The Captain has me and another Officer heading out to various local ships for “customer service.” I enjoy it and usually recognize a shipmate or two. Last’s week visit was no different.
We rolled onto the DDG and to the space where we work. I started off on my usual spiel to the Sailors, what do you like, what don’t you like? Once they understood we were not there to inspect them and that there was no attribution, I filled pages in my notebook on positives and negatives. More of the latter than the former, but such was the job.
About halfway through, a Chief popped into our space. And I knew him. It took me a couple of seconds, but I placed him. He had been a First Class Petty Officer in my division almost seven years ago.
He had been our top Petty Officer and he had not changed. Perfect uniform, same command of our mission. At ease with the Sailors, but clearly a leader, like a savvy older brother. He had gone to Menwith Hill and then deployed since our division.
I then confessed something to him that I had done at his going-away lunch.
You know Chief, I said. At your going-away luncheon, I played at trick on you.
He looked at me sideways (not particularly liking where I was going with the conversation), but I continued. You got up to go to the head and I told your wife something.
I told her not to tell you, but you were one of our stars. But I made her promise not to say anything to you!
He laughed. After yesterday’s post on a less than stellar Chief, it is joy to share the story of a Chief who gets it. . .
I am standing at the edge of the pier chatting with a Navy Chief. We are waiting for a late Warrant Officer before we go aboard a DDG.
You miss your last job? I ask the Chief.
Recruiting? Hell no. If I got home at seven o’clock it was an early night for me, sir.
How is it going recruiting linguists these days?
Good. They get bonuses and all that. But the thing that makes it rough are the wickets.
The Navy sets goals and it is not enough that you find one recruit a month to join the Navy. I wasn’t looking for a Nuke MM, I had to find a Nuke that was a Hispanic female scoring so high on the ASVAB. And preferably one that was young. Those are the wickets.
Where did you find the recruits?
When I got hard up, I went to fast food places. And the mall, I looked for the dissatisfied kids and went over and talked to them. I don’t want the white males, they don’t help with my wickets.
And I was recruiting in Kansas. The Navy wants its Sailors to fit racial precentages. And we used that in recruiting. At least, that was what I was told.
With all the frustrating stories coming out of the Navy R&D pipeline concerning the F-35, the LCS, and the DDG among others, it is refreshing to see this:
General Dynamics Electric Boat today delivered the nuclear-powered attack submarine Mississippi (SSN-782) to the U.S. Navy 363 days ahead of contract schedule and more than $60 million below target cost. Electric Boat is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics (GD).
John Holmander, vice president and Virginia program manager for General Dynamics Electric Boat, noted that Mississippi was at the most combat-ready state of any Virginia-class submarine at delivery.
A year ahead of sched and 60 mill below cost. GD, you win military contractor of the year!