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

Monday, July 29, 2013

The ladder out of poverty

If you have read my Blog since the beginning you know that I was bore of humble beginnings.  The first out of wedlock child of a waitress.  She bravely carried me to term in 1951!  Trust me, ladies pregnant and not married were shunned and whispered about.  Many women sought out illegal abortions to solve their dilemma, but not mu Mother.  So, for that I call her a hero.

She could not raise me and my Mom and Dad, friends of my Mother, took me in and raised me as their own.  They loved me, gave me a good upbringing, educated me on the morals of our society, patriotism, and hard work.   My first job was a Cleveland Plain Dealer paper route at the age of 11.  My Dad used to drive me on my Sunday route because the papers were so big.  I knew I would never go to college.  So, how was I going to make a living?  I loved cars and worked in Gas Stations, but I knew that was not the way to a better life.

My oldest Foster Sister's husband served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.  He really liked the Navy and gave a great report about the Navy.  Then, a couple of friends in the neighborhood joined the Navy and came back from Boot Camp with glowing reports of opportunity!  I was sold.

Yes, I quit High School!  High School offered me nothing.  Meaningless education is just that.  I loved my Drafting courses, I would have loved Auto Shop if they would have offered it, but that was not to be.  I even liked Distributive Education.  But the rest was a loss to me and the counselors were worthless.  So, in the second half of my 12th year of education, I quit and joined the Navy.  Yes, I was a product of the juvenile court system also.  I have been honest and discussed that earlier in this blog.  But the Navy was my ticket to success!

From my first day in Boot Camp, I experienced an organization that treated everyone equally and fairly.  I was judged by what I did and not where I came from or how much money I had.  I was equal even though I was an illegitimate child!  I was equal!!  I loved the Navy from the first week of Boot Camp.

The more I applied myself, the harder I worked, the more the Navy gave me!  Promotions, Schools, job opportunities, Military Awards, and those intrinsic rewards like a pat on the back from the Chief or an afternoon off.  Yes, the Navy and I had a love affair.  I am not ashamed of that.  As a matter of fact, I openly promoted that love affair and still do.  The Navy was my ticket to prosperity!!  The Navy provided ME the ladder out of poverty!!

Today in retirement, we live a good, comfortable life because of the Navy.  Yes, we sacrificed family time for deployments, but it paid off.  And now, we have time to be together, even with my disease, these are good, no Great times.   I owe God everything for my successes in life.  My Mom and Dad, my Mother, so many people who took care of me, pushed me, loved me .  But when God put me in the U.S. Navy, He put me on the first rung of the ladder out of poverty.  I had to apply myself and climb that ladder, but God pushed me up many times.  Yes there were Chiefs like Mowery, Sadowski, Graham, Garcia, Moats, and others.  But they WERE the Navy!!

What do I recommend to young men today that need a ladder out of poverty?  A ladder to success?  I recommend the Military.  Mostly I recommend the Navy and the Marine Corps!! Why?  Because I know they are still the right place for a young man to find his footing and move up!  Is it hard?  No, not really.  They give you the rules, all the answers to the test, and the opportunity to succeed.  All you have to do is follow the rules, apply the answers to the test, and take advantage of the opportunities!  

So don't tell me you need a college education to succeed or provide for your family.  You need initiative, drive, dedication, selfless determination, and an attitude that respects authority.  The Navy has been the second greatest influence in my life.  Jesus Christ has been the first.  I will always tell both stories to anyone who will listen.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The stories that POP into my mind!

If you follow my other Blog, you know my Grandson has been in the hospital for back surgery.  He has done very well and one of the last hurdles for him to jump over before he goes home was going to the bathroom.  The surgeon wants to make sure all of your bodily functions work after being under anesthesia.  He was having problems with that hurdle and the nurse finally gave him some medicine to make things move a little faster.   It worked in about two hours and that brought a couple of sea story back to mind for me.

The first;  We were deployed to WestPac on the USS Stein, a Knox Class Frigate.  My system was running slow and finally stopped!  After a couple of days, I went to the Corpsman and asked for help.  He gave me one pill, he called "Screaming Yellow Zonkers".  He told me to make sure I was close to a commode at the two hour mark.   Of course, I did not really believe him.  But, at the one hour forty five minute mark, I started to feel that bubbling pain up my back.  I rushed to the closest head and...the problem was solved!

Later in that same cruise, we had to take malaria pills.  We took them once a week.  That day was the day everyone felt the relief I did when I took the other pill.  The problem was, a ship has a limited number of commodes!  Just let your imagination run on that problem.

Then, there was a GMG2 that worked for me.  He had chronic sea sickness.  He was not that good a sailor when he felt good but he was totally worthless when he was sick, which was every minute we were underway.   Our ever vigilant HM1 discovered compozine suppositories as a treatment for sea sickness.  Makes sense.  If you are throwing up everything in your stomach, a pill will do little.  But a suppository will be absorbed by the many blood vessels in that area of your body.  So, he gave the suppository to my GMG2 and asked him if he knew what to do with it.  The GMG2 said he did.  A few hours later, HM1 ran into GMG2, still green and still sick.  HM1 asked, did you take that medicine I gave you?  GMG2 said, yes, I took it with a glass of water and for all the good it did me I could have stuffed it up my butt.  We discharges that GMG2 with an RER4 reenlistment code.

Same cruise, same HM1, the Navy decided everyone needed to get the Polio vaccine again!  So, HM1 started walking around the ship with a ship's roster, a pen, a bottle of some medicine, and an eye dropper.  He would walk up to a crew member and tell them to stick out their tongue! Since everyone trusted Doc, they would oblige him.  HM1 would then place three drops of the medicine on the tongue of the open mouth and then tell the person to swallow.  When it came my turn, I did as told and then asked Doc what that was.  "Polio Vaccine" he said.  I have the vaccine but no sugar cubes!!  Hey, it worked!

Like I said in my past posting, I love Corpsmen.  A great Corpsman is the most valuable person in the crew and Doc Wolf was that person.  Thanks Doc!!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Emergency substitutes

The topic of this post came to me while I was in the bathroom!  Well, it did.  You see, when I was in uniform, most gun mounts used an 80/20 mixture of glycerin and water.  You had to mix this stuff yourself!  It was like mixing gas and oil for a two cycle engine.  My thoughts then moved to OD 3000.  The Ordnance Pamphlet, actually a tech manual, on lubricants and fluids for Gunner's Mates.  OD 3000 listed acceptable substitutes and emergency substitutes for every fluid, grease, and oil used in ordnance systems.  The emergency substitute for the 80/20 glycerin and water recoil fluid mixture was urine.  Now you see why I thought of this in the Head!

Today's gun mounts use hydraulic fluid, under pressure, to buffer the recoil of the gun housing.  It makes sense and it also makes thing easier.  You no longer have to use the Lollipop (Reservoir Piston Retracting Tool) to check recoil fluid.  You no longer need a recoil filling assembly, or even the glycerin to mix with the water.  So, you no longer need to check recoil cylinders for Pre-fire Checks.  That is a good thing.

And, before you modern Gunner's Mates write in to correct me, yes, I know, late in the glycerin and water days, the Navy put out a pre-mixed recoil fluid for those who never mixed fluids together.  Now they have pre-mixed oil and gas for two cycle engines too.  I guess mixing liquids is something modern men just don't do.  Too bad!  Another skill lost to history.  I wonder if OD 3000 even exists since ships no longer have paper tech manuals!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I love Corpsmen!

I am sitting here in my new power recliner and lift chair, watching "Rizolie and Isles" and trying to relax after my Grandson's successful back surgery.  In tonight's episode, the Police LT gets angry because he figures out that his wife and son were killed by a mob boss.  The Police LT is angry and the Coroner, give him a shot of something that makes him pass out!  That brought back a USS Stein memory.

I don't remember where in the world we were.  I know it was not our home port of San Diego.  In any case, we had this Deck Seaman go berserk on drugs, alcohol, or a combination of something.  This E-3 got wrestled to the deck, in front of the Ship's Store, by me, someone I don't remember, and finally, Chief Mowery.  We wanted to put this E-3 in a straight jacket.  But the CDO would not let us.  He ordered us to convince the E-3 in the Anchor Windlass Room.  He promptly destroyed the replenishment gear, the wiring to the Anchor Windlass motor, and the manila high line.  Then, the XO and I went in an took this E-3 into custody through the brave actions of the XO.  After that, we confined the E-3 to a straight jacket and he promptly went nuts again!

Confined to the straight jacket, in hos stats, we were afraid that he would hurt himself.  SO, then HM1 C.J. Wolf produced a syringe of something, injected the E-3, and he passed out and fell to the deck like a sack of beans!  Problem solved!

I love Corpsmen.  They are so resourceful.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The positive side

Yesterday, I received an email from a young friend who is on active duty.  He was stationed at MARMC when I was the Search Radar Branch Head and we became friends.  I saw great ability and dedication in him.  frankly, I believe he could become Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy.  And since that was a goal of mine that I never attained, it is a statement I do not make lightly.

He is now a Command Master Chief and I know he will do well.  He was brought up in the Navy of today.  His wife was an active duty sailor.  He is accustomed to how the social experiments are being conducted in today's Navy.  He understands the stresses and motivations of today's sailor.  And while I would like to think I had a small part in his training, the fact is, he only needed permission from himself to be great!

During my 20 years as a Civil Servant working with civilian and military super techs taught me a few things.  One of those things was;  A person can be a good tech and a rotten person.  Or a person can be a wonderful human being and the lousiest tech in the world.  Seldom are the two characteristics combined in the same person.   Another lesson was that not everyone works well with no supervision.  And finally, A good leader let's other good leaders do their thing!  That is the truth about this great, young, Master Chief.  All I did was smile and cheer when he took the lead.  Other than that, my influence on him was nonexistent.

But that is what makes me feel so Positive!!  The Navy is still growing great enlisted leaders with a nose for the well being of the enlisted personnel and a desire to make the Navy the best it can be!  No, this is one time I want to cheer!  This is non time I am happy to be wrong!  The Navy does have a chance to survive!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The "Decline of American Naval Supremacy". Am I the only one who gets this!!

By Seth Cropsey
Overlook, $29.95, 336 pages
In the book referenced in the title of this post, Seth Cropsey, who was an Assistant Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan Administration,  tells the same story that I have been telling for the last 10 years!  The United States Navy, because of politicians, in uniform and in $5000 suits, have turned the most powerful, most capable, most dependable, Navy into a mere shadow of itself!  The Navy, has less ships than it had before World War One!!  No attack air capability, aging ships, no ASW capability, no carrier borne fixed wing aircraft ASW capability, less Attack Submarines that the Soviets or Red China, less FBM submarines that the Soviet Union, and we are building a major class of ships, LCS,  that has no station keeping capability because they cannot refuel, rearm, and replenish underway.  Then there is the point that our major surface weapons system, VLS, cannot be replenished underway and we have the RAM system, that cannot be reloaded at sea.  

Then there is the fact that the training for our sailors has been reduced to a computer course without hands on training, and it has been reduced by 50% of the length that it was.  Due to the up or out program, we require experienced Enlisted Technicians to leave the service just because they cannot promote, when promotion is limited by the number of ships we have!!  It is a Catch 22 situation.

Why are we in this condition?  It is a Political and Leadership problem.  Ever since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan,  presidents have reduced the size and capability of the Navy.  And politicians, in uniform, have used the budget to kill ship classes that did not fit into their vision of the Navy.  VADM Wayne Meyers killed the New Threat Upgrade ships because they were BETTER than his AEGIS ships.  A number of those ships were nuclear powered and had just been refueled!  They had 20 years of fuel and steaming ready to go, newly modernized, and we cut them up for scrap!! He also lead the charge to kill the Battleships!    RADM Rickover did the same thing a generation before when he killed the Diesel submarine program to keep his nuclear submarines on the front page.  We took the MK 13 Mod 4 missile launchers off of the Perry Class FFG's and made them glorified Patrol Boats!   They were capable medium range AA Shooters!!  Now, they are defenseless!   Every ship decommissioned that had modern capabilities has been scrapped!!  We have NO reserve fleet!!  Nothing to recommission if the shit hits the fan!!

We have not had a President determined to build a strong Navy since Reagan!  We have not had a Secretary of the Navy that understood the purpose of the Navy since John Lehman!  Instead, we get Political appointees that are polishing their resume for a big civilian job.   Same with the men serving as Chief of Naval Operations!  The late ADM Frank Kelso was the last CNO that understood that we needed a strong Navy to ensure free trade throughout the world.  Instead, we worry about how Gays and women feel!  Who gives a shit.  The Navy's job is to keep the sea lanes open,  That requires tough men operating on capable ships.  Ships designed to fight and survive!  Men trained to ignore the issues of being at sea away from family, without communications, for long periods of time.   Email and Cell phones be damned!   Loose lips sink ships!!

Look, the Soviets and the Red Chinese want to destroy us!  They have accomplices in the Iranians, and the rest of the Muslim world, along with North Korea!   NATO is useless!  They could not fight their way out of a wet paper bag with their unionized Navy!  If a war started, they would have to quit because of labor agreements!  If we want to remain FREE, we will have to go it alone!!

Look up what I have said.  Don't believe me.   Read the book, make your own decisions.  But I bet you come out agreeing with me.  How do we change things, yell loudly at your Senators and Representatives.  Visit them, send them letters, emails, telephone calls.  Vote for politicians that want a strong military.  Tell your family and friends what you have learned.  Post it on Facebook.  DO SOMETHING, even if it's wrong!  But do something!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How to build an effective team

From my first days in Boot Camp, I learned how to build an effective team, increase morale, build unit cohesiveness, and accomplish any mission regardless of the difficulty.  I also learned that each individual brings specific talents to the team and the team leader's responsibility is to use those individual talents to accomplish each mission.

You may have watch the television series "The "A" Team".  Each individual in the team had specific talents that Hanibal Smith used to accomplish a mission.  Face, BA, The Crazy Helicopter Pilot Murdock, everyone was valuable and an integral part of the team.  I can look at each leadership assignment I had, and in fact, every duty station I served at and see this in action.  I saw leaders use almost misfits to build highly effective teams that could do anything.  I saw drunks, dopers, Church members, and college educated kids work together as a cohesive unit to do the impossible.  Who brought them together, the leader.

But what holds them together?  Team work and unity.  And that is what I want to discuss today.  I just read that the President, who has never had a real job, never been a leader, and never built a team, has ordered Government workers to inform on each other.  He ordered them to report anything suspicious, out of the ordinary, or new in the actions or performance of their team mates!  And, if they do not inform on their team mates, they face CRIMINAL charges themselves!!

This will not end well.  It has been done before and met with serious failure.  Just read the history of some other heads of state in some European Countries that tried this way of controlling the populace.   But that fact differed, one thing that will break up a team is a spy in the midst, and that is what the President is demanding, spies!  

The Civil Servants I have the honor and pleasure of knowing, working with and leading work under extreme conditions, in the worlds combat zones, shipyards, and ports.  The work long hours, sometimes uncompensated because of overtime limits, to accomplish near miracles keeping complicated systems functioning sometime far past their planned replacement.  Breaking up these teams or doing something that will make the team members the need to look over their shoulders all the time will only make doing their jobs impossible or at least unrewarding.  This will also cause these professionals to leave government service and ply their skills in the DOD contractor base where they will cost the US Government considerably more money to use.

Now, do I think we should let our fellow employees cheat on overtime or travel, not work a full day for a full day's pay, steal equipment, tools, or do anything else against the interests of the American taxpayer?  NO!!  But, most Civil Service employees already police themselves and each other.  Then there is the multiple layers of Supervisors and Managers that must approve travel, overtime, purchases, and training.  Yes, OPM and the IRS both did things that were wrong, but their Supervisors and Managers were at fault, not the rank and file workers.

No, this is a wrong, terribly wrong, policy and I predict it will lead to ruin.  What can we or I do about it?  Nothing, our grand exalted leader has ordered it by executive fiat.  It is a sad state of affairs.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Clothes make the man

When I was in Elementary School, we read a story about some animal characters, a bear, a cat, etc, that decided to rob a bank.  The bear, who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, was supposed to dress up as a Policeman and pretend to arrest the robbers.  That was their escape plan!  Brilliant, right?!  Well, the robbery happened, and just as planned, the bear, dressed up as a Policeman, arrested the preps.  He then took them to jail!!   His friends asked him; "Why did you take us to jail?"  The bear replied; "I was a Policeman, that's what I should do."

I remember when I was first in the Navy, we had to wear a dress uniform on liberty, no matter where we were.  As I have written before, having civilian clothes on the ship, below the pay grade of E-7, was not permitted and I actually saw some go to Captain's Mast for it.  Admiral Zumwalt relaxed that standard, but there were still ports that we were required to wear uniforms on liberty at least the first day.

But, there was a benefit of wearing the dress uniform on the first night, or any night.  The liberty party was much better behaved!  That's right, because we were so visible in our Whites or Dress Blues, we watched our "P's and Q's".  Then, when we could go on liberty in our civilian clothes, the second night in port, the liberty incidents escalated exponentially.  It is just a fact.

In civilian life, it seems no one dresses up any more.  Even at work, most people wear casual clothing.  Khaki pants, open collar shirts, sandals, in the business world.  Yes, we wear suits to court!  But even at church, we wear casual clothing.  Times have certainly changed.  But so has the way we act.  Civility is a thing of the past.  Profanity is the norm!  Girls showing far more skin than they should, men showing their underwear, obscene hand gestures.  I maintain that, just as with the bear dressed as the Policeman, clothes DO make the man, and woman!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lower standards. (Mod 1)

When the American League and the National League each had two divisions, and a total of 16 teams per league, the people who made it to the Majors were really talented and special players.  Now, with so many baseball teams, if a kid can throw the ball, left handed, over the plate 3 out of 5 times, he is a major league starter!  The same for football.  The talking heads of professional football get all excited when a running back runs for 1000 yards in a season.  What's the big deal?  Jim Brown did that repeatedly, when the season was only 10 games!!  For a running back to do what Jim Brown did, he would have to rush for 1600 yards!!  How about NASCAR.  every team makes the Sprint Cup race, every week!  Why, because there are only 43 teams and there are 43 starting places.   When there were 60 teams contending for a starting spot, making the race was special.  Now, not so much.

Where am I going with this?  We are lowering the expectations, the standards, that we measure people against.  For instance, grades in school.  We have made it so no one feels bad about their inability to measure up to a standard.  There are few schools that use "F" as a grade for failing to meet the requirement.  Now, they get a; "Progressing towards" grade.  Progressing towards what?  Being a rock!  You flunked.  Admit it, learn from it, and get better!   Man up.

Now, we are going to main stream everyone into the Military.  Well, everyone cannot measure up to the standards and when women can't get in to the Special Forces, be they SEALS, Rangers, Delta Force, the politicians in uniform and in $5000 suits WILL lower the standards to get those who were "Progressing Towards" into the SPECWAR community.  You can bet on that!

Hell, most men can't meet the standards to even get into the Military.  We have raised an entire generation of marshmallow, cream puff, boys who have never been hit in the nose, never cut their leg, and never broke a bone!  Most of today's youth can be defeated with course language!

I am just frustrated at the direction our nation is taking.  The men and women of the Military are exceptional people.  They volunteer to place them selves in danger, for our security and to preserve our way of life.  Why do the politicians, in uniform and in $5000 suits, want to mess with success!?

When I wrote this earlier, I forgot one of my examples of lowering the standards.  Airline Pilots!  When there were few airplanes, the entire crew was the best of the best!  Military pilots, top notch mechanics with military training, Flight Attendants that did not look lie they just fell out of a tree.  Now, we drive Boeing 777's into the quay wall at the end of a runway!   Or we land jet liners on top of planes waiting to take off.  Anyone can fly an airplane today!  And that is my argument.    Everyone cannot do everything they think they can.  There should be strict, unwaveringly, standards that govern many things in the world.  If we lower the standards, we lower our standard of life.  In the 1960's we went to the moon.  Now we don't even have a space craft that will put a human in orbit!  We lowered or standards, our expectations, and our success rate.  We are now the minimum standard Americans.  Not the exceptional, brave, pioneering, risk taking Americans.   Hell, our kids can't ride a bike without a helmet.  How can we reach for the stars, someone might get hurt!  I rest my case.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The musings of an old Master Chief

I have a few thoughts, mostly unconnected, that I would like to write about.  Today, I received an email from an old friend that still works at the Command where I retired from.  He, like me, is a retired Navy Chief.  He was a great Chief and a defender of Sailors.  If they did good, he lead the praise choir.  If they screwed up, he ripped their face off, and then put it back on correctly, making the sailor better than before.  He told me in the email that he just returned from a three week visit to the Navy part of the Sand Box.  He relayed to me that he actually saw a Chief Gunner's Mate holding "Hands On" OJT to a group of Sailors on a PC!  The CHief was teaching them how to do maintenance on the 25MM Chain Gun and the M2 HB, .50 cal Machine Guns.  This did my heart proud.  I hear many reports that the Chiefs are not fulfilling their designed position as the "Subject Matter" expert.  It seems, through my observation and reports that the Chief's community is more interested in standing "Officer" watches and getting points for promotion, real and "Brownie".  But this Chief, was doing what He is supposed to do.  It will probably not help him advance, but it will help keep him and his Shipmates, alive!!  Good job Chief!!

Second, all this sequester stuff is out of hand.  I read in an email from the Fleet Reserve Association, that we are going to start closing Commissaries one more day a week because of the Sequester.  That is patent Bull Shit!!  The Commissaries are SELF SUPPORTING!  That surcharge we pay at the end of the register receipt states that.  Closing the Commissaries is the President's way of "Making it Hurt" as he told his Cabinet Officials to do.  He just took his Wife, two daughters, their cousin, his Mother in Law, his cars, the secret service, his food taster, cooks, hair dressers, the Teleprompter maintenance man, and who know who else on a $100 million dollar vacation to Africa!  But we have to close Commissaries, that receive no DOD budget money, to save money?!  Bull Shit!!

I read an article on Drudge today that states that the US and Russia have signed an agreement to use Russian troops, in America, on US soil, to provide security for large events!  I was absolutely speechless.  Why, because this is the sort of stuff I read about a few years ago, when Bill Clinton was President.  It came from the conspiracy crowd.  I discounted it then, but not now.  Drudge vets his stories well.  So, if it is true, we are in big trouble.  The next thing you know, there will be a Soviet Soldier at the NASCAR race asking for; "Your papers, PLEASE!"

Why does American news media spend so much time on things that mean so little?  Like the trial of the American woman who killed her lover in Italy.  Or the Casey Anthony trial, the Nicole Smith  murder trial, or even the George Zimmerman trial.  These trials, and the events that lead up to them would not be local news past the first day, well enough 24/7 on national television.  I believe the news media gets us interested in these fluff stories to turn us away from what is actually happening to our Country and our freedoms.  It is a ruse, a foil, a bait and switch, tactic.  And, sadly, it is working. Keep your eye on the ball America!!  You freedoms are flying out the window that the Administration is holding open!  I think it is HIGH Time we close that window!!