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!