Category Archives: Military

Military humor, experience, technology, weapons, morale, welfare issues, benefits and broken promises and my opinion on all this. A lot of ranting and raving will be on this subject.

“This is not our day” Memorial Day

This is not our day.

Many people will take the time today to thank living veterans for their service. We who have served appreciate your well wishes, especially on Armed Forces Day during the month of May or on Veterans Day during the month of November.

But today is not OUR day.

Memorial Day is a day set aside for the remembrance of all those who fell in battle, who died in the line of duty, those who died in training…all those servicemembers, men and women, who made the ultimate sacrifice during wartime or while keeping a fragile peace in the service of this nation and it’s citizens.

Joseph Brady Colllins IIMy Great Uncle and namesake…Joseph Brady Collins II, age 19, U.S. Army WW I

Over the years it has morphed into the official start of summer, cookouts, trips to the shore or other vacation spots and the best time to get a “deal” due to all the “Memorial Day Sales”.

It is good to celebrate these things and spend the time with family and friends. And who doesn’t love a deal and saving money? But do not let these things overshadow the meaning of this day.

The veteran will sacrifice his life for his buddy, fellow platoon member or shipmate. He will also make this sacrifice for his loved ones back home. He will die to defend his country and fulfill the oath he took upon enlistment…to support and defend the Constitution of the United States….the ideals that define this nation…

There are not many who would die for an ideal.

Politicians take the same oath when elected to office but do not honor that same oath in day to day business….

I do not believe they would sacrifice their lives to protect that same document…those same ideals.

Enjoy your vacations, your cookouts, your time with friends and your sales….

But as you do enjoy a long weekend with family and friends, please take the time to remember those who’s service and sacrifice have provided you the freedom to do so.

Take time to visit a National Cemetery, Memorial Gardens, and Sites of Remembrance…a local memorial to the honored dead. Or just take a moment during the day to stop and think about those who gave the last full measure of devotion so that you may enjoy the freedoms, the peace and security and the way of life you celebrate today….

 

jbc graveThe grave of my Great Uncle Joe at St Michele in France…he left home at 19 and never returned…

“Requiescat In Pace”

A Mini Raving….Of Sorts. An Education On The Title “Skipper”

While reading an article about the changing of guard duties as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba “GITMO” I came across the following paragraph;

‘To be sure, Guantanamo is still a Navy base — the oldest belonging to the United States overseas. A Navy captain, whose rank is the equivalent of an Army colonel, is the base commander. He’s known as the “skipper,” Navy lingo for the commander of a ship, which in this instance is a 45-square-mile corner of southeast Cuba that has a McDonald’s, public school, seaport and suburban-style housing for sailors who get to bring along their families.’

As a 20 year retired sailor, 1974 to 1994, I have a slight issue with the above statement……

The title “Skipper” is one that I believe has been bandied about lightly. Below is what I feel are the qualities that determine a “Skipper”.

You become a “Commanding Officer” by appointment through orders. “Skipper” is an honorific for a commanding officer who is addressed as such because he is respected, admired and appreciated by the men under his command. Not because of his rank or position, but, by demonstrating the same respect, admiration and appreciation for those he commands.

A fact that is highly overlooked these days but should be drilled into the head of every midshipman and officer candidate… RESPECT is EARNED, never given. It is a symbiotic relationship between officer and enlisted, where the success of the command, and the officer’s career, depends upon those he has been privileged and fortunate enough to be assigned to lead.

Just because the UCMJ binds me to respect the rank and the authority that goes with it, that does not mean I have to respect the person. During my career I “just did my job” for those I respected on the basis of their rank and referred to them as “captain” which, in the Navy, is not just a rank but also the title for the position as Commanding Officer of a ship or large installation. But I would work above and beyond WITH those I respected as a person for the success of the command. It was these individuals whom I was proud to call “Skipper”.

You can read the associated article here;

“Soldiers Relieve Sailors as Gitmo Guards”                                                                    http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/08/21/soldiers-relieve-sailors-as-gitmo-guards.html?ESRC=eb.nl

In addition, the portion of the above comment concerning respect could also be applied to this article;

“Ship Commander Fired After Harassment Claims”                           http://www.military.com/daily-news/2012/08/21/ship-commander-fired-after-harassment-claims.html?ESRC=eb.nl

In conclusion, a salute to all the “Skippers” I was privileged to have served with during my career.

Captain Larry Davis, USS Groton (SSN694)                                                                     CDR Gary Francis, USS Baton Rouge (SSN689)                                                            CDR “Jack” M. Davis, USS Baton Rouge (SSN689)                                                                   CDR William Helfen, USS Phoenix (SSN702)                                                                            CDR K.T. Juroff, USS Cincinnati (SSN693)                                                                                                                            CAPT L.G. Vogt, Submarine Squadron Eight                                                                      CDR Dennis Jones, USS Birmingham (SSN695)                                                            CDR G.D. Hicks, USS Memphis (SSN691)                                                                      CAPT Collins H. Haines, USS Paul Revere (LPA248)                                                             CAPT E.M. Moore, USS Paul Revere (LPA248)

Additional Honorable mention and an additional salute to CDR Pierce “The Silver Fox” (he NEVER knew we called him that, he would have killed us all), Chief of Staff, Submarine Squadron Eight. And RADM Charles J. Beers who I never served under as C.O. but was the Executive Officer of the USS Memphis and, who I heard was an outstanding Commanding Officer onboard USS Minneapolis – St Paul (SSN708)

Gentlemen, It was my pleasure and my honor……….

USS Paul Revere (LPA248)

USS Groton (SSN694)