21 December 2016


by Andy Weddington
Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level. Peter Drucker

Not three months old, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) plan (driven by a wacky agenda-obsessed Secretary of the Navy [SecNav] Ray Mabus) to destroy a piece of Navy tradition and culture, Ratings, has been rescinded.

That is, the objective (irrespective of the "official" smoke screen of modernizing and bettering the Navy) being to extinguish the term "man" from the lexicon. Gender-neutrality ring a bell? It was not going to do that, anyway (a seaman, male or female, was still a seaman). 

The late September announcement that Sailors would no longer be recognized by their Rating had nothing to do with operational readiness. In fact, there's argument the change fouled up administrative operations. 

Rating - that in which a Sailor takes great pride. I know, my late brother-in-law was a BTC (Boiler Technician Chief). He was proud of that Rating. He was a Sailor. A Sailor's Sailor - with more underway time than anyone I know. His shadow box hangs in my office. 

My simple understanding of what the SecNav and CNO did was confirmed by Sailors - it's akin to de-alphabetizing a phone book.

A Sailor's identity stripped. And mass confusion for anyone trying to quickly locate a needed skill set. 


It was politics. 

Nothing more. 

Well, stupidity and failure of leadership, too. 

And politics, stupidity, and failure of leadership that did not sit well with the fleet - of today nor yesterday.

Sailors, hundreds of thousands, voiced displeasure. Some were tactful and respectful. Others not so much. 

SecNav, what does he care? He's out of work. Dreams of continuing upward dead. 

CNO heard loud and clear the earful, and then some, he deserved.

The previous Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, too a driver of the nonsense, has been referred to not by distinguished title but "E-9" (pay grade). It does not get more insulting than that.

Some believed the reversal inevitable but not until after Inauguration Day.

But elections have consequences.

And one of those consequences is an already engaged President-elect (and Cabinet). 

What may have seemed a good idea (ramming something stupid down the throats of the workforce) months ago when the powerful believed there was going to be a coronation, not an election, proved not such a good idea on 09 November.

Thus panic and the guilty scattering for cover - who can run but not hide. 

This morning on Facebook was a black and white photo of Jimmy Stewart, Donna Reed, and one of the children - the George Bailey family - before a Christmas tree in a scene from 'It's a Wonderful Life' captioned: Every time a bell rings, a Sailor gets his Rating back. 

So does she. As many females as males peeved about the Rating mess. 

Funny! To watch a CNO scrambling to unscrew what should not have been screwed up in the first place. Designs of salvaging a reputation and job preservation are powerful motivators. 

Not a teaspoon of sugar but a dose of courage could have prevented the whole brouhaha. For any admiral should have damn well known the revolt. And if not, why not? Admirals, especially shouldering four stars, are expected to make researched, thought out, planned good decisions. Sometimes bad ones happen. But stupid ones? Like ending Ratings? No. 

First Class Crow was not on the wardroom's Christmas menu but that's what Navy senior leadership is having - while the fleet sups on ham and watches on with glee. 

Ho, Ho, Ho! 

Merry Christmas, Sailors! 


Robert Barrow said...

The new CNO needs to be told on 20 January 2017, "Admiral. Go get a box. Thank you for your service and best wishes in the future."

As GySgt Alonza Barnett, my Platoon Sergeant in 1982 said, "You can take a fat man and make him skinny and a skinny man and make him fat but there's not much you can do with a dummy."

Jijm Bathurst said...

Absolutely loved it, both yours and Robert's comment. Crow it is, munch, munch, munch. It's amazing how one can change so quickly when the political environment changes. (LOL) There is the perfect example of a "Yes Man," who could have been brave and said "No sir, not on my watch." I am astounded that the Chief rolled over as well. Geez, they both need to start sending out job applications -- I hope! And he did all this with no apology.

Rich Charette said...

Reminds me of what my Squad Instructor, at DI School, GySgt Irwin would say when one of us would do something stupid... "You got your teeth in your mouth and your mind in Arkansas?!"