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.

60 Minutes of Play

Pocket Monkey likes playing with his friend outside. I fall into the “60 minutes of play” camp. In my world, 60 minutes of playing outside is invaluable. Mrs. Snipe mentioned that it felt like neglect. My response, “He is playing outside. With friends. I love it!” In my world, if you use the buddy system, and play outside, you are ahead of the curve! I strictly enforce the buddy system. If your friends go in, you come in. PM is learning about football from his friend. I love it! I come from an era where parents only got involved if you did something stupid. We check on the kids randomly, because that is what responsible parents do.

In our apartment block, all the parents know each other. “Don’t make me tell your Mom” still carries weight. PM and friends play football and manufacture adventures.

Speaking of adventures, we had a decent snowfall Saturday night. We went outside and commenced snow related shenanigans. A fellow parent teamed up with me to chase kids with snowballs. I was hesitant to throw a snow ball at someone else’s kids until I was given the “A-OK”.

“Just throw it They need to learn!”

I love parents that are as mischievous as me. We teamed up in a proper pincer and got the kids with snowballs from both sides.

That is all. Fall out, and carry out the Plan of the Day!

Christmas Memories

Christmas is my favorite time of year. It always has been. I have been everywhere on Christmas. I have been in Australia, the Persian Gulf, and parts unknown. I now have a wife and child. It is the ultimate blessing to share Christmas with them. Because I could be literally anywhere on Christmas Day, I cherish the ones I get to share with my family.

I once participated in a search and rescue on Christmas Day. On shore duty, it is not quite as hectic. We went shopping today for the last minute presents. We will enjoy Christmas dinner with the same folks from the Thanksgiving post.

The gifts are wrapped, plans are made, and fun is ready to be had. I am not in the Gulf, or in some other God-forsaken locale.

We read the Christmas story from the Book of Luke to Pocket Monkey tonight. Jesus is the reason for the season. We are training Pocket Monkey in the finer arts of Christianity.

On this Christmas, please pay homage to those who are the watchmen on the walls. They are missing all the festivities in order that we may live free. They are the sheepdogs. They dress like the wolf in order to protect the sheep. I have been there, and I have no doubt that I will be there again.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. Fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Day of Infamy

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. 72 years ago today we were attacked by the Japanese on a Sunday. My rate didn’t exist back then. There were Ship fitters, Molders, and Metal smiths. There was mass confusion. There were questions of whether or not it was a drill.

Many people in the chain of command lost their minds. Some got fired. Chief Aviation Ordnanceman John William Finn won what was widely considered to be the first Medal of Honor to be awarded during World War 2. His citation reads as follows:

The President of the United States in the name of the Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to

FINN, JOHN WILLIAM

Lieutenant, USN.

for service set forth in the following Citation:

For extraordinary heroism, distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on 7 December 1941, Lieutenant Finn promptly secured and manned a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine-gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and return the enemy’s fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first-aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning airplanes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

In the Hollywood blockbuster Pearl Harbor, a character resembling him makes an appearance. He fought back with what he had. I am willing to bet he didn’t think twice. His friends were in danger and he acted. He had sailors under his command who needed a Chief’s protection. He did his best to protect them. He later became an officer in the USN. That is why his citation reads Lieutenant and not Chief. By the time his citation was approved, he was an LT.

It is a good day to take stock. If my base was attacked, what would I do? Men like AOC Finn are my heroes. They faced the enemy and did it well. He is still spoken of with reverence in training sessions about honor and valor.

Pearl Harbor Day is often swept under the rug. Not in this house. We are watching a documentary on Pearl Harbor. We talk about it with Pocket Monkey and his buddies. It is my mission to never forget.

We attended a Christmas party today. It was found amusing by some that it was held on Pearl Harbor Day. Pocket Monkey got some good swag, and we gave some to our friends.

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