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Thursday, December 25, 2014

The end of the year, and other endings

Let me start this post with a few provisos.  First; this blog is mainly my recollections of my Navy career and my reflections on how the Navy used to be and how it is today.  I tell a few sea stories, try to understand "Today's" Navy and try to be entertaining.  Second;  I realize I have a responsibility to pass along those "Pearls of Wisdom" that have been passed down to me or that I have gleamed through my career.  Third;  I have never tried to embarrass, criticize, or accuse any one specific person of wrong doing.

All that being said, the end of any year is a time of reflection.  The New Year celebration itself is melancholy at best.  That is why so many "Non-Drinkers" drink on New Year's Eve.  I have always called New Year's Eve "Amateur's Night"!!

But, I am in a deeper reflective mood this year.  Let me lay a few facts on the table.  I live in a Continuing Care Retirement Community that can handle any eventuality in my life.  I am in the second half of my journey with Lewy Body Dementia.  I may in fact, not see too many more Christmases or at least, not recognize them.  I am OK with that.

But, I have a "Pearl of Wisdom" that is front and center in my mind and I must pass it on.  This "Pearl of Wisdom" will in all likelihood, cause some of you discomfort or even make you angry at me, yourself, life, or all of the above.  For that I am sorry.  And, if your are better than half way through your career, STOP READING!  Why, because what I am about to say will not help you at this point.  It will frustrate you at the least or maybe even cause some psychological scaring.

There, I warned you!!

Industry, the Military, Civil Service, are all looking for Driven individuals!!  That individual that will put the JOB first and foremost in their lives.  The JOB before girlfriend, wife, kids, parents, family, hobbies, responsibilities other than the job, anything!!  They want a person who comes in early, stays late, eats lunch at their desk, works weekends, does not put in for overtime or comp time, looses leave every year, works sick, works from home, and takes all the hardest assignments!

If you were raised by a parent or even worse, two parents like this, you know what I am saying.  You Dad was NEVER at your ball games, school recitals, birthday parties, or any other important event.  It could be you Mom who missed everything, or BOTH!  The job came first.  In the Navy we had a saying; "If the Navy had wanted you to have a wife, they would have issue you one in your Sea Bag!"

The man who raised me quit school after the sixth grade to work the family farm.  He left the farm when he was 21.  He was a truck driver or bus driver his entire life.  He never wanted to improve his station in life.  He was content with his life as it was.  Now, he was the smartest man, with the most common sense, I ever met!!  He wanted me to succeed.  I did.  But the cost of that success was high.

The Navy and I clicked!  They wanted someone who would do anything he was told, immediately, and do it to the best of his ability.  For that, the Navy promoted me faster than most anyone before me.  I made Master Chief in 14 years of service!  As the fellow on the "Walton's" said; "No brag, just fact."  But, my family paid an enormous price for that success.  Did they benefit?  Financially, yes.  Emotionally, definitely not!

I have looked at the children of highly successful men and women.  Those men and women who succeeded, regardless of the cost or the odds.  Some were Officers, some Enlisted, some never in the Military. Each one of them has a child, generally only one.  And that child is having difficulties in adulthood.  I will not go into the issues, but they are there and easy to see.  I am willing to bet, a good Psychologist could figure out in one session the root cause of each of these individuals problems.

What do I suspect that Root Cause is?  The absence of the parent due to work.   And the subjugation the family suffered because of that Driven individual or individuals.   Now, don't misunderstand me.  We must work to make a living.  But those of us who are DRIVEN to succeed at any cost, do not care about the money or making a living.  We care about succeeding.  An award, a plaque, and letter from an Admiral is worth more than money,  That is called intrinsic motivation.  Do some research on Maslow and Hertzberg.  They will teach you all you need to know about what motivates the DRIVEN individual.

So, here is my advice.   If you want to have a family, a functioning, loving, caring, family.  With well adjusted children, no divorce,  and few discipline problems, get a job, stay at your social strata, and be content.

On the other hand, if you are a DRIVEN individual, stay single, do not procreate, do not purchase a home, and work until you can no longer stand it!  Hopefully, you will save your money, invest wisely and conservatively, stay away from drugs and booze, and have a good psychologist.  Because your going to need one!  You will be the young Commanding Officer, Young Command Master Chief, young Vice President of Production, or whoever.  The Organization will love you! Or more correctly, they will love what you do.  The Organization will USE you until your wear out, break, or finally see that you are being used.  Unfortunately, many of us don't break, wear our, or see the true light.

Why haven't I written this "Pearl of Wisdom" before?  Because I just found it here in my power recliner, as I look back at my life and the lives of others like me.  Again, some corporate and Civil Service power brokers, some Military Officers, and some fast rising Senior Enlisted personnel that I personally know have all had families, wives, that suffered from their DRIVEN mentality.  Being Driven to success and being a family man are mutually exclusive!  Yes, I can hear you now.  You are saying I am full of shit!  I would have said the same thing.  But, standing where I am in my lives journey, I have better than 20/20 vision!!  I can see my failures very clearly and without distortion or filter!!  As they say, I know from whence I speak!  Yo cannot be DRIVEN and have children or even a successful marriage.  You see, love required two people!  And if one of you is married to their job, you are not returning love to your spouse.  There is a Bible verse about loving two things.  It says sooner or later you will come to hate one of them!!  See where diverse comes from in the life of a DRIVEN  individual?!  I have seen this played out too many times.

In keeping with my belief that I Must pass on wisdom, I pass this revelation on to anyone who will learn from it.  Now, I can go to sleep.  If what I wrote helps you or someone yo know and care about.  I am happy.  If I upset you or hurt you, I am truly sorry.  The truth often does hurt!  But, at least you will know why you are having the problems you are having.

To those I love, I am sorry I did not learn this sooner.  But, at least I did learn it soon enough to pass it on.  And I have.  Mission accomplished.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Spec Ops teams will not win the next war!

First of all, let me say UP FRONT, that I respect and am in awe of the men who are SEALS.  They go through a qualifying and training process that most of us could only dream or fantasize about.  They do things in small teams or even on independent operations that make a BIG difference in any war effort.  I represented the East Coast SEALS as the SURFLANT Force Master Chief (1986-89).  They lifted the curtain of secrecy just a little and let me glance at their awesome capabilities.

That being said, if a war breaks out between any nation you can think of; i.e. Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, or even a consolidates ISIS or ISIL, it will take a large Navy to cut supply lines to deny support to the enemy, isolate that enemy nation, protect our own supply lines, launch large weapons and air strikes, transport troops and large equipment, supply those troops and equipment, and provide on station Command and Control.

The Air Force cannot do this from the air for any sustained period of time.  Neither can the Marines or the Army.  Only the Navy can bring our base of operations wit us and move it at a minutes notice as the war front moves.  We don't need to pack up to "Bug Out" we are always on the move!  And, while those who have to pack up to "Bug Out" cannot fight while they move, the Navy can!!

But our fleet has been decimated by politicians that have never fought a war and have nervier served in uniform.  These politicians see the Navy as an unnecessary expense and believe giving the so called enemy a bloody nose will make him stop being our enemy.  Did I also tell you these politicians have never been punched in the nose and have never been in a real fight in their silk lined, sweet smelling, pampered lives?!

The do not understand how a determined, dedicated, enemy acts or reacts.  For instance, the Islamic world sees capitulation, compromise, and negotiation, as a BIG sign of weakness!!  That is why we are doing so bad in the Middle East.  ISIS and their ilk just wait until we get tire of being there and then they take over as we leave.  The people of the reign know this!  Don't believe me?  Look at Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.  

We require a large, capable, Navy to win any war.  With our potential enemies building large, capable, blue water Navies, we need to rebuild ours quickly, before the war starts and we are overrun by those who have a large, capable, blue water, Navy.

Those who refuse to LEARN from history are CONDEMNED to repeat it!!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Clothes make the man!

You may remember reading a story book in First Grade with the title of; "Clothes make the man".  The premise of the story was a gang of animal characters were going to rob a bank!  The Bear, who was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, was cast as a Police Man.  His job was to arrest the others and then they would escape under the ruse of being in custody of the authorities.  The fly in the ointment was, the Bear, in Police clothing, takes the gnu to jail!  When asked why he did that, he replies, I am a Policeman!  He thought if he was dressed as a Policemen, he had to act like a Policeman!

I saw this play out many time in my Navy career.  When sailors could wear civilian clothes on liberty, the number of Liberty Incidents escalated!  One Med Cruise, Sixth Fleet mandated that the first night in port, all ships had to go on Liberty in dress uniform.  The result was, the first night, Liberty Incidents were much lower than the nights the crew could wear civilian clothes.  Based on what I learned in First Grade, it made sense.

Then, as a Government Service Civilian Employee, I saw this work in reverse, sort of.  An Engineer and a Machinist Technician from the Gun Branch at NAVSEACENLANT were working on a gun mount on a Cruiser.  The Captain of the ship, an O-6, wanted an update and summoned the NAVSEAACENLANT representatives to his in port cabin.  Both were dirty, sweaty, and covered in grease and oil.  The Engineer wiped off his hands and was ready to go.  The old Machinist, took off his coveralls, cleaned up, put on his shirt and tie.  They both went to the Captains in port cabin.  They entered and began their briefing.  The Captain told the old Machinist;  Send your worker back to work and you and I will have a cup of coffee and discuss progress.  Naturally, the Engineer was livid!  But, he learned that; "Clothes make the man!"


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The First Lay was asked to help someone in a Target store!

The President and the First Lady are saying racism still exists because they were asked to help someone or the President, at one time, was mistaken for a parking lot attendant.

So What!!  It happens to everyone.  I was flying back from the Med, we were in baggage claim at Kennedy, I was in Dress Blues, a Master Chief Gunner's Mate, Gold Hash marks and Crow, Cover on, and a Orthodox Jew, sack cloth suit, beard, yam aka, and wide brimmed black hat, handed me $5 and asked me to carry his bags to the car!!

Better yet, Master Chief of the Navy Bob Walker, in Dinner Dress Blues, at a formal Military event in Norfolk, Virginia, was handed the keys to a car and told not to scratch it when he retrieved their car!!

People are unconscious and ignorant most of the time.  They do not know who they are talking too.  They are too observed in their own importance!!  

In the First Lady's instance, she was dressed in a way she would NOT be noticed!  She was undercover, so she could go shopping.  A lady asked her to reach a bottle of detergent because the lady was too short to reach it.  The First Lady is tall!  I get asked to reach things on the top shelf all the time.  People in electric chairs, short people, older people, even kids.  I am not offended and I do not say people are discriminating against me because I am Slovenian, have dark skin, and a big nose!

Again, people don't even know who their neighbors are.  How can we expect them to recognize a military uniform or a public figure dressed to conceal their identity.   It has nothing to do with racial prejudice.  It has everything to do with selfishness and stupidity!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Navy Times reports the Russians are targeting the U.S. Navy!!

How many times have I written about this very topic!  What about the DDG that was incapacitated by the Russian bombers?  Or the Russian submarines in the Gulf of Mexico?   The Russians are gathering intelligence and testing our resolve and readiness for future reference! Now the question is, future reference for what?!

You can draw your own conclusions, but I believe the Russians think the U.S. Navy is their biggest threat for a retaliatory strike in the case of a Russian preemptive attack on the U.S.  I believe Russia is suffering so badly from economic misdealing that Premier Putin is attempting to stir the nationalistic furor of the Russian people in order to have them suffer even greater economic depression.  To accomplish this shell game, Putin needs a fight with an easily hated opponent.  Guess who that is?!

Premier Putin believes America is weak and without political resolve. He believes we will NOT fight back!  And he may very well be correct!  But the fact that he is testing the U.S. Navy tells me we are the only portion of the U.S. Military he is concerned with.  That is good and bad.

Good, because we are causing him to pause and test us.  Bad, because we will be the first ones to engage the Russian forces!  Remember, they have been building up their submarine forces for 20 years.  And we quit doing ASW after the end of the Cold War!!  I suspect we could not prosecute a submarine if the submarine was playing "Dixie" on the ships entertainment system at 1000 decibels!!

So, Navy, we are on the spot.  How do I justify that statement.  The semi-official newspaper "Navy Times" did a front page article on it!  Maybe it is time to brush up on Russian Navy tactics!  Keep your powder dry!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Old sayings on the 1MC

I have received some comments recently about an older post I wrote relating to the things we heard on the 1MC on our ships.  While many of those sayings were humorous on their own, some could be even funnier if you added some ad-libs.

For instance, someone sent me the announcement for divers of]ver the side.  Of course, divers over the side is a safety concern.  moving the screws or rudders could hurt or kill a diver.  Taking suction form the main induction could trap or kill a diver also.  But think about combining the standard diver's announcement with what they tell us about retransmission of a baseball game!

"There are divers over the side.  Do not throw anything over the side, cycle rudders, rotate screws, take suction from or discharge to the sea; Without the express written permission from the commissioner of baseball!

Then, there was always the announcement of the laundry and dry cleaner's trucks on the pier.

Liberty Cleaners is on the pier for pick up and delivery!!  No kidding!  I thought they just came down to look at Navy ships!

And you always knew which Junior Officer was in trouble with the Executive Officer.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Smith, LAY to the Executive Officer's stateroom!!   In stead of;  Lieutenant Smith, your presence is requested in the Executive Officer's stateroom.

Standing Quarterdeck watches was always a challenge.  Rendering Honors to Commanding Officers, maintaining the Plan of the Day, and security of the ship kept you hopping!  But, there was always a chance to find humor in the daily events and that is what makes the Navy a great organization!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Another Commanding Officer gets fired!!

The Commanding Officer of the USS Boxer was relieved for trying to make sure his sailors were ready to deploy!!  That is not what the report directly said, but it IS what it said between the lines.

The first allegation is he asked female and male sailors alike if they were using birth control.  Someone thought that was sexual harassment!  Let's see, if a female sailor gets pregnant, married or not, she cannot deploy!  Seems to me, BIRTH CONTROL  is a portion of Combat Readiness.  Also, if a female sailor gets pregnant during the deployment, she has to leave the ship in her first three months of pregnancy.  Again, a trained, experienced sailor has to depart the ship, most likely WITHOUT relief!!!!!  Again, a Combat Readiness issue.

Then there is the complaint that he yelled and cussed at sailors when their did wrong!  What?!?!  I am at a loss for words on this one.  Has the Navy and America became so politically correct and so soft, thin skinned, and feminized that a little cussing and yelling is considered a reason to relieve a Captain??!!  God help us of we ever get in a war.

Look, sailing on War Ships and going to war is tough business.  If you cannot do your job correctly, quickly, and efficiently, someone is going to hurt of even die!  In the gun tubs of the 20MM Anti-Aircraft guns on the USS Alabama, is printed in BIG RED LETTERS; "Lead, Damn It, LEAD!"  This was to remind the Gunner's to shoot in front of the enemy aircraft.  Would that be considered a reason to relieve the Commanding Officer?  It seems in today's Navy, it would indeed.

One other issue was the CO was caustic with his Port Engineer.  Almost every CO I have seen has caustic moments with his or her Port Engineer.  I find many of the Port Engineers self-serving, egotistical, assholes!   I have seldom seen a Port Engineer that had the well being of the crew anywhere in his priority list.   So, again, the CO being caustic to the Port Engineer is his job!!  Just my opinion.

This is a travesty if what I read in the report from the San Diego news paper is correct.  This CO was doing his job.  Trying to make and keep his ship ready to deploy.  If you get fired for that, I recommend never going into the Command at Sea world!!  But I already decided the CMC program has become a political place for those who are not professional enough to be a Master Chief in their Rating!  Again, my opinion.

I believe this firing is the quintessential signal that there is no war fighters in the hierarchy of the Navy.  The Admirals are a bunch of politically correct, brown nose, suits who's only desire id to get promoted and make money, at the expense of anyone that has the misfortune to work for them, Officer or Enlisted!!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Why I love the Navy

I have not written about some circumstances of my life.  But now, as my disease progresses, I believe it is time, while I still remember all the details, to explain my life and my love for the Navy.

The woman who gave birth to me, was pregnant out of wedlock, to a Marine she met in a bar.  He was a louse and deserted her when he found out she was pregnant.  She was a brave woman and carried me to birth.  Believe me, in 1950 and 1951, that was a brave thing to do.  She could have had a back alley abortion.  Plenty of women did.  But, she did not and I am thankful for that.  I am sorry that I am not thankful for much of anything else she did in my life.  And as far as the man who impregnated my Mother and his family, I only wish they would have given me a chance.   I did talk to him once.  He was aery, 31 years after I was born.  So much for happy endings!!

My Mother could not take care of me and I was taken in by a friend or acquaintance of hers, who had already raised all of her children.  I ended up calling them Mom and Dad and I loved them all of my life.  They were there for me in all that I did.  My bad times and my good times.  They were there when I graduated from Boot Camp, Gunner's Mate "C" School, and when I came back from my first WestPac.  Mom and Dad were there for me and treated me like I was their own.

The man who made my mother pregnant and his parents did not want to have ANYTHING to do with me!  They did pay my mother $10,000 to go away and she did.  To this day, the Dolence family will have nothing to do with me.  You know those TV news articles about children that are reunited with their mother that abandoned them or siblings they never met.  How those stories are all love and happiness.  Well, in my life that is not true.

Another issue is, my Mother did not like her Step Mother, so she had little or nothing to do with her father or her brothers and sisters.  So, I have little or no contact with anyone related to me by blood.

Therefore, I was always trying to fit in with people I was not related too.  We lived in a rented home next to Puritas Springs Park on Puritas Road in Cleveland Ohio.  No plumbing, coal furnace.  I was about 5 when I was told, by the oldest Gooding boy, the family that owned Puritas Springs Park, that I was not Mr. and Mrs. Mills' child and my name was not Mills.  He told me my Mother paid them to take care of me.  I was heart broken!! Devastated!!

I am not sure I ever got over that.  My Mother was in and out of my life.  She gave birth to three other illegitimate children.  Two girls and another boy.  Every time she got pregnant she came back to the Mills' for help.  I really don't remember the pregnancies, I was small then.  All of this was hidden from me until after Mom dies and I pried some information out of they son, then my Foster Sister, and then, finally, my Mother.  She was bitter that I wanted to know the truth.  She lied to me my entire life.  Told me my father was killed in Korea!!   Of course, there was never any survivor benefits, college or help of any kind.  I guess I was gullible.  I was never told the truth until I was 31 years old!!

My Foster Sister has told me about them and brought some memories back to memory, but those are fuzzy at best.

As far as Mom and Dad Mills' children, I was really not welcome.  The oldest girl, had her first child, a boy, 11 days after I was born.  But Mom and Dad were paying attention to me and probably neglected David.  I can understand their bitterness and I hold no grudges there.

The Mills' middle child, a girl, and I made friends and she has stood by me and helped me through out my life.  I was close friends with her husband and her children.  I love her like a sister.  But the other children and me have not been close.  Again I understand.

I looked and looked for acceptance.  I was not the most popular kid in school.  I quit High School in the second half of the twelfth grade.  I joined the Navy, because that seemed like a good idea, and it was!

I took me until my first ship to fully understand how well I fitted in the Navy.  I did well in Boot Camp, but I still felt like an outcast.   The last day in Boot Camp, we were paid, in cash!  We we are all rolling in dough, about $100 a person.  During the day, one of our shipmates stole some one's money.  I went to my Company Commander and told him about my juvenile record and asked him to search my locker and belongings first.  I felt guilty, useless, and like trash!!  I did not take the money and the Company Commander told me so.  He also said, he would NOT search my locker because I was honest with him!!  The light of hope was beginning to show in my eyes!!

Then, because of my color vision deficiency I was sent to Personnelman "A" School.  I was not the typewriter type.  I was a car mechanic.  But, I went, and soon got in trouble over a girl!  I went UA for two days.  Then, because Mom threatened to kill me, I went back and turned myself in.  I was sure I was going to the Brig for twenty years.  But, the Chief actually understood.  The Executive Officer didn't!  He thought the fact that I was saying I was wrong and I expected to be punished was some sort of scam!  The Commanding Officer, the first Four Stripe Captain I had ever seen, actually appreciated my honesty and only gave me two weeks extra duty and two weeks restriction.  Oh, and he charged me two days leave for the days I was gone!  Then he asked me;  Do you want to be a Personnelman?  No Sir!  I want to be a Gunner's Mate.  SO, he sent me to sea.

I reported to the USS Mullinnix (DD 944) in Norfolk Virginia.  Three 5"/54 gun mounts and a twin mount 3"/50.  I was sure it was a Battleship!!  The smell of the steam lines, the gray sky, ships moored everywhere was mesmerizing to me.  I was placed in First Division with the Boatswains Mates and non-designated seaman.  I did whatever I was told!  And I noticed, the harder I worked, the better things were.

One day, I was in the chow line for lunch.  The Chief Gunner's Mate, GMGC Sadowski, came up to me and said;  I hear you want to be a Gunner's Mate?  Yes sir Chief!!  He then asked;  What is you GCT/ARI.  Those were the tests we took that showed our aptitude.  I answered; 122, Chief!   Chief Sadowski said;  You're a Gunner's Mate.  Muster with me in the morning!!

In Gun Division, I did everything as I was told!  Why, the two GMG1's took me on a space tour and in Mount 51'a magazine, the beat the shit out of me.  Then they said;  If you do what you are told, and you don't talk back and you don't get in trouble, you MAY not come down her again with us!!   Good motivation since GMG1 Phillips ad GMG1 Straight were both gorillas!!  I made GMG3 on the Mullinnix.  I also got my GED which also qualified me for a High School Diploma from John Marshall High School in Cleveland, my school, since I had met all the graduation requirements before I quit!

From there, I was sent to Gunner's Mate "A" School and "C" School.  I made GMG 2in school through the Fleet Wide Advancement Test.  I also met Chief Mowery and Chief Morris who became my career mentors!!   Then to the USS Stein (DE 1065).

I met my wife while I was on the USS Stein in the yards in Long Beach.  She was a student at BIOLA College in LaMirada.  That was almost 42 years ago!  She is the first individual, outside of the Navy, that accepted me as I was.  And yes, I did tell her my entire life's story before we were married.

I learned that no matter where you came from, how rich or poor you were, how much education you had, or who you know, you would be judged by your performance, dedication, and ability to follow orders in the Navy!  I had found the one place I really fit in!!

So, in my mind today, I am still IN the Navy!  Why, because I am comfortable there.   My past, before the Navy is not pleasant or comfortable for me.  But even the hardest Navy days are a good memory for me.  Yes, I failed and succeeded in the Navy.  when I failed, the Navy Leadership and my Shipmates picked me up, kicked me in the rear, and told me to do better!  Now that's family!

I wish, very much, that someone named Dolence or Kampf would be glad to see me or hear from me.  But, I know that is a futile wish.  But, every week, a shipmate calls me and we reconnect, like we were never apart.

As my Lewy Body Dementia progresses, I know I will once again be a Navy Master Chief, at least in my mind.  And I will be with friends that accept me for what I am, not where I came from.  Thanks Shipmates!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How we did things in the "Old Days"

I need to think about the Navy I served in.  The happenings of the present just cause me problems of the highest magnitude.  For instance, before the MK 42 5"/54 gun mount, we could fire our guns without any electricity!  We could manually train and elevate the gun into position, load, and fire the gun either using the emergency battery or the food treadle that activated the percussion firing pin!!  Even 16"/50 turrets could be fired with out electrical power.  But, you coned not get ammo into the gun room without electrical power, so, you were limited to maybe one round per barrel if you had ammo in the gun room.  But 5"/38 twin, single, open or enclosed could fire all day with our electricity!  Of course, the 40 MM and 20 MM could also.  The 3"/50 RF could not, because of the loader but the old 3"/50 slow fire could!  Heck, a Gehering Class Destroyer could keep firing until it sunk!!  Not so today.

Then, I got thinking about battery alignment.  My dogs were barking at the Mailman and it reminded me of "Shooting the Moon" for battery alignment!  We used to place bore sight in the gun barrel and align it with the muzzle disc.  The Fire Controlmen would place a scope in the dish of the radar on the director and they would sight on the moon.  The, we would hand crank the gun mount in train and elevation, until we saw the moon in our scope.  The, on the sound power phones, the Gunner's Mate looking through the bore sight in the gun and the Fire Controlman looking through the scope in the radar dish would start saying; "MARK, MARK, MARK" every time the moon was in the reticle they determined they would accept.  When the two of them said; "MARK" at the same time, we would read the position dials on the Receiver Regulators for train and elevation.  If they were nit exactly the same, the gun mount would have to adjust their receiver regulator to match the master element, the Fire Control Director.  That was how we did battery alignment before the Theodolite Alignment system we use now!!

And yes, when the two were saying; "MARK, MARK, MARK" they sounded like a hair lipped dog!  That's why my dogs reminded me of that story.

Maybe, we need a few weapons systems that don't need electricity!  Just in case.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What frightened the USS Donald Cook in the Black Sea?!

I read a story, sent to my by a very god friend, on www.voltairenet.org/article185860.html.  I challenge you to read this article with your eyes WIDE open!!

This article verifies everything I have written in the past about where we stand as a world military power.  The fact that one Russian fighter bomber can and DID completely disable all systems on the most advanced U.S. Navy warship, and then fly 12 attack runs on the ship, should cause you to fall into the fetal position and cry for your Mom!!

Our Navy is too small, to dependent on electronics, poorly maintained, and manned by a social experiment that is not trained to do their job.  If you disagree with me, post your evidence to the contrary.  I will post your reply.  The fact is, I am correct!! What I say is based in over 40 years of Navy, shipboard, combat experience.

And as far as the social experiment goes;  I want to know how many of those who want to quit on the USS Donald Cook are female or Gay!?  There I said it.  If that happened to my ship, I would be pissed, redouble training, and tr yto find our how to prevent it, even if I had to purchase the aluminum foiled to wrap the cables in, myself!!

This technology is not new to the Russians.  And our Navy has know about EMP for a while.  But a single Fighter Bomber that can produce the electronic force the shut down and KEEP a DDG shut down for as long as the Fighter Bomber wanted too, is something new.

I actually wrote a post a while ago, about a similar incident into Persian Gulf where a US Navy warship had all their electrical and electrons time keeping devices STOPPED at the same time when a ship passed them in the middle of the Persian Gulf!!  I was asked my opinion then, and I said, EMP!  The Officers and Senior Civilians at SURFLANT told me I was crazy.  I wonder what they would say now.

The bottom line is, we are loosing our ability to defend America.  We have already lost our ability to control the seas and insure international trade, which used to be a mission of the United States Navy!

One more point that MUST be made.  If the Russians can completely shutdown a DDG, they can completely shutdown an Aircraft Carrier and the entire airing, in flight!!

Thanks Tim!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

I am beginning to feel defenseless!!

Let's see, the Chinese are deploying nuclear submarines in the Persian Gulf, UNDETECTED!  The Russians deployed and operated a nuclear submarine in the waters of a Scandinavian nation without being found.  The Russians have deployed nuclear submarines that are capable of launching Ballistic missiles in the Gulf of Mexico and off the East Coast of the United States.  The Russians are making Nuclear Armed bomber patrols in the Gulf of Mexico, on the East Coast of The United States, and into NATO air space.  Iran has deployed submarines into the Western Hemisphere.  And finally, Russia is invading the Ukraine!

What is the response of the United States?  Nothing!  No comment!  Snoring!  Oh, and we are reducing our Military forces BELOW pre- World War One levels!!!   And the Administration plans to reduce further!!!

We have multiple enemies, with nuclear weapons, with the ability to launch them on targets in the Continental United States.  Russia has declared the United States their ADVERSARY!   And China and Russia have decided to work together against the United States!!   Iran and Russia have signed another agreement to build more nuclear reactors that will produce more fissionable material to build nuclear bombs!   We have not been in this deep a hole since World War Two.  

Since no one seems to know or understand these facts, so I just thought it was my duty to inform you.  Sleep well America!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

American Sailors attacked in Istanbul Turkey!

First, let me give you a disclaimer.  I was in Turkey a number of times and make friends with a couple of Turkish Navy Chiefs.  I met a Turkish Navy Admiral that spoke better English than I do.  I felt respected, safe, and was treated with a level of hospitality that only Israel rivals.  But, that was over 30 years ago.

While Turkey has been an Islamic nation for centuries, they were more moderate and accepting of other cultures back then.  Bow, Turkey has a radical Islamic government and the young men are embracing Radical Islam.

These are the young men that attacked our three sailors.  But the thing I saw was young sailors that had to run away instead of fighting!  Yes, they were obviously young and probably inexperienced.  And yes, the Navy is probably happy our sailors did not fight back.  I expect the Administration is also happy.  But, is this the image of our "Fighting Men" we want.

It brings to mind what sailors like Harold "Suitcase" Simpson, Jim Smith, Harold Wheeler, Horace Benford, or Bill Mowery would have done.  I can tell you, without reservation, that there would have been Muslim blood on the street.  Lots of it!

But, our sailors are not what we were 30 years ago.  Yes, they can run a mile and a half, fast.  Do many sit-ups and touch their toes.  The don't use profanity, tell dirty jokes, chase women, or heaven forbid, drink alcohol!  No, they are pure as the driven snow, 90 pound weaklings who would rather run than fight!

As for me.  I offer this to any Islamic asshole, anywhere.  Jump me, please, JUMP ME!!  You may win since I am older and slower than I was 30 years ago.  But, as I have tried to educate you about, I am the most dangerous man you will ever fight.  Why, because I have nothing to loose!!  I may loose, but I bet those who attack me will loose much more,  Like their male sex organs!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day; 2014

Well, here we are again!  The day others try to make amends for treating us like shit the other 364 days of the year!  

Sorry if that sounds sarcastic or bitter, but I/we have earned it.  If you have a disability related to your service and the VA has repeatedly denied it;  You deserve to be bitter.  If your retirement/retainer check has not kept up with the REAL  cost of living; You deserve to be bitter.  If you cannot get employment;  You deserve to be bitter.  If a draft dodger or a druggie is getting more help from the government than you, who ACTUALLY served;  You deserve to be better.

Yes, I believe we have been used, abuse, mistreated, lied too, cheated, and thrown away like the trash the leaders of our nation think we are!

Just one example.  Agent Orange.  Great, the Veterans that served in country and on the rivers get almost automatic compensation for their diseases and injuries caused by Agent Orange.  It took the death of Admiral Zumwalt's son to get they through.  And consequently, the Admiral died from Agent Orange issues also!

But, what about those of us who served on Navy ships, directly off the coast of Vietnam?!!  The VA says NO to us!  Yes, there is a long standing fight being waged by the Navy Blue Water folks, but we are being shut out.  Why, it would cost too much!  It is ALWAYS money, not people that matters!

So, the politicians make speeches, restaurants give us free meals, new casters make statements, and they show John Wayne war movies on television.  Then, tomorrow, we are ignored and pissed on for the rest of the year!!   Nothing has changed and nothing ever will until we quit going to war for the rich people in the $5000 suits!!

The politicians like to have photos taken with us and then they go wash their hands and burn their clothes!  I guess they think they will catch something from us!  I actually watched the Mayor of Virginia Beach do exactly that after the receiving line for a Sailor of the Year Banquet!

Like I have said before, please do not tell me; "Thanks for your service".  Instead, lobby you congressman and Senator for real pay raised for active and retired military personnel.  Lobby for real VA reform.  Lobby for truth on the chemicals the military Industrial complex exposed us too without our permission!  I don't care if you honor my service!  I do care if my wife is provided for after this disease the Navy caused kills me.

Do I sound sarcastic and bitter?!  I sure hope so, because I deserve to be!  And so do you.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

My life

I have had a wonderful, full, exciting, rewarding life!  It is true.  I have done things most men only dream of.  I exceeded any expectations anyone had about my life, thanks to God!  But, as I look back, I wonder what I will be remembered for.

I was a normal child.  A bit precocious.  I was a difficult teenager.   Got in some trouble, but thanks to my Mom, I survived.  I quit High School and joined the Navy.   That is where I found my niche!  The Navy liked me and I liked the Navy.

My Navy career lead to my Civil Service career.   I spent 40 years working for the Department of the Navy.  Twenty years in uniform and 20 years as a civil servant.  The Navy also introduced me to the love of my life.  Linda.  We have been married for over 41 years and yes, I asked her to marry me the day after I met her on a blind date.  She did say yes.

But, besides being a Gunner's Mate, a Master Chief, a Shipmate, a friend, a teacher, a mentor, a leader, a boss, a team mate, a subordinate, a husband, a Dad, a Grandfather, I am also a Pastor and have a Pastor's heart.  I love my Ministry.  At one time I was in children's ministry but now, I Minister to senior citizens in an Assisted Living Facility.  This is the most precious part of my life.

My wife, has mentored me as a Christian.  She taught me, showed me how much better life is when you follow Jesus.  She suffered with me when I was not such a nice fellow and corrected me, gently, when I stumbled.

It would be good if I was remembered as a good Gunner's Mate, or a good Master Chief.  I would be much happier if I was remembered as a good husband or a good father and grandfather.  And maybe as a fair man in my dealings with those I worked with.


But, I would really like to be remembered as someone who tried his best to follow my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Did I stumble and fail.   Yes, but Jesus pick me up, dusted me off, and shoved me in the right direction.

If, when God calls me home, you think of me at all, remember how Jesus influenced my life.  Especially those of you who have know me from my drinking years until now.  You can truly see the changes in my life.

Just thinking.  My life has truly been interesting.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The cost of training sailors, or not!

Admiral Jon Greenert the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) stated at a Brookings Institute speech that we need to make training faster.  What he really means is, we need to make training cheaper!

He went on to complain about the length of the training pipeline for a Fire Control Technician on the AEGIS Weapons system.  His specific complaint was that it took two years of training to get an AEGIS Tech into the fleet.  In my view, the Admiral shows his lack of understanding and knowledge of Enlisted training with these statements.

The CNO also mdd it sound like we were giving a new sailor a Master's Degree on the AEGIS Weapons System.  Nothing could be further from the truth!

Before I retired from Civil Service, I worked for a Command that provided technical assistance for every system in the Navy, except nuclear reactors and Flight Deck gear.  We had thousands of Master Technicians that seldom stayed in the office!  They traveled to ships, submarines, and Aircraft Carriers, worldwide to repair the sophisticated and complex systems of the Navy.  If we are doing such a great job of training the Fleet Sailors, why are the Master Technicians of the Regional Maintenance Centers racking up frequent flyer miles and overtime?

Another point the CNO missed was that  the AEGIS pipeline IS broken into systems.  A young sailor out of Boot Camp learns ONE subsystem go AEGIS in his or her first training cycle.  Computers, SPY 1 Radar, Fire Control Systems, are all separate training pipelines. Not until the sailor is on his or her third sea tour, about the 12 year mark of a career, does that sailor know, in-depth, the entire AEGIS System.

Another point is, when I went to Gunner's Mate "A" and "C" schools, our training was hands on!  Now, most if not all training across the entire Enlisted spectrum is computer based.  No hands on and no practical maintenance or troubleshooting training!  This fact shows in the simplicity of some of the CASREPS the RMC's respond to.

I actually sent a SPS 49 Air Search Radar Master Technician to Bahrain from Norfolk, at a minutes notice, to replace a fuze!  Now, that trip was after we told the tech onboard to check for blown fuzes and had the tech come back and tell us there were no blown fuzes!  We exhausted all "Distance Support" troubleshooting and finally gave up and sent the tech to Bahrain.  Now if the training pipeline is so good, why can't the leading SPS 49 tech onboard see the red glare of a blown fuze indicator!?!

Still another point.  How many of you understood how a CDX or TDX synchro differential operated until the instructor put that synchro simulator in front of you and allowed you to play with it for a while?  Many of us are not good at computer based training, but give us the real thing and we can figure it out with limited instruction.

The Navy has torn down many of the hands on training facilities, like Gunnery School at Great Lakes, and replaced them with cubicles with computers in them.  No hands on, no real equipment to learn from, and no real experience!  For most Enlisted personnel, the first time they see the real thing is on their first ship!!

So, I believe once more that the politicians, in uniform and in Brooks Brothers suits, are out of touch, full of shit, and pushing an agenda that will further cripple our military!!

We need better training, practical training, for our sailors.  Everything we have tried in Navy Enlisted training since the late 1960's has failed.  Then number of civilian tech assists on Navy ships and submarines proves that beyond ANY reasonable doubt!!  

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Friday afternoon, down at the bar!

When I was an instructor at Gun School, Great Lakes, we used to head to a bar on Sheridan Road every Friday.  The bar was in a big house that was converted to a bar.  It had all the required equipment.  A bar, stools, a pool table, and a juke box.

Now this was 1974 or so and it was still 3 plays for a quarter on the juke box.  It seemed that every Friday when we came in, there were a bunch of "Hippie" looking fellows in the bar.  No problem.  GMM1 Edwards would put Five Dollars in quarters in the juke box and play one song over and over and over again.

That song was Little Johnny Russell singing; "Red Necks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer"!!!

About halfway through that Five Dollars, only Gunner's Mates were in the bar!  Funny how that worked.

I miss those days!

Friday, October 31, 2014

The way we used to do it!

I have written about my friend, GMCM (SW) James Andrew Smith, before.  He was an old style Gunner's Mate.  He was an exceptional MK 42 Gunner's Mate with a very strong mechanical background.  Late in his career, after his first heart attack and a quad by-pass, he got orders to a DDG in San Diego.  A week or so after reporting aboard, the ship was supposed to get underway.  

The Snipes were unable to get underway because a pump was leaking and they did not have any gasket material.  The Chief Machinist Mate was going to order some gasket material and that would take a while, delaying the ships departure.  Jim did not like that!  So, he went down to the Engine Room and after looking at the pump, he told one of the Firemen to go up to the Bridge and get some chart paper from the Quartermasters!!  The Chief Machinist Mate and the Fireman looked at Jim like he was crazy.  But, Jim was insistent and they got the chart paper.  Jim made a gasket out of a few layers of chart paper, put the pump back together.  The pump did NOT leak and the ship got underway, on time!!

Another time, the same DDG was underway doing an Anti-Aircraft Gunnery Exercise.  The idea of the exercise was to engage the towed target with Mount 51 and then turn the ship and bring Mount 52 into action.  They had tried to do the exercise a few times and could not unmask Mount 52 in time.  Jim, storms to the bridge and asked; Which one of you college educated dummies is driving the ship!?  The Captain of the ship was on the bridge and he asked Jim; Do you think you can do better?  Jim said; No problem!  So, the Captain announced;  In the Pilot House, Senior Chief Smith has the deck and the conn!

They commenced the exercise again, the aircraft towing the target made it's pass.  The Commenced fire with Mount 51, Jim ordered the turn, and Mount 52 was unmasked and clear to fire!  The ship passed the exercise with a great grade.  The Captain then said;  Senior Chief, YOU are now the GQ Officer of the Deck!!

Old sailors could do anything!  There was nothing they would not try to repair, master, or solve.  I was taught by these men who did not know the meaning of the words quit, give up, or can't be done!  As a matter of fact, they did not know the meaning of many words!  But they were Fleet Sailors!  And I was proud to sail with them!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

History repeats itself!

Back during the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, we had America diplomats and Embassy workers held hostage in Iran.  President Carter did NOT trust the Military and turned to H. Ross Perot to develop a rescue mission.  Mr. Perot's idea was to set up a shill company and start selling F-4 and helicopter repair parts to the Iranians.  He would deliver these parts, with a C-130, making numerous flights a week to Tehran.  This would get the Iranian military used to seeing that C-130 flying in their air space.

Then one day, the delivery plane would arrive but it would have technical issues opening the cargo hatch.  While they were dealing with the malfunction, another plane would fly over the city and spray it with a nerve agent that rendered everyone paralyzed for 24 hours.  Then, the cargo doors would open and a rescue team would emerge in vehicles and go to the American Embassy and rescue the hostages.

The President did not uses this plan.   He thought it was too dangerous and did not want to injure Iranian citizens!

Now, speed forward to today.  I read in Drudge that Germany is dealing with an increase in Russian war planes flying into German airspace.  Each time the Russians fly combat aircraft into German airspace, they have to scramble fighters to investigate.

Since this is happening, more and more, I believe the Russians are taking a page from Mr. Perot's plan.  How?   Get them used to Russian overflights that do not seem aggressive, and then, when NATO countries stop scrambling fighters to investigate the overflights, the fight will be on!!

I could be wrong.  But, it bears watching!  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Those of us in uniform are targets of the bad guys!

I wrote before about the Islamic Terrorists targeting those in uniform and their families.   If you watch the news, you have seen a number of Military and Police members who were killed recently by those who follow and support Islamic Terrorism.

I also told you, there ARE NO PEACEFUL or GOOD Islamic People!  I meant that and I stand by it.  But, history backs me up!  Recent and past history.

First, stay off social media and protect your families.

Second, get your families qualified and comfortable with a gun.

Third, get concealed carry permits and CARRY!  You and your splice.  You children if they are old enough!

This is not the first time those of us in Uniform have been targeted by the bad guys.  During the Vietnam war protesters sought us out.  Mostly we were harassed, pushed around, and pissed on!

During that time, we were ordered NOT to were our uniforms in Washington DC!  True!!  When I was first stationed at BUPERS, we wore civilian clothes, except Tuesday.  Tuesday, we wore uniforms.

During President Reagan's inauguration, while he was reviewing the Military Honor Guard on the Capitol Steps, he asked the Officer in Charge, where the rest of the Military members were in Washington?  The next day, we were back in Uniform!!

Look,  it is a shame that we are targets in our own country.  But, we cannot run scared.  I plan on putting my Uniform on and walking around Pensacola.  If some Islamic Terrorist wants me, bring it on!

Remember, the most dangerous man you will ever come up against is one that has nothing to loose.  I am that dangerous man!!  Bring it on Farkle!!  

Monday, October 20, 2014

When is it time to retire?

I had a visit from an old shipmate and his wife last week.  They are about our age and they are retired.  My best friend is retired, much like me, with physical issues, but retired.  His wife still works at a career that has always been her dream.  I have other long time Navy friends that are still working.  I look at those who are still working, at 62, 63, 64, 65, and wonder; When IS IT time to retire?

I did not have a choice.  Because of Lewy Body Dementia, I could no longer do my job, even with the many accommodations the wonderful folks I worked for were willing to make.  And believe me, they tried to do anything and everything that could possibly be done to keep me working.  But, if you cannot remember what you are doing or how to do what you did forever, it is time to retire.

But what about those who do not have health limitations?  When should they retire?

Well, first the facts of life.  No one ever said with their dying breath; "I wish I had worked longer!"  No, when the end of your life is near,you realize just how much of your life was taken up, making money, you will not enjoy.  Or the person who dies at work from a stroke or heart attack?!

Now, those of us who made the Military a career, did things most civilians do not believe.   We risked our lives, probably many times, and lived!  So, why shouldn't we enjoy as much retirement as we can? Yet, some people are so worried about money that they can never retire.  I knew a GS 14 that retired from Civil Service and immediately went to work for a civilian ship repair company.  He owned  income property, stocks, and had money in the bank.  But, he worked until he died!  True.  He never enjoyed what he had because he was always busy getting more that he would never spend, just to have security.

We never know when God will call us to judgement.  We do know we will not live in this body forever.  So, when is it time to retire?

Another fact of life.  You will never have enough money!  True, if your motivator, security, and peace is tied up in your net worth, you will never have enough and you will never be happy.  So, you will work until you die!

But, if you peace, security, happiness comes from your family, your spouse, your Church, your friends, your Lord, money is not such a goal.  Yes, we have to have enough to live.  But, my Navy brothers and sisters have they retirement check, social security, and probably a retirement check from their second job.  Not to mention savings, IRA's, and possibly a retirement from their spouse's career.  So, again, I ask, when is it time to retire.

Let me try to answer that.  First, if you have an incurable, possibly terminal, disease; RETIRE now!   And if at all possible, have your spouse retire also.  Why, how many deployments did you make?  Training deployments before the real deployments?  Yard periods out of home port?  How about transfers where your uprooted your family and required your spouse to change careers?  Wouldn't it be good to spend the good time you have left with your spouse, children, grand children?   How much time did you miss with your children?!

If you are not impacted by a disease that cannot be cured and may cause you to have an early death, retire anyway!  Yes, retire!  Get rid of all those THINGS that cause you to work to pay for them, worry to maintain them, and are expensive to maintain and insure!  Do you really need a 3500 square foot home?   The kids are gone.  Two bedrooms is plenty.  How about all those things on your insurance police.  When is the last time you used the boat, camper, vacation home, jewelry collection, other collectibles, that I like to call dust collectors?

Wouldn't life be more fun if you were free to go see the kids, Mount Rushmore, or a NASCAR Race?  How about winters in Arizona and summers in Michigan?  Could you live with that?  You bet you could. So, do it!  Before it is too late and out of your physical reach.  If you are in a nursing home, or tied to a Dialysis machine, travel is to on the Plan of the Day!

What I am saying is, do not be afraid to live, while you can.



Friday, October 17, 2014

The Fleet Sailors I remember!

I have written about the men I served with before.  But, I was at the Commissary today and saw whimsy sailors in the "Chief" wannabe uniform and I started thinking about those men again.   I hate the uniforms our men wear today.  That powder blue camp uniform is embarrassing.  The khaki shirt and black pants make sailors look like prison guards.

The men I remember had arms so muscular their dungaree shirts were pulled tight over their biceps.  They had necks that measures over 19 inches!  And those were the Yeomen!!  Of course, they did not have word processing programs.  They had to punch the keys on a manual typewriter!

We did all the working parties, in port, at sea, in the yards, to replenish anything!  Stores, for, ammunition, fuel, and sometimes water!  They were TAD to the vent team, cleaning and painting the engineering spaces for OPPE, painting the side of the ship, chipping and painting decks, and refurbishing compartments during overhauls.

We worked from breakfast to supper, everyday.  The first ship I was on, we worked every Saturday!  There were no 72 hour liberties, in home port or anywhere else.  We wore starched, pressed, dungarees to Quarters.  Then shifted into our stained dungarees and work boots for the days work.  We wore Undress Whites or Blues to pull in or get underway, even as line handlers.

And, I know you will not believe this, but we had to wear Undress Blues or Whites, NOT DUNGAREES, to eat the evening meal, in port and at sea!!!

Yes, we drank too much beer and booze.  Yes, we came back drunk from liberty.  Yes, we occasionally got into fist fights.  Yes, we chased professional women.   WE chain smoked "Camels".  We made the use of Profanity and art form!!  We were not without our sins.  But we were tough, trained, dedicated, professionals, that know our Ratings, front to back!  We prided ourselves on our knowledge and abilities and see Sea Stories to tell other about the things we did and experienced.  We hung out together, in our work spaces, after the days work was done. We waited for "Mail Call" after an underway replenishment.  We even posted Mail Buoy watches as a prank!

Now, our Sailors use email to do everything.  Mail Call is nonexistent. Sea Stories are never told, because our Sailors live on computers instead of in groups, talking and laughing.  Since our ships have females on them, we now chase our females  shipmates and get in trouble for it!  Everyone has a car, a house or an apartment, computers, boats, and everything else that gets in the way of sea duty.   No one goes to "The Club" for lunch!   Everything we used to do is now "Not Politically Correct"!

I realize I am a dinosaur!  And I know the "Old Navy" will never return.  But, those memories of the tough, productive, professional Navy that I grew up in, still live in my heart and mind.  I believe, puns for pound, our Navy was much more capable and tough than it is today!  At least, that is my opinion.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

You CAN screw the hired help!

My best friend and I had our weekly telephone call today.  I would much rather it be in person but I am imprisoned in Florida for life.  In any case, we were discussing the many Commanding Officers Executive Officers and Command Master Chief that have been relieved for sexual dalliances.   It came into my mind, the Navy and the Military as a whole, will HAVE  to give up on sexual purity!

Yes, the so called leadership of our Nations military boys and girls clubs will be compelled to let boys and girls, girls and girls, boys and boys, or any group made up of any of these parties, to have sex, anytime, anywhere, PERIOD, without penalty.  To take my opinion further, they will be able to co-habitate in barracks, housing, berthing spaces, bunks, staterooms, and fan rooms if they want too!

Why do I believe this?  Because the Navy cannot afford to continue firing highly trained, highly experienced, Officers and Enlisted personnel!  It simply costs too much!!

Money drives everything!!  That is why we recruit gays, females, illegal aliens, and any other person that would have, in the past, been avoided at any cost.  Most of the people we actively recruit today would never qualify for a security clearance 20 years ago!  But, today, these things do not matter to the so called military leadership.

So, soon you will stop seeing the leadership of our Navy being fired for "He-ing and She-ing" as Jerry Reed said in "Smokey and the Bandit 1"!  This may make waking up the next watch far more exciting than it is now!!

Glad I am retired.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Just who IS your friend?

Those who refuse to learn from history are DOOMED to repeat it!  So, I will bring you a lesson from our history in Vietnam.

When our forces were in Vietnam, there were Vietnamese civilians that made friends with our troops.   They provided house keeping services, cooks, even construction.  Our folks knew them, their kids, their families.  Our folks thought they were the good Vietnamese people.  The people we were fighting to keep free.

Ten, one day, those so called friends turned on our folks and killed them in their sleep!  Opened the gates to their NVA friends and let them kill our people!!

This happened a number of times in Vietnam.  I am sure it happened in Korea, and it definitely happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Just who IS your friend?  Just because someone is nice to you face does not mean they will not knife you in the back!  There were no Vietnamese we could or should have trusted and there are no Muslims we can or should trust either.

Let history be your teacher!  It will keep you alive.  And don't think because your family is home or you are home, that you and them are safe!!  The war and the fight is at our for step.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Skivvie Waivers!

I washed and waxed our new Subaru today.  I have really become impressed with the new Nano-Technology car waxes.   Maybe I have become obsessed, but I enjoy the exercise and the car looks great.  And, winter is coming!  Also, it says in the owner's manual to wax the car once a month.  Since I have troubles remembering which month it is, I wax whenever it comes to mind!

After the waxing, I washed my micro fiber polishing cloths in the washing machine.  My wife had issues with that.  She said she did not want those chemicals in our laundry.  I would like to argue, but she is right.  So, when the washer was done, I did not want to compound my issues by drying the towels in the dryer.  But, what to do with 20 wet microfiber towels?

Hang them outside!!  I have close line and clothes pins from the flood of April.  We used them to dry photos in an attempt to save them.  So, I strung the clothes line from the porch railing to the fence post.  Then I began to hang these towels, using clothes pins, just like I did when I was a little boy on Puritas Ave.  As I hung these colorful towels, I remembered how the Signalmen used to wash their Signal Flags and hang them on the halyards to dry.

Now remember, this was the 1960's and 70's.  We were mischievous young men.  And using the Signal Flags to spell out a message that had, let's say, a salty message, would not be beyond them!  But fear not.  The OC Division Officer was tasked to make sure their order of hanging the flags did not spell out anything embarrassing!

And no, I did not spell out anything embarrassing.  But, if I had a red towel, I would have!
  

Setting a NEW standard in leadership!

Yesterday I wrote about fraternization and the cost of thinking with the wrong head.  But, as I reflected on the matter I remembered that those of us i leadership MUST hold ourselves to a higher standard.

Those of us in any leadership position are loped at, observed, and even scrutinized, by those who we lead.  If we demand something from our subordinates, we MUST exhibit the same characteristics.  Military appearance, job performance, military bearing, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual harassment, equal opportunity, and every other little thing that makes up who we are and what we do.  Do you make your bunk as soon as you get up?   Do you get up on time?  Is your uniform the best it can be?  How about those questionable jokes you tell?

No, as a leader, YOU must set the example of what others should be.  The recent CMC firing exhibits all that is wrong with leadership!  He should have been preventing the very actions and negative values he was taking part in!   AS the senior Enlisted person on a ship, he or she sets the example of military bearing, conduct, mutual respect, and decorum, for every enlisted member of the crew.  Additionally, that CMC becomes the image of enlisted personnel to the Officers on that ship or unit.

I have had Division Officers, Department Heads, and even Executive Officers that have had past negative experiences with Chiefs.  Their relationship with the Chief's Mess was tainted by that negative experience.  The trust had been broken and it was very hard to repair it!

The CMC on the USS Stout and all of the the other CMC's that have been relieved for cause, have failed the entire enlisted community and made our job much harder!  We must hold ourselves to the HIGHEST standards in everything that we do.  The days of drunken, carousing, foul mouthed, smash mouth, Navy Chiefs is gone.  We must be what the CPO creed called; "The fount of wisdom."  And it is damn had to do that slobbering drunk or when we are caught with our pants down with someone we have no business being with!

Step up Chiefs and set the standard.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Fraternization? Let me say this one more time!

I have written about this unacceptable behavior before.  But, it keeps happening.  I read yesterday, that the Command Master Chief of the USS Stout was relieved for fraternization!!

Dumb Ass!  How many times have I told you; "You can't sleep with the hired help!"  But, men think with the wrong head and that gets them in trouble!  If you have sex with a woman that works for you or is in your chain of command, she has power OVER you!  Especially if you are married!!  Dumb Ass!!   Keep you minds off of sex and ON your jobs!!

The CMC is supposed to represent the Enlisted crew, not be the reprobate of the Enlisted crew!!

How else can I say this?   Sex and work do not mix.  And when you are on that ship, or on liberty, or on leave, you are at work!!  As long as you are stationed with that person, you are shipmates and that means no sex!!  No relationships!! No nothing Master Chief!!

Look, if you are a CMC or aspire to be one, learn from the mistakes these fools have made.  If you want to have sex with someone who in stationed with you, go to the head and take a cold shower!  Stay there until that urge passes.

Hopefully, that is enough said on this topic.  Because the next time I have to address it, I will use profanity!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Loose lips, on social media, kills our families!!!

FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION!!   PASS THIS TO EVERY MILITARY MEMBER AND FAMILY MEMBER YOU KNOW!!

I just read, at 1156, 2 October 2014, on Drudge, that Army Intelligence has issues a warning that ISIS is using Social Media to find military families and target them for attacks and killing!!!

When I was on active duty, we were taught that Loose Lips Sink Ships!   But now, we tell the world where we are and what we are doing on social media like Facebook.  There is NO security and anyone, anywhere with a computer and Internet access can see what you are posting.

It seems, Army Intel has determined that ISIS is at least planning to use that information to target our families.  Think about it.  You are deployed and some Militant Islamic Terrorist shows up at your home, brutally rapes and kills your wife and children, all while video taping it and posting it on the Internet for everyone, including you, to see!  That WILL impact the morale and ability to fight of every military member in our armed forces.

I recommend that ALL military members and families immediately sign off all social media.  In addition, you should never post anything about deployments, ship's movement, or home locations, on the Internet.

This is a real threat to you and your family.  Please take this threat seriously!  If Army Intel has sent this warning out, it is already at a high threat level!!!  DO NOT IGNORE THESE WARNINGS!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Aid and Attendence benefits

Many of you know that I have Lewy Body Dementia.  I am blessed to have outstanding medical insurance including Tricare for Life.  I also purchased Long Term Care insurance when the Federal Government first offered it.  So, we have very good long term care insurance.  But, even that policy has it's limits.

But if you did not have the opportunities that I did, but you served Honorably, in the U.S. Military, you are eligible for the Veteran's Administration Aid and Attendance Pension.  Yet, it is the least used program the VA or the U.S. Government offers!

This pension helps you pay for assisted living, nursing home care, and even in home care.  All you need to have is a documented need for two daily living functions.  Like, managing your medicines, eating, getting out of bed, dressing, bathing, or toilet issues.

Again, you need to have served Honorably in the U.S. Military, during war time, including the Cold War, for at least one day.  You do NOT need to be a combat veteran.

I encourage you to go to the VA WebSite and investigate this benefit.  It might not help you or a loved one right now.  But it is great information to have at hand when it is needed!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Illegal aliens in the military?

I read an article today that stated that the Pentagon, (that is the Military's answer to a simple four sided building) is going to let Illegal Aliens into the military!!

Now before you scream, we have in the past allowed people with citizenship in another country enlist in the military,  IF they are in our Country LEGALLY!!  This article clearly stated Illegal Aliens!

I served on a Navy ship with a sailor that was a citizen of another country.  He was in the United States legally.  Had a Green Card.  His parents were in the country legally.  He enlisted and served honorably. Made Second Class Petty Officer in his first Enlistment.  Again, he was here legally.  His family met the immigration requirements, waited their turn, and came to the United States with the permission of our Government.  They did not sneak across the border in the dark of night!

My question is, how do they swear allegiance to a Country they are win Illegally!?  What allegiance does one have to a nation he chose to commit a felony against?!  And what honor commitment, does an unrepentant felon have?  The answer is; Only to himself.

This is another move to turn our Military into a Paper Tiger.  These are very sad times indeed.  I am beginning to question the patriotism of those who make these decisions!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Old Shipmates

I just got off the telephone with my best friend, Jerry.  We talk at least once a week and I am glad the phone company has unlimited long distance calling.  Our calls are always over an hour!

As is our custom, we talk about our old shipmates.  Many of our friends and acquaintances have passed away.  Many of them died soon after they retired from the Navy!  A few died without ever collecting a Retainer check!!  But a few, who were blessed by God, have lived long lives after their Navy career.

It is almost like a George Carlin routine.  George had a routine about two fellows remembering old friends.  They talk fondly about the ones that had passed and then one fellow brings up a name, and the other fellow say; Him!  He's not dead!   That SOB owes me $40!!

But we miss our old Shipmates.  We shared many good and difficult times together.  If you served on a ship with someone, you became very close.  Especially, if you were in the same work center.  Gunner's Mates working in the same gun mount or turret became like brothers.  Either that, or they hated each other and fought all the time!

Then there were your liberty buddies.  The one's you went "On the Beach" with.   Guys that could hold their liquor and keep a secret!  A guy who found cover your back in a fight!  Sometimes your liberty buddies were guys you worked with and sometimes they were from other work centers or even divisions.  But those friendships usually stayed strong!

I miss the ones that have passed away.  And I long to be with past shipmates that are still alive, one more time.  To tell sea stories, laugh, and remember all the things we did together.  Things that civilians would not believe, but that we know are true!  Those times are precious to me and they sustain me now that I am in the Autumn of my years.  Hang in there Shipmates!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The impact of a minuscule military!

I read on the Hampton Roads.Com site that one ship in Norfolk was deploying while another was coming home!  I remember when we deployed a 14 ship battle group every three months!

I have heard the President talk about the combat sorties against ISIS.  He is counting each combat aircraft as one sortie!  I remember when a sortie was at least 6 Medium Attack aircraft hitting ONE target of value!  Now, we use one fighter to attack a pick up truck and call that a sortie!

Then today, we have read that Russian Nuclear bombers have been flying in US airspace near Alaska.  We have challenged them with Fighters.  But the Russians are testing us.

All of these news stories point to the perceived weakness of our military forces buy our enemies!  Yes, the Russians, Chinese, all of the Arab world, are our enemies.

The real problem is, we cannot just re-build our Military!  It takes an industrial base that we have ignored and it has disappeared.   It will take five years of massive industrial build up to rebuild our Navy.   And our Navy no longer has a Medium Attack aircraft or a fixed wing ASW aircraft, or a dedicated Tanker!  Presently, we fly an aircraft with limited legs, with external tanks and a buddy store to refuel other limited leg aircraft!!!  That makes no sense.  But, to rebuild the aviation wing of our Navy would take years.

We have decimated our Attack Submarine community along with our Boomers!   The fact is, every mission of the Navy has been decimated by cuts and neglect.

The other services are in similar shape and then there is the massive draw down of manpower in each service.  I might remind you that the Navy will "Fire" 8000 Chiefs this year!!

Remember, if I can see this, so can our enemies.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 as remembered by an Airline pilot!

This story is from the Senior Pastor of the Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church.  I can add nothing t this story.  It is printed as he sent it out in an email today.  It should be read and passed on to everyone you know because it shows the true character and spirit of Americans!!   

A True 9/11 Story That Will Bless You

It's hard to believe that it has been 13 years since 9/11/2001. Two wars have been fought over this terrorist attack since then. And, yet, Al-Qaeda, ISIS and other terrorists groups are still on the move leaving death and destruction in their path as they pursue an extremist view of Islam. There continues to be a lot of bad news around the world today concerning these terrorists threats. And on this day,9/11/14, many are fearful of other attacks that may come upon the Homeland.

With all this bad news, I thought we could all use some cheering up and some words of encouragement. Jim Vickery, my friend and a GBUMC member, sent me this heart warming story recently of some actual events that took place on 9/11/2001. It is a bit long but well worth the read. I believe it will bless you!

Here is the amazing story of a flight attendant on Delta Flight 15 on 9/11/2001.
It was written shortly after that fateful September day.......



"On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, we were about 5 hours
out of Frankfurt, flying over the North Atlantic ...

All of a sudden the curtains parted and I was told to immediately go to the cockpit, to see the captain. As soon as I got there I noticed that the crew had that "All Business" look on their faces. The captain handed me a printed message. It was from Delta's main office in Atlanta and simply read, "All airways over the Continental United States are closed to commercial air traffic. Land ASAP at the nearest airport. Advise your destination."

No one said a word about what this could mean. We knew it was a serious situation and we needed to find terra firma quickly. The captain determined that the nearest airport was 400 miles behind us in Gander, New Foundland.

He requested approval for a route change from the Canadian
traffic controller and approval was granted immediately -- no questions asked.

While the flight crew prepared the airplane for landing, another message arrived from Atlanta telling us about some terrorist activity in the New York area. A few minutes later word came in about the hijackings.

We decided to LIE to the passengers while we were still in the air. We told them the plane had a simple instrument problem and that we needed to land at the nearest airport to have it checked out.

We promised to give more information after landing in New Foundland.
There was much grumbling among the passengers, but forty minutes later, we landed in Gander ... Local time at Gander was
12:30 PM! .... that's 11:00 AM EST.

There were already about 20 other airplanes on the ground from all over the world that had taken this detour on their way to the U.S.

After we parked on the ramp, the captain made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, you must be wondering if all these airplanes around us have the same instrument problem as we have. The reality is that we are here for another reason." Then he went on to explain the little bit we knew about the situation in the U.S.There were loud gasps and stares of disbelief. The captain informed passengers that ground control in Gander had told us to stay put.

The Canadian Government was in charge of our situation. No
one was allowed to get off the aircraft and no one on the ground was
allowed near any of the aircraft. Over the next hours, more planes landed and Gander ended up with 53 airplanes from all over the world, 27 of which were U.S. commercial jets.

Bits of news started to come in over the radio and for the first time we learned what had happened at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon.
By now the passengers were emotionally and physically exhausted, not to mention frightened, but everyone stayed amazingly calm. We had only to look out the window at the 52 other stranded aircraft to realize that we were not the only ones in this predicament.

We were told they would be allowing people off the planes, one plane at a time, and our turn to deplane would be 11 am the next morning. Passengers were not happy, but they simply resigned themselves and started to prepare themselves to spend the night on the plane.

About 10:30 on the morning of the 12th, a convoy of school buses arrived. Deplaning, we were taken to the terminal where we went through Immigration and Customs and then had to register with the Red Cross.

After that we (the crew) were separated from the passengers and taken to a small hotel. We had no idea where our passengers were going. We were told to just relax and that we would be contacted when the U.S. airports re-opened.

We learned from the Red Cross that the town of Gander has a population of 10,400 people and they had about 10,500 passengers from the planes to care for. The people of Gander called us the "plane people." They were extremely friendly and hospitable.

Two days later, we got that call and were returned to the Gander airport where we were reunited with the passengers. What we found out about their past two days was incredible.

Gander and all the surrounding communities (within about a 75 Kilometer radius) had closed all high schools, meeting halls, lodges, and any other large gathering places. They converted all these facilities to mass lodging areas for all the stranded travelers. Some had cots set up and others had mats and sleeping bags.

ALL the high school students were required to volunteer their time to take care of the "guests." Our 218 passengers ended up in a town called Lewisporte, about 45 kilometers from Gander where they were put up in a high school. If any women wanted to be in a women-only facility, that was arranged. Families were kept together. All the elderly passengers were taken to private homes.There was a dentist on call and both male and female nurses remained with the crowd for the duration.

Phone calls and e-mails to the U.S. and around the world were available to everyone once a day. During the day, passengers were offered "excursion" trips. Some people went on boat cruises of the lakes and harbors. Some went for hikes in the local forests. Local bakeries stayed open to make fresh bread for the guests.

Food was prepared by all the residents and brought to the schools. People were driven to restaurants of their choice and offered wonderful meals. Everyone was given tokens for local laundry mats to wash their clothes, since luggage was still on the aircraft. In other words, every single need was met for those stranded travelers.

Passengers were crying while telling us these stories. Finally, when they were told that U.S. airports had reopened, they were delivered to the airport on time and without a single passenger missing or late. The local Red Cross had all the information about the whereabouts of each and every passenger and knew which plane they needed to be on and when all the planes were leaving. They coordinated everything beautifully.

It was absolutely incredible.

When passengers came on board, it was like they had been on a cruise.Everyone knew each other by name. They were swapping stories of their stay, impressing each other with who had the better time. Our flight back to Atlanta looked like a chartered party flight. The crew just stayed out of their way. It was mind-boggling.

Passengers had totally bonded and were calling each other by their first names, exchanging phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses.

And then a very unusual thing happened.

One of our passengers approached me and asked if he could make an
announcement over the PA system. We never, ever, allow that. But this time was different. I said "of course" and handed him the mike. He picked up the PA and reminded everyone about what they had just gone through in the last few days. He reminded them of the hospitality they had received at the hands of total strangers. He continued by saying that he would like to do something in return for the good folks of Lewisporte.

He said he was going to set up a trust fund under the name of DELTA 15 (our flight number). The purpose of the trust fund is to provide college scholarships for the high school students of Lewisporte. He asked for donations of any amount from his fellow travelers. When the paper with donations got back to us with the amounts, names, phone numbers and addresses, the total was more than $14,000!

The gentleman, a MD from Virginia, promised to match the donations and to start the administrative work on the scholarship. He also said that he would forward this proposal to Delta Corporate and ask them to donate as well.

As I write this account, the trust fund is at more than $1.5 million and has assisted 134 students in college education.

"I just wanted to share this story because we need good stories right now. It gives me a little bit of hope to know that some people, in a faraway place, were kind to some strangers who literally dropped in on them."

(this is a condensed version of the original story)


Praying for you and for our country on this September day!
Lester


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

I NEED your help!!

I seldom ask for help.  But this time, I am really in need of your help.  As you know, I have Lewy Body Dementia.  My neurologist and I both believe it was caused by exposure to the chemical Tricresyl Phosphate that was used in the Hydraulic Fluid Mil-F-17111.  All of us as Gunner's Mates were exposed to this chemical if we served before 1990 or so.

On September 15, 1989, in the Ships Safety Bulletin, the Naval Safety Center published the  FIRST Safety Advisory on Mil-F-17111.

I am presently in a fight with the Veteran's Administration about the effects of long term exposure to this chemical.  Many of you, including me, have serious skin lesions from exposure tho this chemical, that will not go away.  Hopefully, you have received some Disability Compensation for this condition.  I know one Gunner's Mate that worked with me on the  USS Caron that has a 100% VA Disability for this reason.

My fight with the VA is related to my Lewy Body Dementia because the chemical Tricresyle Phosphate is also neuro-toxic.  That being said, I cannot find my copy of the Safety Center Ships Safety Bulletin of 15 September, 1989.  If I had that document or the Naval Message that also went out at about the same time, it would help me win this case for myself and I hope others fighting the same battle.

If you have a copy of this documentation, please let me know so that I can get a copy.  I will then provide that documentation to the Disabled American Veterans Association.  They are helping me with this case.  And since they help all of us, I am sure the documentation will help others.

I provided the AEGIS Homeport Engineering Team Atlantic Newsletter dated Jul/Aug/Sep 91, which has an article, written by me, with the references included.  Because I wrote that article, the VA will not accept it as evidence!  So, I need the actual Safety Center article.

I am down to my last shot on this.  If I cannot present irrefutable evidence, they will deny my claim and close my case.  The DAV has done great things for me and us on this topic.  But they cannot with without the proper documentation.  SO, I appeal to all of you who read my babbling, for help.

Thanks in advance for looking in your boxes of Navy memorabilia and memories. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

The impact of Mil-F-17111 hydraulic fluid

Hopefully you know that I suffer from Lewy Body Dementia.  I believe, and my neurologist believe that this disease was at least partially caused by my extreme exposure to the hydraulic fluid that all the gun mounts and missile launchers ran on in the Navy.  In 1989, the Navy put out a message informing us that Mil-F-17111 had a chemical in it that caused cancer and was neuro-toxic.   The Navy then removed Mil-F-17111 from every system and replaced it with Mil-F-17111A or B, I forget, that had the chemical removed.

Flight Attendants won a case for compensation for Dementia caused by long term exposure to the same chemical!   However, the Veteran's Administration has denied my claim up to now.

Today, my wife and I were discussion issues and she asked me if I had noticed any mental decline in her.  Since my mental filters no longer work, thanks to LBD, I immediately replied; Yes!!  She asked me what I noticed and then she confirmed that she was noticing the same issues.  They shadow my early symptoms of dementia!!

How could she bee impacted by Mil-F-17111?  Easy, she washed my uniforms for years!  When we were in home port, I brought my dungarees, and later my wash khaki's home to be washed.  They were covered with Hydraulic Fluid!   Then, when I taught at Gun School, Great Lakes, teaching maintenance on the MK 42 Gun Mount, I was covered in Mil-F-1711 daily and my wife washed those uniforms.  Then, after retirement from the Navy, I went to work as a Tech Rep for the Navy at NAVSEACENLANT.  More hydraulic fluid soaked clothes for my wife to wash!  I believe there is a connection here.

So, I have a confirmed diagnosis of LBD and she may have some form of dementia.  Wow!  We will monitor progress and report as required.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

MH-53E Sea Dragon crash

I just read an article about a recent crash of a MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter that killed three of the five onboard.  The article states that the investigation into the crash revealed that a frayed electrical wire arced close to a worn fuel line, igniting an explosive fire!

It seems to me this is a maintenance related and totally preventable fire.  It also is very apparent that this crash, and other like it, are completely related to A LACK OF LEADERSHIP!!

It seems to me the Shop Supervisor, the Division Chief, the Maintenance Chief, and the Maintenance Officer, are all missing in action.  Is this related to morale, training, apathy, budgetary cuts, lack of experience, or incompetence!!!  Or maybe a mix of all of these.

This incident brings back to memory the Fire Room fires on steam powered ships in the mid 1980's.  We killed and maimed a number of Sailors when we used the wrong material bolts in boilers and bypasses normal operating procedures.  The investigation into these incidents revealed a striking lack of Leadership.  Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it!   That is most likely what we are doing now, repeating the mistakes of the past, with murderous consequences.

It is time for the senior Enlisted leadership to stop trying to be Junior Officers, get off the Officer's watch bill, and get back into their spaces.  Senior Enlisted personnel are there to lead, train, and build an experience base to replace them in the future.  I have asked you before and I will repeat myself here, again.  When was the last time you, the Work Center Supervisor, Division LPO, Division Chief, Department Senior Chief, Command Master Chief, walked through your spaces with a critical eye, documenting discrepancies and asking questions?  When is the last time YOU performed a PMS spot check?   When is the last time you did a maintenance procedure and lead you personnel in training and experience building?  I know it has been a long time for the vast majority of you.  Shame on you Chief!

When our lack of leadership causes deaths, we are criminally culpable, in my mind.  Get bak to work as the Subject Matter Expert instead of trying to be a Junior Officer.  If you want to be a JO, make Warrant or LDO.  And you better get this fixed before another shipmate dies because of your unprofessionalism!!