Sunday, May 30, 2010

Politicians and Sailors Lie

Mark Kirk an Illinois Congressman running for Barack Obama's old Senate seat has at various times claimed that he received the US Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year award, which I guess is a big deal, although I've never heard of it.. The Washington Post did some fact checking and found it wasn't true that he won the award and Congressman Kirk has backed off on the claim, stating that it was a misunderstanding. This is similar to that Connecticut Blumenthal guy's situation. Maybe not though, since Blumenthal claimed to have served in Vietnam. I'm not sure if he claimed to have been in combat.

I think I should clear something up, in case anybody ever wants to run me for Senator. I joined the Navy because I was broke, homeless and had nowhere else to go, there was no patriotism or desire to experience military life involved. I had a pretty good time in the Navy but I tended to wring the most out of life I could, in those days, no matter where I was, which had a lot to do with why I ended up broke and homeless, with nowhere else to go. I struck for quartermaster because it seemed clean and non strenuous and for subs because my favorite picture book when I was 3 or 4, was the Golden Book of Submarines. One of the big Publishing Houses had this whole Golden Book series for kids learning to read. If I had it to do over again, I would have signed up to be a dental tech. In my opinion, dental tech is the best job in the Navy. When you're a dental tech, all of your officers are dentists and they are very friendly, easy going and non military. They start late, take long lunches, quit early and don't work nights, weekends or holidays. A lot of Navy dental techs were girls and that's always a plus. You could also get a job as a dental tech in the civilian World after your Navy training and experience. Nobody on the outside was clamoring for quartermasters when I got there.

Any awards or medals I got from the Nav were strictly I was along for the ride type of things that every other warm body got too. One time I even got one when I was off the sailing list. Everybody assigned to the crew got an award so I got it too and I wasn't even along for the ride. It might have been a mistake or not. I wasn't a personnelman. I don't know all the rules about that shit. It's in my record I got it. That's all I know.

I did get this framed citation from COMSUBPAC at an award ceremony after my first cruise. What happened was, I got to the boat, right out of boot camp, A School and Sub School, a few weeks before a really long cruise was planned. Within a short time, the chief and first class on board already, rotated out and I got a new chief and it was just going to be him and me, so I had to get busy with the preparation and also qualify QMOW, so that I'd be of some use. Anyway, we went to sea port and starboard, so I kept pretty busy. Once we got on station, the situation didn't really require a quartermaster at all. I know that's pretty strange, just take my word for it. The Chief just functioned as the on call guy and he sold my ass to the COB as a mess cook. I didn't mind mess cooking but it did eat up a lot of time. When it came time to transit home, one of the guys who had been involved with other duties, that were then completed, a signalman first, was able to step in as QMOW. We would have had three section duty. I decided I would fuck my chief in the ass for selling me away as a mess cook in the first place, so I volunteered to the COB to stay a mess cook. The COB was not my chief's friend, so I stayed mess cooking and my chief went red and green.

Somewhere along the way home, the Captain and XO realized that they could get the whole crew qualified by the time we got home and they became obsessed with flying a dolphin pennant through the Golden Gate. It was almost all they talked about The only obstacle was me. I wasn't dink,  I'd only been on the boat 4 months and a lot of that I'd either been port and starboard or mess cooking. They were really nice about it but they weren't going to let me stand in their way either. They put me on 5 section helmsman/planesman and I spent about 20 hours a day studying schematics and tramping around the boat learning systems and getting my qual card signed. Even though everybody made a big show about how smart and dedicated I was, that was all bull shit, wasn't it. Albert Einstien couldn't qualify submarines in the amount of time I did. If it made them feel better to proclaim me exceptional while they gun decked my card and board, that was OK with me. After they got through the Gate with their fish flag flying, they proclaimed me the rookie of the year and had COMSUBPAC give me a piece of paper to prove it. Pretty cool huh?

Do you think that sea story could get me elected Senator somewhere?


lee said...

Thank you for your service and for protecting our freedom and republic.

reddog said...

I accept your thanks with extreme humility. I think I can honestly say, anybody coulda' done it.

I am proud to have worn the dirty blue shirt but must lament to you, that the thirteen button trousers severely interfered with the required alcoholic consumption. Thank God for the advent of the zipper.

Everything I am today, I owe to the proud Maritime traditions of the United States Navy.

You'll have to excuse me now. I feel my afternoon whiskey nap fast upon me.

Contrary said...

I've never heard of a SM being on the boats.

The ladies liked the 13 button thing. Just unbutton 4 on the side and let them slip a hand into the open area.

reddog said...

Special Projects.

We had guys on that boat you wouldn't believe. Several bosensmates, a boilertech, I think I remember an airedale or two. Then there were the ones that couldn't tell you what they were. That SM was a good guy. He even qualified, although nobody forced those guys to and they couldn't wear the dolphins.