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

Monday, June 30, 2014

Another Ex-Officer to run the VA!!

The President has nominated Bob McDonald, a CEO from some fortune 500 company and a West Point grad and non-career O-3 to be the next head of the VA.  He has NO connection with those who the VA serves!!  He will do as BAD as the rest of the men wearing $5000 suits have done!!

How can someone who has no idea how the people have been treated help fix the problems.  I once knew a Navy Dentist that had his teeth cleaned by a Navy Tooth Fairy.  It was his first time!  He told me his gums were bleeding after the cleaning and now he understood his patients apprehension to get their teeth cleaned or even go to the Dentist!!  Well, Mr. McDonald needs to go to a VA Hospital with a serious problem and see how bad he is treated.  The problem is, he looks healthy, wealthy, and well healed!!  However, in the spirit of helping our troups, I will offer to beat Mr. McDonald with a baseball bat until he is suffering from major head trauma.  Then, let his see the lack of quality and caring the VA give him!   Just trying to help!

The bottom line is, the vast majority of VA patients are prior enlisted personnel.  So, put a retired E-9 in charge of the VA and see how fast it gets squared away!!

But this appointment will do nothing to help us!  And the VA will remain the place we go to die!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Locktite and toilet fixtures!

The house we bought her in Florida, three years ago, is nice.  The builder used some upscale items like granite counter tops and nice bathroom fixtures.  But, the fixture that holds the toilet paper continues to get loose.  The lock screw that holds the toilet paper rod get ;loose and the toilet paper ends up on the floor.  I have tightened the set screw many times.  No use, it just loosens up again.  So, today,  bought some Locktite and put that on the set screw.  Hopefully, that will keep it tight.  But, as I layer on the bathroom floor, trying to tighten that TINY seat screw, I remembered a time where Locktite made an outstanding MK 45 Tech Rep flaming mad.

His name is Ski, or Joe, or Stan.  If you know him, you realize he is a total professional and dedicated to keeping MK 45 gun mounts running at peak performance.  He does research, studies new technology and looks at the issues that plague the MK 45 in a constant search to not only repair the issues but prevent them!!  He is a one of a kind professional and I truly respect him and what he does.

Joe and I were working o a MK 45 Mod 1 Gun.  We needed to take the Breach Block operating mechanism apart.  The bolts that hold the bracket that we call the "squirrel cage" on the top of the gun housing is held om by a number of STOUT cap screws that have nylock on them.  The idea is, every time you remove them, throw them away and replace them with new cap screws.  Why, because the STOUT cap screws back out due to the vibration in he rent with the operation of the gun mount.

The ship's Gunner's Mates had taken the breach apart and not replaced the STOUT cap screws.  Of course, they backer out.  The crew discovered this and used some hardening, non-removable, Locktite, to hole the used bolts in place.  OK, but the gun housing, where these STOUT cap screws are secured too, gets HOT with gun firing.  That heat baked the Locktite and he'd the STOUT cap screws in!!  I mean really in!!!

No, here is Joe, in the cramped, hot, MK 45 weather shield, with a ¾ " breaker bar and a 3 foot pipe on that ¾" breaker bar, trying to break these Locktite secured STOUT cap screws loose!!  Boy, was the air "Blue" with colorful language!!  And Joe normally does not swear!.

I might add that Joe is a stout man himself.  Muscular, strong, compact, and used to doing heavy, manual, work.  He was pushing and pulling with all his might!!  Sweat pouring off him from every sweat pore!!  And every time he tool a break, he started to complaint about Gunner's Mates using Locktite.

I thought of Joe as I dripped Locktite on my pants and the new bathroom rug.  I hope it holds as well as it did in the Gun Mount!!  And I did enjoy my remembrance of working with a true professional like Joe!  If you know him, and he is still working, tell him thanks for all he has done to make the MK 45 more dependable!!

Sales Taxes!

Military personnel, active, retired, and reserve, and their authorized dependents can shop at the Commissary and Exchange and save a good deal of money.  One of the benefits of shopping at the Exchange and Commissary is that you do not pay sales taxes.  So, I have a question.  Why do we pay the same taxes on gas and diesel fuel as those who are not authorized to shop on base?

It would be a considerable savings on automobile fuel if we did not pay taxes on fuel.  That savings would vary from State to State because each State has their own sales taxes on fuel!  But, suffice to say, the savings would be over 40 cents per gallon!!!

Think of that level of savings, per fill up.  This would really make your money go farther.

So, I challenge you to look into this.  Ask your Command, Force, Fleet Master Chief, or even the Master Chief of the Navy, to look into this issue.  It is a matter of crew morale and welfare!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Send the Aircraft Carriers!!

Every President since FDR has said this.  When ever there is a problem in the world, "Send the Aircraft Carriers!" is always the answer from the President.  Why, because a Battle Group capable of delivering a massive, destructive, attack in a matter of days is the best form of diplomacy.

And when I was wearing my "War Suit" an Aircraft Carrier Battle Group was a formidable sight!  The Aircraft Carrier, Cruisers,  Four Cruisers, Six Destroyers,  Six Destroyer Escorts, Ammunition and Refueling replenishment ships, and at least one Attack Submarine!  Now, the Battle Group exists of three ships!!  The Aircraft Carrier, a Cruiser and a Guided Missile Destroyer.  How intimidating is that?!

The fact is, when I joined the Navy in 1969, we had 1069 ships, submarines, and aircraft carriers in commission.   During the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, we build the Navy up to 600 Ships, Submarines, and Aircraft Carriers including four modernized Battleships!  Today, we have less that 290 of the same mix of ships in commission, and NO Battleships!  We have reduced our Navy to irresponsible levels.  We do not have the ability to fight a two front war and the loss of one Aircraft Carrier would be crippling.

The fact is, the Navy is the only military service that deploys, ready for war, every time.  We never know, when we deploy, if we will be at war or just on a liberty cruise for six months.  In 1983, the USS Caron (DD 970) got underway from Norfolk Virginia for a Mediterranean deployment.  The crew went to sleep the first night, cruising at 16 knots, headed dew west.   When reveille was sounded the next morning, the were headed due south at 32 knots, headed to Grenada!!

The other services get 30, 60, 90 days to deploy.  Even the Rapid Deployment Marines have 96 hours to pack out.  But, a sailor, on any Navy ship or submarine, is one second away from a fight!  Our Country needs a larger, more capable Navy to meet the challenges to our Nation, anywhere and anytime.

I have never asked you to do this.  But, I plead with you to contact your Congressman and Senator about this criminal disarming of America.  Don't contact them one!  Write them, email them, call them, and go to their town hall meetings.  Let them know YOU care about the defense of America.

It will be TOO LATE to build a Navy when the war starts!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Real Hydraulic Fluid dangers

I was watching the television fantasy show; "Deadliest Catch" tonight and the person they pay to do the play by play of the show was going on about how dangerous a hydraulic leak was on the Time Bandit!  The talking person and the Captain of the vessel were both carrying on like the engine room had just been flooded with JP5!!  The hydraulic fluid was not even atomized!!  It was just flowing out of a connection, like water out of a garden hose!

Place the same hydraulic fluid in a 1500 psi system, with a small leak, and you may have a different situation!  Atomize hydraulic fluid, or just about anything else, and it becomes explosive.  Buy are a liquid, it is stable and not dangerous.

As a Gunner's Mate, I dealt with hydraulic leaks in high pressure hydraulic systems.  I saw the air full of hydraulic fluid vapor!  I breathed it, got in in cuts, swallowed it, and had my skin coated with hydraulic fluid for 20 plus years.  Of course, I am suffering from the effects of that continuous exposure.

But, the fools on television carry on like a bomb is going to go off!  Oh, did I mention the high pressure hydraulic systems I worked on were located in ammunition storage magazines on Navy ships, bouncing and rolling in heavy seas.  Or that that hydraulically operated equipment moved that ammo at a rate of 34-40 rounds per minute and then FIRED the gun at the same rate!!

So, the next time Mike Rowe is crying about how dangerous it is on a Crab Boat, remember those of us who go in harms way, with hydraulic systems that really are dangerous.

Of course, my view of ship is, if it can't shoot weapons, it is a pleasure craft!!  

Friday, June 13, 2014

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

The pending fall of Iraq should be NO surprise to anyone who knows history!!  If the people of a nation are unwilling to stand up and defend their own nation, that nation will fall to the loudest barking dog!

We have seen this in wars of the past that we ill-advisedly got involved in, like Vietnam.  As soon as the US left Vietnam, the Communist north overran South Vietnam and now what we fought and died for is lost!   The idea of changing their "Hearts and Minds" is bunk!   If the Vietnamese people wanted to live in a democratic society, they would!  But, the truth is they don't!  And neither do the Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians, Russians, Chinese, and many other people of the world.

So, why do we expend National treasure and blood trying to change the "Hearts and Minds" of the people of these non-democratic nations?

On the other side, look at the nations that gained their national freedom with the demise of the Soviet Union.  They enacted democratic forms of government, on their own!  No outside military intervention.  Just the will of the native peoples of the nation involved in change!!

We should maintain the largest, most capable, military in the world.  There should be no question to any nation in the world that we will, immediately and without mercy,render their nation to ashes if they attack America. Other than that, we have no national interests that the military should be involved in.  Well, except insuring the seas are free for trade.  But, piracy is an attack on America's economy, so it qualifies.   But, nation building is NOT the duty of the military or, in fact, the nation!!

So, look at history and the wars that we have been involved in.  The nations we presumably wanted to help, that were not willing to help themselves, fell into disarray regardless of the amount of our involvement.

We cannot change their hearts and minds!!


Monday, June 9, 2014

More "Old Navy" remembrances

I realize the Navy was different when I was on active duty.  I also realize I am a dinosaur.  But, it seems you like to read stories about the Navy I served in.  That's good, because that is where my mind spends most of the day!

I realize "Gays" are now legally in the Navy and serve openly.  When I was on active duty, we had "Gays" serving also.  Everyone knew who they were and no one bothered them.  In turn, "Gays" lived their alternate life style quietly.  Seemed like a good situation to me and the "Gays" that I knew.

When I was in Gun School in 1970, I used to make the run home to Cleveland to see family and friends.  I was also friends with the local recruiters.  One Friday evening, I was on liberty in Lakewood, Ohio with the local recruiters.  We were at the VFW and the bar was crowded.  One of the recruiters was a female First Class Yeoman who was a friend of the YN1 at Gun School and had the first name of Joanny.  I was a GMG 3 at the time and standing at the bar, and she saddled up next to me.  I said "Hi" and she said; "Gunner, if you are looking for a piece of ass, you are with the wrong sailor.  But, if you are looking for a drinking partner, I'm your shipmate!"  I ordered two more beers!  Seemed like the best response.

See, our way of doing things was simpler!!  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

The Old Days

 If you were in the Military in before 1980, you remember being BROKE!   Enlisted folks did not make much money in those days.  I remember when I was first married, in the early 1970's, a toaster was a major purchase!!  Back then, banks would give away appliances if you opened an account with them.  Many times, Military personnel would move their accounts from one bank to another to get a toaster, or hand mixer!  Now that's broke!

Most of us lived payday to payday.  We ate beans, oatmeal, and peanut and butter.  Most of us shopped at the Commissary to stretch our small salaries.   There were no Walmart's or SAMS.  In San Diego, there was a warehouse store called GEMCO.  They had some good deals if you shopped wisely.

Most wives could not find jobs, at least in San Diego.  SO, we had to live on what the Military paid us.  Most of us had one car, no boat, no RV, and even color televisions were a luxury.  I remember a shipmate that shipped over, to get the reenlistment bonus, to buy his first car!

Today's Enlisted Personnel have it much better.  But, I think they have missed out on the opportunity to live simply, enjoy each other, and appreciate what the have.  Money, to much money, clouds your view of life.  I cherish the years of window shopping, fixing toasters, and walking with my wife, as a date!  We have been together for per 40 years!   The strength of our marriage was forged in that crucible of near poverty.  We still appreciate what we have, of which the most cherished is each other!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Sgt Bergdahl

I served in uniform for 20+ years.  I served off the coast of Vietnam, El Salvador, Llybia, Somalia, Lebanon.  I was a Gunner's Mate and dealt with the dangers of being a Gunner's Mate working on MK 42 and MK 45 Gun Mounts.  Broken ammunition, foul bores, hot guns, dropped ammunition, malfunctioning ammunition.  I did my best, everyday I was on active duty!   I tried to be the best leader I could be.  I treated everyone with dignity and respect.  I never asked anyone to do something I did not do myself.  I was the first person in the moth of danger.  But, I was NOT a hero!!

Now, we are being fed the pablum that this deserter was a hero that served honorably?!

The two things I did everything possibly in my power to avoid was dereliction of duty and unauthorized absence!  Sgt Bergdahl deserted his watch post, and went UA!  He was not captured in combat.  He went UA and walked over to the enemy and joined them!  Hero my ass!

How do I know this.  I read, I listen, and I seek knowledge.  Men of Sgt Bergdahl's unit tell the same story.  He took off his uniform, left his post, and went over to the enemy.  There are other facts out there and I challenge you to seek that knowledge.  But, our leadership gave up 5 very dangerous enemy fighters to bring this dirt bag home!!  Bad deal.

We spread the term "Hero" around far to easily.  And for Susan Rice to say this deserter served honorably and is a hero is blaspheme!  As a service member that served as honorably as I could, I am offended.  How about you?