One of my recurring nightmares from many years in the service was missing ship’s movement.
It was drilled into us from the very early days as boots that missing a ship’s movement was one of the worst sins you could do as a sailor. The cost was high. In times of war, you could even be considered a deserter. Court Martial was a horrible thing to have to face. Shame for yourself, your family and worst of all, the very real fact that you failed your shipmates.
That’s right. You had an assignment and someone else had to fill in for you. Maybe you being gone would mean a missed valve that caused a flooding incident. Maybe the man who filled in for you doing port and starboard watches failed to see something due to his tiredness which caused a catastrophic loss. Maybe your turn on the radar scope would have caught that incoming Exocet missile that took out half the crews mess.
But you weren’t there. You failed to report for duty. The role you volunteered for went unfilled at a critical moment. You had more pressing matters at a critical time.
You chose the couch on the View over a seat at your own security briefings. You delegate meetings with people who are a little too difficult for your taste. You are deathly silent about the budgets that still have not been presented by your friends in the Senate. For heaven’s sake, you went to parties instead of meeting with people from the most volatile region in the world while thousand dollar bottles of Champaign flowed like water… middle class my ass you hypocrite. You call the death of fellow Americans a bump in the road to diminish your own guilt. Shame on you.
Respectfully, sir, you have already been AWOL for too long already.
Turn in the keys to the big blue jet, salute the Marines on your way out, and prepare for your Court Martial.
You will be judged by a jury of your peers in November. Frankly, you don’t rise to the same level of most who have actually served this country selflessly. But you will get a fair enough hearing.