Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Schooled in Honor
From The New York Sun

WARNING!! Foul language alert! If harsh language offends you, skip reading this post.

This is a nice little article concerning the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. Or as we enlisted Marines called it, Canoe U. Or we would sometimes hear the non-Annapolis Officers refer to it simply as The Prick Factory.

Anyhow, like I said, it's a nice little article, and I think the last paragraph pretty much sums it all up;

On Thursday morning, prior to Noon Meal Formation, a lanky white-haired grandfather accompanies an eager, tall grandson on a tour of the academy and Memorial Hall. The tour guide asks the grandson about his interest in visiting the Naval Academy. He replies succinctly that he wants to join the military. The young man, if admitted, will enter the vast depth of traditions, rituals, and values that existed before America went to war in Iraq and will keep our nation afloat long after the guns give their last report from Iraq.

I remember a few things that we use to say concerning 2d Lieutenants and Ensigns;

a. I'm not sure if I should salute him, or burp him.
b. He's so new, he's still shitting Annapolis chow.
c. Two things hold true for every 2d Lieutenant and Ensign... they're either going to or coming from a f***-up.

I can't help but think of the old War Story concerning my late father (Chief Petty Officer, USN retired). Back in the mid-1960's, dad was stationed aboard the USS Ranger. Long story short... while in-port, some cocky young Ensign was up on the flight deck "explaining" to pop the correct way to run the flight deck of an Aircraft Carrier. Keep in mind, my dad was a WWII, Korea, and Viet-Nam vet. To say he was a "old salt" would be an understatement. Anyhow, dad couldn't take anymore, and promptly threw the newly minted Ensign into San Francisco Bay.

In short order, the Chief was ordered to report to the Captain. As dad was reporting in, he couldn't help but notice a soaking wet and rather angry young Ensign standing off to the side. The conversation supposedly went like this;

Captain: Chief, did you throw this young Ensign overboard?
Chief: Yes sir, I did.
Captain: Why, Chief?
Chief: He tried to tell me how to do my job, sir.

At this point in time, the Captain slowly turned his head towards the young Ensign and glowered at him. In what could best be described as a tone that would freeze water, the Captain asked -

Captain: Young man, did you try to tell this Chief how to do his job?
Now a very nervous Ensign: Aba-aba-aba... Sir.... Aba-aba-aba.... he threw me... aba-aba-aba.... very wet... aba-aba-aba...
Captain: I've heard enough. You're dismissed, Chief. Carry on.
Chief: Aye-aye, sir.

As dad was leaving the office space, he heard the Skipper tear into the Ensign with (words to the effect of); DON'T YOU EVER TRY TO TELL A CHIEF HOW TO DO HIS JOB EVER AGAIN!! AND IF YOU DO, I'LL PERSONALLY THROW YOUR ASS OVERBOARD!!

Supposedly this is a true story. Whenever I asked my dad if it really happened, he'd just look at me and smile. But you know, even if it isn't true... it sure is a crackerjack of a good story, ain't it?


Blogger Bruce said...


This post doesn't relate to your article (although I got a good laugh out of it!), but I thought you might want to comment on the following article:


I want to note that this Sunday, many parishes will have a second collection for the "Catholic" University of America.


8:46 AM  
Blogger anneh said...

My son, a 2007 West Point Grad just reported to his first post. I sent him a copy of your father's "lesson." I know he will appreciate it as a very new 2nd Lt. I know he will recall it when he meets the NCO leading his platoon...Like Annapolis, my son would agree with your father that sometimes the academy grads think they are superior. He is mindful of that. Besides, once you get to Iraq, it doesn't matter where or if you went to college - or West Point. All that matters (as your father knew)is performance.
Thanks - I alwaye enjoy your Marine/Navy stories.
One really good thing about the Service Academies is that they are far more Catholic than most Catholic colleges. Having taught on a Catholic campus for the past 15 years, I am grateful that my son chose to attend West Point instead of the Catholic college I teach in. I knew he would be more likely to keep his faith in God at West Point. Sadly, too many of my students lose their faith after their freshman year--after a few "religious studies" courses.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Coffee Catholic said...

Heh! I was in the Navy. I worked under PLENTY of Chiefs. I believe the story!!

3:14 PM  
Blogger the Mom said...

Thanks for the great story. As the daughter of one of those Annapolis officers, and having met quite a few in my life, I can tell you that they all talked about the time they learned not to question the chiefs. My dad used to say that the chiefs had saved his ass so many times that it rightly belonged to them now. He loved the men in his command and felt he owed them his career.

God bless!

4:08 PM  
Blogger paramedicgirl said...

So where was the bad language???

Cavey, you're slipping!!! ;}

Never mind, I come from a family of red neck loggers!

6:55 PM  
Blogger Former Altar Boy said...

I guess my brother had more sense...

I met him at Fort Knox where he was assigned one of the summers while a cadet at West Point. I found out he ate in the Officer's Mess, so I asked him if cadets where already considered a part of the officer corps. He said they were.

There were a lot of enlisted men on base, so I asked him if he could require a sergeant to salute him. He replied,
"I could,...but I wouldn't."

8:52 PM  
Blogger swissmiss said...

Great story, Caveman. My dad was in the Navy too. Survived the sinking of the USS Princeton in WWII. Like your story, he taught me to never get too big for my britches. When I was a new engineer, I worked with a lot of "old salt" technicians in the chip manufacturing industry. As my boss (a Ph.D in chemical engineering and a bit snooty) and I were discussing the performance of all the techs under him for raises, I forget how it came up, but I replied to one of his inquiries that I, a newbie engineer, would NEVER, ever, tell a senior technician how to do his job. Think it made my boss stop and ponder for maybe the first time about how he conducted himself.

8:01 AM  
Blogger Catholic sewer rat said...

Chief Petty Officers are, will be and always have been, the backbone of the USN.

3:49 AM  
Blogger Arkanabar T'verrick Ilarsadin said...

One thing I learned from military science fiction (by Robert Heinlien and Elizabeth Moon; both veterans, come to think) that I believe fully: there is no better fortune for a new officer than to be assigned a senior NCO -- if he's willing to LEARN from his subordinate.

5:03 PM  

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