Hallmark doesn’t make a card for Sea Daddys. (But maybe they should) 8

Warning: Some salty language may have snuck past the censors

There was a Navy training film many years ago called “The Lost Sailor”.

The idea behind the film was for Navy leaders to recognize all the things that could go wrong with a young sailor when they first report on board a ship or submarine. The newly arriving boot was probably fresh from school and this was his first assignment at sea. He reports on board and suddenly gets disillusioned when everyone is too busy to pay any attention to him. In fact, the sailor that ultimately takes him to his berthing assignment is a sub-standard sailor who is only available for such duty because he is on restriction. It doesn’t take long for the squared away recruit to turn into a derelict just like his “mentor”. The entire film is based around leaders not letting this kind of thing happen to their new sailors when they report on board.

I don’t remember the first time I heard the term “Sea Daddy”. Thinking back to my earliest days in the Navy, I remember reading the Blue Jackets Manual from front cover to back. The Eighteenth Edition of Ridley McLean’s handbook for sailors had specific details on everything the American bluejacket would ever need to know about being a sailor.

Delbert D. Black was the Master Chief Petty officer of the Navy in the 1969 edition and he gave the following forward: To all Navy Men: The Navy is a man’s job. It requires courage, dedication and daring. Navy men have a proud tradition of heroism in all conflicts.”

He goes on to say more but in the entire book, nothing is mentioned about the existence of a position or assignment called Sea Daddy.

Maybe that’s why I never had one when I went to my first submarine. I was a Machinist Mate Fireman that was assigned to a Fleet Ballistic Missile submarine and my role would include driving the boat, cleaning dishes in a hot deep sink, compacting and shooting trash and eventually standing watch as a roving Auxiliaryman and later as a Scrubber Room watch.

As I was reporting on board, the senior men in that division all hit their rotation dates. Once the dust settled, we had a brand new Chief (who had just been advanced) one first class and one second class. The rest of us were new to the boat and new to submarines. If there actually was an official title of Sea Daddy, there wouldn’t have been enough of them left to care for the rookies that showed up for duty,

Looking back through a long lens, I think Chief John did the best he could with what he inherited. All of us had been through a lot of technical classes before we showed up. The problem was that the technical classes were mostly geared towards the sleek new SSBN 640 Class Boomers and this was the original 41 For Freedom experiment called the George Washington. By the time I reported on board, she had sailed in both oceans, made over forty patrols, and was showing the signs of age that can only come from a boat that had been stitched together in a rush to beat the Russians to a viable boomer.

Old Boats Leaked

Everything that could leak did. The pumps we had to pack and repack were buried under pipes and deck plates and lines that crisscrossed each other in a chaotic maze that had been designed by a mad man. The high pressure air compressors were not the kind any of us had trained on so each time they required repairs (which was pretty damn often) it was like an exercise in jig saw puzzle land. On my first patrol, I saw very little of these mechanical wonders since I spent most of the time in the galley as a crank. The second patrol was a little better since I was qualified and only stood dive and drive part of the time. Between watches and drills, I was indoctrinated into the world of adapt and overcome.

While I am sure he would have revolted against the idea of being called a Sea Daddy, Chief John probably fit the bill more than any other man I served with in all five boats. He was patient to a point but he was also firm that you didn’t get to walk away from a job just because it was kicking your ass. He would teach to a point but his main method of teaching was to make sure you didn’t screw things up too badly while you were figuring out the right way to fix them.

You do not have permission to quit

My least favorite job was repacking the trim pump. This pump was vital to the ship’s operation since it moved water from tank to tank and helped the boat to adapt to the ever changing sea and internal ballast. But replacing the packing meant climbing down into a tightly packed area with very little room to get comfortable. Then you had to maneuver your hands in such a way that you could pull the old packing as needed and insert the new rings. If you tightened the packing too much, you smoked the rings. Then you got to start all over. I found this out the hard way. After a few attempts, I went back to the Chief and said that I couldn’t get it. I was tired, hot and dirty and I just wanted to go to my rack.

I don’t think I saw my rack for another day.  Or maybe it was two

Chief John made it very clear that he had no time for someone not doing their job. I don’t remember his words but I do remember he had quite the way with phrases that a young sailor would never forget. I finally got it right. I never had to repeat that error again. The same lesson would be learned on nearly every job I was assigned to for the next few years.

I lost track of Chief John when I transferred. After some time away from submarines, I returned to being an Auxiliaryman and never looked back. The lesson about doing hard things without quitting never left me and I hope that I did him proud. To be honest, I think he would be surprised to know I made it as far as I did. He was in my mind the day I made Chief. I tried to help other sailors along the way with some of his best lessons and maybe a few I learned from others.

Come to think of it, maybe there was such a thing as a Sea Daddy after all. If I were to see him today, I would thank him for helping me through some of the most difficult days of my life. And I would probably wish him a Happy Father’s day.

Dedicated to MMC/SS John Mills, US Navy

The best damn Chief I ever met

Mister Mac

 

 

Love, your Son Butch ~ Father’s Day Memories 2

Wow, its been eight years since I first posted this story about my Dad. So much has changed in my life since that day. One thing hasn’t. He is still my greatest inspiration. Happy Father’s Day Dad.

theleansubmariner

Randall

Today’s blog is from a book I wrote based on my Dad’s letters to his family during the second world war and the following year while he tried to make it back home.

I found the letters a few days after he passed away, and learned a lot about a man who I thought I knew pretty well.

San Francisco

The setting for this letter is that he was in California being processed out and it is really the first time that he talks about the future. He also had some interesting insights about the war which I would have never guessed from his later life. More later about that… here is his letter:

I think it was a waste of a lot of time and money. I think the O.P.A. should have stayed on too. Did you know that an old car like my old one is worth 3 or 4…

View original post 621 more words

Excellent leadership isn’t hard… but it can be difficult. 2

Excellent leadership isn’t hard… but it can be difficult.

There are probably hundreds of thousands of books on leadership written in every language on earth. In these books you will find words like “character”, “strength”, “wisdom”, and any number of words that define what competencies a leader should possess.

What makes an excellent leader?

It is always great to observe the rare occasion when all of the core competencies come together in a person that make them the one people choose to follow. This can happen regardless of their age, sex, race, background, or physique. They just managed to build the needed skills and competencies that help them to offer a path forward for the group they are leading. They are the ones who found the North Star, understood its significance, and show others the way to use that guiding element for success.

I have observed good and bad leaders for most of my life. I am sure that I am not alone. Whether it was in school or the military or the work life that many of us have experienced, the examples are all around us.

I have seen the best and the worst imaginable forms of what is loosely described as leadership. There have been many studies over the years that try to place leaders on a spectrum that ranges from rigidly autocratic to grossly accommodating. Many people possess skills that could place them at any point along the scale at any given time (situational leadership) but to be honest, most people choose one style or another.

The Autocrat

The rigidly autocratic style is best demonstrated by the “leader” who uses any means necessary to achieve their own personal vision. They become so laser focused on what it is they want to gain that they are not interested in who has to suffer on the path to achieving those gains. They often use deception, control of facts and information, intimidation, threats, vocal disruptions and underhanded methods to manipulate anything they need to. They are the bullies, the pompous jerks, the grenade that has no pin, and the canon that has broken free from its lashings on a rolling deck, careening madly about while taking out everything in their path.

The Accommodator

The grossly accommodating “leader” is one who makes few decisions and lets fate take the wheel in nearly every case. They are everyone’s friend while not really being anyone’s friend. They are loose with the compliments and nearly impossible to hold accountable for actual results. They are the consummate politician who use survival skills to make sure that their position is protected with no real concern for achieving a goal.

Somewhere in the middle is the assertive leader. They are the ones who find the careful blend of accommodation and achievement. They value the people whom they are honored to leave yet still find the way to hold them accountable. Instead of tearing down, they focus on building up. This leader recognizes that without a team working together in common harmony, too much effort is wasted on distracting issues that keep the group from achieving their next goal. They recognize that to be successful, you need some key elements in place:

  • A shared Vision. This vision is having a shared understanding between all involved that there is a vision of something greater than just today and a temporary moment of satisfaction. It may mean working hard together; it may mean sacrificing short term comfort together; or it may mean each person giving up their own selfish interests so they can achieve a common goal together. But the key word is together.
  • A group that works together as a team. There is a huge difference between a group of people and a team. A group may come together because of a common need, but a team comes together to combine their resources, their commitment and their belief that together they can achieve more than they could if they remained apart.
  • An ability to turn the vision into a plan and the plan into action. The North Star may never change but the obstacles along the way do. Leadership means that you can develop a plan with enough structure to get the job done but enough flexibility to overcome the barriers that emerge. It means you develop the people on the team while learning from them. Never forget that even though someone may not be the leader, they may possess knowledge and skills that the leader does not have. You might be smart enough to be the leader, but you aren’t smart enough to know everything.

With so many examples to choose from, why do so many people choose poorly?

There are so many reasons people choose substandard leadership behaviors. Examples from their past, lack of understanding, lack of training, maybe even selfish motivation all lead people to choose less than optimal leadership styles. In the end, those people who never get “it” get “gone”.

Throughout history, people eventually throw off the yoke of poor leadership. Individual rebellion almost always leads to group rejection of the ones who take the low road. The “curing” process often leads to a better place for the group.

Sadly, it can also lead to extinction.

I have a theory that the dinosaurs were once lead by a very autocratic leader named “Paul”.

Day after day, the storm clouds gathered and the winters were longer and longer. The sound of the approaching ice masses must have been a warning but “Paul” bullied and harangued all of the other dinosaurs to stay where they were. He browbeat them and made their lives miserable while never really providing leadership that could have led them forward.

Even when a few Notoceratops tried to warn the group of the impending doom, “Paul” would remind them that he was a Tyrannotitan and told them all that he was their Last Chance for survival.

“You must fear me to survive” was his favorite mantra.

“Paul” of course was wrong. I like to think of him as I fill up my gas tank these days. The creatures who adapted and overcame were the ones that actually survived.

You have a choice on what kind of leader you want to be and who you want to follow.

Don’t be a “Paul.”

Mister Mac

A Better Alternative: The American Dream 4

This morning, a good friend and shipmate asked this question on Facebook:

“Can you explain to me what the American Dream is? I fought for it for 21 years, but what is IT.”

I had just finished my time on the treadmill and it struck me that I am living my American Dream. Here was my response:

‘This morning I woke up in my home and had little fear that either the police or an enemy would come and unexpectedly rob me of my freedom. I can sit at this keyboard after choosing to exercise for an hour and shortly go upstairs and make the coffee. Then we will sit down and study the Book of Hosea followed by a prayer. Again, no secret police will come charging through my screen door to take that Bible away from me. The American dream is where we are all working towards a goal of freedom to be left alone when we want to and protected from bigger evils when we need to. God Bless America.’

Thanks Michael Beaver for the inspiration and motivation for today. Since this is graduation season for so many young people starting out in life, it seemed kind of appropriate.

Who gets to live the American dream?

There are many in America today who feel they are not living an American Dream. There is probably some truth to that if you believe the description I wrote above. Circumstances for each of us are different. How we were raised, our family life, our neighborhoods, educational opportunity and on and on are definite factors on where we begin our dream. These things all make up part of our individual journeys. But do they rule the outcomes? Are they precursors to predestination?

I have shared before that I was raised in a middle class American family where we had rules and a strict adherence to a moral code. There were consequences for bad behavior and they were both swift and convincing. We went to church together every week and did more than just sit in the pews. We ate together as a family every night around an actual table and we worked as a family unit on chores and fun things. Even as a teenager, your mood and attitude were not licenses to skirt the expected family norms. There was never a question that God was present in our homes and in our lives. We prayed over meals, life decisions and tragedies and we did it as a family.

Mom and Dad insisted we knew the value of charity in the community and responsibility to judge people from a broad perspective instead of just the typical confines of race, creed, religion or sex. The week that Martin Luther King was killed, Dad asked us to forgo our traditional Easter candy and celebration and use the money for a local community church that was struggling. It was the last time I remember seeing an Easter basket as we continued that tradition in the following years. It was only one of many things we did as a family to show our concern for others.

The American Dream is freedom to succeed or freedom to choose failure.

Our history is filled with people who came from rough circumstances and used the power of the dream to overcome and prosper. Even people who have made mistakes along the way can still overcome those mistakes and be something more than what life defined for them in that moment. A jail sentence does not have to be a death sentence. A serious illness does not mean a life defined as crippled. A missed opportunity does not mean that no more opportunities will ever come again. Even being raised in a single parent home did not condemn Dr. Ben Carson to a life of crime or obscurity.

The American dream is more than the material achievements we see all around us. They certainly do mark a level of success but the longevity of that success is still a cautionary tale. Fortunes may change with the passing of time. The real mark of living the American Dream is the unmistakable character that comes with real wisdom. Character was once defined as doing the right thing when no one is looking. That is the symbol of the American Dream fulfilled.

The most basic freedom

In America, you are free wallow in pity for your past and moan about the unfortunate circumstances that life has dealt to you. We are a generous people with a bias to protecting and preserving and protecting the helpless and sometimes “hopeless” that struggle to find their American Dream. Even pampered overpaid athletes can kneel on the sidelines to protest real and imagined grievances. But one lesson of life that keeps being repeated over and over again is this:

Dreams start inside of each of us.

The secret to achieving the dream

A dream to gain an education begins with the understanding that you have to have the desire to learn. Then you have to have a desire to overcome the obstacles that you find on your path to learning. Finally, you need to invest in your dream every single day and never stop living in ways that will help to achieve that dream.

Now, substitute your goal for the word “education” in that first sentence. Any goal. Following that path will help you to not only reach your goal but to exceed it beyond your wildest belief. Look around you. The evidence is everywhere.

Here is the alternative

  • Do nothing.
  • Choose someone else’s dream and moan about the fact that it is out of your reach when you don’t actually do a damn thing to achieve it.
  • Let every obstacle become an excuse.
  • Assign as much blame as possible to others: Blame the system for each failure and let bitterness absorb the light of your soul. Important things to blame include your parents, your genetic makeup (too small, too tall, too slow, too weak), the community, the government, churches, your school (or the one you couldn’t get into), history, the weather, the color of your skin, your sex (or lack of clarity of what your sex is), capitalism, things that are unfair, drugs, alcohol, opioids, and “fill in the blank”.
  • Remember to never actually blame yourself. How could that even be possible???

The most critical component of the alternative to the American Dream is to just give up.

You’ll never reach it anyway, so what’s the use in trying.

Your plan will include waiting for a government check and a house you didn’t earn and medical care that is somehow your “right” even though at no time in the history of mankind has free and universal health care ever been a right. If you are lucky you can get an all-expense paid education in a state run school that you will do little to contribute to in either effort or substance and at some point go to work for a government agency with a strong public service employee union to protect you from being fired. (By the way, I know that there are some good people who chose government service as a career who did so out of an actual desire to serve their fellow people. I apologize to those who can genuinely claim that as their motivation).

While some may view that as a “dream” the reality is that it is a nightmare of the worst kind.

You get to choose. Every single day.

The American Dream is what you define it in your life. Having lived and worked in many countries around the world, I can assure you that it is uniquely American. And most important of all, it is worth fighting and sacrificing for each and every day.

Mister Mac

Adversity is a refining fire. 9

I achieved a minor but important breakthrough this morning at around 4:50 AM when Angus the dog decided he needed to get up and go outside.

I have been struggling for months to properly title the book project I have been working on now for about five years. The last three chapters have been the hardest since these chapters cover the most well known parts of my subject, Captain Cassin Young, US Navy Medal of Honor awardee (deceased).

The breakthrough is that I believe I have the name that fits the work I have done and best describes what I want people to see when they pick up the book.

I will reveal that in the weeks to come.

Debbie and I have tried to get into a habit each day of studying God’s word through the Bible and some study guides we purchased for individual chapters. The study has been a lot like going back to school and we have both gained much from reading and looking at the many resources. This morning’s lesson for me came from Ecclesiastes Chapter 7 verses 1-2.  These verses focus on adversity and how we are defined in its shadow.

We include a prayer each day for the country, the President and Vice President and their families and for all of those who love and protect this country.

While there are some who see nothing but hatred in this country because of the past, we see the goodness and the mercy that happens here every day. Without freedom, there is little chance for people to rise up from the ashes of adversity, no chance for charity that overcomes greed and absolutely no hope for a world that is broken in so many ways.

My ancestors came to America under very adverse circumstances and because of the land of their birth were faced with tremendous adversity. Yet they managed to use the freedoms and opportunities that were available to rise above those humble beginnings. We have doctors, lawyers, Navy, Army, and Coast Guard Officers, teachers, millworkers and business men and women of every kind in our family. Nearly all have contributed to the song we call “America the Beautiful” and every single one that is alive stands for the pledge of allegiance.

We rise or fail when we remember that adversity is the refining fire that either prepares us all for our destiny or gives us the excuse to never achieve what we should.

I am hoping to have the book completed by the end of July. Then will start the process of editing and hopefully finding the right publisher. But I am absolutely passionate about the story the book will tell and the life of Captain Cassin Young. I hope passion equals success.

Mister Mac

Cassin Young, Captain, United States Navy MOH Recipient, Information request Reply

Good morning. For the past few years, I have been searching through Naval Records, newspaper articles, period books and a number of other sources to help complete the picture of one of the greatest heroes the Navy has ever produced, Captain Cassin Young. The journey has had a lot of twists and turns but I am nearing completion of the project.

I am missing one crucial element of the story that the rest hinges upon. During 1940-1942, then Commander Young was the Executive Officer of the Naval Submarine Base in New London Connecticut. He was a submariner from his earliest days in the Navy during some very pivotal times and served as a Submarine Squadron commander prior to this assignment.

But something happened at the base that changed the course of his life. I have part of the story but it comes to me from a second hand source. The only way I can validate it is to speak with a family member that can corroborate what I have found. I have reached out to them on social media and in other ways but so far no response.

So I am taking a shot in the dark.

I am asking that if you read this, you would consider sharing it to your own Blog or to any social media that you are connected to. Have them reach out to me here at theleansubmariner and I will do the rest.

When I started the project, my motivation was that so little was known about the amazing life and service of an American Hero. Last Christmas, I was given a book about Pearl Harbor and the author and one of the men he wrote about alluded to something that was both reprehensible and unthinkable. They attacked someone who had spent a lifetime preparing for just the moment that occurred on that December morning in Pearl. My book will show a different view of those events based on many sources. I feel compelled that the rest of the real story be told.

The time period Young spent in New London would help to fill in one last gap in the book. Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks

Mister Mac

Things we got wrong (or did we?) Predicting the Atomic Navy (1939) Reply

Things we got wrong (or did we?)

In 1939, a book was published called “Sea Power and Today’s War” / by Fletcher Pratt

Murray Fletcher Pratt (25 April 1897 – 10 June 1956) was an American writer of science fiction, fantasy and history. He is best known for his works on naval history and on the American Civil War and for fiction written with L. Sprague de Camp. (He was also a contemporary of one of my favorite writers of all time Isaac Asimov).

This particular book was written in the summer of 1939 and was an attempt to look at the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s navies from a technical perspective. The usual chapters on the battleship being the backbone of any world power’s navy was predominant as is to be expected from any book written before Pearl Harbor and the first gruesome years of struggle during the Second World War.

What was most interesting to me was his surprising information about potential new developments. In the latter part of his book, he discusses some possible changes that might be coming which might have an impact on the way future wars would be fought.

In a section called “Atomic Power” he notes:

“The scientists at M.I.YT in Boston, where they have a cyclotron, or atom smasher, claim to be within measurable distance of realizing the dream of tapping reserves of power within the structure of the atom. Under the impulse of war needs, which always supply a spur to invention, they might conceivably make it.

“But even if it comes the effect on naval warfare would be slow and not quite so profound as imagination likes to picture, The greatest result would, of course, be that giving every ship so powered unlimited cruising range. “Atomic power” would not be power itself, but heat – vast reserves of heat from an insignificant quantity of combustible material. A warship using atomic power would still find boilers and engines necessary; it could dispense with nothing but the present fire rooms. There would not even be much saving in weight, for an atom-smashing machine is a cumbersome and weighty device.

Thus no very small ship, such as a torpedo motorboat or submarine could use the new source of power, and it might be limited to battleships, carriers and large cruisers. For ships of these classes, it would take a good deal of time to install. Ships would either have to be taken off duties on which they were urgently needed to make the installation, or it would have to wait to be built into new craft.”

The author goes on to write about a “death ray” that uses short wave radio frequencies that was barely able to kill a mouse no less a man. His prediction was that such a ray would be centuries in the future in the making. Rocket powered planes were also beyond the reach of man’s abilities since the speed of acceleration would kill any human being and the solution to the issues lie long in the future if at all.

The most interesting thing about the book is not what he got wrong but how much he came close to getting right.

It will be interesting to see if I can find other books he wrote that may shed some light into how he knew about Atomic Power long before the Manhattan Project was known.

He was not without controversy, however.

In an article by Henry Wessells in AB Bookman’s Weekly for 30 June 1997 it was noted that “Pratt was a syndicated naval correspondent for the New York Post, and his views stirred up controversy as early as December 9, 1941, in the aftermath of his comments on Pearl Harbor and what it revealed about the state of readiness of the American Navy. He apparently lost this job after speculating incorrectly on the outcome of a naval engagement.”

His banishment must have been short lived however since he went on to write many Navy themed books and articles for a number of publications including:

    • America and Total War . New York : Smith & Durrell, 1941.
    • Ships, Men — and Bases , by Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy with Fletcher Pratt. Philadelphia : Curtis Publishing Company, 1941. An eight page pamphlet : “ This article from the April 5, 1941, issue of The Saturday Evening Post , has been reprinted for the Navy Department in the interests of National Defense. ”
    • What the Citizen Should Know About Modern War . New York : W.W. Norton, 1942.
    • The Navy Has Wings . New York : Harper, 1943.
    • U.S. Army : A Guide to Its Men and Equipment . Racine, Wisconsin : Whitman, 1943.
    • The Navy’s War . New York : Harper, 1944. With a foreword by the Honorable Frank Knox, Secretary of the Navy. 14
    • My Life to the Destroyers . New York : Holt : 1944. With Captain L.A. Abercrombie.
    • Short History of the Army & Navy . Washington D.C. : Infantry Journal, 1944 (wraps).
    • Night Work : The Story of Task Force 39 . New York : Holt, 1945.
    • Empire and the Sea . Illustrated by Inga Stephens. New York : Holt, 1946.
    • Fleet Against Japan . New York : Harper, 1946.
    • The Marines’ War : An Account of the Struggle for the Pacific from Both American and Japanese Sources . New York : William Sloane Associates, Inc., 1948.

Pratt was also the inventor of a set of rules for naval war gaming, which he created before the Second World War. This was known as the “Fletcher Pratt Naval War Game” and it involved dozens of tiny wooden ships, built on a scale of one inch to 50 feet. These were spread over the floor of Pratt’s apartment and their maneuvers were calculated via a complex mathematical formula.

The full story can be found here: Fletcher Pratt’s Naval War Game (1940). A book on the Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame

https://www.amazon.com/Fletcher-Pratts-Wargame-Wargaming-1900-1945/dp/1447518551/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1528071661&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=Fletcher+Pratt%27s+Naval+War+Game+%281940%29.+A+book+on+the+Fletcher+Pratt+Naval+Wargame+was+printed+2011

The book is probably pretty hard to find. I have a new source of reading that is called the HATHI Trust. HathiTrust began in 2008 as a collaboration of the universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (now the Big Ten Academic Alliance) and the University of California system to establish a repository to archive and share their digitized collections. HathiTrust quickly expanded to include additional partners and to provide those partners with an easy means to archive their digital content.

While you have to be a member to download the material, if you know what to look for (which I am still learning) an entire new world of books opens up for the dedicated researcher.

Mister Mac

 

Now More Than Ever – a Strong Navy and Peace 5

The Navy League has been tireless in its mission to support the sea services throughout the last 116 years. From its founding in 1902, they have tried to always live the spirit that Theodore Roosevelt embodied when he said “A good Navy is not a provocative of war, it is the surest guarantee of peace.”

Three years after he said those fateful words, the world was changed forever on May 27, 1905 when a smaller Japanese fleet defeated the powerful Russian Navy in the Straits of Tsushima.

This unexpected naval battle set the tone for naval conflict for the next century. It showed that a willful and resourceful nation could project sea power and influence the course of history in a way that the world would have to notice. It clearly demonstrated that no country, no matter how small or limited in resources, should ever be taken for granted.

Despite that warning, America was not ready for the Great War that was to come. We had lulled ourselves into thinking that the vastness of the oceans surrounding us would keep us from harm. We were wrong. An entirely new menace called the submarine destroyed that perception of safety once and for all. 100 years ago today, fighting men and women would serve in a cause that should have been avoidable. But the oceans brought the threat to us.

As many countries did, we relied on the promise of peace through disarmament when that war completed. The navy was shrunk and a peace dividend was expected in its place. It never came. Instead, the Axis of Japan, Italy and Germany once more used the oceans to project their power. We were ill prepared for that war too, but the drive and determination of the American people carried the day once more.

The global situation is much the same today as it was before the major wars. Countries are once more expanding their forces and influence through sea power.

  • China is pushing the boundaries in the seas and islands around her country that once enjoyed freedom;
  • A resurging and aggressive Russian Navy has a global reach and an eye on returning to their once unlimited status
  • Rogue nations that are seeking to capitalize on technology are once more challenging freedom around the globe.

 

On Memorial Day, we honor the fallen. We remember their sacrifices. But we honor and remember them best when we remain ever ready and ever vigilant. We pay them the ultimate tribute when we are once more ready to defend that which they gave everything for.

The Navy League stands with all of our sea services in paying honor and tribute to our fallen. We stand for maintaining the strongest military on the face of the planet. America stands for freedom in this world. In the face of so many challenges, maintaining that strength is the only way to maintain our freedom. America needs to be alert now more than any time in history.

Mister Mac

Attention on Deck: Mare Island Naval Cemetery Needs Your Help Reply

It is fitting on Memorial Day weekend that we honor those who have died in service to our country.

Many of us also remember those who served on active duty in peace or war time and have passed on to the final muster.

This morning, I got an email from Nestor Aliga asking for help in spreading the word about a proposal that would honor the many men who are interred at the Mare Island Naval Cemetery that has been forgotten by the country.

I am including Nestor’s email and contact information (with his permission) so that you can help to make this dream a reality.

I hope you will consider joining me in this mission.

Mister Mac

 

Dear fellow Veterans, Service members, and Friends,

The Mare Island Naval Cemetery (MINC) is the oldest military cemetery on the west coast. It is the final resting place for over 800 of our country’s heroes who served since the War of 1812. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients – James Cooney, William Halford, and Alexander Parker – are buried there.

PUBLIC LAW 93-43 dated June 18, 1973 mandated that jurisdiction over naval cemeteries – including MINC – must immediately be transferred from the Navy to the Veterans Affairs (VA). However, that law was somehow ignored by the Navy and the VA in 1973 and during the Base Realignment and Closure process in 1993. The federal government left MINC behind and did not provide any funding to restore it to honorable conditions nor any support for its immense ongoing maintenance.

On April 18, 2018, the City of Vallejo stated its willingness to relinquish control of MINC to the federal government. This letter was critical because it cleared a “critical path” for our Representative Mike Thompson (CA-05) to introduce H.R. 5588 on April 23, 2018 and for our Senator Dianne Feinstein to introduce S.2881 on May 17, 2018. Their bills direct the VA to seek an agreement with and for the City of Vallejo to transfer control of MINC to the VA. MINC would be under the VA National Cemetery Administration – whose mission is to maintain our Veterans’ cemeteries as national shrines.

State Senator Bill Dodd and Assembly member Tim Grayson – co-authors of California (CA) Senate Joint Resolution #26 which urges all of CA’s federally elected officials to support the transfer of MINC to the VA – fully support H.R.5588 and S.2881. The CA State Commanders Veterans Council – sanctioned by CA Military and Veterans Code Sect. 73.4 and the official voice of CA’s 1.8 million Veterans – also endorses H.R.5588 and S.2881.

So what are the next critical steps and how can you our fellow Americans assist with a fast-break?

Go to this Navy League website:

http://cqrcengage.com/navyleague/app/onestep-write-a-letter?2&engagementId=476893

Then write this message:

Please co-sponsor H.R.5588 and/or S.2881 today so they can be hotlined and passed in 2018.

OR go to:

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

https://www.house.gov/representatives

Select your elected officials, then write this message:

Please co-sponsor H.R.5588 and/or S.2881 today so they can be hotlined and passed in 2018.

We ardently believe that this legislation can be done in 2018 like what happened with the Clark Veterans Cemetery in the Philippines – which was abandoned in 1991. In 2012, H.R.4168 “Caring for the Fallen Act” and S.2320 “Remembering America’s Forgotten Veterans Cemetery Act of 2012” were introduced, voted before the year-end recess, and Public Law 112-260 was signed in 2013. That cemetery is back to national shrine conditions.

Don’t our American Veterans buried in the oldest military cemetery on the west coast deserve as much respect as our Veterans buried in the Philippines or in Europe or at our national cemeteries?

We Americans are certainly capable of flexing our muscle to “make right a historic wrong.” I urge all of us to urgently act and “show-of-force” our own American power!

Very Respectfully,

Nestor Aliga

Nestor.Aliga@comcast.net 

707-853-0062

The Line 13

As Memorial Day approaches, I know that all of us will be busy with tributes, ceremonies and parades of honor. At least I hope that we all would be so engaged. The truth is that many will be more focused on picnics and pools, parties and getaways, sales and sports. How far away from our own heritage have we drifted.

I will have the honor of participating in the Elizabeth Parade and Ceremony in Elizabeth PA. The ceremony goes back as far as anyone can remember and has been a regular part of my families tradition for nearly as long. I hope to be able to introduce a new poem written today for the occasion.

This poem is a reflection based on a vision I had about sailors today. I have copywrited the work so if you feel the desire to share, please contact me directly.

The Line

Mister Mac