Live from WV

My maternal grandmother is turning 80 this month. We scraped and saved and have found ourselves in the small town in WV where I grew up. Mrs. Snipe and Pocket Monkey are quite possibly the only 2 Chamorros in this town at the moment. One of my cousins in college told me he learned that this is the second least diverse city in the US.

It is good to see all the family but everyone has aged a lot. It is the first time I have darkened my mother’s door in seven years. Some people have passed away and many businesses have shut down. All the manufacturing that we were famous for in my youth has dried up. Consequently, a lot of restaurants have shut down.

More to follow. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Memorial Day

Another Memorial Day is upon us. While it can be a celebration of life, it is also a time to remember those who have sacrificed. A major theme of this blog is “…Those who have gone before.” Every Memorial Day I get quite emotional. I have personally met men who later died in battle or sneak attacks. It would take one misstep, or one fluke for me to join their ranks.

For most men of arms that I know, it is a time of deep reflection.

“Will my family be taken care of if I’m gone?”
“What will my parents think?”
“Will I honor my family and my service by my actions?”

About 2 years ago, I had a post about my personal honor roll. As with any warrior, it grows every year. On the one hand, I am thankful I am still here. On the other, there but for the grace of God go I.

We had 2 sailors die in a mudslide this year. There was nothing we could do about it. They were living in that location because of their duty station. This is their day just as much as those who have died in combat.

There are others as well. Many warriors suffer from PTSD. This is their day too. Some of their sanity was lost at war.

By all means, honor our men and women of the Armed Forces. But this is a day for them to honor their lost brothers and sisters or fathers and mothers. For some, it is quite personal.

This is not a day to praise a veteran or an active Armed Service member. It is a day to thank the young child that will never meet their father. It is a day to thank the Gold Star mother or wife. It is a day to remember the father who had to bury his son. That is an inversion of the natural order.

We have our days. We have Armed Forces Day and Veteran’s Day. This is our day to honor our fallen brethren. We shall drink and carry on, because that is the way the military honors their own. We will remember funny anecdotes and stories.

On Monday, we will be placing flags on the graves of veterans at the local cemetery. It Is a small action. It means the world to some. I find it to be quite an honor.

That is all. Always remember. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

The Doolittle Raid

I wrote here http://freshairsnipe.wordpress.com/2012/04/19/those-who-have-gone-before-2/ about the Doolittle raid. Today is its anniversary. That raid was a textbook example of interoperability and joint service cooperation.

The Naval History blog has an article about it today.

http://www.navalhistory.org/2014/04/18/doolittle-raid-lesson-in-joint-innovation-resilience

My first link sums up my opinion quite well. I couldn’t say it better again if I tried.

Five to six men got promoted or earned awards based on that action. We showed what we could do.

Success here set up our success in the Battle of Midway. I encourage you to read the links.

Please remember. That is all. Fall out and carry out the plan of the day.

Today in Navy History

March 9

1798 – Appointment of first surgeon U.S. Navy, George Balfour-water and Motrin soon found to be a cure-all
1847 – Commodore David Connor leads successful amphibious assault near Vera Cruz, Mexico-“The Halls of Montezuma “
1862 – First battle between ironclads, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia
1914 – Test of wind tunnel at Washington Navy Yard-now the wind tunnels are found a few blocks over.

The Greatest Generation

Sixty-nine years ago today, a group of US Marines accompanied by a Navy Corpsman raised a flag on Mount Suribachi in Iwo Jima. The associated five week battle was quite bloody. Of the six men that raised the flag, only 3 survived the battle. Ira Hayes is one of the most famous thanks to Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, both of which sang a song about him. Most of the Native Americans I have served with hold Ira Hayes in a high reverence.

In the Battle of Iwo Jima, nearly 7000 US troops were killed. The Japanese lost almost 19000. The little known fact is that there were 2 flag raisings. The second is the most famous. The flag raising was intended to be a signal to the others that the mountain was secure.

Men like these are the men my generation of sailors look up to. They fought in one of the bloodiest battles of World War 2. The survivors became celebrities and were sent home to sell war bonds.

The battle itself turned out to be somewhat of a strategic blunder. The Army and Navy had no use for that particular island. The PR that came from the flag raising was extremely invaluable.

As always, we must strive to remember “those that have gone before, to defend freedom and democracy around the world”.

That is all. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

A Very Good Friday

Today was a very good day. I made every right decision possible, a couple on accident. Chiefs and First Classes do Physical Training(PT) together once a week. Ideally, the First Classes up for Chief will lead. This doesn’t always happen. My rate is famous for our work ethic and leadership. If no one leads, we will. That is the character of every single person I know in my rate.

During PT, we got a stern talking to by a Chief. No one was stepping up. I waited a minute, and then took charge. I should mention that I suck at some parts of PT, but I will lead until I fall flat on my face. I decided to start barking orders.

“Unit! Fall in! Two abreast! Short and slow guys up front. Forward, march. Double time, march. Commence running cadence.” That was right decision number one. My current Chief was very proud. According to him, my stock went up in the eyes of the other Chiefs.

Now for my twofer. I decided to go back to the office after training. I cut my guys loose at the traditional Friday time. Something told me to hang out, so I abided. Chief called five minutes later. He had been given the wrong location for a certain meeting. It was my chance to back him up. I was way closer. I showed up in his stead for the first bit.

It is the job of a First Class to help his Chief. In the course of the meeting, Chief referred a couple of questions to me. I answered them. This particular meeting had a lot of higher ups. I subscribe to “call the baby ugly”. I will answer any question. You may not like the answer, but it will be the stone cold truth to the best of my knowledge. Afterwards, I had a sidebar with my Chief. We discussed the various aspects of the Safety Program. Considering that I am an Assistant LPO, I felt that I was quite successful. Our LPO was TAD elsewhere.

I am now comfortable in the knowledge that my Chief knows that I am competent. He knows that he can call me, and I will step up. I don’t sugarcoat answers, but I will frame them in such a manner, that the CO will get his information.

The long story short is, if you make the Chief look good; he will make you look good.

That is all. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.