The Doolittle Raid

I wrote here https://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.

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.

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.

Those That Have Gone Before

http://williamlopez1984.wordpress.com/2013/03/03/the-medal-of-honor-a-handful-of-hereos/ has a post that really opened my eyes. It expounds on how few people can name a Medal of Honor winner and how many people can name all 5 Kardashians.

The Medal of Honor(not the Congressional Medal of Honor) is this nation’s highest award for military valor. It calls for service above and beyond the call of duty. For men whose call of duty includes rescuing comrades from burning rooms, and surrendering only as a last resort, above and beyond is some next level valor. Like Mr. T, Duke Nukem, and GI Joe rolled into one awesome fighting man.

I have met a few Medal of Honor winners and heard others of them speak. They are some of the most humble farm boys I have ever met. I couldn’t quite picture them charging machine gun nests with flamethrowers, or organizing desperate last stands. The historical record shows that they did just that. They took lives and saved lives. It was their call, and they answered.

There are two Navy Seals who recently earned that medal that now have ships named after them. One jumped on a grenade, which is a movie cliché, but a real life choice. The other exposed himself intentionally to enemy fire while calling in reinforcements.

On a whim, I gave Mrs. Snipe a quiz. I asked her how many Kardashians she could name, and she named one. I asked how many American Idol winners she could name, and she named five. I asked her how many Medal of Honor winners she could name, and I got a blank stare in return. I can name three. It would have been four, but I forgot Woody’s last name. He is from my home state, and spoke at my church once. He is the basis for my flamethrower example above.

I posted earlier about what constitutes courage. These men, and their brothers, had it in spades. Even if they were scared to death, they manned up, and did what was required of them. These men are real heroes. The ones I have met or heard speak, downplay their actions. They will say they hid in a foxhole like a good LT. They almost always skip the part where they stood up, guns blazing, in the face of a numerically superior enemy, to give their men time to reorganize and counterattack.

That is what Americans should be honoring. Not some tart who is famous because she is famous. Audie Murphy and Sergeant York were two of my heroes growing up. Not a ballplayer or celebrity. Two men, who in their respective wars, earned an amazing amount of awards for valor. To further prove my point, it is worth noting that Alvin York was a pacifist, who entered the war only reluctantly. When he realized that his squad was in grave danger, he hunted humans like he hunted ducks. He didn’t find it proper to let men die because he didn’t want to kill. It seems to me that most men of that caliber find themselves in similar circumstances.

If you can name more celebrities than Medal of Honor winners, please reevaluate your priorities. I, for one, proudly represent the fighting spirit of those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world. It is my mission to learn about them, and to tell their stories.

Always remember, fall out, and carry out the plan of the day.

Sea stories

I feel we must take a break from the doom and glom to tell a funny anecdote.

I believe that sea stories have been around as long as the Navy. I was telling a sea story to my guys one day when work was slow.

The most recent cruiser I was on was on a 3 week mission to test some equipment, and generally antagonize a certain foreign power. That much is routine. As a snipe, I was given broad and unclassified strokes of the big picture. Fast forward to present day and a general purpose bull session. My story involved phrases such as “secret squirrel shit”, “all spark”, and classified beyond my clearance and pay grade”. One guy snidely remarked that it sounded like a movie, and asked if we had dropped a robot alien in the ocean.

Our CO had been walking around our area, and stealth entered into our shop. He motioned the guy that saw him to skip the formalities(attention on deck, e.g.). When one guy finally addressed the CO, he seemed disappointed that he didn’t get to hear the conclusion of the story.

Lucky for us, we weren’t talking about anything untoward.

Cracker barrel

In the many BSA camps I attended in my youth, Saturday night snack/fellowship was a mix of several snack foods. In that vein, this post will have several comments on the multiple thoughts in my head.

Constitution Day. I was once given a pocket copy of the US Constitution by a Master Chief I worked for. His unsolicited explanation was that every sailor should read what they have sworn to defend. I agree.

Military bases arming everyone!? It might surprise you to know that the military has a large number of people that remind one of Barney Fife. Fireman Pokey from the Auxiliary Ship for one example. During OIF, my CG considered arming the engineering rover and watch officer. That idea got no traction because some of the engineers in both watch stations had issues. COs can authorize personal weapons on base, but rarely do for the aforementioned reasons.

PRT and diets Ask any Southern or Southernish person you know, and they will tell you that no matter how much you church up a veggie soup, if it doesn’t have meat in it, it is tedious to eat.

Clearances. I have one. The screening was quite tedious and the process lengthy. I suspect that some “sacred” groups get more of a pass than others. There are several things that the check goes over, some of which would fail you for owning a gun under current law.

Race and other factors. Predictably, there was no liberal outcry over the skin tone. Their house of cards is falling down around their ears, and would be amusing if it wasn’t so perilous to this once great country.

Gun control and information control. There were a number of violations of current gun laws, presumably due to no one wanting to be called racist. 3 firearms misuses in 3 states would be enough to get most people DQ’d for any firearm purchase, as well as almost any government clearance. A certain Senator from Cali is realizing that “undocumented journalists” have the power to upset the liberal’s apple cart and is trying to compartmentalize and dissect the 1st Amendment in ways reminiscent of how they butchered the 2nd. Everyone laughed at gun guys when we predicted this. By the way, there is no such thing on the civilian market as an AR-15 shotgun. There is an under barrel grenade launcher with beehive rounds for the M-4 that is highly illegal on the civilian market. Dude used the VP’s preferred weapon, but no one in the propaganda arm of the DNC wants to make the VP look dumb(er). Instead of outlawing guns, why don’t we outlaw murder? Oh, wait, we have? How come there are still murders? That was a rhetorical question.

General food for thought. If you open carry, a revolver makes you look like a cowboy. Some guns make you look like a lunatic. I know that is dumb, but image carries a lot of weight.

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