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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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