mates who in the Navy prior to 1980's have the same issues!  Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

The NEW Iranian Destroyer that was launched in the Caspian Sea.

I saw photographs of the new Iranian built Destroyer that they launched in the Caspian Sea today.  To my surprise, it has an Otto Melaro 76 mm Gun and what appears to be the MK 92 Gun and Missile Fire Control System!  If my memory is correct, Italy and the Netherlands are NATO Nations and should not be providing weapon systems to a sanctioned and blocked country like Iran!  Iran is on record stating they want to destroy America, so why are our so called Allies selling offensive weapons to our enemy!?

I know, one of you liberals are going to tell me they copied those systems and Italy and the Netherlands never sold them to Iran.  BULL.   They have been trading with Iran since the Carter years!  Money and oil are all they care about.  But, we send billions of Dollars in foreign aid to these countries.  Now, I know that won't change.  But it angers me just the same and it SHOULD anger you too!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Why is NEW, better?

The post I wrote about the "New Navy Working Uniforms" has become one of my most read posts. I thank you for that, but I now take that post to the next level.  Why is NEW better?  We seem to be enthralled with "New" as it applies to everything.  But I offer to you that what we hold in the highest esteem is the demise of our Country and us as individuals and NOT the things that will lead us to greater accomplishments.

For instance, personal video games.  When I was on Active Duty, in our off time we told sea stories, played Pinnacle, Acey-Deucey, Spades, Hearts, and even Poker.  Why is that better than today's computer games?  All of those games require people to sit across a table and talk to each other!  I present to you that people talking to each other, discussing the day's activities, and cooperating in the playing of a game is better off for Good Order and Discipline that people sitting in solitude, playing a fantasy game, alone!  I knew the Chiefs in the Mess, their likes, their problems, how their day went, and yes, where we could cooperate to make BOTH of our lives better!

When I was on Active Duty, we watched the movie on the Mess Decks, as a group.  It was a "Happening" that we shared together!  We had fun, making comments about bad movies or singing the songs of the sound track because we had seen the movie a dozen time during the cruise!  Now, we watch movies on our IPAD and interact with no one.

Building a team requires people to communicate! It requires people to know each other.  It requires people to have "The Goal" in common.  Things that cause us to interact serve to build that team.  Things that isolate us, serves to break that team apart.  

I believe this issue extends to technical issues as well.   Yes, many of the new systems that we have on Navy ships has increased our ability to detect the enemy, target the enemy, and kill the enemy, as long as the electrical power is on!  Think about that fact!  Drop the load for ANY reason, and every ship we have is DEFENSELESS!    Don't believe me?  Ask the Gunner's Mate, the Firecontrolman, the Sonarman.  Or better yet, ask the Snipe!   Shouldn't we have some sort of back up power for some sensors and some weapons.  Today, the only weapons you have to defend your ship is the M2 .50 cal Machine Gun and the 20mm Chain Gun if the battery is charges up!

No, I find totally relying on technology provides the enemy with the KEY to defeating us.  And I see the same effect on the Navy TEAM and Good Order and Discipline.  The New Uniform, that makes everyone look the same is just a symptom of this "New is Better" syndrome.   Teams need LEADERS  and Leaders must be easily identifiable.   And while I am on this topic, I will tell you, I was the "Chief"!  I was not your friend and no one junior or senior to me called me by my first name!  My job, as "The Chief" was to train you, test you, and make it so you could survive anything that happened!  Not play electronic role play games with you!!

Our Navy needs to go back to tried and true, tested and passed, LEADERSHIP rules that include the Chief Petty Officer standing out as the undisputed LEADER of Enlisted Personnel!!  Get off you ass, out of the mess, out from behind the desk and computer terminal, off the Bridge Watch Bill and into the spaces as the subject matter expert and the LEADER!

That which is tried and true is better than that which is new and untested.  We need Sailors that know each other, their equipment, their ship, and who is in charge!  After we fix that, we need to make our professional voices heard about our dependency on technology that does not permit us to fight when the electrical power fails!!  We used to have a voice.  We can find it again.  If we only clear our throats and speak up.  Chiefs, look at the success of our past and learn from them!  It is time for you to lead!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Small Arms

Small arms, that two word phrase can mean a number of things to various people.  If you are a male body builder, it is a derogatory statement!  If you are a young, slim, woman, it may be OK.  But when I was a young Gunner's Mate, it brought disgust to mind.  Small Arms, those weapons that did not reach the horizon.  Small, Arms, those guns everyone wanted to shoot.  Small Arms, those mechanical beats that caused me more work that pleasure!

That's right!  I hated to hear that we were going to shoot small arms!  I hated it when the Captain shot his, actually the Navy's, rifle on the bridge underway.   And the thought of a security force made up of various ratings, running around the ship with loaded Small Arms, brought terror to my heart!  Then, in the middle of my career, the Navy decided to establish a qualification program for Small Arms.   Early in this program, we would pack up the Small Arms, Ammo, and 60 or so sailors who never shot a rifle or pistol, in buses and ship that mess to a firing range.  There, we were instructed in the art of target shooting.  At that time we were trying to qualify sailors, with NO Small Arms training and NO practice time, to shoot bulls eyes with a 1911A1 .45 caliber auto loading pistol at 50 yards!!  Then we did the same inane exercise with the M1 Garrand, only at 100 yards!!  Hell, half of these Pee Wee Herman looking kids couldn't SEE the target, well enough hit it.  Again, at that time, you held the pistol with ONE HAND!  Your other hand was in your pocket, on your hip, our up your ass, as you preferred.  The M1 was fired standing, sitting, and prone.

Again, you have to picture this class "A" cluster _uck!  Sixty men, who had never held a pistol or rifle, most of them with the upper body strength of a six year old,  with NO familiarity with the weapon and NO training well enough practice, trying to qualify.  Obviously it did not work.

Then, some brain surgeon came up with a shipboard qualification program that used a very small target at 1000 inches to simulate the 50 and 100 yard targets.   Most ships had to set this up on their flight deck.  There were many bullets bounced on the deck by those same "Sharp Shooters"!  However, this program was somewhat more successful because we did not have to transport men on buses!   Instead, we were underway and they were a captive audience!!  It also permitted more training time and some practice.

I remember when I was the GMG Detailer.  There was a meeting about Small Arms Training that I attended representing the Gunner's Mate community.  There was a Marine Corps Colonel,    trying to sell the idea of requiring, that's right, REQUIRING  the Navy to qualify every sailor as at least a Marksman on service pistol and rifle!  In my usual tactful manner, I told the Colonel that he was full of shit!  His argument was, the Marine Corps does it!  I reminded him that Marines LIVE with their weapon and MARINES main duty is to be a rifleman.  Then I told him that Small Arms on a ship made no sense!  He was enraged!  I told him that all any ship needed for Security Forces was a 12 gage shotgun!   At this point I should explain.  Think about this.  A sailor with a full automatic M16, or today's M4 with three round bursts,  running around below decks on an all steel ship!  The first burst he fires WILL miss and the passage way will be showered with ricocheting rounds, probably hitting the guy who is supposed to defend the ship!  A shotgun blast, with lead shot, won't do that and a shotgun makes everyone a marksman at 20 yards!  His reply was, how are you going to take out a enemy sniper in a tower, 100 yards from where your ship is moored.  I said, SIMPLE,  I will train the 5"/54 around and blow up the tower with the sniper in it!  He gave up and I sort of won.  I won in that we did not have to increase our Small Arms training.  I lost because we still have all sorts of weapons on the ship that are not required.

Why are all those machine guns, automatic rifles, and pistols on ships today.  It is left over from when each ship had to man and equip a Landing Party!  That's right, a 13 man Landing Party, with tents, canteens, mosquito nets, watches that glowed in the dark, K-Bar knives, mess kits, and all the equipment a World War Two soldier would carry into battle.  I am willing to bet this equipment is still stored in some dark locker on each sip, rotting away!

Now, with the Pirate problems and Navy ships using Boarding Parties, some pistols and CQB Rifles are required.  But that Boarding Party is a small, self contained unit that is much easier to train and probably much more motivated that PN3 Schmuckatelli!

Now, onto WHY I disliked Small Arms so much.   Every time we shot them, and we did not shoot just one rifle or pistol, it was 7 or 14 rifles and 7 or 14 pistols, plus the machine gun ot the day, M 60, .30 cal. BMG, .30 cal. BAR, and even the .50 M2 BMG!  After everyone had his fin, I was sitting in the Armory, detail stripping all of those weapons, and cleaning them as clean as they were when they were brand new!  Why such a need for clean?  The Post Fire PMS Card (R-2) required it, and in those days, SURFPAC and SURFLANT had PMS inspections.  If you missed on step, or did not completely do the check on each weapon, and the PMS Inspector caught it, you went to Captain's Mast and lost a Pay Grade, Money, and Liberty Time!!  Believe me, advancement was hard back then and I was NOT about to be reduced in grade because of dirt in the gas tune of am M-16A1!  And of course, cleaning Small Arms was done after all the work on the 5"/54 was complete! I spent some late nights, with some good Gunner's Mate friends, sitting on the cold steel deck of the Armory cleaning weapons until the wee hours of the night.  We would tell Sea Stories, drink coffee, and laugh.  I miss those times now.

Now that I am retired, I love rifles and pistols and shoot them when I can.  I love to teach new shooters, especially young people.  I guess I mellowed on Small Arms.  But then, I don't have to clean 14 of each gun, every time someone else wants to shoot!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

More on sequester

Sequester reminds me of an old Three Stooges movie.  The "Boys" have taken a bus to Mexico and their luggage gets mixed up with that of a lady named "Ester".  The "Boy" wander around some city in Mexico, not being able to understand Spanish, telling the locals they want to See Ester!  Of course, the locals immediately misunderstand and think it is time to siesta.  You can see the humor in this.

Our Sequester is almost as tragically funny.  The elected officials who are charged in the Constitution with establishing a budget for the country, that is the House and Senate, along with the President, have not done so for four years!  Then, they passes a law that Both Parties agreed to, that required a super committee, made up of the SAME people who could NOT or would NOT build or pass a budget in the last four years, to build a budget with specific spending and taxing targets.  You guessed it, they thought the word was SIESTA not Sequester!   So, like the locals in the Three Stooges film, they went to sleep.  After their nap, they awoke to the mandatory cuts that THEY wrote into the law.  By the way, the President and the Democrat congress folks assured us, throughout the campaign that the Sequester would never happen.  Well, here we are, up to our ass in Sequester and the one who put us here can't remember how to drain the swamp.  So what are they doing?  Taking another nap!

Who is being impacted by this foolish act of incompetence?  Well, one group is the Enlisted Men and Women of the Armed Forces!  I have written before about how this Sequester will cause ship and aircraft maintenance to be cut and that  this WILL result in some one's death.  The rest of our enemies understand this.  How do I know, North Korea just invalidated the 1953 Armistice.  That means we are again at war with North Korea and Red China!  Yes, you may say nothing is happening, but just wait.  North Korea isn't testing Nukes for nothing!

Then there is the cutting of the Tuition Assistance Program.  This is not the first time in recent memory that this program has been cut due to the bureaucrats in Washington.  Every time we have a Continuing Resolution a budget fight, or a Debt Ceiling fight, the enlisted members of the Active duty Armed Forces get screwed!  Frankly, I am getting tired of it.  Can't the find some other program to use as the example of waste, fraud, and abuse?  For instance, how about cutting the Presidents dog handler?!   Or the person that cleans up after our Vice President makes a speech and embarrasses himself?  But no, they go after the men and women who fight the wars the Politicians start!

There was a song out during the Viet Nam War protests that had a line in it that said;  "What if they gave a war and nobody came?"  It's a thought!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Those Shipmates you miss.

Being retired, away from you Navy shipmates, is the toughest thing for me.  I constantly think about the many Shipmates that I served with, deployed with, drank with, even cried with.  Those Shipmates that helped me promote, be more professional, or get out of trouble.  Names and situations pop into my mind all day.  I can see them, remember where we were,  what we did, and how much fun we had.

Many of those Shipmates have gone on to their reward.  Many more I wonder about.  Yes, the Internet is great for locating folks, but calling someone you have not talked to for 20 or more years is difficult, at least for me.  I am looking forward to attending the USS Caron (DD 970) reunion in Washington D.C, the first weekend in October.  But these are many Shipmates I want to see that were NOT on Caron.

For instance, I was talking with Bill Mowery, a few weeks before he died.  We talked and laughed about Shipmates we knew, like Dennis "Early" Wynn, a great Gunner's Mate.  Or Bobby Garcia who was one of my first mentors.  Or Mike McDonald who used to stand with be next to the MK 42 Mod 10 and Mk 22 test stands at Great Lakes while we planned the way we would change the Navy when we were Master Chiefs.  At the time we were both fairly junior First Class.  Ah memories.

I am willing to bet you also have Shipmates that you think about but no longer talk to.  Transfers, retirements, new careers, moves, all serve as road blocks to relationships.   And while we are busy with life, life happens, and sometimes without us!

I really don't know the answer to this issue.  If you are able to travel, maybe visiting those Shipmates is a good idea.  Telephone calls are precious, as are emails and good old fashion snail mail!   The word being passed; "Mail Call" always brought a smile to our faces on deployment.  Maybe we need to relive those good memories and flood the Post Office with letters to our old Shipmates.

All I know is that the recent death of Bill Mowery had effected me.  Yes, I was in telephone contact with him, but I always planned to go see him, and I did not.  I have not moved passed that fact yet.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Navy career is a love affair!

I received an email from someone who is dealing with an adverse comment on their evaluation.  Up to this point, this sailor has been exceptional but a recent change in this sailor's life style has caused this individual to gain some weight that caused a negative effect on the PRT score.  As I reflect on this individuals situation, it brought to my mind the relationship I had with the Navy and I bet other have the same emotional relationship.

I was actually "in love" with the Navy.  From Boot Camp on, I found an organization that I could live with, follow, and contribute too.  I fell in love with the equal opportunity.  I was a lower middle class person.  An illegitimate child, who was shunned by mot of my peers in my teenage years.  But, the Navy made me an equal with everyone else.  Rich, poor, raised by parents, garland parents, or in an orphanage, we were all the same; DIRT!  I liked that and it gave me an environment that I could excel in.  So, much like a woman that treated you well, laughed at your jokes, and was warm and loving to you, no matter what your short comings were, I was in love!  And, it appeared that the Navy loved me!  The men I worked for appreciated the fact that I would work as hard as I could.  That I followed orders, tried to do my best, was truthful, honest, and loyal.  Yes, we had a great marriage!

You may not have looked at the Navy in the same light, but I challenge you to take a second look and I think you will agree with me.  But, this individual I was talking about, who has been slapped hard, by his love, is dealing with some negative emotions.  Think about it.  The one you love has hit you with some tough truths.  You did not measure up!  You screwed up!  The question is, what do YOU do next?  Some of us would say; "If that's the way you feel, I want a divorce!"  If you read my earliest posts, that is exactly what I did.  I was not mature enough to handle rejection, correction, or even a "Time Out" request.  I wanted everything my lover promised me, right now!  So, when I was not selected for the Atlantic Fleet Master Chief's job, I asked for a divorce!!  That was a bad decision on my part and I have regretted it for 24 years!   The only positive thing that came from my immature temper tantrum is that I have learned from my sin and have not repeated it.  And now, I offer my experience to all of you.

If you are a superior sailor, one correction, one slap, one misstep will NOT end you career!  It may slow it down somewhat.  But, that may be good.  Some of our perceived mistakes are not mistakes at all but mid-course corrections.  For instance, if you decided to quit smoking and that leads to a temporary gain in weight, deal with the gain in weight in the same way you dealt with quitting smoking!  Tackle it face on.  So what if you had one PRT failure, it does not mean yo are a bad sailor or that all the good you did is erased.  The Navy does not work that way.   If you get back in shape, and your next PRT is good, all will be forgotten!  Yes, you may be set back on promotion but that is better than getting a divorce from the love of your live!!

I hope you understand how heart felt this post is.  I don't want YOU to make the same mistakes that I did.  Learn from lessons your lover gives you.  Don't recoil at correction, but rejoice in it.  Look at those times of instruction as gifts that will make you stronger, better, more able to lead!  And finally, from my experiences and heart;  Never leave the Navy until you have accomplished everything you set out to do, or have exhausted every possible course to accomplish those goals!  Nobody said it would be easy!  But, it is rewarding.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Antibiotic resistant super bug that I told you about!

Today, The Center for Disease Control (CDC) announce that a new antibiotic resistant super bug is in the United States and that it can teach other bacteria to be anti-biotic resistant also!  I wrote a blog over a year ago about the death of a friend and co-worker who contracted this Super Bug in Bahrain.  He flew home with what he thought was the flu, was in the hospital the day after he returned to the United States and died within 10 days!  The doctors then said that they would administer a stronger antibiotic and that he would improve for a short time and then go down hill quickly.  The doctors ran out of high power anti-biotic choices and he died!

What the CDC and the media are not saying is that this is a mechanized bacteria from some despot country that hates America!  How can I say that?  Simple, by the CDC's own statement;  The Super Bug can TEACH other bacteria to be antibiotic resistant!!  I am not a Medical Doctor, or any other kind of Doctor, but bacteria that teaches other bacteria to do something is new to me and the Internet!

The information I received before I retired backed this up and the U.S. Army had tracked this Super Bug from Iraq to a number of U.S. Military hospitals overseas and in the United States.  Some information I have read states that this Super Bug was actually found in the sand in Iraq.  That leads me to believe it was sprayed there and laid in wait for our troops to wake it up!  And no, I did not see this on the Sci-Fi channel.  This is a real threat and one to be taken seriously.  The news report that I saw stated that Israel had some success in keeping this Super Bug contained in treatment areas using containment measures.  So, Israel is also infected with this Super Bug.

My friend died from hostile action from a foreign nation in a combat zone.  That fact is now apparent.  I hope the U.S. Government will someday admit that and give his family the honor they deserve.

Advancement issues related to government fiscal policies

In a previous blog I commented on the negative impact on advancement that came from budget shrinkage.  After the Viet Nam war, we shrunk the Navy!  Less ships, less aircraft, less people.  Early outs were offered and most of the individuals that got out were junior enlisted.  Since we were recruiting fewer sailors, we became top heavy in the Petty Officer ranks.  Promotions were few and far between.  This glut of Petty Officers continued until the lack of reenlistment bonuses and promotion took their effect on second term reenlistments!  Then, just as President Reagan began to build the 600 ship Navy, we had a lack of mid grade Petty Officers that rose through the ranks all the way to Master Chief.  I benefitted from this shortage and promoted quickly as the rebuilding of the Navy progressed.  If you know me, you know I was promoted to Master Chief with just under 15 years of service.   That accomplishment was not my doing alone, but it was the product of good mentoring, good advice, and a strong then Senior Chief that showed me the billets that would be good for my career and a Master Chief who lobbied for me.  Again, I benefitted from good leadership that lead me towards advancement.

So, how do you position yourself for quick advancement when the Navy starts to grow again?  Now your first answer may be;  The Navy will never grow again!  Sorry, your wrong.  We will see a rebirth of the Navy because a strong Navy ensures free trade since most trade travels by water!  President Carter did great harm to the military in general and the Navy specifically!  I will write later about just how he hurt us.  For not, just take my word.  But again, how do you position yourself and your people for rapid promotion when teh growth begins?

First, get every Warfare qualification you can.  Why, it makes you stand out from those who don't have those qualifications.  Second, get qualified for watch stations that are not normal for your rate.  Bridge Watches, especially JOOD are always good because they show responsibility, leadership, and trust from the Commanding Officer.  If you are in an Engineering Rate, get your EOOW qual ASAP.   Don't neglect in port watches.  Officer of the Deck in port is always a mark of responsibility and trust from the Commanding Officer.  Then there are those collateral duties.  They don't have to be full time jobs, but Chairman of the Navy Relief Drive or the Combined Federal Campaign drive show initiative, command involvement and accountability.  Want a big collateral job, try being the IMAV coordinator for your Department, or even the entire ship?

Then there are correspondence courses.  Do them, any of them that relate to your rate.  How about teaching a short class to your troops on a part of your system?  What about teaching a course for those seeking a warfare pin that requires knowledge of your system?  Again, initiative sells at advancement boards.  Of course, doing your job to the best of your ability is always a good report.  But, what is your systems up time?  How did your spaces do in the INSURV, work ups or zone inspection?

Lastly, make SURE these items get into you evals!  It is all for naught if no one knows what you did.  Another pointer, make sure YOUR evals are in YOUR official record in D.C. or where ever the Navy keeps them now.  I knew a Chief who failed to promote to Senior Chief TWICE before he checked his official record.  And we were stationed in BUPERS!  He was a great Chief, but his official record had another sailor's Courts Martial record in it and many of his evals were missing!  After he corrected those errors, he promoted to Senior Chief and three years later, Master Chief!  Again, make sure your official record is correct!!

One other pointer.  Don't let the NC counsel your folks on billet choice.  They do not know what billets are good for a GM or GS to promote.  You do!  Don't let your folks go to some do nothing shore billet.  Direct them towards a shore billet that adds to their career resume.   I assume most Reserve Center billets, are gone.  Good!  But there are great shore and sea billets that will add to your resume.  One thing the Chief, Senior Chief, and Master Chief promotion boards look for is "Sustained Superior Performance in Rate".  Make sure those are the billets you go to.

OK, I gave you some ideas, I am sure you can come up with more that may be more relevant to today's Navy.  But you have to LEAD you folks toward promotion.  You are the subject matter expert.  If you need advice, seek out a Master Chief well respected in your rate and ask him or her.  They will not steer you wrong!

There will be a Navy, and it will need great Petty Officers and Chiefs to lead it.  Make sure you and your good folks are ready for that opportunity.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Financial Problems bring Morale Problems

Yesterday I wrote about the impacts of the fiscal issues of the 1970's.  We can expect the same negative issues if the advertised Sequester problems materialize.  It always amazed me how underpaid Sailors found the money to purchase illegal drugs!   And they bought them in large quantities!  It equally amazed me that when our Military men and women were paid a decent living wage, the drug problems seemed to decrease.

This same cause and effect seemed to run true with cases of Unauthorized Absence, fighting, drunk and disorderly, and other disruptions to good order and discipline.   But pay is not the only issue impacting these issues.  For instance, not having the required repair parts t keep your system running is a morale issue to a professional.  Also, not having the proper funding to repair safety issues on a ship will lead to severely low morale.  And, low manning because of funding cuts will deflate morale of those who are left faster that a tire strip on a bald tire!

What I am trying to say is, what the Federal Government is foisting on the American Tax Payer will lead to the rapid demise of the morale of the Military!  Now some of you may say, missing a deployment is good!  I disagree.  We train, do work ups, get in the mind set of a deployment.  The thought of actually doing what we are trained for, is a morale builder!  I remember when we shot all those rounds in Lebanon in support of the Marines.  Every face on the ship had a smile.  Carrying ammo from Mount 52 to Mount 51 at midnight only made those smiles bigger!  We were doing what we were trained to do, for real!  All the training was not for nothing!!

So, I caution those of you on active duty to be vigilant and watch out for the issues that come with bad morale.  Make safety your number one concern.  Don't spread those dire rumors that start on the Mess Decks.  And most of all, be the voice of reason and calmness.  Lead from the front, always!

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Previous government money debacle, circa 1974

I wrote a few days ago about one way we survived the governments fiscal mismanagement in 1974.  All the talk on television and radio has brought some other, not so good, memories.  For instance, advancement!  After the Viet Nam conflict, the military funding was cut quickly and severely.  Many personnel in uniform were given early outs and others who were marginal performers were the subject of a program, sarcastically named, "Bottom Blow".  But the loss of enlisted and officer personnel was not the only victim of this fiscal mess.  Enlisted and officer promotions were slowed to a crawl.  Prior to 1975, there was no time in service requirement for promotion to Chief.  To thin the ranks of those taking the test for advancement, a time in service requirement of 8 years was implemented followed by a nine year TIS requirement!  This left some First Class Petty Officers NO path for enlisted advancement.  Warrant and LDO programs were not as large as they are today and there was no W-5 program at that time.  For a brief period, the Warrant program was shut down!  The post Viet Nam era was definitely tuff.

What about pay raises?  They were few and far between.  Sea pay at that time was $22.50 per month!  There was no VHA or locational BAQ.  No place to live off the ship unless you paid for an apartment or home.  Until, President Nixon's second term, we were really underpaid.  Most married enlisted personnel qualified for Food Stamps and Public Housing.  That's right, a First Class Petty Officer with a wife and one child qualified for Food Stamps!  Pitiful.

What promotion quotas that were available were slim.   I made GMG1 off the September 1974 test.  There were eight GMG1's promoted that test!  Other rates were even worse off.  Some rate did not have billets to promote into!  And the Command Advancement Program was not even thought of at that time!

There were few re-enlistment programs and most of the re-enlistment bonuses were small.  At that time the max was $10,000!  So, money and advancement were not retention incentives!

Then came the drug problems!  The Navy and the military in general was ill-equiped to handle illegal drugs.  Urinalysis was NOT admissible as evidence at that time.  You had to see someone actually using or administering the drug to get a guilty verdict even at Captain's Mast!  The best we could do is locker searches, drug dogs and checks of personnel and packages at the Quarterdeck.  This of course put an new burden on watch standers and the collateral duty Master at Arms.  Again, remember, there was NO MAA Rate at that time.

So, as bad as it may get, it was that bad or worse, in the past.  Keep your chin up, stay professional, and this too will pass!