Mar 31 2012
Only one day left in the month to get in a post on March Madness. Not basketball, but the Madness known as Women's History month. Yes, Yes, that oh so special time of the year when we get to celebrate the history that women want us to know about, while white washing the details they would rather just not see printed in the paper. Which is designed to be translated into its real meaning:
“Setting the bar for historical achievement so low-than any average everyday achievement for either a man or a woman becomes ‘historic’ if it is done by a woman”
You can quote me on that if you wish.
Oh and I guess after recent experience-we should get the usual disclaimers out the way first. I don't give a rat's ass if your daughter is a Naval Aviator, an engineer, CEO of a multi-billion dollar firm, or for that matter the first woman to eventually walk on the moon. Nor do I care if your husband is supportive of what you want to do. These are my feelings and thoughts, these are issues that need to be discussed-not swept under the rug, and I'll write about them. If you think that gives you a carte blanche to go after me-I've got a message for you.
So, as is my custom in March- I intend to use this little missive to write about something that got me really peeved the moment I read it and heard it.The source of my anger? This little headline in Navy Times:
Getting Personal: Naval Air Forces plans character-building workshops.
(It appears the article is behind Navy Times firewall so I can't send you a link-but the article is on Page 18 of the April 02, 2012 issue.)
Starting this spring the Navy's air wings, squadrons, and aircraft carriers will take a moment to stop and delve into some real life, but awkward scenarios in a move the top commander hopes will tamp down personal misconduct and misbehavior.
Naval Air Forces will roll out its new "Character and Integrity" program, developed by a contracted consultant and organized in the "train the trainer" format. Each training workshop will provide group discussions and include a video message from VADM Allen Myers.
" The real intent is to improve decision making skills and give our people interventional strategies so that we do not adversely impact our readiness as war fighters because of character- related and integrity -related incidents, " said Cmdr Pauline Storum, a Naval Air Forces spokeswoman.. Top leaders "heard….we don't have a tool to help our people make better decisions."
I'll pause while you throw up now.
If that last paragraph, does not make naval veterans angry-very angry, then I think you have not been paying attention recently. Or have just given up, and acknowledged the fact that every thing the nay sayers said back in the bad old days about the great experiment has come true with a vengeance.
So by implication, the generations of officers that fought the war in Vietnam, lived through 70's, gave rise to the 600 ship Navy and fought Desert Storm and Desert Shield were unprincipled, bastards with "no character?"-No character indeed because after a long at sea period they went ashore and got a little unwrapped, and part of that getting unwrapped might have included a tryst or two with the local female population? Bullshit!
But so many people are getting fired!
Yes they are. But as I pointed out before its as much about today's environment and the lack of consistency in application of standards that contributes to those firings-as well as an interconnected world that intrudes on things that quite simply: are none of Al Myers-or the rest of flag counterparts business.
I'll say it again: "The "moral character" of our force (whatever the hell that means) is just fine. 99% of our Sailors do the right thing-every time, all the time when it comes to the particulars of their profession. For the other 1% there are already sufficient remedies in place-there is absolutely no reason to add to them."
And of course, later in the article-the familiar old canard of Tailhook gets trotted out. THAT Navy was killed a long time ago-by stupid Politically Correct actions like this one. ( And for what its worth-THAT Navy was a hell of lot more fun than this one.) And just as full of "character"-where character had a clearly defined professional basis and less of a personal one. of course it was Tailhook that led the Navy down the path that made it think that its leadership had as much of right to tell you how to live your personal life as well your professional one. ( P.S." the true story behind the sensational Tailhook Scandal and how Paula Coughlin was anything but innocent"-but 8 million dollars works wonders.)
What should be an insult to anyone's "integrity" however-is that the Navy has to outsource this training to an outside firm, with several folks who just happen to be "friends of a friend of friend". That should strike more than just me as odd and particularly insulting-the institution and to our Sailors.
But today's Sailors don't have the time.
Really? They don't have the time to do their central job as officers and chief petty officers? Lead their Sailors? Yea-I think that would get in the way of all the diversity training that needs to be accomplished. And it certainly would get in the way of IG's throwing people under the bus. Give me a fucking break. Hey Al-how much did this little ( probably non competitively bid) contract cost the US Navy? How much-probably a fair amount I think.
So what does all this have to do with Women's History month, you ask? Good question-and it really doesn't- save for one major thing. The primary argument against gender integration was the amount of problems it would create by having men and women live together in close quarters in a profession that prizes companionship to a large degree. Add to that- long series of events that closed the doors on other more discrete and non threatening means of releasing that tension concurrently ensued-and you should not be surprised at the result. The Star Trek Navy doesn't exist. And it never will.
There is no moral crisis in the Navy. The average naval officer or Sailor is getting up each morning and going to work on time, pays his bills, takes care of his family, serve his country-and maybe just maybe-desires to have a good time once in a while, while doing so. Its not an unreasonable expectation on his or her part.
I wonder if there will be a module in the course about how its bad to stab your contemporaries in the back. That always denoted a certain lack of integrity-right Al?