Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Disgrace to the Chaplain Corps

When thinking about the case against Navy Chaplain Shane Dillman, its hard to know where to begin. When you consider the trust he has violated and the numerous vows he has broken, I cannot really consider how he came to betray his denomination, the Navy, sailors under his care and his Lord.

Dillman is scheduled to go on on trial for rape and fraternization. He has already plead guilty to adultery.

When a man takes on the role of a religious leader, he consents to a higher standard than John Q. Public. When a minister accepts a commission in the US military, he pledges to be faithful to his country and his sailors and marines. This man was dishonest with himself, his family, his shipmates and his church.

He has done irreparable harm to the counseling role of the chaplaincy and has placed barriers between chaplains and the troops for years to come.

Dillman appears to have had two faces. While deployed in the combat zone, he was, by all accounts, a good chaplain. But when he was assigned to the USS Carl Vinson, he lost his control and his honor.

Since I only served in the Fleet Marines Chaplaincy and on Subs with only lay leaders (and no women!) I cannot comment on the amount of supervision he'd had onboard the Vinson. I know its a floating city but people see things. They can tell when something isn't Kosher. Where was his chain of command? Where was his RP Chief? Does anybody from the Carl Vinson know what happened?

Accountability is essential. While Dillman's actions didn't lead to a reactor incident or an accidental weapons discharge and nobody was killed, he has brought damage to the service and should be dealt with harshly. Let him counsel convicts in the brig or better yet Leavenworth.

What makes me even madder is the last part of the article where it is revealed that he has yet to report the charges to his endorsing church. These guys are Pentecostals, maybe they'll throw snakes on him.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sub Wins Coast Guard MUC

The Submarine USS Hawaii (SSN-776) has been awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Citation for its role in tracking drug smugglers during its first mission. They become only the second sub to be awarded the CGMUC.

Back during my salty sea dog days, I had a really insightful encounter with the Coast Guard. Back in the bad old days, I was Deck Div's Leading Seaman, and, as such, I always ended up being "volunteered" to make the Servmart run. (For you Nubs, Servmart is a huge, 50,000 sq.ft warehouse that carries everything from those really crappy sponges we had to use to clean the decks with to some old school seamanship gear like sailmaker's thimbles, bosuns' knives and marlin spikes.)

On this particular occasion, I was accompanied by the Ustafish's Bull Nuke. He was really a good guy but a complete smartass a step above the typical know-it-all nukes. We were in line, waiting for the check out when I noticed a coastie in line behind us. Atop his ribbons, he was wearing a specialty badge.
I asked the chief if he knew what badge that was. He began to weave an elaborate tale about how that was the Baters' Badge. He went on about how there are a couple of levels of the award and that if I ever saw one with little stars on the waves of the badge, that symbolized someone that had qualified as a "Master" level of the award. The chief then told me I should go over and ask our shallow water warrior when did he expect to be come a Master Bater?

He almost had me but something held me back and I avoided humiliation at the Servmart.

Congratulations Hawaii! Job Well Done!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bubblehead Really Gets Around

I ran across this article in Navy Times and something caught my eye. Its a fairly routine story about some Force Master Chief replacements. Down in the details I ran across the name of FLTCM (AW/SS/SW/PJ) Michael J. McCalip who is stepping down as Fleet Master Chief of the Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education Command.

Whenever I find a sailor with more than two warfare devices I have to ask; is this guy a hot runner that was able to write his own ticket or is he a badge collector that likes to wear a nametag big enough to hold all of his designations? (Can you imagine his shore duty desk top nameplate?)

My first thought was that he was some skimmer that got to ride a boat on an op and was gifted some dolphins the way middies are. (Notice I didn't say Crytpo Techs. We ran them through the ringer for quals on the Ustafish. If they were serious about being part of the crew, we helped them learn the systems that could save their lives and ours.)

I did a little research on FLTCM (AW/SS/SW/PJ) McCalip and found out he is the real deal. After serving as a skimmer radioman on the birdfarm USS KITTY HAWK, McCalip realized the error of his ways and began his service in the real navy. He served on USS STONEWALL JACKSON (SSBN 634), USS DALLAS (SSN 700) and USS SIMON BOLIVAR (SSBN 641).

Selected into the Chief of the Boat program in June 1992, Master Chief McCalip served as Chief of the Boat onboard USS BOISE (SSN 764) from April 1993 to November 1995. He then spread his wings and decided to fix the surface navy and went back to targets.

Some where during his skimmer time he managed to qualify as a naval parachutist in addition to his surface warfare and air warfare designations. His personal awards include six Meritorious Service Medals, two Joint Service Commendation Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. (Once again proving that even a hot running enlisted man has to walk on water to get a NAM. You let Ensign Butterbar not screw up during his cherry ORSE and he gets a NAM but a FLTCM with 31 years of service can only manage 2. I guess the MSM cam after he made Master Chief and the brass figured out he wasn't just another idiot enlisted man.)

Congratulations on a great career Master Chief. I only wished we could have served together. (The Lord knows I needed a better COB than the one I had during one particularly difficult year.) Despite your skimmer and boomer time, you appear to exhibit the "No Slack, Fast Attack" attitude. BZ!