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Wait, So The Navy Didn’t Start the Global Pandemic?

in Haterade/Navy Stuff

This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

They say you shouldn’t joke about coronavirus. Its serious stuff. Fine, but just because a bunch of idiots are gaffing off all reasonable precautions to drink green beer in crowded pubs and expose the conspiracy by the media to induce mass hysteria, crash the economy, and sabotage the President . . . doesn’t mean I can’t crack a joke. Besides, we all need a little levity after a few days of self-isolation (you better be self-isolating, you filthy people!). Anyway, speaking of jokes…

Did you hear the one about China blaming the U.S. Army for the coronavirus? The ARMY?!? OK, I’m officially offended. Like, for real offended, not just millennial offended. O-5-not-getting-a-salute-on-the-pier offended.

Everyone knows that if a branch of the United States Armed Forces were to be responsible for the pandemic of the century, it would be the U.S. MONSTER-LOVIN’ NAVY!! In fact, it’s no small miracle that we didn’t start the spread of a global virus. Think about it—we nasty. Let’s face it. After a few weeks at sea, expiration dates and safe temperatures are more like suggestions than rules. The sniff test becomes a taste test. And I’m not just talking about Americans. All ye scurvy dogs with saltwater in yer veins are included here (BTW, that’s not just saltwater). Here are just a few examples:

  • Good ol’ Pattaya: Do I really need to say anything more? Let’s just put it this way: The Navies of the world spread the treasures of port towns far and wide. If you don’t believe me, just swing by Medical about a week after a port call. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Our Crippled Immune Systems: You know what’s not super great for autoimmune health? A cocktail of energy drinks, nicotine, and three hours of sleep a night. Whatever. Who has time for fighting off pathogens when there’s a vaguely military-related situation developing in the Central Asian States? Just like we tell every combatant commander when they ask for longer naval deployments more often: We can do it! Just give me a white Monster and a cherry-vanilla-avocado flavored vape and I’m basically indestructible.
  • Community Berthing: Don’t even get me started. I never saw a t-shirt you could stand up by itself until I stayed in the JO Jungle. Then there’s “hot racking” in which sailors on different shifts take turns sleeping in the same rack. Don’t worry, they put their own linens on the rack, and we all know fresh linens kill the billions of microbes teeming on walls and soaked into the pillow and mattress.
  • Community Gear: Sure, everyone has a tube of Clorox wipes by their watchstations and workstations now, but how about a year ago? At least two or three times a day, we take off our headset all covered in our germs and hand it to our watch relief. What do they do? Disinfect it by rubbing the earpieces on their coveralls. If you rub vigorously, the heat from the friction kills all viruses, and you can kill keyboard bacteria by blowing on them. Everyone knows this.
  • CHT Happens: My first assignment was R-DIVO. I saw things, awful things, and I heard even worse stories of what repair division had to do to keep the collection, holding, and transfer (i.e. sewage) system up and running. Also, sailors will commit all sorts of inhuman acts when you tell them they can’t go potty for a few hours. Same goes for shipyard workers. There’s a special place in hell for people that leave bottles full of bodily fluids tucked away in obscure angle irons.

Of course, the U.S. Navy is a responsible organization, and has enacted key measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a brilliant, public health-conscious move, the Navy indefinitely extended two carrier strike group deployments to the Middle East, in order to prevent sailors from coming home and potentially spreading the disease in their communities.

Likewise, to highlight the infallibility of the Optimized Fleet Response Plan (OFRP), the Navy augmented the Sustainment Phase with the Quarantine Phase—which consists of 14 days of returning deployers loitering off their homeport coast within visual and cellphone range of their families on the pier. Also, all “open-door” policies are now officially “closed-door” policies. Your CO is truly dismayed she cannot listen to you extol the challenges of leaving your “fur baby” at home for deployment.

Finally, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus aboard ships, the Navy is analyzing “alternative minimum safe manning levels” for forward deployed ships. I call it the Optimal Social Distance Manning Concept, and it is pure genius. Reportedly, the move is being driven by budget concerns but we all know this is subterfuge to avoid contributing to virus hysteria, since the Navy would never, ever think of cutting costs by taking sailors off forward-deployed ships. Still . . . if we can cut costs and prevent the spread of COVID-19 . . . WIN-WIN!

Ok, shipmates, keep it sanitary until I see you again. I’m gonna go bathe in Purell. Semper Virus. Oops, I mean . . . Semper Fortis!

Definitely Do NOT #BoycottBates!

in Haterade

This post originally appeared on the USNI Blog here.

Millennials in the Navy really are needy. They want their spouses to be able to pursue their own career. They complain about having to go into debt to cover bills while their pay is delayed for months on end (start a Gofundme, snowflake!). They expect their shoes to not explode.

Seriously! They complained in their millennial way by sharing pictures with the hashtag #batesblowout whenever the outer soles of their Bates uniform shoes crumbled to tiny bits with no notice. Relax, people. It happened to me at a wedding. The whole process only took like five minutes. Besides, now I had flats! Boom . . . fashion! You don’t see me starting a hashtag on the internet to whine about it.

Now, some whiny millennial is going after the good, hard-working people of Bates Footwearwith the hashtag #BoycottBates!

Can you believe it? It’s not like Bates can help it! It’s not like they are the only shoe company in the world whose shoes randomly, catastrophically fall apart!!! C’mon millennials, have some respect for well-established business practices that rarely have been challenged! #BoycottBates is absolutely inappropriate.

The nice customer service employees at Bates have politely explained there’s nothing they can do about this phenomenon. In response to a frustrated (probably millennial) customer, they said, “We understand your frustration, however, footwear is made to be worn and when rubber, and polyurethane, is stored for a lengthy period of time, it will break down. It is a natural process called hydrolysis and something that the industry is working to address.” See? Science! Their R&D budget is probably why that particular brown leather shoe costs $165. And it only has a two-star rating because of all your negative reviews! I feel so bad for them amid all this #BoycottBates nonsense!

Also, #BoycottBates puts a lot of undue pressure on the Navy Exchange! What would happen to their sales numbers if you #BoycottBates? It’s not as if there is some other company that could supply them with black, white, and brown leather oxfords!

Oh, well, I mean, there is Dr. Martens, who makes black and white leather shoes that are almost exact replicas of Bates Oxfords, except they’re made with Goodyear rubber in the outer soles. Psssh. You’d think they would use rubber from a company that has a reputation for making long-lasting products under stressful conditions!

Oh, and their shoes cost 25 percent less than Bates, probably because they are an evil British company and they don’t have to employ a massive customer service department to deal with your #BoycottBates social media campaign! Besides, Dr. Martens doesn’t make brown shoes! I’m sure it’s not cost-effective for the Navy Exchange to contract with Dr. Martens to add brown leather to their line of shoes and supply the entire U.S. Navy with less expensive, more durable uniform footwear. It’s probably not even possible, and it most certainly involves a lot of hard work.

No, I think it’s best to support Bates Footwear and the Navy Exchange in doing things the way they’ve always been done. Whatever you do, definitely do NOT #BoycottBates!

Ugh, Generation Z is the Worst

in Haterade/Navy Stuff

Hey Midshipmen! You all need to CHILL. OUT.

Publishing articles about how we can do better in the Navy before you’re even commissioned? Seriously, not cool, bros and bro-ettes. You Gen-Z’ers need to get onboard and get in line. Expressing your views freely is NOT / NOT / NOT / NOT how we do things in the fleet!

Shipmates, come alongside and let me SWO-splain a few things to you. First, we millennials learned, through a revolutionary box set of computer training CD’s, the optimal way to conduct surface naval operations. We don’t need the “good idea fairy” coming in and shaking things up. Second, wait until you’ve been in the seat to offer your opinion. Ideally, you wait until you’ve left to tell your shipmates how messed up things are, and how you would fix things if you had the time, but you don’t anymore so it’s on them. The USNI Blog is full of great examples. 😉

Let’s take a look at some specific examples of why Generation Z is so annoying:

Recent Improvements to SWO Training Are Not Enough,” by Midshipman Paul Kenney. Ok, you were on board the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) when she collided with ACX Crystal in 2017, so you’ve seen us at our worst, and you apparently did some “research,” but that doesn’t mean we need your opinions. Your ideas, like focusing on fundamentals rather than technology and more extensive, hands-on seamanship training precommissioning, would never work. If giving midshipmen a baseline of navigation and seamanship fundamentals, and resourcing more at-sea stick time made sense, then why wouldn’t we have done it for the past 30 years? Hmm??? Yeah, I bet you didn’t think about that Mr. Smarty-Pants!

Talking About My Generation—and the LCS,” by Midshipman Connor Coleman. So, you’ve been following the controversy over the LCS? Well, I hope your parents read you bedtime stories by CDR Phibian Salamander, because the debate’s been raging for longer than you’ve been alive. Actually, past tense . . . it’s settled now. LCS is a minesweeper. End of story. We tried modularity, it didn’t work. Stop trying to act like the concept is sound because it works in submarines, airplanes, missiles, merchant ships, commercial transportation, combat systems, and nearly every computer in the world. More bridge time for JO’s? You know first-tour division officers aren’t even being assigned to LCS, right? Why would we want do that? We’re not that cruel. Convoy protection? Yes, ok, the Navy just conceded we don’t have enough warships to effectively escort shipping in a major conflict, but using LCS to protect convoys would force us to think outside the CSG box. Let’s not get crazy, okay!?

Social Media Today Will Affect the Armed Forces Tomorrow,” by Midshipman Kathleen Meeds. How did you even find the time to write this with your social media technology addiction? So, you want us to learn and adapt to ever-evolving social media communication trends. Listen, youngster, let me drop a #truthbomb on you. We’re all over this social media thing. Our Chief of Information is the best. He is very “influential.” You recommended we use our mission-focused mindset to improve communication with the American public. You say honesty and transparency are vital to our success. We’re way ahead of you. Check out the PAO Lethality Task Force! #lethalPAOlethality

Honor Cannot Be Divided,” by Midshipman First Class Noah Johnston, U.S. Navy. So, let me get this straight: you want us to live with honor in our professional AND personal lives? Sheesh! Take it down a notch, Eagle Scout. You reference the Fat Leonard scandal, but those were isolated ethical failures. Dozens of isolated ethical failures spanning several decades, ships, and fleet staffs. You write that midshipmen could improve their character development by researching the origins of the honor concept and critically analyzing its impact on their lives. That’s fine, as long as you keep that stuff in Annapolis.

And now I hear the winners of the Midshipman Essay Contest will be published in the coming months. Ugh. Gen Z just, like, be cool. Now I know how Commander Darcie Cunningham felt about millennials.

Never Read the Comments

in Haterade
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Diana Quinlan/Released)

This post originally appeared on the U.S. Naval Institute Blog here.

I was going to double down on my last article on leadership, but I have seen the error of my ways. First, there’s this story. Apparently, 1 in 4 of millennial students have PTSD from Trump’s election. Um . . . really guys? I’m trying to defend us here and this is not helping!

Then, unrelated, I found your comments on the USNI Blog. Oh, boy, the comments! I am truly sorry I didn’t respond earlier (a website error made it look like my posts had zero comments, and I was getting lonely ☹)! In any case, thank you for your feedback! I think I have been way out of line. I wanted to take the opportunity to respond to some of the highlights.

“Does anyone on the USNI editorial board actually believe this author exemplifies the traditions and editorial standards of the institute? The snarky attitude, annoyingly casual writing style, inane content, and lack of evidence of any rigorous analysis are the antithesis of what one expects to find when coming to the USNI. Please stop this experiment and send the author somewhere more appropriate, like Facebook.”

  • That should have come with a trigger warning. Ok, I’ll go back to spreading these ideas among my peers. Echo chambers are healthier and more productive anyway.

“Sure wish you’d drop the ‘millennial’ label. It represents a generalization that is not productive.”

  • You’re right. Maybe we should just change the word, instead of attempting to influence the cultural attitudes the word evokes. That would be too much to ask. Hey, it might help if we did the same with “shell shock! battle fatigue! combat neurosis! PTSD!”

“Did it ever occur to Salty that his fungibility was largely in his own hands? Individuals are fungible until they prove themselves to be superior to their colleagues.”

  • Excellent point! I used this verbatim at my last Departmental Quarters. I could tell it really resonated with the troops!

“Ahhh. Another JO who doesn’t understand the performance system and can’t correlate “timing” with performance. Guess what… if you were killing it, your command would have made the timing work out.”

  • So you’re saying my “1 of 1 Promotable” with the comment, “Shows potential to one day become a competent naval officer” wasn’t what I should be going for? Got it. Just so I understand: I perform at a high level à Command manipulates timing à Command evaluates me based on timing à I am rewarded for high performance. Is that right? Out of curiosity, what’s wrong with just keeping the first and last steps?

“This could have been a much better article, but perhaps the author was too high to effectively make his case. Looks like some of the C- undergrad papers I am used to receiving. This is a serious subject worth attention here and in other forums. Next time do the writing when not high (or pretending to be such.)”

  • I honestly can’t believe USNI published the marijuana article. I crossed a line pretending to be high on a substance that literally cannot get you high. But then I read feedback like this from a veteran on Twitter, and it makes me wonder…

“Hey, Salty! I think you need to switch to decaf! And keep someone close-by who knows CPR! You’re gonna have a coronary! You get way too spun-up about other peoples’ opinions and ideas. Last time I checked, this is why we do what we do in the military! Ya know the part about “protecting and defending”! Remember?”

  • I’m calm, I’m calm. I don’t know what decaf is, but I cut down to four Monsters a day, so I feel better now. Now I don’t get spun up, I just keep my head down and follow orders. Questioning attitudes are overrated. Thank you.

“Age used to confer some level of automatic deference (per my parents and a long-lost age of manners). When I was young we had to try to conceal our eye-rolling from the observation of those who lectured us about our youthful proclivity to misunderstand the world and “why things were done.” You are lucky because you don’t even have to conceal your eye-roll (although I suppose that being anonymous fulfills the same role).”

  • Good point sir! And I don’t really think anonymity is helping anything. I wanted to contact you to continue the discussion, but Disqus told me your identity was private. Oh well.

Ahhh, you know I’m only kidding! A little criticism isn’t going to stop me. I’m enjoying the conversation! Keep responding, and I’ll listen, but I won’t stop. One thing I am serious about is the unhelpfulness of anonymity. So I think it’s time to let you all know who I am and what this is all about. Stay tuned for the big reveal! Oh, and sincerely, thank you for your feedback!

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