Goin’ to the Chapel and We’re Gonna Get Married – Part Three 8


Oh happy day, break out the bubbly, the Nation’s first gay marriage at West Point. I can barely contain my joy.

Oh well. They can explain it to the big Guy themselves when the time comes. I am now officially done with worrying about traditions.

Go Navy. Beat Army.

Mister Mac

I had no idea that we would eventually become a trend setter. First, the novelty VP Joe “Gotcha” Biden comes out and supports gay marriage. Or was it just Joe “Coming Out?” Next, the Obaminator is forced to stop prevarication and admit that his “evolving days” are finally over. Andrew Sullivan is practically slobbering over himself despite the actual lack of commitment by team Oblama. Wow… even  liberal Maureen Dowd bitch slaps the old boy for his floppy moves this week.

Now, one of the Mean Spirited Republicans and his Bully friends try to stick up for God and the Bible by introducing legislation to keep Military Base Chapels free from violating the very words and beliefs they have held up for hundreds of years:

Why is this even an issue?

“U.S. Navy chaplains are getting new duties on land: performing same-sex marriages.

The chaplains will receive training to conduct the civil unions once the Department of Defense ends its ban on gays in the military, Navy officials said Monday.

Military chapels and catering facilities would become available for sex-same unions, the memo said.

“If the base is located in a state where same-sex marriage is legal, then base facilities may normally be used to celebrate the marriage,” read a memo from the chief of Navy chaplains.

Under the new training, any chaplains whose religious beliefs did not include gay marriage will not be required to conduct the ceremonies.

The Pentagon is slowly implementing its repeal of the 17-year ban on gays in the military. The new policy should go into effect some time this summer.

But a Missouri Congressman says the new guidelines for the Navy violate a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

“While a state may legalize same sex marriage, federal property and federal employees, like Navy chaplains, should not be used to perform marriages that are not recognized by federal law,” wrote Todd Akin (R-Mo.)

Chaplains are among the first group of service members to receive training on the new policy. ”

I see. We can’t afford to improve military facilities including health care and housing. We are struggling to figure out how to deal with Veterans with PTSD and homelessness. Yet this stupidly useless program to support a vocal minority of NON CHRISTIANS is stealing the money we so desperately need???????

Sodom and Gomorrah never had it so good.

So this past week, an attempt to make things a little right was started:


“The measure, which prevents “marriage or marriage-like ceremonies” between same-sex couples from taking place at American military bases, was approved by a 37 to 24 vote along party lines.

Republican panel members also approved language to protect military personnel from reprisals for expressing “their moral principles and religious beliefs… concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality.”

That amendment, sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) was approved by a straight party-line vote of 36 to 25.

Wait just a minute… Are you telling me that it might take an Act Of Congress to protect people who express something in public that is based on their core beliefs?????????

Mister Mac

I have only two regrets about my wedding more than 31 years ago. The first is that I didn’t get married in my dress blues. The second is that we didn’t get married in a Navy Chapel. I have to be up front and admit that during my tours of duty, I was not always faithful about going to the chapel. I did pretty well in Boot Camp and A school but as I went through a round of schools at New London, Charleston, and Pearl before arriving on the George-fish, I either went to civilian churches or just plain didn’t go.

Navy Church Pennant

I did go to services on board (mostly around the holidays) but they weren’t very well attended and sometimes it was just too easy to catch some sleep on the one day you probably wouldn’t have drills or field days. Plus, there is something about battle stations missile on Christmas Eve that sort of knocks the spiritual right out of you. Rumor had it that the XO planned it to take people’s minds off the fact that we were on Patrol for Christmas AGAIN and all the fake holly in the world couldn’t replace some of the sadness of being separated from family and friends.


But the one Chapel that I did hold near to my heart was the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base Chapel nestled in among the buildings that made up the center of the upper base. The galley was across the street so it was kind of a Sunday ritual when I was in port and living on base. Later, when I came back to Hawaii with my new wife, we would use that Chapel as a place to go to try and continue to grow spiritually. We were not 100% attenders but I probably spent more time there than in any other Chapel in all of my military service (except maybe Norfolk Naval Base).


Anyone who has ever been to the Chapel knows the story behind how it was built. It had its beginnings with the arrival of the first Navy Chaplain assigned to the submarine base LCDR Thomas H Reilly. He arrived in the middle of World War 2 (November 1943). The base had no chapel so LCDR Reilly had to conduct a daily mass in the base library (Bldg. 654). Sunday Mass was held at Sharkey Theater which was an open air theater at the time.

Hull design

The Chaplain saw how crowded the services had become and at first requested a Quonset Hut which was turned down. Disappointed but not defeated, Chaplain Reilly then did something that made him a true submariner: he had the Chapel constructed without authorization. He enlisted the help of a number of people and built the little Chapel on the site that it still stands. Rumor had it at the time that many of the materials for the Chapel were “redirected” from other projects and on September 10, 1944 the Chapel was dedicated to all the submariners who died in Word War 2.


The original colored glass windows were replaced in 1959 by panels fashioned after the original templates. From inside the Chapel a small submarine can be seen in the lower portion of each window. The bell in the tower came from the USS Argonaut (SS-166. The crew of the Argonaut donated her bell before leaving on her third war patrol. She never returned.


All hands were lost in a battle action off the coast of Rabaul on January 10th 1943. The bell still tolls for them and all of the boats that did so much to win the war.

For me, the little Chapel was and always will be

Hallowed Ground for submariners.

Fifty-Two Submarines never returned home

On Friday September 30th 2011, Defense Department officials announced that in conjunction with the ending of Don’t ask, Don’t Tell, Military Chaplains would now be allowed to conduct weddings in Military installations (including Chapels).

Spring is here, The sky is blue
Birds all sing As if they knew
Today’s the day We’ll say I do
And we’ll never be lonely anymore
Because we’re Going to the Chapel of Love

Because of actions taken by the ACLU, LAMBDA, and Governor Neil Abercrombie, Civil unions for same sex couples will be allowed in Hawaii starting January 1, 2012. How exciting for them.

Goin’ to the chapel and we’re Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel and we’re Gonna get married
Gee, I really love you and we’re Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel of love

How long will it be before we have our first ceremony between two sailors in that little chapel?

Bells will ring, The sun will shine

(whoa-whoa-whoa) I’ll be his and He’ll be mine

We’ll love until  – The end of time
And we’ll never be lonely anymore
Because we’re Goin’ to the chapel and we’re Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel and we’re Gonna get married
Gee, I really love you and we’re Gonna get married
Goin’ to the chapel of love

Those who follow me regularly know that I am mostly an advocate of changes that are happening in the world. I don’t think its possible to turn back the hands of time on many things so I try and look for the positive.

But I do have one request: If it’s at all humanly possible, can we ask that the Sub Base Chapel Pearl Harbor which has so much history and was dedicated to the memory of so many heroes be forever off limits to weddings that were not legal at the time it was dedicated.

I think its only fair.

By the way, congratulations to the Catholic Chapel at West Point. Its nice to see that somebody is courageous enough to stick to their beliefs in this whirlwind of political correctness.



Mister Mac


The Quality of the Weld 2

Being a former submariner, I have long had an interest in welding and the quality of welds. When you are riding a ship designed to sink that was built by the lowest bidder, proper and secure welds seem to be pretty important. The hulls of nuclear submarines are made out of a special steel which requiresvery demanding quality requirements. Plus, the internal welds throughout the boat are critical for not only structural integrity but for sound control as well. Nothing like a pipe run failing at just the wrong time to transmit sound into the enemy’s ears.

Ohio from the air

Submarines were not always welded of course. Early boats were riveted which allowed for them to achieve a mostly water tight condition but that came at a price of depth limitations. I can only imagine being in one of the dozens of boats built before 1934 that were riveted. In 1934 the Cuttlefish, the first submarine ordered by the U.S. Navy since 1918, is delivered. Cuttlefish is also the first welded submarine and the first submarine built in Groton for the Navy. (According to Electric Boat’s history log.)

USS Cuttlefish

I found a pretty good website about submarines that goes into some pretty lengthy details about assembling the hull. http://www.madehow.com/Volume-5/Nuclear-Submarine.html  I am going to assume the Chinese actually already found this web site and I am sure enough details have been left out to make it merely entertaining for the average submarine enthusiast. For me, it looks pretty cool.

Needless to say, the quality of the welds are pretty important. The boat must be strong enough to withstand any challenge that the engineers can calculate. The safety of the crew plus the unintended consequences from a nuke boat  coming apart at the wrong time is nothing short of catastrophic. From the article:

“When the steel plates are cut and rolled to form the hull, they are inspected to ensure that all dimensions are accurate to within one sixteenth of an inch (0.16 cm); smaller parts may need to be accurate to within one ten-thousandth of an inch (0.00025 cm) or less. Proper welding of all steel components is inspected with x rays. Pipes are inspected by filling them with helium and checking for leaks. Every instrument is tested to ensure it works properly. In particular, the nuclear reactor undergoes stringent tests to ensure that it is safe. As a result of these precautions, the Naval Reactors program is considered to have the best safety record of any nuclear power program.”

Ohio on the surface

Probably most notable in the annals of sub building were the early problems exhibited on the Ohio. From an article in Time magazine in 1981:

“The Ohio’s construction is a seven-year ordeal of mismanagement. Certain components were made from understrength steel, and the replacement cost was nearly $1 million. The sub contains 117,000 especially important welds; 2,772 were botched. Rewelding cost $2.6 million.”
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,949215,00.html#ixzz1Zft9pT7V

Ohio LPO 2

I wish I had known that before begging for orders on board the first Trident.

Many things can influence the strength of welds and the material around them: the welding method, the amount and concentration of energy input, the weldability of the base material, filler material, and flux material, the design of the joint, and the interactions between all these factors. Even the environment around the welders can play a role. If the metal is too cold, unexpected failures can and probably will occur.

Our country is in need of a good welder these days. It’s a pretty tough job to bind together such diverse materials in such a way that they can stand the stresses and strains of being a part of a very complex world.

I pledge allegiance to the flag… of the United States of America…

You have to create the right conditions, search for the correct way to bond them as well as use the right methods. The different materials require special attention and that can be complex when you are joining them together.

and to the Republic for which it stands,

Failing to recognize their unique needs will only lead to failure. But in all cases, you need something really strong to bind them together

one nation under God,

The welder must have the right skills and a keen eye. If he only looks at one side of things all the time, his weld job will fail. He must see all sides and find a way to create the right bead in order for his work to withstand the test of time. The ultimate goal is to create a strong enough bond that will surpass the individual strength of the materials being bonded without destroying the materials in the process.

indivisible, with liberty, and justice for all.

I was sent to weld class once when I was very new to submarines. It was probably just a place to keep me busy during off crew but I gave it my best shot. Maybe it was my lack of experience or just my inability to see all of the complexities required to be successful. Who knows, maybe I just wasn’t mature enough to see the importance of the work I was being trained to do (Waikiki was not that far away and as soon as you finished, off you went to the boat that would take you to freedom). I will freely admit here and now that they gave me a passing grade just to get rid of me. I really sucked at it. For the rest of my career, I let the people who knew what they were doing weld.

 Too many lives depend on having someone

who knows what they were doing.

Sunrise Blvd July 4 003

Our country is cracked wide open right now. We need someone who has the right “welding” skills to try and bring it back together. Too many lives both here and around the world depend on it

Anybody know a really good welder?


Mister Mac

The Old Navy 4

Compared to some Navies around the world, I suppose the US navy is still in its infant stage. From my perspective, it has certainly seen its days of glory interspersed with rumors of demise. Those rumors of its premature death normally come with change. Sails to steam. Capital ships and sleek modern warriors. Cannon balls to missiles. One thing that never seems to change though is the adventurous spirit of those who choose a life of sea going service. Diesels to Nukes.

Old Salts 001

I have had the picture above over my desk for a number of years. My brother and his family sent it to us one Christmas and it somehow struck a chord. Tom and I served on the San Francisco (SSN 711) together for three years so we shared a seagoing experience and a lot of memories. The picture just struck me as a true depiction of what real old salts would look like.

Not long ago, I found a book that I use as a reference from time to time. It is called “Naval Customs, Traditions, and Usage” written by Lieutenant Commander Leland P. Lovette, US Navy. The book is a hardback copy and cost $2.00 postpaid in 1939 from the Naval Institute Press.

Naval Customs Traditions and Usage                Lovette

It’s a great book for those of us who love Naval History and was written shortly before Pearl Harbor. The book gives you the flavor of the Old Navy before the catastrophic attack against America in December of 1941. The influx of so many millions of Officers and Men during the war changed the character and the flavor of the Navy as it had never been changed before and citizen sailors of that period redefined what a sailor was.

In the book, there is an inserted photograph next to page 43 taken by Assistant Surgeon H. W. Whitaker (US Navy) taken on board the USS Mohican in 1888 of the four old salts. In fact, the card I have over my desk is a replica of that picture.

Old Salts 2

The Old Navy – Left to right: David Ireland, age 55; Gilbert H. Purdy, age 60; John T. Griffith, age 62; and John King, age 54

On page 43 is a footnote that explains who the mystery men on my wall were:

“This picture, ‘The Old Navy,’” wrote Captain J. K. Taussig, “depicts for us a rare combination of characters. We have here in Purdy the spinner of yarns and exploiter of theories – different from the usually accepted ones – but always of sufficient interest to guarantee and audience. In Ireland we have the serious minded listener – a man of character who loved his ship and who loved to stay on board preferring to save his money to spending it on a good time. King typifies the sailor of the stories; one who loved rum and who spent his money freely whenever he had the chance. He was the type that was absolutely reliable on board ship, but did not see that the beach was for any other use than a place where one could get drunk. Griffith shows us the old man who has matured in the service – the kind that acquired none of the bad traits, but all of the good traits of the old time sailor.” – US Naval Institute Proceedings, XLVII, no. 215.

USS Mohican

I can’t help but feel that I knew these guys. They have been the core of the US Navy since it first began. The only thing that kind of concerns me now is that I used to think 60 was old…

The Navy is going through a number of changes again. Based on comments I see on the Navy related boards these days, a lot of my former shipmates are worried we won’t make it through the fog this time. I can almost hear Gilbert Purdy now;

“Those young whippersnappers are gonna just ruin this here Navy, you mark my words. Why, I hear they’re even talking about putting bunk beds on ships now instead of hammocks. Yep, heard it from an old shipmate of mine. He seen it with his own two eyes down to the Philly shipyard. These younguns will be spoiled rotten.What won’t they think of next? This man’s Navy is going straight to hell, you mark my words, straight to hell!”

Then old John Griffith quietly replies; “Purdy, you just keep spinning those old yarns. I been around long enough to see the changes that came and went. Some stuck, some didn’t. In the end, as long as there are a few old salts around and the country still needs defending, there will always be a Navy. Might not look the same as when we had the helm, but it will always be the Navy.”

From the position of someone who is rapidly approaching Griffiths age, I reckon I agree with him.

Mister Mac

Make sure you check out the Plan of the day for October 3rd

for more of the back story on the Old Salts 

You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to ME? Reply


I never really thought about what it meant to be “An American” until just the last few years. In this context, “An American” equates to my status as a United States Citizen. I had the flawed understanding for a long time that the Constitution granted me that status. I later realized that no where in the original Constitution is any definition of the formal legal status except for the words Natural Born for key elected positions. This was meant to exclude any foreign influence in the formation of the young country.

A more precise definition of Citizenship would not come until 1790 with laws passed to define Naturalization. That law was an evolutionary document that later included a more equitable representation including women and other people that were excluded in the early versions.

The idea that if you are born here you are a citizen has evolved from those laws and many Supreme and Lower Court rulings over the two hundred plus years as a nation. All in all, it does give some structure and framework which helps us to better define not only our rights, but our responsibilities. The privilege component has evolved as our forefathers (and to be fair foremothers) built a solid foundation in the land we now recognize as the United States.

My great grandparents on Dad’s side were immigrants to this country. They arrived on a sinking ship in Philadelphia in 1845 at the start of the Potato famine in Ireland. Their lives in County Donegal are mired in mystery to us since no record of their time there survived the purges of later years when the newly formed Republic of Ireland suffered a number of church burnings. Since they were probably rent farmers in a predominantly Catholic area, its no big surprise that their records were assumed to be burned with the old Kirk of the Presbyterians that burned.

The long trip begins

When they arrived, only their daughter could write in English. The language was a mixture of centuries of “Auld Scotch”, North Country Irish, some smattering of English but certainly not suitable if they would survive in the New World. Upon arrival, the ship they were riding began to sink before it reached the mooring place in Philadelphia and a scramble to off load the people resulted in losing all of their meager possessions except for the “Irish Bible” and the clothes they all wore.

Welcome to America. There were no welcoming groups other than maybe a few women from the Irish Societies in Philly who tried to keep the newcomers from being cheated by unscrupulous landlords who would take advantage of them by bullying them into apartments that were already well past the date they should be torn down. The Irish were already pretty unpopular with the longer term Americans and the sudden influx caused by the Great Famine made it even worse. Undereducated, unskilled, no money, little promise for work in a hostile city environment (from Philadelphia to Boston), this was my families entry into the American experience.


They gradually followed the pattern of so many other immigrants. The one promise America had was that if you wanted to work, there were places you could. They would not be easy, you mostly paid your own way, and there were no promises that when you got there they would hire you. But they went anyway. The Swedes, the Germans, the Scots-Irish and so many other nationalities that would end up forming one part of the tapestry that is America.

Sacrifices were made all along the way. The graveyards of Philadelphia were filled with those who never made it past the shores of the new land. All along the routes, settlers discovered that many parts of the new land were actually someone else’s “Old Lands” and the meetings were not always hospitable. But the rigged people kept pushing further and further west and change ultimately became the way forward.

The work was hard. Coal mine. Steel mills. No regard for life in many cases other than the value of a hand on a shovel or someone to push carts full of ore. Health care was often non-existent and the quality of life was limited to the small amounts of pay you could gather from your eighty hour weeks. Miraculously, those people built communities, schools, Churches, roads, infrastructure and step by step built an America that was the envy of the world. Without their sacrifice and labor, there would be no America. But in many ways, there was no choice if they were to survive.


These pioneers not only survived, they built a place that was the envy of many around the road. For generations since that time, we have built cities, educated ourselves light years beyond our ancestors capabilities, fought global wars of liberation, and created a world so far beyond the imagination of those earlier settlers, they would not be able to conceive the results.

We have something worth fighting for.

The Federal Government in those days mostly adhered to its role as defined by the Constitution and its amendments.  Even their stated role of providing for the national defense was hobbled by the reality of living within the means of the money they could collect for taxes and support. The war between the states started a major change in the role of government that has grown to its current size and overwhelming impact.

In a world made significantly smaller by improvements in transportation and communications, a centralized way of dealing with other countries is imperative to survive in this modern world. Unfortunately, the down side is that many people now want that same centralized answer to every problem and every issue. The days of individual responsibility have been replaced by the new phenomena of people who are now expecting the government to be responsible for everything from the air you breathe to the way you are buried in the ground.

Even worse, clever politicians have learned how to manipulate that sense of entitlement to sway mass groups of people

The last few election cycles should be the clearest indicator that the message is now owned and driven to obtain an outcome that can only destroy the fabric of America. Patriotism has been twisted into a new definition that punishes those who have built this land. Fairness and equal treatment are illusionary concepts that have been skillfully corrupted by smooth talking hucksters who create class warfare in order to maintain their power.

When a smooth talking politician stands before a special interest group that has been self-defined as being “disadvantaged” and offers them other people’s wealth in order to gather their support, America starts to crumble.

When that same politician tells that and other groups that he needs their help in the “fight” just who are they fighting?

How far will that fight go? In order to satisfy the need to maintain power, which rules are we willing to break or modify?

If the same person who calls for a fight also controls the Justice Department and all of the various agencies, at what point will they become soldiers in the fight?

What about the military? Aren’t they supposed to fight too?

Who are they fighting?

If you believe that hard work and personal responsibilities are the bedrock of America as it was when founded, they are fighting you. If you feel that the federal bureaucracy is wildly out of control, you are the enemy. You stand between redistribution, spreading of the wealth and frankly slavery to a new form of government never envisioned by the Founders. In my lifetime, I never envisioned a future where the Chief Executive Officer of the country would call on one group of citizens to fight another. I can see a revised posture of Lincoln in his Washington Memorial: slumped over, head in hands with tears streaming down his face.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Abraham Lincoln, Republican

If you wish to be President of the United States of America you are President of ALL the Citizens. You cannot cause division with people who you disagree with and expect to remain a President of anything. America deserves a President for all of its citizens.

If you chose to fight your fellow citizens to achieve goals that are not commonly accepted and betray the American dream, you should do the honorable thing and step down and follow your new quest full time.

As a United States Citizen, I am assured the right to have a President by the very Constitution that every President is Sworn to Uphold and Defend.

I find it hard to believe that you can be my President while wanting to fight me and at the same time encouraging my fellow citizens to do the same.

Mister Mac

Dereliction of Duty 2



One of the worst things I can imagine a service member doing is being guilty of dereliction of duty. We all take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. When we are derelict in our duties, there are military laws which judge us and rightly so. People depend on us to defend them and protect them from forces beyond their ability to defend themselves.

Friday afternoon, the Democratic leadership in the Senate refused to pass a continuing resolution that would not only fund the government’s operations but will cut off additional funds to FEMA by early next week. Harry Reid and his fellow Democratic Senators left after a hasty news conference to catch a plane for South Carolina (Taxpayer funded of course).

This morning (September 24th) at the beautiful and luxurious Kiawah Island Resort in South Carolina the Democratic Senatorial Leadership team is resting after blocking funds for FEMA.  This is just a sample of some of the things they are suffering through for the American people still recovering from the floods:

“Your private table may overlook splendid surf, lagoons, gardens or fairways, while you dine on exquisitely  prepared award-winning native foods complemented by the perfect wine or beverage. Your day might begin with a leisurely breakfast on the oceanfront, a bountiful buffet before your morning tee time or gourmet coffee and a continental breakfast at the market.”

Food recovery

After this sumptuous feast, Harry and his donors will ride out to the well manicured greens and spend the day figuring out how to get more money into the democrat coffers. The fairways can be a little rough this time of year, but Harry and his friends will be doing their best to keep a brave face.


The accommodations at Kiawah can be a little challenging too for the out of Towner’s. Rumor has it that some were actually forced to sleep in rooms with only a partial ocean view. Senior aides to the Senator were furious upon finding out that the best rooms were already booked for another meeting but hotel officials assured them that the alternative rooms would be just as desirable.

Temporary Housing

As always, guest will be provided with surprise gift bags as they spend time with their hosts. Rumor has it that a special shipment from Cartier’s was spirited in during the night to mark the special occasion.

Red Cross

Meanwhile, more rain is predicted across the Susquehanna Valley all the way into New England. Evacuations were once again ordered in some counties in preparation for the flooding that will follow.


Hopefully it will not impact this evening’s tribute dinner for the millionaires and their wives  who continue to make all of this possible for Senator Reid and friends.



Dereliction of Duty? You be the judge.

God Bless America

Mister Mac

Surface Surface Surface Reply

“Chief of the Watch, on the 1MC commence a low pressure blow on all main ballast tanks.”

What a great feeling after a long run to hear those words and smell the fresh air that comes rushing through the boat. Whether it’s a week or two months, coming back to the surface is a fantastic feeling. Even if you left your world fairly screwed up before you left, coming home is one more chance to do things right. The activity around you quickens as the crew hurries to their respective duties before the maneuvering is set. Men with tool bags line up near their respective hatches to start preparing topside for the final ride into port.

You try to keep busy but you can also feel your heart beating just a bit harder. The married guys are looking forward to seeing their honey and if there are kids, it’s that worrying feeling that they have grown too much without you being there. Single guys may be thinking about a special girl or just getting away from all the closeness that has surrounded them for too long.  All of them are looking forward to a meal that includes fresh milk and salad.

I still get that feeling sometimes when I cross the Alleghenies on my way back to Pittsburgh. After I get through the last tunnel, my heart does beat just a little faster. The houses and streets have changed since I was younger but it has a unique character of its own that will never completely fade away. The memories fade from black and white photographs to the vivid fall colors as you cross the road to the old park. The weather looks a littledicey this weekend, but I hope you take the time to surface from whatever it is that’s kept you underwater long enough to smell the change in the air. I hope winter isn’t in too much of a hurry this year.

Have a great weekend…

Mister Mac

Life is simple… you’re either qualified or you’re not 4

I don’t know when qualification cards became part of submarine life. I know they were there when I first came aboard the George Washington. I remember Chief John telling me very specifically that the card was as important as any piece of paper I ever held so I better not lose it. Each week, I would dutifully bring it to him so he could check off my progress. I learned pretty quickly that if you got all you “grape” sigs done first, you would have a lot of really hard ones left at the end. Chief showed me how to approach people and how to learn the systems. I am forever grateful to him for that.

Back in those days, you got your ship’s card and  your watch station cards. The ship’s card was  mostly about knowledge and the watch card was about knowledge and skills. Being an A-Ganger, my watch cards were pretty important because many of the tasks we had were pretty dangerous. If we lined up a system incorrectly, it could cause a problem with any of the key life giving systems on board such as ventilation,  trim and drain systems. You learned pretty quickly to do most tasks with very little supervision and sometimes in less than favorable conditions. Even the mundane tasks like blowing sanitary tanks and shooting the trash disposal unit were pretty important since incorrect operations could have pretty bad consequences.

As you progress in a submarine, the quals get harder. More technical knowledge and skills are needed for the really complicated stuff including the weapons systems, navigational systems and of course the reactor control. I suppose that is why I always thought of submariners as the best of the best since every person had their own role but also had to know everyone elses. The higher you go, the more qualification and testing. By the time you reach Captain, you have achieved some remarkable things.

So let’s see if I got it all right: Standards in knowledge and skills related to your job, testing and proving all the way through the ranks, the higher you go, the more complex the tasks and knowledge so the harder the quals.

Yep, life is pretty simple. You are either qualified or you aren’t.

598 1973 Pearl Harbor

Mister Mac

It’s GREEN, It’s GLOBAL, and It’s GOOD FOR YOU! 4

Breaking News …Breaking news… Breaking news… See end of article

Just for fun, Google the word Green. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here.

It doesn't get much greener than Sweden

What did you get? I got 3,250,000,000 in 0.18 seconds. Wow! Just for reference sake, I also Googled the word God and only got 1,680,000,000 in 0.09 and I am pretty sure that most of those are articles claiming that God is a myth or simply does not exist. Green on the other hand is very real and it is being delivered to you almost non-stop in your daily life.

Think about it. Have you bought any light bulbs recently. We were in Home Depot this afternoon  and the little squiggly things were everywhere you looked. They come in all sizes now and for almost every application. Earlier this month the EU (that’s the organization that includes both the winners and losers of World War 2 in one highly inefficient organization) succeeded in banning the 60 watt bulb all across the face of Europe. Ireland was the first to ban all incandescent light bulbs in their country. Of course Germany complained that since there were only seventy five electric lights in all of Ireland, they would have a much easier time of it. Reports from O’Shanahan’s Pub indicate that none of the patrons have yet felt the impact.

Got Sheep?

I hope you aren’t feeling too smug about my ancient ancestors homeland right about now. While its true that their power does come from burnt potato peals, its also true that here in the Good Old USA, Congress has decreed that 2012 will be our big year for squiggle bulbs. Millions and millions an millions (and that’s just in Las Vegas and Miami). GE has promised to keep up with the demand sort of as a patriotic gesture to its fellow man. Of course, they will be made in China and other third world countries since the new EPA and OSHA rules will probably make them to expensive to make here in the US. Oh well, that’s just progress for you.

Our friend the plastic bag has been feeling itself in the crosshairs for some time now. Google those bad boys and you will see a mere 32,000,000 hits and about 90 percent of those are outraged conservationists and environmentalists talking about the increase in the rise of the death of black faced marmots which are a direct result of the indiscriminate use of plastic bags by uncaring and unfeeling Americans for the past fifty or so years. Other articles discuss the direct linkage with the rapid rise in the earth’s atmosphere (although they are mostly cancelled out by the backlog of older articles discussing the rapid cooling of the earth’s atmosphere).

Finally, there are apparently millions of sea gulls choking to death on plastic beer can rings (or beer can yokes as the industry callously calls them). I can still see my wife feverishly cutting up hundreds of the little demons after my retirement party as the guests furiously tried to out race her. It’s hard to believe that we have allowed these horrible killers to exist for over fifty years. Oh, the humanity. Think about that next time you destroy another six pack. Or not.

One that got away

There is one bright side though. While congress may have no clue how to fix the rancid economy and help businesses increase jobs, they were smart enough to regulate the little plastic beer rings. That’s right. Six pack carrier rings are made to photo-degrade within 90 days of being littered—most less than 30 days. This is in accordance with the U.S. Federal standard for testing plastic photo-degradation, which is 40 CFR Ch. I (7–1–03 Edition)PART 238.

I’ll sleep better tonight.

backup pictures 2010 044

Even common ketchup bottles have apparently entered the green revolution. Today at the restaurant I looked over at that familiar bottle of Ketchup (that clearly states it is never supposed to be refilled). The bottle talked to me…

“##### will launch PlantBottle™ in all 20-ounce ketchup bottles in June with “talking labels” asking, “GUESS WHAT MY BOTTLE IS MADE OF?” Packaging will be identified by a special logo and on-pack messages. Switching to PlantBottle™ is another important step in #####’s global sustainability initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste, water consumption and energy usage at least 20 percent by 2015.” Can you spell solid ketchup? Of course you can.

Okay first, I barely want to talk to the waitress no less have a Talking Ketchup Bottle at my table to annoy me. Second, these bottles (which contain something I am about to ingest) are made from remnants of some kind of plants and some other stuff which remains a state secret. Does that mean we will be having a plant shortage in the near future. When will it end?

Don’t get me wrong. Going green can have its advantages for those clever enough to innovate a green solution to some problem. Recent revelations from the Federal Green Bureau of Artificial Stimulation Transition And Reconciliation Division Supervisors show that going green makes great economic sense! Hundreds of millions and a fair amount of billions have been transferred into private bank accounts in highly Liberal leaning voting areas. From windmills to solar panels to cars that get 40 miles to the charge, your government is leading the way. The number of undeveloped projects that could join the green revolution is only as limited as your bank account and IRA’s can provide. (Okay there’s also that big printing press in Washington but its going to break some time from overuse.)

It got me thinking today that I need to somehow get in on the green revolution before its too late. But what can I offer? So many really smart people have already cornered the market on the most visible items and you never want to enter any market on its maturation cycle.

Then it hit me. What does every house and football field have in common?

No, a mountain of empty beer cans is not the answer (fine yourself a hundred green points for even thinking that way and don’t forget to recycle after you snip all the ring things)

No the similarity is that they both have large open areas that need some kind of environmentally friendly covering. One that will not emit toxins or leave a permanent legacy of environmental destruction that could cause future generations to grow a third arm. What would be the perfect product that will surely hit all of the marks?

I have the answer. Green Recyclable Absorbable Soluble Solutions (I am racing to copy write this idea so don’t get any ideas). Lab tests conducted this afternoon in my personal testing ground revealed that G.R.A.S.S. is about as green a product as you can possibly imagine. My field test engineers (Angus and Rufus) confirmed that G.R.A.S.S. is not only non-toxic but tasty as well (perhaps a potential food source in the future for third world countries although I suspect certain countries like North Korea have already piloted the program with their civilian population.)

Grass Field Testers on their break

This stuff is totally recyclable and can be used in almost every state (with the exception of California where a version of G.R.A.S.S. is readily available from many specialty shops and street vendors from South of The Border). Its good for the earth and can have the side benefit of providing hours of exercise for homeowners almost everywhere. I can sell it in biodegradable bags with earth friendly ink. It will be delivered only in federally approved green cars by union  people who are licensed to drive regardless of their country of origin or method of entry into the United States (as monitored carefully by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation.

G.R.A.S.S. does have a few drawbacks but before those come out in the New York Times investigation, I have already submitted my one page application to the Federal Green Bureau of Artificial Stimulation Transition And Reconciliation Division Supervisors for my share of the next round of stimulus dollars for a two gazillian dollar grant. I have earmarked enough money from the grant to cover my next presidential and congressional election contributions and I have been assured the remaining money is being wired to my individual account this evening.

Its days like today that I really thank Heaven

for the United States Government.

Just last week I was worried about paying my mortgage and gasoline bills.

This is going to fix everything! I promise to be careful with your money… honest!

By the way, thanks in advance for your generous contributions to my Green sustainable project. I’ll think about you in Costa Del Sol.

Mister Mac

Breaking News …Breaking news… Breaking news…

From the White House Council on Jobs: 

The White House announced this morning that the new

Mac G.R.A.S.S. Initiative is fully funded

Anticipated jobs saved or created:

6,991,000,000     !!!!!!!

(Yes we know that is everyone on the planet but you have to think BIG)

Day Two in Hell Reply

The Naval bombardment at Peleliu had gone on since September 12th. The invasion on the 15th was literally hell on earth for the invaders and defenders. Day two was even worse.

The battleships Pennsylvania, Maryland, Mississippi, Tennessee and Idaho, heavy cruisers Indianapolis, Louisville, Minneapolis and Portland, light cruisers Columbia, Cleveland, Denver and Honolulu, and three fleet and five light aircraft carriers dropped 519 rounds of 16 in (410 mm) shells, 1,845 rounds of 14 in (360 mm) shells, 1,793 500 lb (230 kg) bombs, and 73,412 .50 in (12.7 mm) machine gun rounds onto the tiny island, only 6 sq mi (16 km2) in size.

The Americans believed the bombardment to be successful, as Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf claimed that the Navy had run out of targets. Major General William Rupertus had convinced his superiors that his Marines would have the island secured within four days. The Japanese under Colonel Nakagawa had other plans.

The Japanese had studied the previous attacks and determined that the traditional beach defenses were not effective in stopping the Americans. They also determined that the Banzai attacks were horrible wastes of human life and adjusted both of their strategies to fight a different kind of battle. The Americans were not so blessed. Their strategy remained the same as it had been all through the Pacific War to date and the results could be predicted.

The American’s came to the beachheads in lightly armored Amtracks and quickly found out how ineffective the bombardment had been. The defenders had literally honeycombed the island with a series of caves and used interlocking fire to reap a heavy toll on the invaders. A large cannon on the top of hill was hidden behind several bomb proof metal doors, only emerging between shelling from the ships nearby. This horrible weapon killed many sailors and Marines before they even hit the beach.

The morning of day two revealed another of the tactical changes the Japanese had made. Instead of the shrieking banzai attacks, they snuck quietly into the foxholes of the exhausted Marines and killed them where they lay. The casualty rates were the highest of the Pacific War and took the First Marines out of action until 1945. Another tactic the Japanese realized was the American’s use of stretcher bearers during the attack. Snipers would target those lifesaving men in order to draw out more victims. It is a credit to the men who still went to help their fallen comrades that they continued to do so all through the battles.

The Marines had many enemies on Day Two. The 110 degree heat from the first day was replaced by the 112 degree heat of day two. The hard coral was brutal on the men who kept finding more and more spider holes filled with snipers and machine guns. Even the water they needed so badly worked against them. Someone who was tasked with providing the fresh water for drinking had loaded 55 gallon barrels that had not been sufficiently cleaned from the oil that had been in them before. Many of the Marines succumbed to water poisoning as they tried to quench the unrelenting heat. Add the shell shock effect on many young Marines and combat fatigue resulting from too many horrors to imagine, and it is easier to understand the losses.

By the time the First Marines secured their objectives, they had gone from 3500 men to only twenty seven effectives.  A battle that was only supposed to last four days lasted instead to three months. The Japanese survivors finally surrendered in 1947, a full two years after the war itself was over.

What did we gain? Strategically, not very much. The little island was not very useful for the battles soon to come to regain the Philippines. Many island fortresses were bypassed in the race across the Pacific and the use of the atomic bombs finally convinced the Japanese leadership of the further futility of pursuing the war. In proportion to the number of men involved on both sides, Peleliu would have a lasting mark as the bloodiest and most costly victory of the Second World War.

Shortly after the battle rage slowed to an ebb, MacArthur landed on the Philippines and began the brutal campaign of liberation. The war had a long way to go before its conclusion, but in the heat of the second day it ended too quickly for some of America’s finest. God rest their souls.

For more background… and some very great pictures:


Semper Fi

Mister Mac

Does anyone have a Liberty Pole I can borrow? Reply

I will have to admit that as much as I love history, and particularly American history, I was not aware of the significance of the Liberty Pole or the red Phrygian cap that often sits atop the pole. Maybe it’s because I am originally from Western Pennsylvania and those particular symbols probably left a bad taste in the mouths of my forefathers that no amount of whiskey could wash away (which I will explain more in detail later).

Watching America in trouble today because of its financial and lack of leadership situation, I have thought a lot about how bad we have things in this day and age. No one can agree on anything, no one is really leading, and no one is listening to the people. Spending is out of control and we have committed ourselves to debts well beyond this generation But as the famous old quote says “Its in times like these I am reminded there have always been times like these”.

Note: If your personal studies have included an exhaustive look at Liberty Poles, you can feel free to take the day off or at least skip down to the last few paragraphs where I normally try to justify my article and your investment of time. If this is new information for you, I hope you learn as much as I did and seek further knowledge. I think an informed electorate scares the bejesus out of the average politician today and my goal in life is to make that happen with this current crop.

A liberty pole is a tall wooden pole, often used as a type of flagstaff, planted in the ground, which may be surmounted by an ensign or a liberty cap. They are associated with the Atlantic Revolutions of the late eighteenth century.set up as a symbol of liberty.


The American story of the Liberty Pole dates back to 1765. Samuel Adams started the organization called the Sons of Liberty to protest British taxes, and their membership grew rapidly in the colonies. The Sons of Liberty were in the habit of meeting under a large tree, which was present in many village greens. These came to be known as the “Liberty Tree”. However, in towns that lacked a tree big enough, the patriots would erect a tall pole instead, as a symbol of a Liberty Tree, which naturally, was then called a “Liberty Pole”.

The Liberty Pole was usually located in the town square, consisted of a tall straight pole sometimes over 100 feet in height, which served as a central meeting place for townsfolk, and also served as a symbol of resistance to the British. A flag sometimes flew from the pole, which consisted of nine vertical stripes of alternating red and white.


They mostly met at night to avoid the attention of British officials. The goal of the groups was to organize public opinion and coordinate patriotic actions against Great Britain. During the course of the Revolutionary War, many of these Poles were the source of conflict as the British kept cutting them down and the Patriots kept putting them back again. By the end of the war, they were a powerful symbol and some towns in New England still have celebrations and reenactments each year as a reminder of the original spirit.

Post Revolution America

A casual reading of the events In America after the revolution reveals a time of intense turmoil. The romantic version is that with some small struggles, men of courage and vision crafted not only the Constitution but found a way to lead this assembly of disparate interests. The truth of course is that each section had their own special interests and they fought like rabid dogs to gain a foothold. Even the election of George Washington did little to unite the former colonies in a way that was meaningful.

The fledgling country was left with debts at the end of the war and ideas on how to pay the debt were in short supply. The new U.S. federal government began operating in 1789, following the ratification of the United States Constitution. The previous government under the Articles of Confederation had been unable to levy taxes; it had borrowed money to meet expenses, accumulating $54 million in debt. The states had amassed an additional $25 million in debt.

Imagine that. A country that spends beyond its ability to pay its debt.

To pay the debt Alexander Hamilton desired to create a national financial institution and consolidation of the two debts into a national interest was approved. The next step was to examine revenue sources. Import fees were as high as reasonable so the next place to tax was something that was supposedly an easy target: Whiskey

The “Westerners” (meaning people in the western most regions of the states including Pennsylvania) felt that the tax was unfairly targeted towards them. Whiskey distilling was a fundamental freedom and right and this interference equated to an establishment of a completely unjustified intrusion on their freedoms.


As the resistance grew, Liberty poles were raised in various places as the national militia was recruited, worrying federal officials it symbolized opposition to Federalism, and the Federalists would therefore try to remove the Liberty Cap from the Liberty Pole.

A liberty pole was raised in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on September 11.When the federalized militia arrived in that town later that month, suspected pole-raisers were rounded up. Two civilians were killed in these operations. On September 29, an unarmed boy was shot by an officer whose pistol accidentally fired. Two days later, a man was stabbed to death by a soldier while resisting arrest. President Washington ordered the arrest of the two soldiers and had them turned over to civilian authorities. A state judge determined that the deaths had been accidental, and the soldiers were released.

(Note: The seal of Dickinson College, in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, also contains a Liberty Cap. The college, endowed by Founding Father John Dickinson at the behest of Benjamin Rush, was the first to be chartered in the new Republic.)

The Federal Militia vastly overwhelmed the size of the fledgling Whiskey Rebellion and no major conflicts were needed to bring the rebellion to an end.  Interestingly enough, the Liberty Poles became part of the symbolism of the emerging Republic.


A Phrygian cap on the Seal of the United States Senate.During the 18th century, the red Phrygian cap evolved into a symbol of freedom, held aloft on a Liberty Pole during the American Revolutionary War. The “Liberty Cap” was a soft, limp, red, close-fitting cap which was worn on the head of representations of the goddess of liberty. The origin of the cap was from the Phrygian cap worn by freed slaves during the Roman Empire. The U.S. Army has, since 1778, utilized a “War Office Seal” in which the motto “This We’ll Defend” is displayed directly over a Phrygian cap on an upturned sword.

(The popular cartoon characters The Smurfs, are famous for their white Phrygian caps. I am sure there is no correlation to the US Army)

So what are the lessons for today’s world from this failed rebellion?

1. If we are to continue as a country, we will have to recognize that there are bills that will need to be paid responsibly.

2. It is in the nation’s best interest to restrict spending as much as it can after satisfying the real national needs because the undue pressures of debt will always tear at the seams of the Republic. These include defense and the general welfare of the states.

3. There is no evidence that the founders ever intended for this to become a welfare “nation” and that state’s and individual rights were balanced by state’s and individual’s responsibility.

3. The commerce laws between states are not blanket approval to do anything not previously covered by specific spending. Health care, education, environmental agencies, OSHA and the lot are all redundant and create a maze of regulations that are killing our economy. More is not better.

4. As long as there are two or three gathered, there is going to be conflict. Don’t worry so much about how unique we are in this day and age regarding the splits that are evident. Frankly, I think the discussions and divisions will actually make us think more about what we are doing.

5. The government can’t and shouldn’t try to fix everything. While my ancestors from the Whiskey Rebellion did not win in the classical sense, they were a healthy reminder that we need to question governmental authority from time to time when that government assumes it knows more than the people being governed.

Recent major legislation is a perfect example of overreaching the authority we granted to the elected officials. The economy is in trouble because both parties have allowed the overreaching arm of Big Government to spend us into oblivion. The first three steps needed are to reverse Obamacare 100%, kill Dodd-Frank (not the people of course but the silly ass rules they imposed on business), and get rid of the “regulatory agencies” that have grown like wildfire choking off the lifeblood of our economy. Entitlement reform is next and revising the tax code will be a big plus.

But it’s going to take courage and a willingness of leaders to step forward. With the change in how we live and the growth of the country, finding the right “Liberty Pole” to discuss our concerns and ideas is a critical next step.

One thing I am convinced of: You won’t find many Liberty Poles in Washington DC these days. As quickly as one gets put up, lobbyists and cronies are standing by with chain saws to knock it back down.

This Administration and this Congress have such contemptible rankings because they support those who would enslave us with debt and regulations.

It truly is time for a revolutionary change.

Put In Bay Lake Erie 055

See you at the Pole (or in this case, the Polls).

Mister Mac