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

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!!!


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!