Shore Duty Versus Sea Duty

In the Navy, we generally have two different kinds of billets, sea duty and shore duty. I just switched over to the former and it is demanding. What I am trying to say is that I may be posting (as you can surely tell) in a drastically scantier (word-wise) fashion. Ex Bootneck and America’s Sergeant Major are doing a bang-up job in my absence. So much so that surely one or five of you must be thinking I hope that Navy guy stays away. Sort of like the substitute teacher thing in grade school. As usual, thanks to them and to you, for visiting.

Yet More Apologies

Folks, I am neck deep in work. (And by neck, I mean, I look up and see more!) Couple that with a verrrry slow internet connection and that equals little posting. (1 + 1 = 0 posting.) Like Ex Bootneck below, I am going to offer you my apologies. Good news, a blogger (who is very entertaining) might be dropping by with some nuggets that are not of his usual topic.

Carrier Drone Ops and the Tomb of the Unknown

Stu, a retired Navy Chief in the IS field, has his eye on the challenge of carrier operations when it comes to drones. No, these are not like a video game:

Landing a drone on an aircraft carrier was not a cheap or easy task. The so-called “Salty Dog 502″ has been in training to accomplish such a feat for years now, and the program has cost the government over $1.4 billion. It won’t spend anymore, because the Navy is retiring its two X-47B’s and sending them to Navy museums in Florida and Maryland. The aircraft deserve nothing less than being enshrined. “Your grandchildren and great grandchildren, and mine, will be reading about this historic event in their history books,” Rear Admiral Mat Winter told the press ahead of the landing. “This is not trivial.”

Please ignore Stu’s last sentence in his solid post. He is a Chief, after all. Kimberly, a Navy vet and shooting instructor, has more on a new movie:

I was on Tumblr this morning and came across a post from a fellow  about a project to make a movie about the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier.  The soldiers that do this job have my utmost respect and admiration.  These soldiers endure hours of training to become one of the chosen few that earn the coveted decoration of the badge of a Tomb guard.

Two former soldiers, Neal Schrodetzk and Ethan Morse collaborated to film a documentary about the work of the extraordinary soldiers that guard the Tomb.

Can’t wait to see it. I used to drive past Arlington every trip to DC. If I could park and walk around, paying my respects, all the better…

No Cake for Us

no cakeHey, don’t break out the cake, but this blog is two years old. Yep, time for the terrible twos. The most interesting part of blogging is the interaction with you, the readers. Thanks for coming by, chatting, sharing your story.

I’ve also come to realize, through blogging, that I enjoy stories about people who have taken action in some form or another. If my blogging is about anything, it is about human potential, both realized and not. Very often the folks are in the military or related to it. Or sometimes not. I do not strive to stay in any set theme and I appreciate your indulgence of my tangents.

I also appreciate the new bloggers to this site, Ex Bootneck (who blogs frequently) and TEXTA (who is shy.) We are a smallish, boutique blog and we just hit 2114000 pageviews. (I put this in for historical purposes, sorry if it makes you groan. Not my intention.) We’ve 4248 posts, 22,689 comments, and 20,172 tags. And Akismet has stopped 76,949 pieces of spam. That is all…

Military.Answers.Com

Very observant readers (essentially all of you) will notice a new badge, insignia, adverteaser in the sidebar. The good folks at Military.answers.com contacted me about the ad and I did not shy away like I’ve done when receiving other emails with the kooky furniture or overseas shopping store advertisements. Answers.com has relevant content and their design is crisp and clean. Do go visit them!  

James Erwin’s Roman-Marine Movie

Could a battalion of US marines destroy the entire Roman empire? That was the question James Erwin took an hour writing up on reddit. And now he is facing this:

By the time I went home at five it’d had a quarter-of-a-million readers, a week later I had a manager, and a week after that I had a contract with Warner Brothers. They brought me on to write a treatment, and then a screenplay based on that treatment.

At the time the story basically just shot out of my fingers. It took the form of a diary, written from the perspective of a US marine who finds himself, along with his battalion, in the reign of Augustus. As the Praetorian guards advance, they have to decide whether to fight or negotiate.

Wow, good for him. . .

Thanks for the Two Million

It seems like a superficial thing on Memorial Day, when we honor the great heroes of our country, but thank you for ticking this blog past the 2 million page-views. The lifeblood of a blog is links and during the last week, Theo Spark, Legal Insurrection, The Warrior Class, Chant du Depart, and the Gun Feed has linked here. Thank you to these great folks and thanks to you for visiting. (My comment feed has 21,088 comments in it, so thanks for gabbing as well!)

Friday Blog Wave

Blogging is a funny hobby. Some time ago, well over a year, I wrote a post on a television show. It addressed a question a number of people had about the series. And every Friday, when the show is on, the blog gets flooded with folks looking for answers. Sometimes, they stay and poke around, sometimes not. Either way, my pageviews go through the roof. Does this matter? Probably not, as the vast majority do not return. But it is neat from a statistics viewpoint. The miracles of search engines never cease to amaze me. And the same wave repeats itself as the show is exported overseas.

The Guardian and a Hairdo

I am convinced that you all are highly literate, expert commenters. For example, Curtis pointedly shared this about the debacle that was the Guardian:

Would it be facile to point out that every single member of the crew of the former USS Guardian has been reassigned?

For good order and discipline we might one day read about the accused appearing at Admiral’s Mast for punitive and non punitive disposition of their careers for being part of the team that wrecked a warship through faulty navigation. Now that I think about it, maybe not. If you are not in a sea billet you can refuse Mast and I would guess that they’re not in such billets now.

It is staggering to realize that each of those officers had a role in stranding and destroying that ship but consider:
The navigator briefed the sailing plan to the CO and wardroom prior to sailing. It was produced by the Quartermasters and navigator working together and on watch that night were the OOD, JOOD, CICWO, CIC watch team and the forward lookout. All of them are charged with the safe navigation of the ship. All of them failed. All of them.

As an Engineer on ships l was trained to trust the instruments. If they said there was a problem act as if there was. If the dog didn’t bark….?

As one who used to conn MSO in minefields in the Gulf I had a full manual plot behind me in CIC with the LPO, plotter, talker/fathometer reader, 1 man on radar, 1 man on each of 2 sonar consoles looking at both search and classify beams, ISS/Hyperfix/LORAN-C and a lively sense that people were counting on me to keep us off the mines. I am content to say that if we hit a mine while I was driving it was me alone that screwed up but I kept my eyes and ears wide open at all times when driving the ship. I had pretty much the same bunch on the team when driving ships anywhere/anytime. What happened on the Guardian to all those guys on the team?

And Ex Bootneck shared this rumination on his family:

Which reminds me of a day very many years ago when I was a youngster…

My Mum had always wore her hair in a long style, which was often placed in a pony tail. One summers day after attending school, I done my normal thing of flying through the front door dropping my bag, jacket, and paraphernalia onto a chair, to then exit the kitchen via the rear door into the wooden shed to check on the rescued wildlife, that invariably would be within.

Returning to the kitchen my Mum was at the table sipping coffee from where she stared at me. I looked myself up and down thinking her X-ray vision had seen the small penknife that I had sneaked to school…

“Well”!; “well~what”? Came my gulped reply…

Just as the ‘guilty as charged’ plea was about to leave my lips, Mum turned her head slightly… “What do you think of my hair, I’ve had it cut”!

Taking advantage of an opportunity to hide my guilty look; I threw praise at the new style (and silently said a ‘Hail Mary’ and one ‘Our Father’ for the merciful distraction that presented itself). Flattery over with, I grabbed a glass of orange and a chocolate bar and ‘whooshed’ upstairs to my room to secure the penknife…

A very close call avoided, that could have brought much misery to my existence and my rear end.

Two hours later poor Dad did not fair as well! Which was my fault as I could have warned him. However; being at the ‘devil may care’ age, I had no idea that drastic changes in female hair styles was such a big thing… (Why should it be, after all I had a short back and sides every saturday morning at ‘Jack’s the Barbers’).

Dad walked into the home exhausted, washed his hands and sat with a large glass of milk in his hand, all the while Mum was banging and clattering around him in the kitchen. As we sat in silence eating our meal I noticed how cold the room was on such a summers day; the penny dropped as I looked at my Father…

“Mum’s hair looks nice Dad, she’s had it cut” I said, pointing at the new style with my fork; immediately wishing I hadn’t done so as I also realised my mouth was full of chicken!

The full blast from my Fathers detonation over my table manners (his guilt being the real reason), combined with the amateur dramatics from my Mum (her anguish over her chosen hair style), set my mind to joining the Foreign Legion. In fact I would have done so, had la Légion étrangère taken in 10 year olds; after all I had my own penknife!

From that day forth; each day my Dad returned from work the first thing he said upon entering the home was “your hair looks nice”! Upon which my Mum would just roll her eyes… Life was back to normal.

I would think no one has ever said the same to Ernest Moniz…

Yours Aye.
(With the same penknife on my desk).

New Blogger Alert

Folks, the post below was the first by a new blogger coming aboard the USS Mellow Jihadi. His handle is TEXTA and he is retired Navy. (He actually was, gasp, my boss at one time not in the distant past!) As is the style here, I’ll let him say as much or as little as he likes about himself. I will share this tidbit however: the first three letters of his handle describes the state he is from. And you know how ‘dem boys get! (I, myself, am impressed at his first effort. Apparently, he gazed at a picture of the Alamo while he typed. He told me what he uttered while typing, but I forgot now what it was. Remember Enterprise Rent a Car? That makes no sense, nevahmind. .  .)

New to Blogroll

Even though I got tarred (but not feathered) in his haiku contest, I am adding Charlie Sherpa, of Red Bull Rising, to my blogroll. Sticking with the theme of feathers, Charlie is blog pals with America’s Sergeant Major and Pax of Marion’s Meepings. Both of these birds-of-a-feather are black marks against Charlie, but not enough to exclude him. The second addition is Old AF Sarge, who uses French in his posts. As a former French linguist, I wholeheartedly endorse this oui-oui-ness. Do click on the above links or on the blogroll to the left and visit their virtual homes!

CPAC People’s Choice Award

Wow, Right Wing News and TheTeaParty.net are running the blog awards for CPAC this year. And they honored me with a nomination in the People’s Choice Award.

8) The People’s Choice Award (The voting on this category will begin later today on TPNN.com and will last through Friday at midnight. The winner will get special linkage at the top of TPNN’s newly designed website that will be released later this week. The winner will also get 5 consecutive days of links at Linkiest next week and of course, the winner will also receive a trophy at CPAC).

Conservatives4Palin
Doug Ross
The Foundry
Fire Andrea Mitchell
Jammie Wearing Fools
Jihad Watch
The Mellow Jihadi
Misfit Politics
Moonbattery
Nice Deb
Patterico’s Pontifications
Politichicks
Protein Wisdom
The Shark Tank
Sweetness & Light

Thanks John and Tea Party folks!