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

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Sailor has many home towns

When you make the Navy a career, you live in a number of cities.  Shore duty, sea duty, split tour, shore duty again, back to sea.  Sometimes, you even return to a city.  For Gunner's Mates, Great Lakes is a place many of us returned too.  Not because we liked it, but some may have, but because that is where our schools were.   I went to Boot Camp at Great Lakes, then later went to "A" and "C" School there, and later was an instructor at the Green House.

Being a typical man, I enjoy sports and since most of the time I was in the Navy, cable television was not yet available, I watched local Television.  The Cubs and the White Sox were the two baseball teams that were on television.   Jack Brickhouse was the commentator for the Cubs and Harey Carey was the commentator for the White Sox.  Of course, Harey Carey moved over to the Cubs when Jack Brickhouse either retired, was fired, or died.  I don't remember which one.

In any case, I remember that Falstaff beer was the official beer of the White Sox.  I also remember that this particular year, again, it could be 1974, 75, or 76, but the White Sox were having a typical dismal year.  In any case, I was watching the game on television and sometime in the middle innings,  the camera finds Harey Carey in the left field bleachers, sitting with a bunch of "happy" fans drinking Falstaff.   His speech was slurred and his face was red.  He was having a great time laughing and joking with the fans,  not paying any attention to the game which was going on without his commentary!  It was hilarious!

I have always has a soft place in my heart for the White Sox after that day!  Of course, I also remember when Abe Gibron was the head coach of "Da" Bears and rode around in a golf cart because he was too big to walk!  Great Lakes was very, very good to me.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Sequester's impact on the Nation's security

First, let me state that I am for a very small central government that ONLY does what the Constitution actually authorizes the central government to do!  That being said, the Federal Government is way too big and way too expensive.  There are tasks that only the Federal Government can do, Like defense of the Nation!  That's the one thing this President does not think is important.

The Sequester happened because the President and the Congress could not or would not do their job, that being, balance the Nation's check book!   So, the Congress passed a Bill and the President signed it, setting up this cockamamie way to punish the Federal workers for the sins of the elected officials.  It has not impacted the Congress or the President and they are the one who are at fault!!  You will note that this week, the President and his family, along with their entire staff, cars, Secret Service, food taster, chef, and dog, are touring Africa!  You can't make this stuff up!

I was associated with the United States Navy for over 40 years.  The last 20 were served proudly as a Civil Servant working for a Command that repaired Navy ships and submarines, anywhere in the world.  The men and women that worked with me, traveled to the most debase, unsafe, despicable, hell holes in the world, to meet a Navy ship in trouble and restore their complex system to full working order, in record time.  These dedicated Civil Servants travel when ever they are needed.  Christmas, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, their anniversary, birthdays, and of course, weekends. Why, because they have to get to a ship, in a combat zone, and rondevous with that ship is a very small window of time.  Then, they may ride the ship, underway, in a combat zone, for two or three weeks because they cannot get to a port that will permit them to travel home.  During that time, the Civil Servant may be flown by helicopter, or moved by High Line, to another ship with a failure.  These Civil Servants do the impossible, with little more than their shaving kit and a notebook!  They are the sole reason our Navy can operate for very extended periods in hostile climates.

That being said, because of Sequester, these dedicated Civil Servants will have to be furloughed 11 days between now and October 1, 2013!!  Could you loose 11 days pay, in the next three months, and still be financially above water?  Don't believe the news, these folks are not making TONS of money.  Each one could make far more in the defense industry.  But, much like the enlisted person who reenlists time and time again, they love what they do and accept the lower pay.

The President's family vacation to Africa will cost $100,000,000!!  Wouldn't that money be better spent doing what the Constitution said the Federal Governments first job was, the defense of our Nation?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Passing of Admiral Frank Kelso

A great, honorable man and a wonderful leader has passed away.  Admiral Frank Kelso passed away, in Norfolk, where he was attending his Grandson's High School graduation.

I knew Admiral Kelso when I was the Force Master Chief at Surflant.  He was CINCLANTFLT and was then promoted to CNO.  He was also the only individual to be CNO and Secretary of the Navy at the same time!

He was also a very personable man who was very humble.  There are many good stories about the Admiral, but one that I believe speaks volume's about his character is the fact that, upon his retirement, he did not go to work for some "Beltway Bandit" company selling his list of contacts and trading on his reputation and position.  No, Admiral Kelso retired to his home in Tennessee.  As far as I know, he never worked in the Defense Industry after his retirement!  I consider that the standard for others to follow!

Admiral Kelso, long, fuzzy eyebrows and all, was a "Sailor's" Admiral.  He cared about the welfare of every person in the Navy regardless of pay grade.  As CNO, he had oversight of the investigation into the explosion on the USS Iowa and the Tail hook issue.  He was besieged by the politically correct crowd in Congress, yet never swayed from his course of justice and fairness.

I remember when Fleet Master Chief Bill Smith retired.  Admiral Kelso too all the Atlantic Fleet and Force Master Chiefs out on his Barge for a dinner cruise.  The AIRLANT Master Chief, Stan Crowley brought his banjo, and we all sang old songs together!   It was truly a wonderful time of fellowship.

I also remember when the Admiral and my wife were discussing our son getting his driver's license.  She said she was not ready for our son to start driving.  Admiral Kelso told her; "You will love it!  You will have the freedom to go where you want and he can take himself to his school activities."  He was right!  But Admiral Kelso often gave sound advice based on experience and common sense.

There are few Four Star Admirals with the common sense and dedication that Admiral Kelso displayed.  He was an exceptional Leader and Military man, and the world is far worse because of his passing!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Enlisted Navy personnel are professionals too!

I spent the day with an individual I know, who I respect.  He had an interesting Navy career and retired as a Commander.  He and I tell each other Sea Stories and I enjoy the chatter.  He was talking about the people he knew in the Navy from his "Officer" prospective.   And it hit me, he had a good experience with at least one Chief in his Navy career, but he really did not think of Enlisted personnel as Professionals!

Well, I am here to tell you, Enlisted men and women are Professionals as much as Officers are.  Not more, not less, but the same!  We work our way through our chosen profession, learning the professional lessons of our Rate.  We stand watches teat, in the beginning have lower levels of  responsibility and accountability and work our way up to many of the same watches that mid grade Officers stand.  Bridge watches, Engineering Officer of the Watch, Officer of the Deck import, Junior Officer of the Deck at sea, and CIC Watch Officer.  I even knew a Master Chief Gunner's Mate that stood Tactical Action Officer on an FFG in the Persian Gulf and he had a Weapons Release Authority letter in his Service Record!  How do I know, his Commanding Officer told me!!

I get aggravated when, in this day, I have to justify Enlisted Personnel as professionals!   The Enlisted community has always been professionals.  Yes, some of us had problems.  But, how many Officers have I seen getting relieved for cause, for the states reason of; "Loss of trust!" when we know the real truth was sex with some one junior to them!  Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, there have been some Command Master Chiefs relieved for the same unprofessional reason.

The bottom line is, we are all professionals and both communities need each other.  It is high time both communities realize that fact and start showing each other the respect we deserve.   To do anything less, will only hurt both communities and the Navy.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

When I was a Detailer

I spend much time thinking of my past.  I had a great career in the Navy and I loved it.  I was mentored and taught by some wonderful leaders.  They were men of honor.  Yes, they drank, chased women, and used rough language but they had a moral code that drove them professionally! Telling the truth and treating other professionals fairly was one of them.

Thanks to Master Chief Carl Morris and Master Chief Jerry Tisdale, I was selected to be the GMG Detailer in 1980.  Those were rough times in the Navy.  Our manning was down, teh Navy was a "Paper Tiger" and the world was a dangerous place.  Then, in November of 1980, we elected Ronald Reagan as our President.  All of the sudden, we were building the Military and the Navy.  Recommissioning Battleships, building new AEGIS Cruisers, Spruance Class Destroyers, and building up the capabilities of the Navy to a position not seen since the end of World War Two!

There I was, the Gunner's Mate Guns Detailer, with a severely undermanned community, undermanned NEC's and no reenlistment bonuses!   I had to be creative!  Until I convinced the Enlisted Community Manager that we needed reenlistment bonuses, I had to create my own incentives.  Class "C" Schools in the critical NEC's was always first.  Early shore duty was another.  The three critical NEC's covering the MK 42 Mod 9 &10 5"/54, the MK 45 5"/54, and the Otto Melaro 76MM gun were all manned under 35% when I took over the job.  When I left in 1983, they were manned at over 70%.  We made a lot of deals.

The moral code that drove me was to treat everyone as I would like to be treated.  Yes, I had to send some shipmates places they did not want to go.  But, I tried to make it as palatable as I could.  I also made every effort to provide Gunner's Mates real, usable, truthful, career counseling.  Not like the "Navy Counselor's" did, but career advice that would lead to that Gunner's Mate getting advanced as fast as he or she could!  We were not receiving the big reenlistment bonuses, but we could advance fast if we had the right schools and the right duty stations!

When my tour was up, I was offered another job in Bupers as the "New Construction" Detailer.  I was also offered "Special Programs" Detailer, but I turned both of them down.  Why, I just spent 3 years telling Gunner' Mates they had to go to sea.  If I did not go back to sea, I would break my moral code, and I was not going to do that.

I love the Navy and I loved being a Gunner's Mate.  I did the best I could.  I know I was not the best, the most professional,  the greatest leader.  But I did my best and that is what counts.

Female SEALS!

The Secretary of Defense has started the wheels in motion to permit Females to qualify for training leading up to becoming a Navy SEAL!  He also has done the same for the Army Rangers.  We all knew this was coming, but how will it impact the Nation's most elite fighting force?

Well, I believe we can look at that two ways.  If the physical and mental toughness standards remain the same.  I know some will disagree with that and I also have some personal reservations.  But, IF the standards are not lowered, the result should be the same.

However, if the physical and mental toughness standards are lowered for all who apply or lowered for females who apply, there is going to be a BIG problem!   In a live fire, behind the enemy lines, combat situation, death, failure, and capture are your real adversaries!   Lowering the physical and mental standards one iota will doom these Warriors to failure and obscurity!

How do we stop this step on the slippery slope of lowered standards and diminished capabilities?   We don't!  It will take body bags and shame to make the Politicians, in uniform and in $5000 suits, look at their decisions as the failed path of political correctness that they are.  

Do I think this will work?  What do you think?  I have told you before, I am not, nor was I ever, a SEAL!  I could never have met the physical and mental toughness standards of this esteemed and elite group.  But I represented the SEALS when I was Force at SURFLANT and I knew the best of the best SEALS.  Those Men are special.  I do not believe God made Females for this task.   But, I am willing to be proven wrong.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

CPO Sharkey!

I looked all over the Internet for a copy of the 1974 televise series, "CPO Sharkey" but never found one.  However, for Father's Day, my son did!  I am now the proud owner of all 37 "CPO Sharkey" television shows!  The quality is not great, because they are not digitally remastered. But there is Chief Sharkey and Chief Robinson, pushing boots and making me laugh.  A little known fact;  Both Don Rickles and the actor who played Chief Robinson were initiated as "Chiefs" during the series.  I would have loved to be at Rickles initiation!

Chief Sharkey represents me.  The Navy he knew was changing rapidly and he was uncomfortable.   We watched the first episode at my son and daughter in law's home last night and she asked me about the beard that one of the actors who portrayed an Officer had.  I explained that in the 1970's, there were many changes in how we looked, uniforms, haircut standards, beards, and many changes in The Navy as an entity.  In this episode, Chief Sharkey complains to his Commanding Officer, after his reenlistment ceremony,  that the USS Saratoga had wasted $55000 purchasing "Bunk Curtains" for the crew!  He thought that was a waste of money.  Then he said,  "The next thing will be, every sailor will have his own Head.  Imagine, 5500 toilets flushing at once!!  It will sound like a submarine attack!!"

Even Chief Sharkey's reenlistment was a throwback to a time long ago.  He had 24 years in an E-7, and he reenlisted!  High Year Tenure would get old "Sharkey" today.  Change is difficult for anyone, but especially for someone who really loves things just the way they are.  It is like the old joke; "Just when I learned all the answers to the questions, they change the questions!"

Change is neither good or bad but it is constant, and that really applied in the "70's".   Junior Sailors wearing "Officer" style uniforms,  Civilian clothes on ships, junior enlisted personnel with cars on base, getting married,  and challenging the status quo.  The Navy reeled from the rapid changes and moral was at an all time low.  There were few reenlistments and too many sailors  getting thrown out because we dropped the ball.  For all practical purposes, Chief Sharkey was me with the exception that I saw value in some of the changes and modified my view and he never did.

Just the same, with all of it's non-politically correct language and content, "CPO Sharkey" is a good look at a changing Navy and how that change effected the "Chief' Mess".  But what about today?  Since change is the only constant and the rate of change is variable, how is change impacting today's "Chief's Mess"?  I can't answer that question, but I can offer some advice.  Change will always be with you.  You can embrace it or get run over by it!  Find the changes that you strongly agree with and promote them.  Keep quite about the ones that you don't like, and wait.  Things will change again.  I promise!

Remember the E-1 through E-6 "Officer" style uniform.  Sailors complained loudly about the "Cracker Jack" style uniform and the CNO heard them.  Admiral Zumwalt put us in the coat and tie uniform and almost immediately, the E-1 through E-6 started to complain that their uniform lacked tradition and they wanted the "Cracker Jacks" back.  So, about 4 years later, we changed back to "Cracker Jacks".  But things like civilian clothes for all enlisted on board ships stayed.  The good changes live, the bad ones don't.  I can give you a hundred examples.  So, learn to pick your fights!  This from someone once known for fighting all windmills!  I got tired easily!  Pace yourself!

Chief Sharkey told one other truth.  The Captain said:  "Chief, you have been in the Navy over half of your life.  Do you ever regret not getting married?"  Sharkey replied;  I have been in the Navy for 24 years and been in two wars.  If I was married, I would have had more wars!"  Just saying...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Father's Day.

Father's Day is this Sunday.  We all have Dads that we remember.  Some of us may be blessed enough to still have our Fathers with us.  If you do, spend this special day with him.  If not, spend the day remembering the good times.

But, if you are a Navy veteran, you had an older sailor, maybe a First Class or a Chief, that was your "Sea Daddy"!  That person who helped you get accustomed to the Navy.  Someone who taught you the basics and even the fine points of your Rate.  Father's Day is a good day to remember that person too!

The list of men who molded me and shaped me is long and filled with some real characters.  And yes, I looked on many of them as a Father figure.  They were there teaching me, encouraging me, correcting me, and yes, chastising me when I did wrong.  All things a good Father would do.

For instance, do your remember your Recruit Company Commander?  Mine was a First Class Radarman named Dunnigan!  He was tough as nails and as watchful of us as a new Father!  He taught us, encouraged us, and yes, chewed our butts when we made a mistake.  I thought the world of him then and I do now.

Take this weekend and think about the individuals in your Navy career that influenced you like a Father.   If they are still alive, call them, if not, just think about them for a moment.  I guarantee it will bring a tear to your eye and warmth to your heart!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dinner and a Show in Istanbul Turkey

During my last deployment on the USS Caron, we shad two port calls in Turkey.  One in Izmir and the other in Istanbul.  I enjoyed both cities and made good friends with Turkish Navy Chiefs.

One evening in Istanbul, a Turkish Navy Master Chief invited me and a few of my Chiefs to dinner at a Turkish Night Club.  The venue was a turret of an ancient Castle!  The round structure, about six stories tall, was all that remained  from a Castle or Fort from long ago.  We walked up the winding, stone,  staircase and entered the room in the top of the structure.  It took up the entire top of the turret.  There were tables all facing the stage.  There were windows all around the dining room and our Hull Technician Chief, Dave Kelly, asked the Turkish Master Chief if we could look out the windows.  The Turkish Master Chief must have misunderstood Dave and promptly lead us to a small door which opened out.  We stooped down and went through the door.  We were immediately outside, standing on a foot wide, crumbling ledge, with no safety railing, six stories UP!

Chief Kelly, who was standing on this crumbling ledge, clinging to the rock wall, whispers to me; "Don, If I ask this Master Chief anything else, PUNCH ME!"

We crawled all the way around the turret until we got back to the small door.  We were very happy to stoop over and crawl back into the dinning room!  Safety!

The meal was great but the entertainment was phenomenal!  The orchestra was Las Vegas quality and the singer should have been in Vegas!  He would engage a table and seek out the senior or honored member of that table.  Then, the magic began. He could speak any language in that room!  I saw him speak Mandarin Chinese to a Chinese man who smiled as he replied.  Then, he induced the gentleman to get on stage and pick out a song to sing!  It was magic.  He also did the same with a Greek family.  Now, we were in Turkey and there is that thing between the Greeks and Turks.  But you would have thought they were family!  It was truly magic.

One of the benefits of a Navy career is meeting and visiting other nations and building relationship with the people of that nation.  This was a prime example of building lasting friendships, and terrifying Navy Chief's!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

OK. I am going to go off the reservation for a moment and tell you something I have known for a long time.   I have kept this information secret because I did not want those who told me what I am about to tell you to get in trouble.  But, Since I am at the end of my life, and most of those who told me or were involved have either gone on to their rewards or are too old to care what may befall them.  So, here goes.

The Tonkin Gulf Resolution was a LIE!!   President Johnson wanted more involvement in the Viet Nam war but he needed an attack on American ships to sell Congress on the expenditure.  The first person to tell me that the attack on the USS Turner Joy and USS Maddox off the coast of Viet Nam was a fake was GMG1 Harold "Suitcase" Simpson.  I was on the USS Mullinnix and he came aboard as a First Class.  We got talking about the war in Viet Nam and he told me he was on the USS Maddox, in Mount 51, when they went to General Quarters and began shooting at the water!  Harold told me, the weather was clear, the sea was calm, and there were no North Viet Nam gun boats in the water close to them.  He was watching this unfold from the Mount Captain's Hood on the top of the 5"/38 twin mount.  That was as good a position to watch a surface fight as there was.

The second person to tell me the events at Tonkin Gulf were staged was Captain Richard "Dick" Stratton.  Captain Stratton was a POW in Viet Nam for over five years!  He was a perennial speaker at teh Navy Senior Enlisted Academy.  I was in Class 9 and had the pleasure of hearing Captain Stratton.  He was flying SUCAP on the morning of the staged fight.  He heard the chatter on the radio about a surface engagement with North Viet Nameese gun boats attacking the USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy.  He told us he broke through the clouds and prepared to attack but there were no gun boats.  Just the two Navy Destroyers!  When he returned to his carrier, he was met by three men in khakis without collar devices.  They took him to his state room and told him; "This is what you saw when you came through the clouds!"  They told him to lie!

Many men died in Viet Nam and millions of dollars were spent in a war that was authorized by congress based on a lie!  I bet few people know this fact.  I believe it is imperative, especially with what we see happening in Washington today, for us to learn from our past mistakes.  I am not against war, but I am against lying.   I believe the people who we elect, who work for us, must be truthful in everything they do on our behalf!  This must be a sacred trust between those who govern us and the citizens of our country.  I have always said; The truth is ALWAYS the right answer!  Now I have told the truth and now you know the truth about the "Tonkin Gulf Resolution.

The corruption of our Government

"I, (state your name) do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic.  That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.  That I will obey the orders of the President and the orders of the Officers appointed over me.  So help me God."

As an Enlisted person, you took this oath.  Look at the words and think about the meaning of each word and phrase.  For instance, "I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States".  That means ALL of the Constitution, not parts or the things you like in the Constitution.  It means ALL!

Second, from whom do we swear to defend the Constitution from?   "All enemies foreign and domestic."  In this war on terrorism, who is the enemy.   Since we are not fighting against a country, we must always be alert.  But, there are nations that mean us harm and destruction.  Red China, Russia, Iran, Pakistan, to mention a few.  But what about those pesky domestic enemies?   Who are they?  What do they look like?  In my opinion they are those who desire to circumvent or destroy our Constitution through judicial activism, illegal voting, voter fraud, jury nullification, and just ignoring the Constitution as they govern the Nation.  We are seeing all of these actions against the Constitution happening today.  It is not the first time so called elected leaders have circumvented the Constitution.   President Lincoln, Wilson, and Roosevelt come to mind.

Third, what does "true faith and allegiance" actually mean?  Faith is the believe in something not seen.  The idea of individual freedom, economic freedom, personal responsibility, and religious freedom are unseen but they are the reason the the United States of America have been here as long as she has.  Allegiance is that act of dedication to a cause.   Americans for decades have sacrificed their lives to ensure that the freedoms that represent America will never be extinguished.

Obeying the orders of the President and the orders of the Officers appointed over me" is easy to understand until you consider "illegal" orders.   What is an "Illegal" order?  Historically, the massacre at Mi Lai and the Court Martial that followed explained that issue.  Any order that is against the laws of our nation and the Constitution of the United States is an "Illegal" order.  Now, it would be a good idea for you to study the Constitution!  For instance, the use of U.S. troops against American citizens is prohibited by the Constitution!

Finally, our oath is ended with, "So help me God."  I know that is out of style today.  But ask the POW's from Viet Nam who kept them alive, kept their will to live, helped them endure the never ending torture and starvation.  They prayed to GOD for his Grace and Mercy.  That same Grace and Mercy helps us keep our oath of enlistment.  GOD, the creator of all that was created, is the glue that keep everything from falling apart.

In closing,  I fear for our Nation.  I fear for the days to come.  I fear for the very life of our Nation.  There is a battle coming.  A battle for our way of life.  The invaders are already here, maybe living next to you.  That oath still applies.  Our Nation requires your "true faith and allegiance" now more than ever.  Keep you eyes and ears open.  Keep your head on a swivel and be ready!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Navy memories

I spend much time thinking about my career in and with the Navy.  Forty years of happiness, challenge, some grief, and wonderful people.   I have written a number of posts about what I experienced.  But I enjoy reading what you send me as replies about your experiences in the Navy.

As many of you have told me, all of your Navy experience was not great, but the overall effect was positive.  Someone wrote me about the racial problems we had in the 1970's.  Those were truly difficult times.  Yet, the Navy faced those problems face on.  The Leadership of the Navy acknowledged that the Navy had not done all they could to erase racial barriers and then they set out to fix those wrongs.  It took a while, but the end product was good.  How many of your remember UPWARD Seminars?  How many of your were Facilitators?

I have also received replies about the drug days.  Those were really tough days.  There was a time that we had individuals on watch, underway, high on any number of illegal substances!!  It was a dangerous time.  We were handcuffed in any attempt to stop the drug use because we could not use urinalysis in NJP or Courts Martial proceedings.  Drug dogs were few and far between and there were thousands of hiding places on the ship.  But, the Navy Leadership faced that problem head on and we got a dependable urinalysis program, searches, drug dogs, and for a period of time, a Drug Exemption Program.  The purpose of this program was to permit an individual to turn himself in, receive treatment, and be exempt from NJP for that event.  It worked and saved the careers of some good sailors that made a mistake.  Were you ever a DAPA?

Yes, as I have said before, the sailors of the 1970's were special people.  We succeeded through budget cuts, low paw, drug problems, racial problems, and a country that did not appreciate those of us who served in Viet Nam.  Yet, we pulled together as a community, helped each other, cried on each other's shoulders, and yes, drank a beer or two to relieve the tension.  I have said before that the best support group for those who served in Viet Nam was those of us who were on active duty with them.   Good shipmates are the best thing I have to show for my Navy experience.  Just in case I have not said it before, I hold all of my shipmates close to my heart and they are always in my memory and in my prayers.  Thanks for being my shipmate!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

New email from an old Boss

Today, I received an email from my First Combat Systems Officer on USS Caron.  I was very happy to hear from him.  In my view, he was an exceptional Naval Officer and Leader.  We made a very demanding combat cruise during the combat operations in Lebanon.   The vast majority of our crew had NEVER been in combat and had NEVER fired the ship's guns in anger.  Yes, we shot all of the ship's weapons in training.  But actual combat is far different than any type of training you can imagine.

My Combat Systems Officer was exactly the right person for this challenge.  He was a cheer leader and an encourager.  In his eyes, there was nothing we could not do, and do well!!  He always found the bright spot and always capitalized on the positive!  He made people want to do their best for him!  I can honestly say that I never saw Naval Officer inspire more confidence in his people.  We honestly thought we could do anything.  And during the time off the coast of Lebanon, that was exactly how we needed to feel.

I remember the day we did our turn over as we departed the Med.   I had to turn some special weapons and equipment over to the Tender for use on other ships that were in theater.  We loaded this "Stuff"on a "Mike" boat and rode it in.  The turnover was contentious and when I was done, I rode the "Mike" boat back to the ship.  The weather had picked up and it was a rough ride back.  As we approach the USS Caron, I saw that the only way back onto the ship was to climb a Jacob's Ladder positioned at the mid-ship's Quarterdeck.  That was easily a 30 foot climb and I hate Jacob's Ladders!  To make things worse, the "Mike" boat was rising and falling about 20 feet respective to the ship which was still relatively still.  The Coxswain and I worked out a plan that when the boat hit the high point, I would jump onto the Jacob's Ladder and the Coxswain would speed off to prevent me from getting squashed by the boat slamming into the ship.  It worked, but I still had a 30 foot climb!  As I topped the ladder, there was my Department Head telling me what a great job I had done!!

I appreciated working for a Leader like him and I really cherish the fact that he reads this Blog.  Thanks Commander,  for being a good friend and a great Leader!