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October 25, 2006

Nuke mentality has firm foothold in Navy

There are many great submarine Naval heroes in our 108 years history- CDR Slade Cutter, CAPT John Cromwell, ADM Eugene Fluckey , and Commander Howard Gilmore - officers who reshaped the course of a war, held their shipmates in higher regard than themselves, and made decisions that were based on what’s best for the crew. How I wish to be surrounded by such men and not the clueless, incompetent “leaders” that are doing nothing but shaping their fitreps.

While at sea, submariners are on a steady diet of shit sandwiches. Inherent to life at sea in the nuclear Navy, the stresses of keeping the water outside of the boat, preventing collisions with other vessels, and the routines of drills, maintenance, and training all contribute to the Dagwood-sized sandwich we are forced to choke down. After 4 years a sailor is supposed to be able to go to shore duty and shake off the rigors of sea duty. It is a time to relax, spend some well deserved time with family, and burn some of that leave that has been heaping up.

It is with a certain degree of expectation that anyone stationed at a shore command in Pearl Harbor, HI can make 10:00 a.m. tee times, start/finish higher education programs, and travel to the other islands unhindered by the constraints of anything remotely resembling the boat mentality.

Wrong.

The nuclear mentality has now made its way into the sanctity of shore duty. All the things I hated about Nuke officers have now followed me and have turned the best shore duty assignment one could ever hope for into an entity that resembles a submarine sans mooring lines.

"How bad can it be, Trickish Knave? You are still on shore duty and you go home every night. You’re not at sea so suck it up." True dat. But does that mean we are to needlessly endure ridiculousness to the nth degree just because we aren’t at sea? I say "Nay nay." Hell, why should people on sea duty endure needless ridiculousness? Random rules and regulations, or policies and procedures promulgated merely for the sake of change or ‘theory to practice’ erodes the morale and well being of the crew, whether at sea or on shore. Change is good, don’t get me wrong. The Navy has made some excellent changes for the better in the last 20 years. It seems like for every step forward the Navy makes to make things better, however, a local policy sets it two steps back.

I started to cite specific examples of what I am talking about but I started to irritated and I felt a headache brewing. It may seem like a petty rant but I cannot expect people to understand, unless of course they are sailors or anyone who has dealt with this type of living/working environment. There has always been an inalienable truth in the military in respect to idiot coworkers- either you or he will transfer and you won’t have to deal with him for more than 4 years. What a shame that another idiot just ends up taking his place.

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