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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mentors

I was blessed to have a number of men that took the time to teach me, raise me up, show me the ropes, and directly career, in the Navy.  Each of these men could have just taken care of their career and let me flounder.  But they didn't!  I have written about many of them at length.   But today, I spent about 45 minutes talking to an old friend.  She is the wife of one of my closest Navy friends and strongest mentors, Jim Smith.   Jim was an uncompromising man who loved the Navy and loved being a Gunner's Mate.  He had his standards, that were much higher tun the Navy's and anyone else's.  He held himself to these standards without waiver and expected the same from anyone he respected.  I was blessed to have Jim as a friend and mentor.  His widow has continued to be my friend, and even though I don't get out to California very often, I still call her at least once a year.

There were others,  that took the time to teach me.  Bill Mowery, Carl Morris, Corky Armendarez, Chief Sadowski, Senior Chief Rector, Eugene Fredericks, Bobby Garcia, Gary Babcock, and some who's names I forget. (Damn Lewy Body Dementia)  There were some civilians that helped mold me too.  Charlie Ford, Tom McKenna, (who was also a Master Chief Gunner's Mate, before I knew him) Dean Rehart, and others.  These me took an interest in me and my career.  They were honest with me and told me when I screwed up and how to do things better.  They always treated me with respect but they were always the teacher!  Again, they could have just worried about themselves, feathered their own nests.  But they didn't, and I benefited from their kindness and professionalism.

As my memory fails me, I still sit here and think about the great men that helped me succeed.  Many of them have passed on to their rewards, but they live in my memory.  I hope that today's Navy enlisted leaders do as much mentoring as I benefited from.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Navy as a fraternal organization

When I was in the Navy, it was more than a group of men joined together to fight a battle.  We were a group of men, in the same place, eating the same food, doing the same jobs, standing the same watches, and deploying to the same places.  We worked together, ate together, slept in the same types of berthing spaces, showered together, went on liberty together, and dealt with the same disappointments and successes.  We were all in the same club!

Evenings underway, we played cards together, we watched the movie on the mess decks, we told each other sea stories, talked about home, our cars, girls, and shared our future plans, no matter how impractical they were.  We were brothers in a fraternal organization, with it's own initiations, and dues!   That is why "Ship's Reunions" are so popular.

I don't see that camaraderie today.  The Navy stopped Chief's initiations.   Simple divisional initiation rites are outlawed as "Hazing".   Political correctness has robbed us of unit cohesion!

I understand why young men due ultra-heroic things in combat.  It is to protect and defend their "Brothers"!    They are so protective of their "Brothers" that they will jump on a grenade to protect them!  Death is not in their mind when they do this.  Only the parental urge to protect "Their own"!

I am concerned that breaking simple initiation rights may break down this protection reflex!  The mental feeling of not belonging will stop someone from the reflex action of defending the people around them.  Why?  Because they are not mine and I am not theirs!  We do not share any common initiation rite that gained us access to the family.  They are not my brothers and therefore, I will not risk anything to defend them.

I realize those of you who do not agree with initiations will disagree with me.  But take initiations away and look at how our sailors spend their off time.  Underway, we played cards, watched the only movie, together on the mess decks, told sea stories, and stories about our home town, school, or family.  Today, they play computer games, email home, chat with the wife or girl friend, and stay isolated fro anyone else on the ship!  Where is the personal connection?

Another thing that is missing is the Service Clubs.  The Chief's Club, the Acey-Duecy Club, the Fleet Club, even Officer's Clubs.  All of these are either dead or so diminished and patrolled by gestapo with Breathalyzers, that no one goes to the clubs.  No, I am not recommending we get drunk, but plenty of bonding was accomplished over a few beers!

When the USS Cole was attacked by the Islamic Homicide Bomber, one of the Gas Turbine Chiefs was trapped under the deck plates in one of the Main Engineering Spaces.  One of his junior personnel would NOT leave him, even though the space was flooding and was on fire, and even though the Chief ordered him to leave!  The sailor risked his life to save his Chief.   That is the type of brotherly love we need to foster.

How?  In this day of increasing isolation in the singular world of technology, we need to find a way to bring the crew back together.   I am open to suggestions.  I identified the problem, let's find the solution together.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Thanksgiving memory

I have written about this before but Thanksgiving is such a family time that it brings back memories.  I remember one Thanksgiving my first tour on the USS Stein.  We had just returned from a ten month WestPac cruise.  Linda and I were still newlyweds.  My Mom and Dad drove out to San Diego to see us an to celebrate Thanksgiving.  But, I had duty on Thanksgiving day.  So, I asked my Mom and Dad if they would like to have Thanksgiving on the ship?!  They were both thrilled.  But then, I began to worry.  My Mom had cancer surgery and radiation treatment.  She was a big woman and her mobility was not what it used to be.  I asked her if she would be alright navigating the steep ladders.  She told me in her most strident way that if she could not make it down the ladder, I would have to rig a pulley system to lower her down!   As it turned out, she had no difficulties with the ladders.

As we went through the chow line and came up to the serving line, my Mom squealed; "Look Addison, they have real turkeys!"   Addison was my Dad's name, and he was surprised too.  They both enjoyed their Thanksgiving dinner and the tour of the ship.  My Mom talked about that day until she died.

Another Navy Thanksgiving I remember happened after my Mom had passed away.  It was four years after the first Thanksgiving on the USS Stein.  I had done a tour at Great Lakes as an instructor at Gun School and the only way I could get back to San Diego was to accept orders back to the USS Stein.  So there I was again, on a ship I had commissioned and rode for three years.  My Dad came out to visit for Thanksgiving.  We had just come off another WestPAc deployment and I had just made Chief.   I was off Thanksgiving Day and we enjoyed Thanksgiving Day together at our home.  But I had duty on Friday.  So, I asked the Executive Officer if my Dad could come aboard for the day and stay over night.  He agreed, so we stood duty together.  The Command Master Chief, Eugene Fredericks, gave my Dad his bunk which was under mine.  That worked well.  During the day, I had responsibilities, so I was busy.  I left my Dad in the Chief's Quarters and went out to do my job.  I would check back every hour or so and my Dad would be gone!  I would ask where he was, an the answer always was, one of the Chiefs was giving him a tour of their spaces!  What a wonderful thing for them to do!  My Dad had an in-depth tour of the engineering spaces from MMCS Ferguson, CIC from Chief Robertson,  and other spaces and systems.  Later in the day, Dad told me how impressed he was with their level of knowledge and dedication!  I has swapped for the Mid-Watch on the Quarterdeck so I could be with Dad through the evening.  We hit the rack at 2200 and to me surprise, he went right to sleep.  When I got up for the Mid-Watch, he was fast asleep and slept until seven the next morning.

These are both very precious memories for me.  The Navy was an integral part of my life and my parents got to share that with me.  What more could I ask!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Old Shipmates

Today, I made a telephone call that I should have made a long time ago.  Most of you know I have a progressive neurological disease called Lewy Body Dementia.  It causes me memory loss and it causes me to live in the past.  I spend most of my time, thinking about my Navy career and old shipmates.  Some of those memories include things that I did wrong, disagreements, or even things I thought were disagreements.  My memory is far from perfect anymore.  In any case, my memory lead me to believe the last time Carl Morris and I talked, we had a disagreement.  So, I was reticent to call him.

Carl was a mentor and great friend.  He and I went to MK 42 "C" School in 1970.  Bill Mowery was in that class also.  Those two watched over me throughout my career.  It was Carl Morris that recommended me to be the GMG Detailer.  He helped Bill Mowery straighten out my Second Class debacle when we were all in "C" school.  Bill and Carl were both Chiefs then.  The both retired as Master Chiefs.  I owe my success to both of them.

So, the other day, I called Carl, to apologize for my argument with him a long while ago.  He was not home and I left a message.  Today, Carl returned my call.  We had a wonderful conversation.  We talked about being retired, old shipmates, the good times we both had in the Navy and working for the Navy after our uniform days and we talked about our Church homes and how Jesus had impacted our lives in such a positive way.  It was truly the best telephone call I have had in a long time.  I tried to apologize to Carl at the end and He told me, we never had a disagreement!  I was relieved!

Friends, shipmates, are the best part of being in the Navy and being alive.  I cherish every contact the I make.   There are shipmates that I long to make contact with but even the internet cannot help me.  But I needed desperately to talk to Carl and I am happy we connected.  He sounded great!  Thanks Charlie!!

What are going to take away next?!

I just read an article on Hamptonroads.com, the web site of the Virginia Pilot, the Tidewater area newspaper.  They quotes an article from Military times that the administration has asked for a plan to close 178 state side Commissaries!   The article went on to say the cuts were for budgetary reasons.  They also considered raising the Commissary surcharges and prices!

Pay freezes, below inflation cost of living adjustments, increased deployments, and lower maintenance and procurement funding.  If you can't see it, the Administration is destroying the United States Military and making us a third rate military power, unable to defend our country!

Moves like closing the Commissaries are directed at demoralizing the active duty and retired personnel with the end game being reduced retention, recruiting, and an overall loss is readiness.  While Mr. and Mrs. Obama pretend to like the military, appearing for photo ops with groups and dependents.  But the truth is, he hates those of us who have dedicated our lives to preserving the Constitution and our freedom.

The Commissaries help us stretch our pay checks and retirement checks.  It is a big benefit and the loss of the Commissaries will impose a hardship on active and retired personnel. But that is the apparent purpose of the cuts.

I never thought I would live to see the day that our government officials would turn against the military.   also never thought that Flag Officers of our military would stand by idly, while we are being decimated.  This is truly a sad time in America.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Unisex uniforms!

That's right!  It was the headline on Navy Times when I was in the Commissary this week.  Imagine this, unisex uniforms.  The Marine Corp told the liberals to go suck an egg when they wanted to change the male Marine cover.  But the Navy will roll over like an old dog.

So, as I understand "unisex", it means regardless of sex, we all wear the same thing.  I wonder how chest darts will work for males.  Of that part of the pants that is left bigger to hang the male equipment for a female.  Hell, maybe some of the females HAVE equipment!   What about under garments.  Will t-shirts be mandatory or a bra?  Silk bikini skivvies for men?!  Some may like that.  I was mad at MCPON Placket over the jumpers for females.  It did give us a good view of their cleavage.  But that is NOT what a military uniform should do.

AS the Surgeon General of the Navy used to remind me, females are build different than males.  I, for one, do not want women looking like men or men looking like women.   If Admiral Lestage was right, and he was a medical doctor, then women are designed by our maker as the weaker sex.  They are more gentle, are driven by feelings and not facts, and are prone to crying at the from of a hat.  They do less push ups, pull ups and slower times on the PRT than men of the same age.  I can go further if you have any other questions about the differences between men and women, but I think you know, even if you are gay!

Let's quit playing PC with the military and let men be men and women be women.  I do believe there should be no community closed to females.  If they can make the standard, and we don't lower the standard for females or homosexuals, then, let them play!  Equal is equal!!  I worked with a female tech rep on MK 45 gun mounts a decade or more ago.  She was an engineer and much smarter than I was.  She was not afraid of getting dirty and worked as hard as an man.  She would let us know when her body make up made some things impossible for her.  Once, I told her to crawl up the side of the gun, into the gun house, to check something, I don't remember.  I then went back to Mount 52.  When I returned I asked her for the results.  She told me she could not make it up to the gun house, because her chest was too big.  She did use a slang term for the protrusions on her chest.  I could agree with her and it was a foot reason.  Today, I could not make it up between the slide and the grunion.  Why, my belly is too big!  Same issue, just lower and less attractive.

Please don't dress our male like females or vise-a-versa.  I might get confused!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Freedom, Ford, Zumwalt, San Antonio, syndrome of our Navy

I have spent much time and typing skills discussing and lambasting the Navy's Engineering Duty Officer mafia over the types of ships they design and the capabilities that they mandate for the designs to incorporate.  Let's look at some of the more recent debacles.

The failures of the USS San Antonio class of LPD's is well documented.  This class of Amphibious Assault ship has not passed shock trials, is incapable of operating independently because it has no proven self-defense capability, and was designed with serious Damage Control short comings.  Millions and millions of repair dollars have been spent trying to make the first five ships even capable of deploying.

Again, I wrote about the LCS class ships a day ago and also in the past.  In short, it is a ship without a mission and without any open ocean capability.  We continue to build these useless ships in numbers that are unrealistic and unsustainable.

The Navy's newest Aircraft Carrier, the Gerald Ford, has been promoted as the "Transition Carrier" for technology.  It is designed to have a new "Electro Magnetic" catapult instead of the present steam catapult used for decades.  The ship has more untested technology designed into the plan that are costing millions of dollars in cost overruns.  These untested and unproven new technologies will make maintenance of this ship exponentially more expensive to operate and maintain.  Just the training pipeline costs for the personnel manning this ship in the out years will be unsustainable.

Then there is the new surface combatant.  The Zumwalt class DDG/CG is another "Star Trek" approach to building ships.  Electric drives, stealth hidden gun mounts, retractable communication antennas and search radar arrays will be a maintenance nightmare.  Just think, because of the "Environmental Wackos" we can no longer chip paint or even apply paint unless we are in an industrial environment and covered in a hermetically sealed envelope.  Steel ships operating in salt water rust!  I can just see the time when the Captain wants to engage a surface target with the new six inch gun, and the stealth covers won't open!!    Another issue with the Zumwalt class is that the plan is to only build three of these ships.  We have learned this lesson before.  Small numbers of ships in any class makes them more expensive to man, maintain, and repair.  But, the brainacks in the ED Community refuse to even consult the lessons of the past.

Each one of these ships suffer from the design by dream!  Yes, we must keep up with technology.  But that new technology must be tested in an operational environment before placing it on an operational ship.  The Navy used to test combat systems on a test ship named the USS Norton Sound.   But, ignoring past lessons, we stumble blindly into the future.  SO, it is fair to say that we will have the same issues with the Ford and the Zumwalt that we have had with the LCS class and the LPD class ships.

With a Navy as enemic and puny as we now have, it is paramount that every ship be able to maintained and operated in an economic, optimal, manner.  But our recent track record on ship design shows the exact opposite.  I wonder when the "Suits" in the Navy and The Department of Defense will realize this?  I hope it's not to late to recover.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The USS Freedom, broke again!

I have written before about the LCS class ships and their uselessness.  Some brain surgeon with gold braid or a $5000 suit decided to deploy a ship with NO BLUE WATER CAPABILITY  to WestPac!!  What a nimrod!  A ship designed without underway replenishment capabilities.  With only seven days of stores and fuel, if the go slow.  A ship that did not and can not pass "Shock Trials".  A ship that shows in it's design and capability the utter weakness of the United States Navy!  A ship that is the "Poster Child" for the incompetence of the Navy Engineering Duty community and their civilian lap dogs in NAVSEA!  

We have wasted Billions of tax payer's dollars on a class of ships that could not fight it's way out of a paper bag in a bathtub!  And some Feather Merchant deploys that class of ship to WestPac!  Do you get the idea that I am angry?!  Why, because I feel for the good American Bluejackets that are stationed on this overgrown, Bayliner.  They are working as hard as they can, ridicules long hours,  begging to parts, trying to make any part they can on their own, just to salvage their own professional pride, not to mention the pride of the Navy.  We do not break down and need help in a foreign port.  Especially one controlled by our enemies!

A while ago, I gave you the numbers.  We have less that 80 surface combatant ships in the United States, Navy!   If you do not agree with me, count them yourself.  Remember, the FFG7 class had their masculinity removed when NAVSEA took the Mk13 Mod 4 Missile Launchers off.  They have a 76 mm gun, mounted backwards so it cannot shoot forward, no ASW and no AAW capability.  So they don't count.  We have ruled out the LCS by design.  That leaves Burke Class DDG's and CG51 Class cruisers that are getting tired! Nothing else.

The Gators cannot decent themselves well enough be offensive and the Aircraft Carriers are Airplane Tenders!  Once the Air Wing flies off, the ship is defenseless!  CIWS!  RAM!  Untested, short-range, and NEVER operated in AIR READY!!  Look at the record on the USS Stark!  The CIWS was not ready to fire and an EXOCET took them out.  Not even a "Pop Up" EXOCET, but a skimmer!   We no longer have a blue water Navy.  And our enemies know it.  That's why China built an Aircraft Carrier and why the Soviet Union is building ships and submarines i record numbers not seen since the cold war of the 1960's!!

I realize I am a stupid enlisted man and my opinion does not count.  I ale realize I am a voice, crying in the wilderness.  But, maybe, someone, will hear, before we are completely unarmed and over ran. I probably need to remind you that Nikita Krustov said in the United Nations, in 1963;  "We will bury you", without firing a shot and from within!!  Looks like he was right!  

Thursday, November 14, 2013

HERE WE GO AGAIN!

I just read an article about Secretary of Defense Hagel's plan to reduce pay and benefits of active duty personnel and retirees and use that money to build the military.  My first question was, how much of a reduction?  Trust me, a $100 a month reduction would not even bring in enough money to enough money to build one Navy destroyer!   So reducing the pay an benefits of those who served to ensure readiness is a fools folly!

So, if that is not Mr. Hagel's reasoning, what is?  My guess is to demoralize the military personal so they will leave the service!  That with reduced training funds will further hollow out our military by decimating our experience base!

But there is another point here.  Historically, the military personnel have never been paid adequately for what they do.  Operational forces are gone more than they are home!   Even when they are not deployed to a combat zone, they are involved in high intensity training, away from home.  The average time home for an operational Navy ship is 6 months out of 36 months!!   They do not get paid overtime.  They work 20 hours a day counting underway watches.  And are available 24/7/365 without further compensation.  Trust me, in industry, their pay would be two to three times what the make.

Now, Congress is looking at ways to decrease the Military retirement compensation!!  Early retirement is mandatory because being in an operational unit is a "Young Person's" sport.  Trust me!  Yes, tree are a few supermen like Master Chief Rudy Boesch!  But they are few and far between.

So, if we reduce the pay and retirement compensation, who will be in the military.  Look back at the last time we went through pay reductions and retirement changes.  In the years after the Vietnam war, there were two types of people in the military.  Those who really loved our Country and wanted to serve and those who could not do anything else!  We had a severe shortage of mid-grade enlisted and officers.  We had a severe experience gap and we had ships that could not get underway because of manpower shortages!  That is where we are headed again.
 
Cut the military is the climate in Washington at present.  It will take a complete change of Senators and Representatives to cure this issue.  And since incumbents are reelected most of the time, I don't see a change on the horizon.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Veteran's Day memories

Veteran's Day always leaves me thinking about my shipmates and the fun, dangerous, and crazy things we did.  I remember those shipmates who accomplished things we all thought were impossible.

For instance, I remember GMGC Harold "Suitcase" Simpson.  A mountain of a man who could how a 5"/54 projectile up by the nose fuze, straight out from his arm, in both hands, at the same time.  A man few were foolish enough to trifle with.

There was GMCM Jim Smith who went back on sea duty and deployed to WestPac on an Adams Class DDG, three months after a Quadruple Bypass!! His cardiologist wanted to medically retire him.  But Jim was not ready to retire and found a ship that was very glad to have him.   He served 7 more years before he finally retired.  Typical for Jim, who lived life on his own terms, he died of a massive heart attack, 5 years after he retired.

Then there was ADCM Tom Schupe.  Tom was blown off the flight deck of an Aircraft Carrier by jet blast.  Falling, he broke his back!  But, a few months later, he was back on Sea Duty and served 36 years before he retired.  Tom served on the USS Forrestal when they had their epic fire.  And, one day when I was preaching on the Sunday before Veteran's Day, I commented on that fire and the fact that Senator John McCain was stationed on the Forrestal.  Tom piped up and said; "That was McCain falling on his ass as he jumped out of his plane that was on fire!"  Tom was a hard working man who loved anything that challenged him.  I knew him on active duty and as a Church member.

Another interesting character I became friends with was a Retired Master Chief Gunner's Mate who late became one of the first civilian Tech Reps for gun mounts, Tom McKenna.  He was known as "Filthy McNasty" because he had a rather straight foreword way of making his point.  I first met him, in a bar, in Bremerton, Washington.  Then Chief Mowery and I drove out to Tom's "Office" to talk bout our new gun mount on the USS Stein (DE 1065).  Mowery told me to get the ships vehicle and meet him on the Quarterdeck at 1300.  I was in dungarees and Mowery was in wash Khakis.  I thought Tom's office was on the base.  Wrong!  Mowery was giving me directions and we ended up parking behind a bar.  Chief Mowery then said; "Let's go!"  We had a great time, after Tom berated me for being uncomfortable for being in dungarees, in town, drinking!  But atom was an exceptional Gunner's Mate and a walking book of knowledge on any gun mount or missile launcher the Navy had ever had up to that date.  Tom died of Asbestosis a few years ago.

I had a great career and I knew some real characters who did more than anyone will ever know to ensure the freedom of our nation.  They did the impossible, without reward, decoration, or praise.  Yes, they were tough, drank too much, and were not polished.  But they were exactly what we needed.  Men!  In charge!  Unafraid! Undeterred!  I miss everyone of them!

P.S.  Thanks to my new GP, I have lost enough weight to fit, comfortably, into my Dress Blues.  So, since it was Veteran's Day, I thought it would be good to wear my Dress Blues to Church.  I was the only one in uniform even though there are many active and retired Military personnel in our congregation.   Not a problem, at least one of us was in uniform.  And, considering next February, I will be retired 25 years, it felt great to put my War Suit back on!  Remembering is more than a mental exercise, it requires action too!



Friday, November 8, 2013

Those who refuse t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it!

I certainly hope that saying is not NEW to you.  It must be to those who are in charge of our nation's government.  I just read on Drudge that Egypt is turning to Russia, (The Soviet Union) for support because we have turned our back on them.  Just a couple of decades ago, Egypt was a Soviet Union satellite.  Then Nasser turned to the United States for technical support and we had an ally.  Now it looks like history is going to repeat itself.

After World War One, we decimated the military.  Our Navy was full of old ships with ancient technology.  While the world's evil powers built a huge war machine.  We even sold scrap metal to Japan that they turned into ships and aircraft that were later used against us!  After the attack on Pearl Harbor, we started a historic rebuilding of our military.  But in 1941, we were very close to being over run and defeated.

The "kids" in the White House and the other "kids" in the cabinet positions have disarmed America, pissed off our friends, and deserted our closest friends.  We are in perolous times and without leadership.

I have told you before that I am very frightened for America's future.  The evidence I see backs that belief up!

Veteran's Day, rewind

Yesterday, I was out of line by describing some who served as "Feather Merchants".  I was wrong and I apologize. If you served, you are an honorable person and have my greatest and enduring respect.

As an attempt to further make amends, I must remind some of you that I suffer from a neurodegenerative disease called Lewy Body Dementia.  As a part of that, I suffer from "Sundowning".  I should never write on an emotional topic in the evening when this is causing me to be agitated and angry.

Again, I am sorry and I apologize to those who served that I have mistreated.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Veteran's Day 2013-corrected

Monday is Veteran's day, again.  Many parades, concerts, and free meals will happen in respect for our Veteran's.  Remember, Veteran's day is for those of us, the less that 1% of ALL Americans that served in the Armed Forces of the United States.  Memorial Day is a day to honor those who died in defense of our country.  Both are holidays that deserve reverence and respect.

That being said, please don't tell me;  "Thank you for your service."   I am a Veteran of the Vietnam era.  Civilians pissed on me and even the VA continues to treat us like we never served and if we did we were scabs on our Nation.  If you want to honor our service, join up and put on a uniform!  Serve HONORABLY for the length of you contract.  Deploy, be away from your families, work for no overtime, be in constant danger even when you are not collecting Hazard Pay, grow a set and do something other than lip syncing some meaningless; Thank you for your service!

The military let's everyone in now, regardless of sexual orientation, sex, color, religion, and I suspect brains!  I for one, have had my fill of rich entertainers pimping for "Wounded Warrior".  The whiny little supposed wife crying because her husband was wounded.  Get a life!  He is alive, functioning the best he can, and has the respect of his Country, which is more than we had.  We came home broken and destroyed and no body gave a shit.  Again, I am sick of the feigned concern. Next year, when we are not fighting anywhere and the wars have faded from the news, you will be pissing on us again.  Fight your own damn war next time!

We deployed, lived on less, trained without ceasing, lived in danger, not comfort, so that you could eat fast food, play video games, smoke dope, and be on you Mom and Dad's health insurance until you are 26?!  Again, don't talk to me!  Leave me alone.  And if you do give me that tired "Thank you for your service", don't be surprised if I kick you ass!   And yes, I still can!  Especially since the generation is a bunch of cream puffs!  Keep your fake sympathy.  I don't want or need it!

I removed the last paragraph, written last night, because I was wrong to denigrate the service of anyone who put on the uniform of the United States Military and served honorably.  I apologize for my tyrade.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A day at the car dealer is a good day to train an Ensign.

Today, we had an appointment at the car dealer to get the 60,000 mile service done.  While they had the car completely apart, I had them replace the brake pads also since they have 60,000 miles also.  It was a lengthy service and the dealers service department was busy.  The service writer is a retired Chief and a very personable person.  What would you expect from a Chief?  A young fellow came into the waiting area and sat down.  The "Chief" came through and told the young fellow that I was a retired Master Chief.  He immediately sat more upright in his chair as I asked him if he was in the Military.  He said; "Yes" as if I was a Drill Instructor.  I asked where and he told me, NAS Pensacola in Flight Training.

OK, a Nugget!  He was a recent OCS grad and I am sure that the quarter mastering had not worn off of his belt buckle yet.  To say he was green would be an understatement.  But he was nice and we began the talk with where, when, and how.  Where are you from, where did you go to college, what is you major, why did you join the Navy, what do you want to fly?   Since he was a "History Major" from a liberal college, I thought I would give him the other side of our history.  AS I did, I gave him book references, Internet sites for reference, and my own experiences of over 40 years married to the Navy.  He was a wonderful student and he offered some anecdotal evidence of his own.

It distressed me to learn that this young 20 something had no idea that Navy ships carried nuclear weapons in the 1950 -1990 era.  I guess we kept the secret pretty well!  He also had little knowledge of recent wars, like Libya, El Salvador/Nicaragua, Lebanon (83-84), Grenada, the Iran/Iraq war, or Desert Storm I.  He was willing to listen as I spilled out my knowledge of our exploits over the last three decades.  But I got the signal from my wife that I should shut up because he was falling asleep!

OK, I tried to educate him, but I had no fancy computer animations, no naked girls, and no Rap music!  But, I tried.  I probably should have tried using old "Sailor" language, but he looked a little gentle for that type of approach.   And, my wife would have stopped me much earlier!

He did have a good head on his shoulders as he was not trying to me "Mr. Top Gun".  Instead, he wanted to fly Helicopters.  More "Help" seats than F-18 seats I suspect.  Smart kid.

I believe the Navy can and will benefit from old guy like me training these new Officers on the Navy of the past.  Since our schools do not seem to teach them about our history, we should.  So, the next time you are in the Car Shop, chat up that young person in the waiting room.  He or she is probably a Nugget!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Navy Chow

Tonight, my wife and I made chicken cacciatore, from scratch.  Cooking has become one of our enjoyments in retirement.  As usual, this lead to a discussion on Navy chow.  My wife asked me if I had ever had chicken cacciatore in the Navy.  I told her the Chief Stew Burner on the USS Mullinnix was a Chief Commissary man Cornicelli!  Everything had tomato sauce on it!  And trust me, oatmeal with tomato sauce is not that appetizing in the morning.  Or any other time!  Cornicelli's cooking required some getting used too!

In general, I never had a bad meal on a Navy ship!  Some were not thing I like, since I don't like fish of any kind.  But everything was eatable.  When I was on the USS Caron, we ate like Kings!  The Chief Cook was MSC Al Williams.  He was, without a doubt, the BEST cook I ever experienced!  He baked everything from scratch, in port, home port, or overseas.  We had gourmet meals everyday.  I put on 30 pounds on that ship, in two years, because of Al!  How can I say this?  Have you ever lived somewhere where the cool baked Black Forrest Cake from scratch, once a week, every week?!  And it was not just for the Chiefs or the Officers,  it was for the entire crew!!  We ate good on the USS Caron.

When I was on the USS Coral Sea as part of VA 55, the Chief's mess was a closed mess.  That meant, we got paid for our meals and then had to manage our own food.  The Wardroom was the same way.  There was a Senior Chef Cook that looked over our feeding and the food was delicious!

As the Force Master Chief, I was invited to eat on many ships.  Again, I never had a meal that was not expertly made.  Some were courses I did not like, but all was good.  There was one thug I never liked.  Corn Chowder!!  The Commanding Officer on the USS Caron loved Corn Chowder.   Something we did not share.

So, our first attempt at chicken cacciatore was a walk down memory lane.  It was fun to remember Chief Cornicelli.  I was fun to remember how much I love the Navy!!  It was fun to remember how well the Navy took care of me.  Thanks!