Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Off base on Navy Uniforms

The flack is starting to rise in the ranks over the ridiculous uniform regs for when to wear the new NWU off of base. Back in the hazy past, I once heard of a group of students at Subschool in Groton that would sneak off base to a grinder shop near the shipyard in New London.

Since they were all under the rank of Petty Officer, nobody had a crow on their working jackets. We, I mean they just drove out the gate and looked confident and enjoyed a great grinder for lunch.

Man those grinders tasted great! Or so I hear.

Keep up the pressure people! The Navy brass needs to elevate the NWU to the same status as the Air Force and Army. Marines, we'll just have to say a prayer for you guys.

Latest name for the NWU: Aquaflage

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Uniform Bad News.

The more I hear about the new intructions for wearing these blue camos, the more I begin to think they will go down in history being known as "those damn blue camos." We have all enjoyed the sweetness of getting out of the convict's suits but now come the bitterness of a "new" way.

  • Goodbye ball caps. New rules will only allow the ballcap in your command area if approved by your CO. Leave the pier, go down to Subtrafac for training and you'd better have that 8 point cover. If I need to carry two covers, one will stay in the barracks.
  • Goodbye foul weather jackets. This one is not so bad since I could never get one when I needed it anyway. Every queer in the sonar shack had one but God forbid some poor seaman in Deck Div get one to work (aka chip, paint, chip, etc.) in topside. BTW, what ever became of those nylon flight jackets issued to CO's, XO's and COB's? (Not to mention the Chop and SKC.)
  • Since we couldn't roll up our sleeves the right way, we get to roll our sleeves like the damned Army. Not a big gripe, just different. I think the video mentions some sort of damage control usage for the new method.
Sorry to see the ballcaps sidelined. The subfleet sailors really stand out around the base with the dolphins on the hat.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Navy Unit Patches Emerge From the Shadows

Below is the latest video on the wearing of the new camo uniform has a startling revelation: Navy unit patches will be allowed to worn on the right breast pocket. Unit patches in the Army have played an important part in unit camaraderie, cohesion and pride while the Navy's patches were relegated to name tags and ships plaques,unless, of course, you serve in the semi-autonomous, self-superior naval air forces.

This is a fairly big deal for the Navy. I wonder how this will impact the fleet. The design of these patches themselves could be a problem in itself. While most surface sea commands tend to use the heraldic crest format, the subfleet tends to be very graphic design oriented or to use even commercially inclined design. The aviation community varies from cartoons to lewd.

My guess is that some of the airdale squadron patches will have to be reigned in. We'll have to see a NAVINSTR message about wearing only command approved patches on the NWU.

Congratulations, Navy. One more step toward sanity! Now, if we could only wear the damn things where someone might see them.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

No More Nuke CO's?

There is a really intriguing book making the rounds in DC right now called America’s Defense Meltdown. The biggest point they make about the Navy is that the it is run by engineers not warfighters. Conservative author William Lind wrote the Navy portion of the book and slams Lord Rickover's basic philosophies of Nuke power first, everything else second.

Get a load of this part: Lind contrasts the dominance of engineers in the Navy to what he describes as the preference for tacticians elsewhere. All U.S. submarine skippers are nuclear engineers, “in strong contrast to Britain’s Royal Navy, whose submarine commanders have nuclear engineers where they belong, in the engine room,” and

"...the Navy’s culture is inward-focused, risk-averse and centralized, preferring obedience to initiative and relying on top-down control rather than self-discipline."

While all of this Nuke bashing is music to Coners ears, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Despite stating that it supports a strong defense but opposes excessive expenditures or forces, the Center for Defense Information has opposed nearly every new major U.S. weapons system developed over the past two decades - including the B-1 bomber, the Trident submarine, cruise missiles, neutron warheads, and even the stealth bomber.

Additionally, CDI is a spin-off project of the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a think tank that often has Marxist-leaning policies and you can make your own judgements by their board memebrs with deep military experience like the late actor Paul Newman and his wife Joann Woodward and Ben & Jerry's founder Ben Cohen.

Despite their leftist tendencies, America’s Defense Meltdown is at least a good read and can be downloaded here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Submariner to Become Next MCPON

QMCM(SS/SW) Ricky West has been tapped to be the next Master Chief of the Navy. Master Chief West has served aboard the submarines USS Ethan Allen, USS Thomas Edison, USS Sea Devil, USS Tecumseh and USS Portsmouth, a good mix of boomers and real submarines. Here's wishing him well on his new job and let's hope his bullshit meter is set to alarm early.

One note of question I have from the Navy Times article is the mentioning of something called the chief’s standards and conduct boards — a chief’s mess alternative to captain’s mast. While I am all in favor of any alternatives to the green tablecloth, I have to wonder how this would work.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Navy Keeps Camos Onbase

Rumors are starting to circulate about how the Navy brass intends to treat the new Navy Working Uniform (NWU). While us blueshirts were dressed as convicts "'scaped off tha farm," it seemed to make some sense that the needs of the Navy were not met when some A-Gang 3rd class strolled into the quickie mart covered in grease or "gray"water.

The brass made sure to keep us denizens from below the anchor away from the prying eyes of the public. I guess they were afraid the local cops would mistake us for fence jumpers from the penintentary. But with a new uniform and a new "look", I had hoped we could get past one of the last remenants of bleushirt discrimination.

Apparently not, according to Navy Times. The brass will restrict the camo NWU to base and vehicle only.

The shame of it is, now the O-Gang and the chiefs are confined to base or car too! Lets see how long this lasts.

The maritime forces leadership needs to wake up to reality. Prohibiting Marines and Sailors from wearing their work uniform off the base does not increase you combat readiness one iota. We are a military at war and we don't have time for this petty bullshit.