A Navy Chief, a Watchbill, and a Marine Corps Master Sergeant

I have a particular job that requires a watchbill. It is pretty standard in the military, making a watchbill and rotating folks in every four days, every eight days, every month, or every six weeks. It depends on the watch.

Ours is simple. The watchbill coordinator is in charge of making sure everyone on the bill is qualified and no one who has left the command is put up for watch. When I started this particular job, a Chief became my new watchbill coordinator. No problem, right? He’d stood watch for years of his life, no doubt.

Bottom line up front, he was a disaster. Every time he told me the watchbill was good to go, there were people who were long gone from the command on it. He put un-qualled people up for watch. Mistakes that I pointed out to him went uncorrected.

One day, I had it. I complained to the Senior Chief who used to sit near me.

Well, have you told him? He thinks he is doing fine, she said.

Yes, every time it is jacked up, which is always, I tell him. Last month, I scrapped what he did and made up a fresh watchbill myself. 

I’ll talk to him.

A month goes by and he emailed me to tell me the new watchbill was ready. Looking forward to a mistake-free bill, my hopes were crushed within ten seconds. Officers and Chiefs no longer at the command were on it. And I go over to his desk in person and point out the mistakes. 

I complained again to the Senior Chief. All jacked up, like usual.

He is having problems. He got back from his IA in Afghanistan and may have some issues.

I am not hard to please. It is an easy job. I’ve written hundreds of them. Just get it right. 

He may not be the guy.

Just my luck, a Marine Corps Master Sergeant checks into the command. Me and the Lieutenant Commander, who I work for, strike a deal with him. You don’t even have to qual for this watch. Can you do a watchbill?

He looks at us like two kids. Watchbill? Of course.

One year later and not one mistake. Great guy. Quiet perfection. Just today, I am at his desk talking about the watch, the folks ready to qual, and the great gun sales at Turner’s Outdoorsman. Above his cubicle is a box of vitamins. And the label says something like: Supplements for Military Personnel.

Well, that is kind of goofy, Master Sergeant. Do we really need specialized vitamins? 

Um sir, see the model on there? The one in the wheelchair?

Yup.

That is the Captain’s wife. He nods to the desk next to us. She is combat disabled. 

Good thing the Captain is not here.

Good thing. 

And the final story goes to the Chief who jacked-up the watchbill to begin with. Just yesterday, the Senior Chief invited six of us to have lunch in the Chief’s Mess. I’ve been in there a couple of times and have always enjoyed it. We get in the Goat Locker and the Chief who I wanted to strangle is in there all alone, just staring at TMZ on the teevee.

I’m glad the Master Sergeant came to the command. I would’ve strangled Chief by now.

Navy Recruiting with Wickets

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.

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.

Wow, Chief.

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.

Will Smith, Jim Beam, and the Navy

So during Fleet Week in New York City (back in May), Will Smith visited Navy and Coast Guard Sailors down at the local pier. He was doing publicity for Men in Black III and thought meeting the troops would make for a good photo-shoot. My biggest concern is the Chief on the right. He either tied one on the previous night or was getting sea-sick pierside:

"Men In Black 3" New York City Photo Call

Men In Black 3’s Will Smith meets Navy-Coast Guard Sailors in New York City. Is the Chief on the right housed on Devil’s Cut?

Go easy on that Jim Beam Devil’s Cut, Chief. It’ll schneak up on you. . .

Navy Chief or Navy Chef?

Some people join the Navy to see the world, others join to make Chief:

I am joining the navy to become a chef is it good training or will i need additional training?

I have heard that I should attend a culinary institute after i get out of the navy. I want to own my own restaurant or food truck but i want to learn as much about food as i can. Is the navy a good choice for this.

Um, make that a chef. . .

Year of the Navy Chief

I have been privileged to be part of some truly motivated divisions, both when I was enlisted and as an officer. And the common denominator was a great Chief. There is no substitute:

The Year of the Chief

I’ll never forget my first division as an officer. There had been a suicide 14 months prior to me joining. And my Chief and I always worked to keep things upbeat. We PT’d the heck out of those Sailors. You can’t be depressed if you are giving it all.

I turned to my Chief one day and said: Chief, you are retiring, you got to download your brain for me.

With a twinkle in his eye and a defeated shrug, he said:  I don’t know sir, I’m doing the best I can!

A great Sailor and Chief. I was his retirement officer (and his wife’s, two for the price of one) the following year. I would say the Navy is one Chief down, but that was years ago. And we’ve healed.

Kristen Bell, Sloth Lover?

I’ve gone on deployments with some guys who were sloths. They were lazy; they did not keep their space clean, you know. But we have ways in the Navy of assisting them to learn. It’s called a Chief and the best ones keep a sledge hammer hidden in their personality somewhere. Lurking.

Apparently, Kristen Bell, the Hollywood actress, has got a thing for them, for sloths. But her crush is on the animal. Hard to believe, but true:

Kristen Bell, an actress best known for playing the title character on “Veronica Mars,” really loves sloths. “I’ve been obsessed with sloths for as long as I can remember. They must be my spirit animal or something,” Bell recently told the Insider.

Kristen Bell and a sloth named Bimba.

But now, thanks to an interview on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” we know that when faced with the prospect of seeing a sloth, Bell freaks out.

Bell told DeGeneres her fiance Dax Shepard promised her an awesome present for her 31st birthday. On the big day, which took place back in July, Bell said, “I immediately was overcome and thought, ‘There’s a sloth near. There is a sloth here. It’s close. It’s gonna happen.”

Wow. Good job Dax Shepard, brother of German. Way to hook your wife up with a sloth.

Go to the link to see the video. And don’t forget, those reading this with more testosterone pulsing through your body than estrogen, be a sloth for your wife or girlfriend. I mean, rent a sloth. Two hours at 100 bucks (California Sloth Rental) an hour should do the trick. Valentine’s Day, it is looming. Nothing says I love you more than a. . .

Kristen Bell’s previous boyfriends: Roger, Ted, Bob, and John. All nice guys, but slow.

Saluting with the Left Hand

I am driving onto base. A civilian stands with a clipboard, waiting for me to pull up. He checks my ID and salutes. I narrow my eyes. Did he really just do that? Salute with his left hand? Grimacing, I salute back. He is a civvie after all.

Eric Decker, Broncos, Saluting the Troops

Another salute story gone wrong? A Denver Bronco, Eric Decker, popped off a salute in honor of the troops this last weekend.

Him and his fellow Broncs were in a dog-fight of a game and he wanted to render honors. So he dropped to one knee and rogered off a quickie after scoring a touchdown on a 56-yard huck from Tim Tebow. One tiny problem, league rules forbid celebrating from the ground. And one knee constitutes the ground:

Rules truly are rules in the NFL. To the league’s credit, they don’t allow exceptions. . . Eric Decker got a taste of that on Sunday when he dropped to one knee and saluted the American veterans, which of course was against the rules because he went to the ground to celebrate.

Um Mr. Decker, you were a Minnesota Golden Gopher, right? That is, you played wide receiver in the Big-10 (or whatever it might be known as by the time you read this)? Surely you had a ROTC program at that venerable establishment. Or perhaps, you’ve watched movies of military folks saluting?

Eric Decker

We love the military love over here, but let’s work on getting the correct hand involved. In America, we salute with our right hand. Not our left.

Also, you look a little too Chris Columbus off the Florida Keys, sighting land. (Florida Keys, not historically accurate, but literarily – not literally – more vibrant than the actual locale.) Less Dora the Explorer and more Colonel Nathan Jessup next time, please.

Not Eric Decker

In a not-so-completely random connection, when I was deployed to that sandy paradise us Navy folk like to refer to as not home, Kid rocked it up and down our block. For a USO-ish visit.

And Rock brought several other miscreants along for his military tour, folks like the comedian Carlos Mencia and a young almost-country singer by the name of Jessie James.

Jessica Jessie James

Lil’ Jessie was talented. She now goes by the more serious name Jessica James. Good choice. Lose the outlaw, maybe gain an in-law. . .

So why would I mention the young lass? According to wikipedia, she is dating no other than Chris Columbus Eric Decker, the serial mis-saluter.

Since when did wikipedia start tracking the dating life of the starry set? I shudder for the poor squirrel in charge of editing Warren Beatty’s or Madonna’s entry. (In a stunning display of statistics, both actually dated each other! Which is not how I came up with their names. My thought: who is the biggest male getter around’her? And the biggest female get’her arounder? Answer: Warren and Oh Donna.)

Dora the Explorer

Jessica James is clearly patriotic. She toured the mid-east after all. With Mr. Rock (the musician, not the wrestler-turned-method-actor.)

Please, no one tell Jessica that her wide deceiver boyfriend can’t salute. Truly, we forgive him. As already stated, us in the military love the love.

Final score of the game, Denver Broncos 17 – Kansas City Chiefs 10. Deep thought: what are Chiefs doing in Kansas City anyway? There’s no Navy base for miles. Dunkin’ Donuts, on the other hand.