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

Monday, September 30, 2013

The looming Government shutdown

There is plenty of panic ad angst being spread about the possible Government shutdown.   And some of it is accurate.  But some is just political theater!  I was a Civil Servant during the last actual Government shutdown and it was stressful and comical at the same time!

Let me relate my personal story of the last shutdown.  I was the Program Manager for the East Coast shipboard assessment programs.   I traveled from Norfolk Virginia to Port Hueneme California on Monday for a meeting with our West Coast counterparts and the Program Manager from Washington D.C.  We all arrived Monday evening and got settled into our hotel rooms.   We awoke on Tuesday morning to telephone calls from our respective Commands ordering all of us to return   home and furlough.  That one decision struck me as stupid, short sighted, and political.  The meeting was scheduled for almost a year, we had already expended the money to travel to our destination, and we were now being ordered to return home spending more money, without accomplishing our mission!

All of us told our respective Commands that we would stay and complete our mission, without pay!!  That offer was denied!  That was another shortsighted decision.  We were ready to work straight through to get our mission done and then return home at no additional cost to the Government.   But, we were denied.

Upon our return, we were handed our Furlough Letters and sent home.  The Furlough Letter actually threatened us with a $10,000 fine if we even stepped on Government property while furloughed!

So, for the first time in my life, I had been FIRED!  At least, that is how I felt.  Not job, no money coming in, the same amount of bills, I was in trouble!!  I even went looking for another job!

I really do not remember how long we were furloughed.  I believe it was less than 5 days.  But here comes the really comedy of this political theater.  Congress voted to pay us for the days we were furloughed!!  So, my period of "being fired" was actually a paid vacation!

But the real tragedy is, the Government paid for all of us to return to California to do what we needed to do, were on sight to do, and volunteered to do for free.  The Government paid twice the travel costs to accomplish that mission.  Decisions like that are why we have a deficit problem.  Our Government managers do not spend the taxpayers money in an intelligent manner.  I always thought of my Government budget as my money, since I paid taxes.  So, I tried not to waste it.  Why, because I did not want to pay MORE taxes.   But, I am a minority in that thought.

So, here we go again.  Maybe they will learn from the last time, but I doubt it.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Naval Ammunition Facts Part deux

Yesterday, I wrote about the bore safe features of Naval gun ammunition.  I received a comment from the HMS Defiant that I really appreciated and I would like to comment on.

One of the comments was about the MK 75 76mm Otto Melaro gun.  The US Navy had many difficulties with this Gun because our Ordnance ISEA decided they were smarter than the folks in Italy.  The comment talked about our difficulties with our Gunner's Mates shooting our own ship.  That problem was NOT a cook off or any ammunition related issue.  It was caused by our own stupidity.  The MK 75 ends up almost every gun firing with the loading tray loaded and ready to ram a round into the bore.  Once loaded, the gun fires!  The only time this will not occur is if you shoot the gun loading system empty.  Every other Navy in the world that had the MK 75 uses the unloading tray to remove that round in the bore.  Our experts decided they did not like that unloading tray and said they would design their own.  They never did.  Our Gunner's Mates unloaded that last round with, the gun loading system motors running!   one person in the gun, pulling back on a lever against High Pressure Hydraulic Pressure and another person half in the rear of the gun, in the hole designed for the unload tray, grabbing the round ready to be rammed.  The person pulling on that lever stopped the ram process so the person half in the gun could grab the round and pull it out of the gun loading system.  If there were 5 rounds in the upper gun loading system, we had to do that process for each round remaining!!  Sometimes, the person holding the little lever against the HP hydraulic pressure would slip and the round would ram and fire!!  Into life rafts, CIWS guns, you name it!!

I was at the meeting in Louisville with the President of Otto Melaro, Retired Admiral Altwig, the SES in charge of Naval Gunnery, and the ISEA head of Minor Caliber Guns.   While the discussion about this issue of shooting our own ships was going on, teh President of Otto Melaro stood up in his broken English and said;  Admiral, I no understand why your Navy has a problem unloading this gun.  No other Navy has a problem.  They use the unload tray.  Your Navy refuses to.  I have an unload tray for every gun I sold you in a warehouse in Italy, ready to ship."   There was sudden silence!!!

After the blood bath direct by Admiral Altwig, he looked at me, a lowly GS 13 from FTSCLANT, and said, loudly;  I want an OPEVAL on the unload tray complete in 30 days and you are going to do it Master Chief!"  He knew me when I was on active duty.  I replied to the Admiral; " I need to remind the Admiral that I am not a MK 75 Gunner's Mate."   Admiral Altwig quickly replied;  You are now asshole!"  I did the OPEVAL and found the unload tray from Otto Melaro faultless.  We have not shot our own ship since then.

The second comment related to the incident on the USS Iowa.  I was part of the investigation into that incident.  I was not there from the beginning, but I was there to do some of the testing and see all of the testing results.   But you will have to wait until I am closer to death before I will break my silence on that.

Keep those comments coming!  Thanks.  I am humbled that so many of you read my ramblings.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Naval gun ammunition facts

I was watching an adventure movie last night.  The hero and his compatriot picked up what looked like a 6 inch artillery shell and threw it into the air over a helicopter.  Then, while the projectile was in the air, the hero shot it with a .45 caliber pistol and the projectile exploded, destroying the helicopter!

 I realize you have to suspend reality when watching an adventure movie.  But, I was still upset that this depiction represented most of the viewing public's view of the safety of Naval Ordnance.

I cannot comment on Army ordnance, but my belief is that they have the same safety requirements.  Naval gun ammunition is designed to be 50 feet bore safe!!  What does that mean?  It means the projectile must be fired from the proper caliber gun, therefore suffering the effects of "Set Back".  This begins the activation of the fuse mechanism in the projectile.  Then, the projectile must travel 50 feet outside of the gun barrel.  As it flies through the air, it rotates because of the effects of the rifling inside of the gun barrel.

Therefore, every Naval gun projectile, regardless of the type of fuse installed to cause the projectile to explode, on contact, after contact, air burst, it bust be fired and travel at least 50 feet.  Have I had projectiles explode before that 50 foot of travel?  Yes, and boy was it a surprise!  But, in over 40 years of Naval experience, I can count the number of premature explosions on one hand!  And, each one of those handful of premature explosions had a "Proximity" fuse installed.  They are used for air explosions and have a battery powered RF transmitter that tells the projectile to explode when it is close to the target.  I can only deduce that the premature explosions was because the battery activated too fast and saw the end of the barrel as the target, therefore causing the projectile to explode!

Additionally, I did not worry about handling gun ammunition because of this 50 foot bore safe feature.  And I have seen projectiles dropped 8 feet onto a steel deck, and not explode.  Also, the automated gun loading systems in the last few generations of rapid fire Naval guns handle ammunition rather roughly.  I have had projectiles and powder charges torn apart by these gun loading systems!  So, my conclusion is, this ammo is sailor proof!

The final conclusion is;  Don't believe what you see in movies or on television!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The world's bad guys

There are many governments, organizations, and individuals leading groups, that hate America, freedom, and Americans and want our country destroyed and all of us dead!  If you do not understand that fact, stop reading and go back to your fantasy football, baseball, basketball, NASCAR, league because you are useless and hopeless!

That being said, I learned a very interesting fact when I was the Command Master Chief of VA 55.  The motto of the Attack Air community was;  You cannot defeat you enemy by shooting him down one at a time.  You defeat your enemy by killing them in mass on the ground!  Well, we are now in that pickle with all the enemies that are killing us worldwide.

The attack on the Christians in Kenya, the Somalia pirates,  the Boston Marathon bombers, the Benghazi attack, are just a small sample of the death and destruction being rained down on Americans and Christians.   We will not defeat these determined, fanatical, brain washed, murderers until we take off our kid gloves and kill the enemy in mass.

Now I know that offends some of you.  But, the warrior in me know we will cease to exist as a Nation if we continue to let this trash kill us at will.  Another thing that must be done is to stop the enemy from entering our country and stop the enemy from recruiting within our borders.  Again, America must be where our allegiance resides.  We are the ONLY Christian nation in the world!  And don't tell me about Christianity in Europe.  It does not exist.  It died a long time ago.  

The problem is, our Nation's politicians, in uniform and in $5000 suits, are in bed with the bad guys.  They use fear to take our freedoms away, and they use the bad guys to kill off our military heros.  Remember, every member of SEAL Team 6 that was involved in the Bin Laden raid were killed in the sand box before they returned, except one!   Tell me that was not an inside job.

SO, we as a nation need to make a decision.  Do we cease to exist or do we change America back to what we were founded to be, a BEACON of freedom to the world?!  It is time to decide!
How do we change America?  Vote for Congressional Representatives that are pro- Constitution and unabashed Americans.  Hopefully with actual active combat duty time.  Support Senators and Congressmen like Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others who identify with the Tea Party and other pro-Constitution groups.  And last, but not least, PRAY for a revival in our Nation!  

It is not too late, but it is getting there quickly.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Older Gun Stories

Gun mishaps are not a new issue!  I had a few when I was younger that I can now laugh at. For instance, I have a dominant left eye.  I am, by nature, right handed.  But, because my left eye was dominant, when I started firing the 1911A1 .45 cal Pistol, I learned to shoot left handed.  I was never very good with than pistol and since I could never qualify shooting left-handed, one day, when we were shooting on the flight deck of the USS Stein, underway, I decided to try shooting right handed.  At this time, it was just the Gunner's Mates firing as we often did after the qualifications were complete.  I was standing next to GMG 3 Fox.  He was a young country boy with a thick southern drawl.  I got a good two handed, right hand grip and I was comfortable.  I released the slide with my left thumb and then promptly and unknowingly, placed my thumb over my right thumb, behind the slide of the gun.  When I fired the gun, in slow motion, I saw the slide recoil, shaving the top off of my left thumb knuckle, blood, tissue, and bone, flying!!  It really did not hurt, but it really bleed!  The next day was our trip over the Equator and the required appearance before Davey Jones' Royal Court!!  Naturally, I was punished for bleeding on the deck!!

I now shoot pistols right handed, correctly, without further injury and I am rabid about the placement of the off hand thumb!  I have shown many young shooters my scar and it proves to be an effective training aid!  I do shoot long guns left handed!  That really throws other shooters off when they see me saddle up a rifle after shooting a pistol.  I guess I am weird!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

More on the Navy Yard shootings

I just read an article from the British Broadcasting Corporation that stated that the Capitol Police Force tactical response team was ordered to "Stand Down" and not enter the building.  They were the first heavily armed unit on the scene and were ready to enter the building.  The shooter was still killing people at that time and the tactical response team may have been able to save some lives!!

I don't blame the members of the tactical response team.  They followed orders!  I blame who ever sent that order!  That individual should be fired and then tried as an accessory to murder!

This reminds me of the Virginia Tech shootings a number of years back.  The Police were on the scene, with vests armed with tactical rifles and WOULD NOT enter the building until the shooting stopped!  In this case, the Police personnel were cowards!  They were not following orders, they were just too afraid to do their jobs!  They too should have been fired and then tried as an accessory to murder!

Military personnel and Police cannot be passive when innocent civilians are in danger.  We are supposed to run towards the gun fire, not hide behind a tree, or a brick wall, or an armored personnel carrier.   If you can't do that, don't join the Military of the Police force.

As for the arm chair commander that told the tactical team to Stand Down, he did not do his or her duty.  That individual should be ashamed of him or her self!!  I hope that name comes out so we can all publicly shun that individual.  I was always taught;  Lead, Follow, or get out of the way!  That's what I did and that is what I expect from first responders and military personnel.

One more thing;  Never believe that the new media in this country reports all or any of the truth on any story.  They have their own agenda and telling the truth gets in the way of that, most of the time!  Do your own research to be informed.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Washington Navy Yard shootings

The shootings of the 12 individuals at the Washington Navy Yard is a tragedy that could have been prevented.  The shooter being shot and killed is the only bright spot of the day.  But how could this have been prevented or at least mitigated?  Easy, let Military men and women carry weapons on military bases!  For crying out loud, they are as trust worthy as anyone can be!   If you want to limit the people with weapons, set a pay grade level, say E-5.  And make a qualifications course that only the best can complete.  But the truth is, ONE person with a pistol could have, and very will MAY have stopped this shooting of 12 innocent personnel.  That same logic could be applied to the Fort Hood shootings also!

Why are the politicians, in uniform and in $5000 suits, afraid to arm the troops at home.  The CNO has an armed detail 24/7!  Why not the Captain that designs the weapons systems of our Navy ships?  Why not the Mess Cook that serves the chow on the mess line?  Who is more valuable than the next person?   If that Mess Cook is killed, is the CNO going to serve chow?  Probably not.  The point is, everyone deserves 24/7 security and arming a cadre of everyday Military men and women, enlisted and officer, will provide that.

We are at war with a group of people that don't like us and don't play by the rules.  They beat us every time because they know we play by the rules and they know our rules!!  The only way to win is to throw out the rule book!  Let's start by arming our military personal all the time!

One more point!  When I was on destroyers, I had the keys to all the conventional weapons.  I could have EASILY fired the 5 Inch Gun Mounts at any target in their range, in port, anywhere, anytime!!  If the Navy trusted me with that amount of fire power, why would they not trust me with a pistol concealed on my person?!  I wrote a story about a time when I was asked by the Executive Officer of a ship I was on, to squirrel away enough weapons to defend the ship in a specific port of call, without telling anyone but him and the Captain!  He trusted me to have an M60 hid somewhere on the ship where only I knew it location, and then a 1911A1 pistol ammo, and four concussion grenades in my locker!   So, what is wrong with arming an equally trustworthy person everyday to be that "Stop Gap" defender when the next random attack happens.

Think about it, you know I am right!

Friday, September 13, 2013

What does a pay raise do to your spendable income?

I just watched a story on Fox News about California raising the state minimum wage from $8 per hour to $10 per hour.  The news story went on to say how good that would be for the workers.

I disagree based on real life experience.  In the early 1970's, President Nixon decided the military was woefully under paid.  I was a Seaman making $63 every payday.  One thing we had to have every two weeks was a haircut.  At that time, a haircut at the Navy Exchange was a Quarter.  After the big pay raise, which moved my pay to about $140 a pay period, the Exchange raised the price of a haircut to $1.00.  That was a 400% increase and my pay did not go up 400%.  As a matter of fact, EVERYTHING went up!!

Raising the minimum wage does nothing for the individual making minimum wage.  As a matter of fact, it HURTS the individual making minimum wage!!  The only way to increase you monetary place in life is to make your self more valuable.  Promotions and new jobs help you financially because they make YOU more financially solvent.  If everyone gets the same pay, you are still in the same place you were before the raise in the minimum wage.

Now, I know you Progressives (i.e. Communists, Socialists) will not agree with me.  But, you are all brain washed so I don't even begin to think I can help you.  But for those of you aha still have control of your thought process, I hope this actual lesson from my life makes you smarter and more inclined to make yourself more valuable to your employer!

Another Great lesson from a Navy Master Chief!  Listen and learn or don't listen and stay stupid.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11, my view

Today is the 12 year anniversary of the Islamic Terrorist's attack on America.   It was NOT their first attack on America.  It was their most effective up to that date.  President Bush took a few months to start our counter attack.  I realize that being a Monday morning quarterback is easy.  But still, I would have retaliated in a much different way.

After the attack of 9/11, it took a few days, even a week to determine who ordered the attack, were that individual was, and what their power base was.  After that knowledge was solidly in my hands, I would have ordered a large nuclear attack on that location and the vicinity around it.  I would also send a nuclear strike on any supporting countries capital. As that strike unfolded, I would tell the world's leaders that I did not hit; Sit down and Shut up!

I know, you are cringing now and thanking God that I was not the President and will never be!  But, let's look at history.  President Truman dropped two atomic weapons on Japan and they surrendered!   We had a plan for the invasion of the mainland of Japan.  The estimates of American losses was horrific.  Somewhere in the order of 100K to 500K Americans killed!  We knew would have to fight house to house because the people of Japan believed that the Emperor was a god and they were sworn to protect him.

The same issues were in play with the Islamic terrorists.  If we would have hit them so hard that they were completely decimated, they either would have surrendered or simply ceased to exist.  Hitting the capitals of the nation states that supported the Islamic terrorist attack on America would also send the message of, don't mess with America!

No troops on the ground.  No deaths, maiming, medical care, cost of equipment.  Just total devastation of the enemy!  And then I would quietly return to bury our dead and repair our infrastructure.

I believe we would be in a much better position today.  Lower national debt, no dead heroes, no Islamic enemy.  That's what I would have done!  Maybe I should go to President George Bush's Library and participate in his "What would you do" exercise!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I saw the fleet!

During my trip home, we stayed on the Joint Expeditionary Base, Formerly the Naval Amphibious Base, Little Creek.   We stayed in the Navy Lodge and it was wonderful.  If you are retired or active duty Military or the spouse of either, I recommend the Navy Lodge for your next vacation of business trip.  First class accommodations at one third the price!!

Back to the fleet.  the former Amphibious Base is a ghost town!  We don't have enough Gators to invade Miami!  Naval Station is just as empty.  Yes, we have a number of ships deployed and in the yards.  But, we always have those commitments.   The fact is, the absence of Navy ships in Norfolk reinforce a number of my previous posts.  The last time I counted, we had 89 surface combatant ships in the United States Navy.  That counts, CG, DDG, and FF (g), and I really had troubles counting the emasculated FF (g).   We do not have any other blue water surface combatants!  No, the LCS is NOT a surface combatant.  Or a combatant for many reasons like, no underway replenishment and 7 days underway maximum!!  And no, the Gators are not surface combatants!  Neither are LHA, LHD, or CVN class ships.  They cannot defend themselves when the air wing is off doing it's job.  So, a year ago it was 89 TOTAL surface combatants.

The biggest gun we have is the MK 45 Mod 4 5"/62!  Yes, we can shoot tomahawk from the DDG and CG class ships.  But we cannot replenish them underway.  So, when it comes to any missile in the arsenal, what you have is what you got.   And, we have no Tenders anymore!!  Where do you rearm the main battery!

The Chinese and Soviets have been building a blue water surface combatant force that dwarfs ours!  Not to mention their new fast attack submarines.  So, when we sent 4 or 5 ships to attack Syria, the Soviets and Chinese probably laughed!  That's like sending Pee Wee Herman to fight Hollyfield or Foreman!

Now, the submarine Navy is crying for 21 more Virginia Class Submarines, but at one every two years, that will take a long time to meet.  I have not heard a peep out of the surface admirals!  They are probably too busy being politically correct.

I hate to be so negative, but after touring Norfolk, I fell it is my responsibility to report the truth.

I long for the days that ships were moored three deep at every pier.  I miss seeing the Gator piers filled with Gators two deep for pier after pier.  And fast attack submarines moored two deep at all of the submarine piers at Naval Station.  You might remember, part of Naval Station Norfolk was a separate base called the Destroyer and Submarine Base, later called D&S Piers!!  Now it is the dust and cobweb piers!!

I do not know how to fix this.  I am only the bearer of bad news.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Syria, and the consequences

I was asked by some friends today, about my views on the Syria issue.  I told them this was a very complicated issue.   Looking back in history to gain prospective, the world powers turned a blind eye to Hitler until he massacred so many people that they could not ignore it.  Syria has ALL the WMD's that Iraq had!  That is where they went!  SO, either the dictator of the Muslim Brother hood will have terrible power in their hands when this is over.

Then, if we enter this civil war, who's side do we support.  Both are anti American.  Both sides are bad.  Then there is the issue of the Soviet Union.  Putin has stated that if America attacks Syria, the Soviet Union WILL fight on Syria's side.  That  WILL bring Iran, North Korea, and China in on Syria's side.  Can anyone say World War Three!

If you have read my blogs for any time, you should know that our military has been weakened by every President since  George H.W. Bush!!   The Navy is smaller that it was before World War One!  Trust me we are not a world power any more.  And, that will ensure the use of nuclear weapons, by us, early in the conflict.  No my friends, we are in dark times.

So, there is no easy answer to the Syria question.  My first response would be to stay out.  But, that may leave many defenseless people to die at the hands of a despot using chemical weapons or worse.  That decision may also leave our good friend Israel very vulnerable.  The Communists and the Islamic Nations hate Israel!  They want her destroyed and all the Jewish people exterminated!  Do you agree with them?  I don't!

So, we are at a decision point that has NO clear newer and no clear outcome.  I believe World War is the outcome no matter what decision we make.  Remember Neville Chamberland of Great Brittan supposedly signed a peace treaty with Hitler.  Three weeks later he used his overwhelming military force to take over Poland!!  We are at that type of decision point again.  If you are a Christian, I recommend you pray for our Leaders.  Pray they make the right decisions.  Pray they seek God's guidance.  Pray this ends peacefully.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A trip home!

This week, my wife and I made a very pleasant trip back to the Tidewater area.  We lived in Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach for 32 years.  This week is the first time we have been back to our adopted home town.  I miss many things about the Tidewater area, but the traffic congestion and the hustle and bustle are not two of them!  

But, I have enjoyed being with my Navy friends!  Today, I visited the Navy Command that I worked in as a Civilian.  I spent a long time reminiscing with shipmates!  It was like medicine to me.  Yes, there was some bad news about Shipmates that have passes on.  But still, I was back talking Surface Navy with people that shared my love of the Navy!

I can honestly say that I don't miss the stress of the job I had.  But I do miss the people I worked with.  I have written before about their professionalism and dedication.  I admire these people and I respect them.  I miss having daily contact with them.  But the stress of that high pressure, instant action, fleet technical assistance, world is more than I can take.  Still, I love seeing all of them.

The rest of this week will be filled with more friends, Navy and Church, and reminiscing about our times together.  Is this my last trip home.  Maybe, I really can't tell the future.  But I cherished every minute today.  It will be the medicine that keeps me going for a long time!

Thanks Steve!