I read a lot of military related blogs and one of the hottest stories for submarines and secret service people is about bad behavior and its consequences. Like many folks, I am not happy that this type of behavior has become so visible. Unlike many folks, I am not surprise at all. Not one tiny bit. Bad behavior among people who do dangerous jobs is as old as the written word. No excuses, just some observations.
In the past year more and more stories about leadership failures have been surfacing. Vague descriptions such as this “allegations of inappropriate personal behavior that eroded good order and discipline” normally follow each story. The public is left to feel that their entire military structure is crumbling around us.
Like most others, I don’t seem to remember too many Skippers or Chief of the Boats (COB or CMC depending on the ship type) fired or replaced during a twenty two year period. That being said, were there some that could have been along the way?
Oh my, as Sulu used to say…
None of the following stories reflect anyone living or dead since I am sure that there is a statute of limitations involved:
A CO that drove a temporarily loaned sports car through the streets of a major Midwestern town at a fairly high rate of speed after consuming copious quantities of al-key-hall… did I mention the blonde reporter who was in the other seat? Fortunately it was 3AM and the Sherriff had already been briefed about decorum
or the COB who forgot to tell his wife he had raided the savings for a big blow out in a club at Alongapo on his very last deployment before retiring. It was just enough money to purchase the entire club for the off duty crew including all the love and joy a by could ever think of
Or maybe an entire wardroom on a large surface support ship that took over a well known establishment in Miami for the night … an establishment that was more famous for its unencumbered dance costumes (or lack thereof) that would even make Bruno from Dancing with the stars speechless.
It was called a lack of political correctness. There was no urge to vent your spleen on You Tube every time you turned around. No whiney candy a$$ nub could pull out his iPhone and send the images to the nearest news outlet or congressional witch hunt.
People got drunk. Some got hurt, some didn’t. People made bad choices and got over it. Hopefully they lived long enough to square it with the Master (and I don’t mean Master at Arms). It was part of growing up in a different age. Hell, we would keep the 24 hour cable news services busy 25 hours a day with “breaking news”.
We won the wars we fought despite a few crazy adventures in between. I was proud to have served with all of the Skippers and Cobs I had. (Okay that changed a little when I worked for one guy but he knows who he is and justice finally caught up with his sorry … “back on course Mac”)
We pulled together when we needed to. We sailed in some of the meanest roughest most dangerous places on earth. The folks who are out there still do. Answer me this: Given the environment we lived in, would you rather sail with men who had been tested or people who have been sheltered? Not excusing bad behavior. I just know that a few bad strokes of an oar doesn’t mean you can’t row the boat.
Times change I suppose. Looking back, there were a few episodes that I hope remain hidden in the mists of time. I just hope we never actually have to use our Navy in a wide ranging two front open ocean war again. We may not have enough commanders to finish the job.