A bit of a wild streak … the Navy Mustang

I swiped this from Wikipedia today and thought it was a pretty cool description of what a “Mustang” is.

I was blessed to be one of thirteen Submarine Engineering Technician Chief Warrant Officers selected the year I crossed over. I knew quite a few guys on the list. Most of us had made Chief the same year. The journey was pretty remarkable and I am glad I was one of the ones that was chosen.
So here it is:
A mustang is characterized by former enlisted service prior to transitioning to officer rank. As a slang term, there is no official U.S. Government definition or set of criteria to determine which officers can properly be called a mustang; as the term varies in usage and criteria from service to service. By the end of World War II, it was understood across the armed forces that a mustang was an officer with service in the enlisted ranks before commissioning.

It refers to the mustang horse, a feral animal and therefore not a thoroughbred. A mustang, after being captured, can be tamed and saddle broken but it always has a bit of wild streak, and can periodically revert to its old ways unexpectedly and therefore the owner needs to keep an eye on it at all times. However, since a mustang was formerly a feral and free animal, it may very well be smarter, more capable and have a better survival instinct than thoroughbreds.

Yep. that says it all.


That was a long time ago.

I like to think I have kept some of those survival instincts. Believe me, in the 25 years working in business and industry, I have called on that ability more than once. Even now, in retirement, I find that the wild streak shows back up from time to time. Since some of my retirement pasttimes include politics and veteran’s groups, it can be both a blessing and a curse. I don’t suffer fools very well. I despise arrogance where there should be compassion. And I detest liars and backstabbers. I can almost hear you thinking, “then what the heck are you doing in politics???” Probably a fair question.

The answer lies in the same motivation that I have always had. Do the right thing and hold others accountable to the same. Service is not just blindly following someone else’s vision, it is about using the gifts you were given and the ones you have developed to help people. Sometimes you just have to take a stand.

I have tried to surround myself with good people. Once in a while, a phony slips into the tribe. The good thing is, they reveal themselves soon enough and then its just a matter of letting them go back across the same brow they crossed. Or chuck them over the side. Either way, they are gone. I can almost imagine a Mustang throwing an undeserving rider. The cool thing is that the true Mustang doesn’t care if the rider hurts his (or her) ass when they hit the ground.

Thanks to my mentors and my leaders who showed me the way. I am meeting with one next Saturday to share a few memories. Hopefully we both remember that Old Mustangs need to be a bit more careful than when they were young and completely unbridled. I know a couple of “Filly’s” that will be keeping a close eye out on us.

Mister Mac


3 thoughts on “A bit of a wild streak … the Navy Mustang

  1. I truly enjoy reading your posts!! Thank you for taking the time to record a technical story with the essential human element!! I too was a Mustang and considerate myself so fortunate because it opened vast opportunities for service never realized by me. Again, thank you for your valuable time telling stories that need to be told.

    1. First, Jack, thank you for your service. As a fellow Mustang, you know the joys and the sadness that came with the decision. But you achieved things that others only spoke of. I am honored each time I hear from a fellow Mustang and value the comments. I do this out of a sense of passion for the life we lived. I hope people appreciate the stories.

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