Tuesday, March 06, 2012

SECNAV's Twilight Zone Episode

As most of us know - there is an adjustment process when you come back from deployment. The longer the deployment, the longer the transition can take.

You spend months focused on the mission and keeping your Sailors and yourself alive and well ordered. Especially on a combat deployment - you have compartmentalized so much, the world you left is frozen in time.

Often, you can come back and even though things seem frozen in time in your head - when you see them in person; something is just off. It isn't just that the kids have grown and your spouse looks a little different in person than in your head ... you often look around and wonder just what is wrong? If you have the balance of your social circle non-military - the disconnect can be jarring.

Put yourself in that spot and ponder with me a bit.

So, you just got back from an 11-month deployment - a combat deployment and all that goes with it.

The Secretary of the Navy comes aboard to speak to you. Great ... it is good to hear the boss. He is standing in front of you, you're interested in what he has to say .... but ... what is this?
The Navy will take a more aggressive approach to curbing alcohol and drug abuse and continue moving toward a smoke-free force under initiatives announced this afternoon by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus.

In response to concerns about alcohol abuse, particularly among younger sailors and Marines, the department this year will install Breathalyzers on every ship so that crew members coming aboard to work will be tested. Crew members already on board will be randomly tested.

If a sailor is found to be intoxicated, he or she will be subject to counseling and treatment but not formal reprimand or punishment.
Navy officials believe that smoking contributes to poor health among active-duty sailors and retirees. They contend that cracking down on the behavior can reduce time lost to sickness and reduce health care expenses.

The new initiatives also include programs to address sexual assault ...
Good googly moogly. Rage. That is the first emotion that would come to my mind if I just came back from an 11-month deployment and that is what the SECNAV thought he needed to tell me. Blind rage at the insult and the fact that this is what my civilian leadership thinks of my Sailors. Just kick them in the nuts while you are at it.
Welcome home you drunken, chain-smoking rapists!
This is beyond patronizing, insulting, and on top of it all - piss poor leadership.

So, what you're saying SECNAV is that if I've been at sea for months and have a half-bottle of wine over dinner and two pints at an Irish Pub downtown before returning to the ship for a quasi-good night's snooze ... you are going to make me blow in a tube on the quarter-deck and then have me talk to the CAAC counselor? Really?

Blow me.

I have a better idea. I'll just spend what little money I have and get a room out in town, at best have one other person with me who isn't a PITA and just blow off the entire crew. Yea ... that is the Navy I want. An Admin ashore? No way - I'll get away from everyone. Make sure no one can stay overnight on liberty? Well ... OK; that will help take care of your force reductions for you.

Alcohol is not the problem. If it were, then the British, Dutch, German and other ships that actually have bars on them would have similar problems. They don't. Ditto sexual harassment, and smoking - they have other things more important to focus on.

Anti-smoking? Cigarettes, cigars, and pipes? Really? Do they have any idea what stress Sailors are under? Everyone copes in their own way. I'm not a smoker - but I know plenty who are. Leave them alone on deployment. Anyway - do you have any idea the good work that gets done over a cigar on the smoking sponson between 2230-2315?

Is this the Nanny Navy you want?

The Salamander Apology Tour continues; I apologize to everyone for my prior support of this SECNAV. I am truly sorry.

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