Posts Tagged ‘Navy Grade 36’

Starry perks and suicide

Posted: May 7, 2022 by navygrade36bureaucrat in Uncategorized
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Easy to miss in the midst of the Ukraine Conflict and Supreme Court leaks is the fact that the Navy is dealing, poorly, with a suicide epidemic (at the time of this article we’re up to 7 Sailors) onboard the USS George Washington (CVN-73). Now, you might think “Is the George Washington underway on another long, stressful deployment?” That would be an intelligent question to ask, and sadly the answer is “no.” George Washington is in the shipyard in Newport News, VA.

Now, why would Navy Sailors be so stressed out that they would end their lives if they are home and not deployed underway? Well, because shipyard life is pretty tough, according to the dad of one of the Sailors:

“He loved his job. He did his 12-hour shifts. And how do you sleep on an aircraft carrier with jackhammering and smoke and smells during the day? So, he would sleep in his car,” John Sandor said about his son, who was 19. “It is just awful. No sailor should even have been living on that ship in those conditions.”

-John Sandor

You might be wondering if these poor conditions are something new, to which I will sadly tell you…nope. I had the same issues at the same shipyard 16 years ago. The 45 minute walks to get to work…that’s a thing, because the Navy never built enough parking or bus options. The article didn’t mention many other stressors, such as the rampant car break-ins, since most of the parking lots are located off the secure facility and aren’t patrolled. For female Sailors, I’ve had more than a few tell me shipyard workers regularly get away with overt catcalling during the day.

Shipyard life, with its long days and crappy working conditions, sucks.

Instead of trying to fix the housing situation, or the driving situation, or the working conditions, Big Navy’s response is…suck it up!

“What you’re not doing is sleeping in a foxhole like a Marine might be doing,” he said, adding that much of the crew goes home each night, something that can’t be said for a deployed carrier.

-Master Chief Russell Smith

I can’t make that up, go listen to the audio at the link. I give Master Chief credit, he’s not yelling at the crew, but as a senior leader, you have to know that trying to minimize the issue isn’t ever going to look good.

The Commanding Officer seems to have taken matters into his own hands, and moved 200 Sailors off the ship. Keep in mind, there are still 2,700 Sailors onboard, and if you move off, you still have the long walk and long drive to get to work. So its a catch-22: move off the ship and you add a long drive and walk to work, stay on and your sleep and off-time is horrible.

It’s also not the Commanding Officer’s job to build sufficient rooms at the shipyard. A better advocate for that would be the admiral in charge of Naval Aviation, in this case Vice Admiral Kenneth Whitesell. So where has he been?

Watching Top Gun.

VADM Whitesell with Tom Cruise

Yup, can’t make that up either. While the George Washington is suffering, VADM Whitesell spent this weekend watching the premiere of the new Top Gun movie with Tom Cruise. Now, I’m not knocking on Tom Cruise, because he spent part of the time talking with Sailors onboard the carrier Carl Vinson. But for VADM Whitesell, its not the best look.

Tom Cruise onboard the USS Carl Vinson

OK, so the immediate response doesn’t look very good, but maybe Big Navy put together a more comprehensive response?

The Navy plans to host a day of team-building activities and has asked each department to submit ideas for how crew members could interact off the ship, according to Lt. Cmdr. Robert Myers, a Navy spokesman. “It could be anything,” Myers said. A Super Smash Bros. video game competition and a soccer tournament are some of the suggestions that have been floated, according to one George Washington sailor, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation.

NBC News

Super Smash Brothers! That’ll cheer them up! They’ll stop killing themselves if they just get to play video games!

However, that sailor doubted whether such events would fix what appears to be a mental health crisis on the ship. The sailors spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press and feared retaliation.

– NBC News

Ya think?

This whole thing makes me cry. We have Sailors in the United States that should be working in decent conditions and building themselves into warriors, and instead the conditions are so bad that they are taking their own lives. Then we have leaders that care more about the perks they get with the stars on their shoulders then about the young men and women entrusted in their care. But to top it all off, we have a Navy bureaucracy that is focused on running some morale events to patch the problem.

Nobody in this entire situation is giving us answers on how to build more housing, build a better transit service or fix the onboard sleeping conditions.

Since you’ve made it this far, do me a favor and email your Congressman. Tell him or her that if Congress can make millions of dollars go to Ukraine, it could spend a bit of money to fix glaring errors at our nations shipyards.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency, because those agencies would have you believe video games and soccer tournaments will suddenly fix years of neglect to our Sailors and the infrastructure they work on. If you enjoyed this article, please consider purchasing a book by the author or donating to this blog, and remember to share this with your friends on social media.

The conservatives at Disney

Posted: April 23, 2022 by navygrade36bureaucrat in Uncategorized
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Only in Florida…California Disney requires a four year degree from a liberal school!

I just came back from a family visit to Disney. Yes, yes, I’ve been watching the news about Disney’s stupid comments about Florida’s anti-grooming laws. Yes, I know some people totally went on a Disney boycott and canceled their vacations. But that’s not me. I’d been planning a Disney trip since March 2020, and now two years later I wasn’t going to tell my kids we couldn’t go.

So we drove the nearly 12 hours to Disney, stayed at a nearby Marriott and went to Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Did I see any crazy wokeism.

Nope.

I was looking for it to. Sure, the guy handing us our parking pass to Epcot had a really, really nice manicure (although black really isn’t his color!), but otherwise I didn’t see anything overt. All of my kids interactions with characters were…normal. Elsa didn’t try to persuade my son he was really a girl, nor did Alice in Wonderland try to talk my daughters into kissing other girls. Heck, we even heard “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!” when we were at Magic Kingdom.

Even stranger was the interaction I had with a security guard. Since I was pushing the stroller with two little kids, I went in a separate line to get screened. The guard noticed the Navy command on my hat (which is not obvious, so he was paying particular attention to me) and asked if I was in the service. After I told him I was, he asked me a strange question:

“Are you a fan of the former President?”

To which I replied “In fact, I am.”

Then he knocked me to the ground with a chop across my back, handcuffed me and yelled “F%^&ing J6 insurrectionist!” right in my face!

Just kidding, that didn’t happen. Instead, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a coin and handed it to me.

Yup, I was not expecting that. That coin is now proudly displayed in my coin rack at home.

Now, I’m not making excuses for Disney’s actions. They’ve had a woke problem for years. It’s sad because Walt Disney himself was a pretty great American. At the parks there is a museum devoted to Walt Disney’s artistic talent, and I was surprised by the large number of war related propaganda and cartoons he drew. The man was truly American, and to have to watch lesser men take his company and its legacy and flush it down the toilet to please a bunch the alphabet people is just sad.

But perhaps there is some hope for Disney. Removing their special governance was a solid shot across the bow. Perhaps we’ll see more conservative shareholders and more conservative employees voice their displeasure, and maybe Disney will get back on track. If nothing else, there are far more fellow conservatives at Disney than I would have given it credit for.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you liked this article, consider supporting the author by purchasing one of his books on Amazon

When my dad retired from the Marine Corps after 20 years of service, I don’t think he knew what to do with himself. He legitimately had a mid-life crisis, flipping back and forth a bit until he settled into a job as a program manager for the government. For him, going from a 20 year career that had everything laid out for him to being his own person was a bit of a jarring change.

The United States is having that same jarring change right now. In the past, the US was the world’s only true superpower, and it sought to insert itself into…well, everything. From running banana republics in Central and South America to putting troops in darn near every country in the Middle East and Africa, the US had decided it would be in all places at all times. This was pretty costly and required a lot of defense spending, but it gave the US the ability to respond to any crisis whatsoever.

It also gave every nation aligned with the US the excuse to not have a military. Countries around the world spent their money on universal health care and various forms of social security. Why not? They didn’t need a big defense budget, because the US covered that. These countries tolerated the US essentially running the financial and technology sectors because it allowed them to get rich with little risk. For a while, this worked well, especially as the Soviet Union fell apart, China continued to kill its own people and terrorism remained a local issue.

That’s all changing. The US has embraced a multi-polar world with China as a major player and Russia, the EU, UK, Japan and India as minor players. I say embraced because if the US truly wanted to be a superpower, we’d have built a hypersonic nuclear missile base on the moon and threatened to wipe China off the map if they step too far. Seriously. You can’t tell me that we watched China research weaponry for years that would defeat our defense system and were surprised when it worked? We had to know, and multiple people at high levels of government simply shrugged and said “oh well.”

This multi-polar world runs on different rules though. One rule is that superpowers get a sphere of influence and other superpowers have to stay out of it. China and Russia both consider themselves superpowers, so they take authoritarian actions in what they consider their sphere of influence. They will tolerate some minor transgressions (like US Navy Freedom of Navigation patrols), but ultimately they will do what they want without regard for anyone else.

Why is Putin willing to invade Ukraine and shell cities with no regards for civilian casualties? Because he’s a superpower and he gets to make the rules in his sphere. If you don’t like it, well, too bad.

Most Americans, including most liberals, are operating on rules fit for one superpower. In the past, if we, the US, told two nations to knock it off, they would. With one superpower, you can basically stare down an opponent and make them stop with limited military action. Think Korea and Vietnam, where we stopped Communist governments from expanding without declaring war or using nuclear weapons.

But using this set of rules on Ukraine doesn’t work. We can literally cut Russia off from everything and they will continue to do what they want, because we’re treating them as equals.

This isn’t to say we should send troops to Ukraine. There are good reasons to stay out. I was strongly supportive of President Trump’s decision to stay out of Syria, since we had no real interests there, and far better to let the Russians get bogged down then us. Ukraine might be different, and maybe we have good reasons to go there. If so, we need to be very open about them and understand it will put us in direct conflict with a nation that has nuclear weapons. That’s OK, by the way, if we’re open and honest about it and understand the potential consequences.

We can’t play by unilateral rules in a multilateral world, and we’re suffering consequences for it. Everyone applauded the crippling sanctions, but already nations are finding alternatives to the US Dollar and the SWIFT system of banking. They see whats happening to Russia and they know it could happen to them. Watch how more countries, including non-authoritarian countries, discover how to build their own industries, financial institutions and economies in order to beat future sanctions.

The US forgot that it grew up into a superpower, and now its having a mid-life identity crisis.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you enjoyed this article, please support the author by purchasing one of his books for you or a friend.

When I was in college, I had enough time to pick some sort of extra curricular activity outside of ROTC. Instead of something geeky like using 3D printers, the chess club or computer gaming design, I chose to compete in ballroom dance. That got more than a few snickers from my other male friends, until one of them came to watch a local competition, and realized that all of the Latin ballroom dances (think cha-cha, rumba, etc.) were basically excuses for women to wear tight fitting clothing (and very little of it at that!) and dance in front of a bunch of judges…and with me! It was pretty glorious, especially as a shy male in my early twenties that needed a bit of help talking to women.

Ballroom was enough of a good time that I even ended up taking a ballet class at college to finish off an odd non-technical degree requirement that the university required for engineering students. I was one of two guys in the class, and since the other guy was about 100 pounds overweight, so I got all the female attention.

Ballroom and ballet have changed significantly since then, and unfortunately not in a good way. In college, it was obvious that there was a big push for women to wear more revealing clothing and for much more sexualized movements. Ballroom, with its focus on executing a set of movements in the same way each time, was a bit of a bulwark against this, but at advanced levels the rules sort of disappear and its all in how you want to interpret it. But at least the stodginess is there, and there is some modesty, however slight.

Ballet though…nope. Not even close. Even at the younger levels.

My daughters are currently at a Christian ballet studio, which I used to think didn’t matter all that much, until I went to a “ballet” competition to watch them dance. I put ballet in quotes because over the 2 hours we were there, I think maybe 30% of the dances could be considered ballet. The rest was an ugly mix of girls moving in very sexualized motions, wearing very little clothing and dancing to music that while it omitted swearing, left nothing else left to the imagination. It was a bit shocking.

I thought it was a one-off. I was wrong.

Last weekend at another competition, a girl that couldn’t have been older than 11 danced to the Janet Jackson song “Black Cat.” Now, a throwback to Janet Jackson could be pretty cool, but that wasn’t this. She was dressed like a stripper, and danced like a stripper. All she needed was a pole. While she was the worst one I saw, I looked at the song list and there were definitely others competing in that race to the bottom.

What the heck happened to kids ballet?

How did we go from dancing Swan Lake and The Nutcracker to little girls practicing moves that should be relegated to R-rated movies?

And all to parents applause! How on earth are people applauding this, and then shocked when their teenager engages in risky behavior later in life. Like, duh, where do you think they learned it from?

It doesn’t have to be that way. There were plenty of performances to more modern songs that still used all the ballet techniques. There were plenty of upbeat and fun performances that didn’t require girls to dress like they were auditioning for the world’s oldest profession. There is no excuse for this, and yet it seems like that is all that is taught at most dance studios.

When we wonder later in life why our young women make risky choices with their sexual behavior, we’ll need to remember when we clapped to them acting those decisions out on a dance stage. And then maybe we’ll make some better decisions of our own.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. If you enjoyed this post, stop by the author’s page on Amazon and order a book!