Category Archives: Military

Veteran’s Day …

… “Thank You For Your Service”.

For those who have served, it seems we hear these words a lot more often than in decades past. For those currently serving, recently (honorably) discharged, or recently retired, these words are more familiar, something often said since at least the first Gulf War.

There was a time, some thirty years ago, or longer, these words were not heard at all. Instead, often times if a civilian happened to notice you were in the military, you would have been greeted with words of another sort. “Baby killer”, “Imperialist”, “War Monger”, are just a few which come to mind. There were others.

The more nuanced response, perhaps from “friends”, family members, or other acquaintances, would evolve into a “discussion” centering around “Why”. “Why would someone of your character, intelligence, talents, chose to embrace (for however long a time) military service?” “Were you not aware of all the other educational opportunities available (to someone like you)?” Or (particularly if it was currently, a Republican administration in the White House), “How can you serve under such a ‘regime’?” As if the President was specifically ordering me (or your fellow military member) to commit some heinous crime in his name.

To be clear, we are not talking about those who had honest questions. (What is it like on a ship at sea? What is the training like? Can an Officer really make you do anything, if he gives you an order to do so?) There are many aspects of life in the military which those who haven’t served would not have any real idea what it was like… or perhaps would base their assumptions on what they have seen on a tv show or movie. So legitimate questions were never a concern, and not what I am trying to address here.

So, forgive this ol’ retired Sailor, if I find at least some of those who offer a “Thank you for your service”, to perhaps being a bit disingenuous. From the various media talking heads, political figures and bureaucrats, right on down to some of those folks in our respective villages, cities, and towns. Would they be saying this at all, if it wasn’t the “politically correct” thing to do?

After all, most of these folks would see the military shrunk to little or nothing, if they had any direct choice in the matter. They would have no problem with voting in individuals who have little or no respect to that which all members of the military repeatedly swear an oath of allegiance to…the Constitution of the United States. And how many are, in their heart of hearts, of a like mind to that expressed in Kipling’s little ditty?
Indeed, the current administration, even while sending troops hither and yon, has exhibited little more than contempt for the health and welfare of those currently serving, let alone for those who have honorably gone before.

I guess I am still a little gun shy when a “Thank you for your service.” is sent in my direction. Don’t know if I blush anymore when hearing it, but it still gives one pause. Hell, I was just doing my job (hopefully, to the best of my ability). Wasn’t really expecting any thanks. Just the chance, when the time came, to be allowed to assimilate back into (the civilian) society, and have that which was promised (by the government) upon honorable completion of service, delivered.

If you really want to thank a vet…donate time to any of the many charitable organizations out there. Failing that, send em a buck or two, so they can continue to do the fine work they do, for those who have served or are currently serving. (The USO, Wounded Warrior Project, Navy-Marine Corp Relief Society, just to name a few.) This is the kind of thing which really says thank you…thank you for your service.

Finally, to those I have served with, and those whose paths have crossed with mine via the internet, that have…or are serving…hope today, Veteran’s Day, was one in which you were able to spend time remembering shipmates, brothers-in-arms, fellow aircrew, along with friends and family members who have worn the uniform. And if possible, have let them know they are not forgotten.

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Filed under Military, News of the Day, PC or not PC, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized

Signs of the Times

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The “commentary” bordering the picture, misses the point, probably intentionally. The fact is, and the majority of those who are, or have served, already know and understand this…the “Sign”, held by the serviceman, is absolutely correct.

Ok, you may have initially signed up, to see the world, or get a “free education”, learn a skill…or any of the other reasons one is given to join by their respective recruiters. Still, at the end of the day…especially after you’ve finished Basic Training/Boot Camp…you know the bottom line is you are serving the needs of the Navy, Army, Air Force, or Marines. You are there to SERVE your country.

One of the first things you learned (at least it was this way 30 some odd years ago, back when I was a boot) was that the constitution was no longer your “protector”…that the bill of rights was not what covered your butt. The UCMJ took the place of same. And though it mirrored it, there were (and still are) some fundamental differences. One of them being, that you could NOT besmirch your Commander in Chief. Nor could you (at the very least while in uniform…but not necessarily exclusive to that point) speak out publicly against our military actions (in their planning stages or otherwise).

Bottom line…if you feel that strongly about what the current administration is doing, or is planning to do, there are proper channels in which to address these concerns. Indeed, if the actions ARE of an unconstitutional nature/blatantly illegal, one would expect a large chunk of the military to go up the chain of command with their grievances. But you had better have your ducks in a row…cause it isn’t going to be a cake walk.

Your other options, quite frankly, are to see if you meet the requirements for some sort of Administrative discharge, or if you are eligible, submit your papers for retirement. Any of these three choices are far superior to taking the cowards way out…of hiding your face behind a piece of paper….

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Filed under Constitution, Military, News and Notes about the 'sphere, Politics, Uncategorized

Rear Admiral Facing Politically Correct Time Bomb

There have been posts here, over the years, discussing the rampant rise of “political correctness”, social engineering, and other bits of stupidity which have been rammed down the throats selectively inserted into the fabric of our military. For the most part, I look at it as it pertains to the Navy. This time, it goes beyond my favorite sea going service. Due to the fact, a number of selected individuals from all branches attend the “school” where the following took place, it has the potential to effect all branches to some degree or another.

“The school where bomb technicians from all branches of the U.S. military learn their craft has been ordered to remove the unofficial motto “Initial Success or Total Failure” from its classroom walls.
Rear Adm. Michael Tillotson told school leaders this month that the motto could be viewed as disrespectful (emphasis mine – ed) to the hundreds of Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians who have died in the line of duty.
“The motto itself holds potential insensitivities and implies that our fallen and wounded EOD Warriors have somehow failed,” Tillotson, who is based in Norfolk, Va., said in a memo to the Florida school.”

Source: AP article as posted at Military Times

Let me understand this…a senior Navy Officer, a Rear Admiral (O-6/7 depending if “lower” or “upper”) no less, is … oh how shall I put it… emotionally distraught someone might take the meaning and intent of the school’s motto, the wrong way. And heaven forbid we would not want anyones feelings hurt! Why, that would be insensitive, uncouth, unbecoming, non-compassionate, gauche even!!! And we can’t have that!

There is an upside to this, to the extent many current and former (retired, or otherwise back in the civilian world) EOD personnel, have taken exception the our overly sensitive Rear Admiral. You can visit their a href=”http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keep-Initial-Success-or-Total-Failure-in-EOD-School/268526679884116″>facebook page. Check em out.

Someone might want to remind the Rear Admiral of the old adage “The Rear Admiral’s rear, is the Vice Admirals vice!”, as this could be a major concern should someone further up the food chain decides Tillotson may have gone just a tad too far. I’m not getting my hopes up, but sometimes things do have a way of working out, and it strikes me that the EOD community, because of the nature of their work, and the well of good will and respect they have earned through out all branches of the military, may prompt this bit of pc insanity to be turned ’round in short order.

If you read the comments at the Military Times article along with those at the facebook site, along with a number of other news articles out there, you will find most, if not all, EOD personnel and or their families, who comment are against this change. And have never been offended or incensed over the motto. It appears the only one to take exception to it, would be our Admiral of the Rear…err, Rear Admiral (sometimes one does get that ass backwards, so to speak). Perhaps if he had followed the wisdom inherent in the motto, this would not have blown up in his face.

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“Livin on jacks and queens … Maverick is a legend of the west.”

Or so the song goes from the old Maverick television show. A series about a gambler, and a bit of a rogue, whose conscience, at the end of the day, usually won out over his wallet. A good man, in spite of himself. The kind of man John McCain would have you believe he patterns himself after. One outside of the political norm, a risk taker, a rogue if the occasion warrants.

It was, and is a myth.

He claims to be for the common man, the working man, the everyday American. But will be forever known as part of the Keating Five. His actions, or the allowing, on his part, of other’s actions, caused “the common man”, the “everyday American”, to lose large parts of their retirements. I know about this on a personal level, my grandfather lost over 40k thanks to the actions of these men.

This was a myth.

He has sworn to, “protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic …”, not only as a member of the United States Navy, but as a sitting United States Senator. So, how could he in good conscience (there’s that conscience thing again), co-sponsor the “McCain-Feingold Bill”? And there was his active support toward John “thank God I had my magic cap and leather jacket in Vietnam” Kerry, while he was being hammered by the Swiftboat Vets. (And rightly so, I might add.) How could he indorse the actions and antics of such an empty suited opportunist over the well founded and grounded information provided by “real Vietnam Vets”? Political opportunity/payback trumps “duty”, “honor”, and “country” I guess.

His honor towards his oath taking was a myth.

And now, there is this

A congressional “super committee” tasked to slow the nation’s rising debt appears to have reached consensus on dampening future cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for federal entitlement programs, including military retirement, through use of a “chain-weighted” Consumer Price Index.
Source: Tom Philpott-Military Times “dot” com, November 03, 2011

And this.

Pulling the TRICARE Prime idea from a recent Congressional Budget Office report, McCain said forcing retirees under 65 to use TRICARE Standard, the fee-for-service option, or health insurance from civilian employers, or space-available care at base clinics or hospitals, could save DoD medical accounts up to $111 billion over the next decade.

McCain, ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, was once a champion for expanded TRICARE benefits to retirees. He was not available for an interview. But a staff member explained the senator feels eliminating retiree TRICARE Prime is more acceptable than alternatives to cut equipment, training or key weapon programs needed by the current force.

“Faced with the possibility of sequester and its potential for an enormously harmful impact on national security,” he said, McCain wants the super committee to consider carefully options “that would not impose drastic negative impacts on the Defense Department, or the currently serving force and their families, while sustaining the TRICARE benefit.”

As reported here two weeks ago, McCain also has embraced President Obama’s proposal to set a $200 a year enrollment fee for TRICARE for Life, the prized supplement to Medicare for military beneficiaries age 65 and older.
Source: Tom Philpott-Military “dot” com, November 03, 2011

Once again, McCain, under the guise of “fairness”, and “making the best choices in the toughest of circumstances”, seeks to work with Democrats and others of the anti-military ilk, in stabbing he fellow veterans in the back. It costs him nothing to do so. He has money enough to be “self insured” … oh wait, he also has that nifty Senatorial medical benefit package. Something his “fellow vets” could only dream about, well unless they were federal employees too.

But let’s cut out the vets from what they were, if not promised, at least strongly suggested, would be theirs… availability of free medical. Which then became, CHAMPUS, and then TRICARE. Now TRICARE, at least in its current form, may be under the knife. This along with the traditional retirement plan. All being looked at as “fat” to be trimmed from what some folks on capital hill consider to be a bloated defense budget.

And McCain is casting his lot with these bastards.

As I have said before, years ago now, this man is not to be trusted.

Maverick? Not bloody likely. Unless you consider “Maverick” to be taken in the same context as “fallen angel”. In which case, John McCain you are in the best of company with all others damned to hell. One of Satan’s gamblers … living on the souls of Jacks and Queens, indeed.

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Filed under Constitution, Military, News of the Day, Politics

Obama channels his “inner Bush”

Commented over at Cmblakes about this. Specifically about the 112 cruse missile “turkey shoot” with the UK and France also providing air support. (At least until we can get some of our assets into the theater.) The latest screech on the LSM is Obama claims this “adventure” will only last a matter of weeks, and not months or years.

Besides the launching of this misadvised, misleading, and woefully miscalculated misadventure, on the same day, eight years apart, from President Bush’s foray in Iraq, I seem to recall the last occupant of the oval office who used cruse missiles with such mad abandon, was shown the effectiveness of same, and that was minimal at best. Cruse missiles and or air support alone will not get the job done. You are going to need boots on the ground, and strong logistic support. Neither of these things are available with our current manning levels among other things.

The other thing to consider, Saddam was a despot, a dictator, and as evil as they come. Still, he may have been ego centric as all get out, but I don’t think the man was out-and-out crazy. Quddaffy (intentional) on the other hand, is all the above, and at least one sandwich shy of a full picnic. He has already vowed to bring the “battle” to those who have sponsored this bit of muscle flexing. Whither he has his own forces do so (unlikely) or finances other agents or agencies (very possible) is a very real possibility.

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Filed under Islam and other fables for our times, Military, News of the Day, Politics

The Oath

The flags along our street stand at “Parade Rest” on this overcast Veteran’s Day. A colorful, but mute, sign of respect, of acknowledgment to those who have (or are currently serving) served in the armed forces.

I was sitting in one of the old canvas folding chairs in our garage, having a smoke looking out toward the street, lost in thought about the day … when an old familiar presence made itself known.

“Attention on Deck!!”

I jumped to my feet. Even after being away from life in a uniform for over thirteen years, old reflexes and old habits die slowly if at all. With a chuckle, the mental metaphysical prankster, said “At Ease sailor”. I sat down in the chair, ears a bit red, and smiled.

“Well THAT was a hell of an entrance! Hello dad, wasn’t expecting you to pop in today, what’s up?”

Dad, comfortable in his favorite chair, cigar in one hand, scotch in the other, smiled again; “I need a reason to see my sons? Thought I would drop by and see how you were doing, and today seemed like the perfect day for it.”

“Well, it’s good to “see” you too, Just sitting here reflecting on the day, and on how much things have changed since I entered in the service …”

“And on what my grandson is experiencing right now in Boot Camp up at Great Lakes?”, Dad said, finishing my thought.

“Yeah. Just got a letter from Pat, day before yesterday, trying to figure out what to write back about.”

“Well, I am sure anything you put down on paper will be well received. You must still remember what it felt like to get mail from friends and family while in Boot Camp. It didn’t really matter what was written, what really mattered was the time was taken to send something. Matter of fact, that was much the same feeling we had, back when I did my time with the Air Force. I imagine your uncles felt the same way too back durring their days as recruits in the Marines and Army.”

Dad paused, took a puff on the cigar, followed by a sip of scotch; “You know your mother and I were very proud of you, despite your mom’s concerns about service life. How do you feel about Pat joining?”

“I have told him I am proud of him. But it is more then just a parental pride, more then the pride of having a son follow in choosing the same branch of service I did. And this may take some time, because it didn’t really sink in with me, until I had done it a couple of times over and above the first enlistment … but a pride in knowing, and I can only assume Pat will develop this, if he in fact re-enlists at some point down the road, what the oath of enlistment is really demanding of you.”

“What are you driving at son?”, I could see my dads brows furled a bit

It is what separates the military member from the civilian. with the possible exception of those who are police or firemen. The oath.

I, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

“You are literally giving up your individual freedoms, suborning yourself to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, vice the very contract between a peoples and their government, the Constitution, in order to protect and defend it. You are placing yourself in to a group which pledges to, if it comes to it, give ‘that last full measure of devotion’ in order to honor the oath you took. The only other group of individuals who come to mind in taking any sort of oath which may come close to rivaling that are police, and firemen”

“Oh sure, Pat is probably not going to be in any direct line of fire, especially in the career path he has chosen, but the chance however remote, is there. And he has sworn an oath to do what ever needs to be done to ‘protect and defend’, should it come to that. It is this intentionally honored commitment toward something greater than self which separates Patrick, his fellow service members of all stripes, and even all the veterans out there, from the civilian population at large.”

Dad looked up from his glass. “So you’re saying you hope, if Pat hasn’t done so already, that he will understand the gravity of the oath he has taken, that it is not something in effect from “nine to five”, but an obligation, freely taken, which stays with you perhaps even past the end of an enlistment or future retirement? That the measure of pride you have in him, is as much pride of one member of the service “fraternity” toward another, as it is from a father to a son.”

“Sheesh, I take a couple of paragraphs, and you nail it in a couple of sentences! Thanks Dad.”

“Even though I was only in for a couple of years, I have that same sense of pride toward both you and my grandson. Thank you both for carrying the torch.”

“I wonder if there will be a fourth generation member in the family, who will wear the uniform someday?”

Dad got a wistful look in his eye, and considering his ectoplasmic state, a tad transparent … “Damn son, you have to warn me when you say things like that! If I get to thinking about ‘the other side’ and what the future might have in store for you or the grandkids, I tend to get sucked right back up outta the here and now. Can’t really be in two places at once, that’s waaaay beyond my paygrade. Even if I knew the answer to that, and not saying that I do, I would not be surprised at all, in seeing more uniforms on future family members. But I am not going to say anything more then that.”

My father, my mental specter, gathered himself together. His cigar, now noticeably shorter, his glass closer to empty than full, stood up from his ectoplasmic easy chair.

“Son, time for me to head out. Give my best to everyone, and give all the grandsons a hug from me the next time you see them. I expect we will have another Petty Officer in the family with in the next couple of years, if his training goes smoothly enough?”

It was my turn to chuckle. “Yeah that is a very real possibility. Chances are he will be advancing at a much faster rate than his old man ever did. He has the smarts, and the common sense. I would be willing to bet if he stays in for a couple of enlistments, he will make Chief Petty Officer in record time as well, maybe even go “mustang”. But that will be his choices and his opportunities to make of what he will.”

Dad smiled. “I have faith in Pat, and in all the men and women who accept and wear, or have worn, the mantle of guardian/warrior. And in case I haven’t said so, thanks for your service son. And be sure to thank Patrick for me.”

Before I could respond, as quickly as he had popped in, he was gone. There was the faint but noticeable oder of cigar smoke in the garage. It had been awhile, but it was good to hear from Dad again. Though he had served a few short years, his status as a vet was every bit as honorable and legitimate as my “career”, and his grandsons first active duty steps toward same. It felt good to be reminded of that, to know there are vets out there who did not see action, but did their duty with honor and to the best of their ability.

To all who served or or still serving, for all who have “taken the oath” , especially on this day of remembrance, you are not forgotten.

Thank you“.

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Filed under Harbor Life, Military, Scribbles

Our Little Town

It is not yet mid-autumn here in our little town. The weather has, if anything, been a little warmer than the norm for this time of year, middle to upper 60’s during the day, sliding to the mid to lower 30’s at night. Still, the trees are in the process of shedding their fall attire, the summer sounds of crickets replaced with the rustling of leaves, come evening time.

Things are, despite internet access, cable television, and wi-fi “hot spots”, still pretty provincial out here in the hinterlands of Northern Illinois. For the most part it is housewives who head to the grocers during the day, while husbands make the daily commute to the nearest big city, or the megapolis three hours further down the road. Kids ride their bikes or skate boards wherever they can. The local high school is still a focal point every Friday night, during football season. Folks as often as not, are seen to wave at local police cars as they make their rounds. Conversely, the law enforcement folks know all the local “bad apples” (of all ages), if not on a first named basis, at least where they live, and what kind of mischief can be expected from same.

We take pride in having a clean little town, one where our kids are safe. Where the local fire department is well equipped, a point of community pride. The schools are clean and modern. The park district is able to provide any number of locations and opportunities to exercise your body, mind, and spirit. (Why, we even have our own observatory!) There is a new library in town, plenty of churches, and a senior center.

We are like any town here in the heartland of America. We eat, drink, work and play. We vote, go to PTA meetings, school board and city council meetings. Our kids belong to the Boy and Girl Scouts, FFA, and Junior Achievement. The adults belong to Moose, Elks, Knights of Columbus, Masons, VFW, and American Legion.

We follow the local news, on television and radio, when the big city down the road, finds us newsworthy enough. We even have a regional weekly paper covering the news of the county. And, like most everyone else, we know what is going on at the national level, and through out the world.

Though modern technology easily allows us access to the world at large, including major events shaping the world, there is a comfort zone between “the world”, and “our little town”. Sure we have crime … but not at the level and scope of what happens in “the big city”. Sure we are dealing with unemployment, but it at least appears to be some where else which has the long lines of unemployed, not here in our own little town. The local grocer may not be doing the same business he was a year or two ago, but at the same time, he is not yet closing his doors either. Life seems more insulated here in our little town.

Until today.

Today a young man returned home. He graduated from the local high school just last year. Like any number of kids from small towns, he decided to broaden his horizons, and sought employment away from the home of his youth. Like any number of kids, he answered a calling to serve, in and for, something greater than himself. (Although friends and family already knew this was a dream he held since early childhood.)

So, in June of 2009, Alec Catherwood enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He went on to begin living his dream. His travels eventually, took him to Camp Pendleton, California, where he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. From there he ultimately went to Afghanistan.

Today a young Marine returned home. Lance Cpl. Alec Catherwood will be laid to rest here in our little town this weekend.

Our little town, no longer feels as insulated from the events of the world, as it was yesterday. Our little town, as have many little towns across the country, has lost someone irreplaceable. One of our Sons has given the last full measure of devotion, in the service of his country. Rest easy Marine, your memory will live on here in our little town, for you are one of our own.

Semper Fidelis.

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“In The Navy”

“Where can you find pleasure
Search the world for treasure
Learn science, technology
Where can you begin to make your dreams all come true …”

Source: “In the Navy”/”The Village People”


Lt. Barney Greenwald: You’re learning that you don’t work with a captain because you like the way he parts his hair. You work with him because he’s got the job or you’re no good!

Source:  “The Caine Mutiny”

“I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy””


– John Fitzgerald Kennedy

I found my way to the local Navy Recruiters office back in March of ’73. This was a number of years before “The Village People” arrived on the national music scene, or their song featuring the Navy was riding at the number three spot on the pop charts even while it was being “torpedoed” by oversensitive (Naval) top brass, from being used as a recruiting tool. However, the “learning science (and) technology, … begin to make dreams come true” angles of their song, would be more then a little applicable to me. Aside from the song, getting out of suburbia, seeing the world, and striking out on my own, would also be right up there.

I was still in the last few months of my senior year of high school, and a month away from my eighteenth birthday. My parents signed the paperwork, and on a spring day in April of 1973, found myself in the Navy’s Delayed Enlisted Program, with the following August 4th, being the day I would head off to Basic Training.

Fast forward to late September. Now a recruit, doing my time in “Company 295” at Great Lakes Naval Recruit Command, aka “Boot Camp” .

The Cast:
“The Company Commander” ; A short, stocky Petty Officer who has done time out in the fleet, and is now imparting his wisdom, knowledge, and experience with his first “solo” Company of Recruits.
“The Recruit on Watch” ; A young man fresh from the burbs of Chicago, in pretty good shape physically, but not quite as on top of either common sense or wit as he sometimes thinks he is. (Much like most young men of his age.)

The scene: One of the barracks housing a company of Navy recruits. They are in their final weeks of training. Currently, they have a few minutes to themselves before it is off to afternoon chow. The Company Commander (The Navy’s version of a Marine Corp DI) is not in the spaces at the moment. At the entrance to this berthing area, home to some 50 Sailors, is a young man, he is the posted “Watch”. This recruit is wearing a crisp clean uniform, with his rifle (his ‘piece”) at his side. He is standing at the position of “Parade Rest”, facing toward the entrance (the “hatch”} of said spaces.

The Company Commander approaches, and enters the spaces.

Recruit on watch: “ATTENTION ON DECK”
Recruit comes to “Attention” at the same time as shouting out the above command. He is also bringing his rifle up to the position of Attention as well … unfortunately in the process of doing so, said rifle was brought up “backwards”, the sight at the end of the rifle facing toward the bridge of the recruits nose.

Upon entering the spaces the Company Commander, with what appears to be a smile on his face, proceeds directly to the Watch, “palms” the end of the “wrong way rifle” barrel, sending the “sight” smacking into the upper lip of the Watch.
Company Commander: (now leaning/getting into to the Recruit’s face) “what in the FUCK do you call that? Is that supposed to be “The Position of Attention”? You’ve been in Basic Training HOW LONG, and you fuck up this up?!?!?” (While this tirade is going on the Company Commander is advancing on the Recruit, while the Recruit is backpeddling, and then bending over backwards when he comes to a table located against the bulkhead [that’s a wall to you landlubbers].) “Put your piece under the mail box, get into my office, assume push up position, and stay that way until I get in there and tell you otherwise… IS THAT CLEAR??”

Recruit: (while placing rifle on the deck under the company “mail box”) “SIR, AYE AYE SIR!!” (Much the same as “Sir YES SIR!” is used in the Marines and other branches of service.)

Company Commander (to the rest of the Company of Recruits in the barracks, who are all paying complete attention to the drama playing out in front of them): “All right you assholes, assemble out on the grinder, in formation. RPOC (Recruit Petty Officer in Charge) march them to chow! Now MOVE!! ON THE DOUBLE!!!”

While the Company Commander is directing the Company of Recruits, the Recruit of the Watch is “at push up position” in the Company Commander’s office. He has been there for between 5-10 minutes. And though he is not physically exhausted, the adrenal rush of having had the Company Commander’s “personal attention”, along with the pool of blood from his lip and the sweat from his brow forming a pool just south of his nose, on the deck, as given him a slight case of the shakes. In any case he awaits the arrival of the Company Commander, to see what fate has in store for him.

Company Commander (arriving in his office, after the company has gone to chow) : “Get up off my deck, go to the head clean yourself up. Then get back here and clean your mess off my deck!”

Recruit: (standing up and coming back to “Attention”) “Sir, Aye Aye Sir!”

The Recruit goes and cleans his face, brings applicable cleaning gear to get rid of the puddle on the Company Commander’s deck, returns the cleaning gear to it’s proper place, and returns to the office, assuming the position of “Attention”.)

Company Commander: (Looking at the cut on the Recruits lip, wondering if the Recruit is going to pass on the events of the day to the folks back home in his next letter home, along with insuring his Recruit has not sustained more “damage” then what appears to be the case.) “Stand at Parade Rest. You going to be okay, Recruit?”

Recruit: “Sir, Yes Sir.”

Company Commander: “Come to Attention!” (Recruit does so) “What are “The Eleven General Orders?” (Recruit recites them correctly, from memory.) “What is your Chain of Command?” (Recruit recites that correctly.)
“Okay, go and get your piece, and return to this office!”

Recruit: “Sir, Aye Aye Sir!” (Recruit does so. Returns and assumes the Position of Attention … CORRECTLY this time.}

Company Commander: “Okay Recruit, assume “Parade Rest”. (Recruit does so) “Eight count manual arms … Begin!” (Recruit does so, with out missing a beat, correctly.) “Sixteen count manual arms… begin!!” (Recruit does this correctly, as well.) “Go and secure your piece in its proper place Recruit, and return to my office!”

Recruit: “Sir, Aye Aye Sir!” (Recruit does as instructed, and returns to the office, assuming “The Position of Attention”.)

Company Commander: “What in the hell is your problem? You executed all the commands I gave you correctly, you answered all the questions correctly with no hesitation … what have you got to say for yourself?”

Recruit: “Sir, I don’t know. I have no excuse for what happened. But once it did, and I realized it was wrong, it was too late to change it. And in any case it wouldn’t have mattered if I did or not, once the mistake was made, I couldn’t undo it, so I stayed the way I was. I knew I would have been chewed out regardless. Sir”

Company Commander: “That is true enough Recruit. We both know this is not going to happen again, is it?”

Recruit: “Sir, NO SIR!”

Company Commander: “Very well then. The Company is through with chow, change out of the uniform of the day, get in to your working uniform. Then go ahead and double time to where the Company is now.” (Hands the Recruit, a pass to allow him to travel “unescorted” to where the Company is at.) “Attention!” (Recruit comes to attention) “Dismissed!!” (Recruit exits smartly from the office, and quickly goes about his business.)

The above incident is true. The names have been changed to protect the stupid (that would be “The Recruit”, for all you sensitive progressive types out there). It happened just about 37 years ago, but seems almost as recent as yesterday. Some “rites of passage” are never forgotten.

big tip of the old “Squid Lid” ™ to Curtal Friar over at Fountain Abbey, who prodded more than a couple of memories front and center, with this post, and request.

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Filed under Harbor Life, Military, Random Thoughts

Here in lies the real issue

The book burning was looked upon as being “hateful”, “idiotic”, “insensitive”. A case of one agent of one religious sect willingly seeking to denigrate another’s “holy book”. But here is the bottom line. The pastor from Florida, Terry Jones, has every right under our constitution, to openly destroy as many Korans as he can lay his hands on. You may personally agree with him or disagree, but it doesn’t change the fact he has that right. Same goes for the flag burners, the Christian icon destroyers/blasphemers, and all the other folks out there who are wanting to vocalize (via speech, print, or other art form) their point(s) of view.

Now it would seem to me, any and all members of the military would be among the first to recognize this. And, in recalling what their sworn oath said, would take a strong exception to those who seek to dissuade anyone from exercising said rights. Further more, if the enemy they are currently engaged in armed conflict with, gets their panties in a knot over this, wouldn’t that be considered a major propaganda coup?

Take a gander at the letter below. This fella says it about as well as anyone ever has. And by all means, spread the love. Take said letter and repost it. Get as many folks to see (and read) it as possible.

OPEN LETTER TO GEN. PETRAEUS (Please re-post to anti-jihad sites)

“Were the actual burning to take place, the safety of our soldiers and civilians would be put in jeopardy and accomplishment of the mission would be made more difficult.”
– Gen. David Petraeus

General, I ask you this: what in hell is your “mission” if We The People jeopardize it by exercising our First Amendment rights in our own homeland? Is your “mission” to defend our rights against foreign enemies, or to defend foreign enemies against our rights?

You made your choice, and you justified by claiming that you and those under your command have been taken hostage by our 7th Century terrorist enemy, and that the ransom demand you deliver to us is that we submit to your captor’s restrictions on our natural and constitutional rights – or they’ll kill you.

I remind you and your captors that we do not negotiate with terrorists.

And I remind you that you are the most revered general in the present day, commanding in the most powerful military in all of history, during the most justifiable war in the last seventy years. So please either remember your priorities and slaughter your captors, or resign in disgrace so that we may replace you with a warrior. And if you resign, you should do so right along with President Obama, Gen. Caldwell, Pentagon Spokesman Lapan, Sec. of State Clinton, Atty. Gen. Holder, NATO Sec. Rasmussen and all others in all branches of government and in all alliances who echoed your request, whether they did so mindlessly or with surrender aforethought.

To have our own military leaders beg us to refrain from exercising our Constitutional rights on our own soil is completely un-American. And to have you make that request of us in the name of cowardice is a shocking and unthinkable perversion I still don’t have the words for.

But I do have the plan for it. We The People will force the issue right here and now. We don’t want harm to come to our military, but if peacefully exercising our rightful freedom on our own property here in our own homeland endangers you, then we will endanger you!

We will burn the Koran for freedom and post the videos for all the world to see. We can be overt or covert, named or anonymous, sparse or numerous – but ultimately we will be unstoppable, and eventually we will be effective.

We will do this because you have no fucking right to sell our freedom down the river for the sake of our enemy’s sensitivity. We will do it because you more than have the power to defend yourselves against that enemy if only you would use it. We will do it because facing danger to defend our rightful freedom is why we pay you, train you, equip you, promote you, appoint you, deploy you, and – formerly! – revere you.

You work for us, General, not for our enemy. Therefore we will regain control over you and over this war from the command center of our own backyards. We will force you to end any of your appeasement and nation-building which would restrict our Constitutional rights. We will force you to defend yourselves and us, and to do the job you were appointed to do: destroy the enemy in defense of our freedom.

Our military has the power. We hired you to use it. Now we’ll make sure you do.
When Americans can burn our own copies of the Koran on our own soil without credible threats from jihadists or appeasement of those threats from our President and our Generals, then we will gladly stop burning them.

We are a free people, and although we clearly live in occupied territory psychologically, we do not yet live in occupied territory legally or physically. We will do as we please, and we will continue to expect all branches of our government to secure our right to do it.

I remind you that securing our rights is the only legitimate reason that governments are instituted among men in the first place, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
And not everybody among the governed consents to surrendering our rights to terrorists.

Freedom for all,

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ!!
Respectfully reprinted from the good folks over at Eternity Road
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Looks like a solid “eleventy” to me!!

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Filed under Constitution, Islam and other fables for our times, Military, News and Notes about the 'sphere, Politics, WOT

“When everybody is special … nobody is.”

We had this, back in the day. There was the ” Enlisted Surface Warfare” Badge, and the “Aviation Warfare” wings. The initial idea behind this was to allow for those who wanted to work toward becoming “a resident expert” in their community.

The qualifications for earning the ESWS pin were as follows:
1. Be a Petty Officer
2. Have 24 months on a surface ship
3. Have a performance mark and Leadership marks of top 30% for CPO’s and 3.4 for Petty Officers.
4. Complete the PQS for Damage Control, Damage Control Petty Officer, Repair Party Leader, and Work Center Supervisor.
5. Qualify in all watch stations for rating and pay grade.
6. Perform an oral board held by the Commanding Officer, Executive Officer or LCDR.
7. Be recommended by the chain of command, and approved by the Commanding Officer.

This used to be voluntary. It was expected there would be those who would willingly accept this as a challenge to not only increase their knowledge about the ship(s) they were stationed on. It was also looked on as being a valid way to help in ranking the Sailors aboard your command. Those who elected to, more to the point, those who were successful in reaching this goal and were awarded the ESWS pin, could be viewed as a “cut above” their peers. And assuming the process was not “gun decked”, this was a valid yard stick.

The counter argument given by any number of Sailors was, they had to spend more time keeping proficient within their own specialty(s), or were already spending time pursuing college degrees. They felt as long as they met the requirements for their jobs and duties, that was more then enough. Others offered the opinion this was little more than envy. The pilots and aircrewmen had their “wings”. The SEALs, their insignia. The Submariners, their cherished (and very well earned) “Dolphins”. “So why can’t the rest of us have something shiny to wear on our chests?” That there was more then a little kernel of truth in all of the above, is perhaps what kept it “voluntary”. (This was true in the Aviation community where they started a similar version called the “Aviation Warfare pin” , or “wings” if you will. The same pros and cons were also applicable.)

I retired back in early 97. They were already “requiring” that you have your applicable “pin”, if you ever expected to make it to Chief Petty Officer. (Though exceptions were made, as the century drew to a close this became increasingly harder to do.) Thus, if you expected to have a career in the Navy lasting beyond 20 years, it behooved you to get your “pin”. (You had to be E-7 or above, or waiting results of the last selection board you were eligible for to release it’s results. Again, case by case exceptions would be made, and obviously if the needs of the Navy were such that they needed more folks, you could “extend”.)

Well, since the beginning of this program, back in ’79, it has taken the Navy a tad over 30 years, but they finally got where the neighsayers always said they were going with both the Surface and Aviation Warfare Pins.

Initial enlisted warfare qualifications are now mandatory for all Sailors per the recent release of NAVADMIN 268-10.

The link for the whole article is here.

And I guess I can give the folks who wrote up this piece a little credit for having some testicular fortitude. If only because they included the following in the list of “questions and answers” the Master Chief of the Navy addressed in relation to this …. piece of work.

– Will having mandatory qualifications water down the existing programs?

West stated, quite the contrary; by mandating warfare qualifications for all enlisted personnel, it will significantly “raise the bar” across the command regarding level of knowledge of the command and the systems our Sailors operate. It is incumbent on those that wear the warfare pin of the command to ensure the integrity and strength of the existing programs.

– How will Sailors stand-out amongst peers if everyone is required to have a warfare pin?

According to West, Sailors stand out every day. Performance and the Sailor’s overall command support should be the biggest factors to “break out” individuals.

To be fair to the Master Chief, I don’t know how he could have answered any other way. I, however do not have such restraints imposed upon me.

– Will having mandatory qualifications water down the existing programs?

Initially, probably not. But over time there will be those commands who, due to the pressure of wanting to excel and (appear to ) be the best, will either out and out “gun deck” the process, or look the other way while it is done. As more commands fall prey to this temptation, the program will be watered down, and will have to be “reviewed” and “redesigned”. When the “new and improved” program(s) are introduced to the fleet, this whole process will start over.

– How will Sailors stand-out amongst peers if everyone is required to have a warfare pin?

The short answer is “they won’t”. When everybody is special, nobody is. We will be back to where we were prior to 79, but this time there will be more work to be done, when perhaps … oh I don’t know … we should be concerning ourselves with being as proficient as possible within our respective ratings, and at the jobs and tasks we are assigned to at the moment. By all means work on qualifying for all the applicable spots on the “Watch, Quarters, and Station Bill”, become CPR qualified (if you are in an electrical specialty you already are), keep yourself in good enough shape to be able to do your job well, and to assist your shipmates if and when it’s needed. And IF time and command tempo permits, by all means work toward getting the applicable “pin” for your community. For up to now all those who have legitimately earned it over the past 30 years, have something to be proud of. I doubt the awardees of same, in the future, will be able to have that same sense of pride. For instead of being one in a million, they will be one OF a million.

I know a couple military folks peek into this bit o lint on the web, what do ya’ll think?

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Filed under Military, Politics, Scribbles