Category Archives: Sea Stories

Visit to a bird farm

I enjoyed watching the commissioning ceremony for the USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78) on TV over the weekend. The news media consensus is… it’s big. Really BIG. President Trump’s commissioning speech showed uncharacteristic restraint by not calling the ship yuge. One … Continue reading

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Keeping up the brightwork at Great Lakes

Another story from my Navy days that is still mostly true. Every so often the military personnel system puts a round peg in a round hole almost by accident. The Navy urgently needed a speechwriter at the Great Lakes Naval … Continue reading

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Why classified information is a big deal

It’s been amusing to watch the news coverage of Hillary Clinton’s email woes and apparent lack of understanding of government rules for handling classified information. Especially when politicians and media pundits say it’s not a big deal. Classified information was … Continue reading

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The rubber raft tactic

Another story from my Navy days that is still mostly true. “We got a message from Saigon to use ship’s boats for boarding junks that have fish nets out,” the captain said. “We don’t have boats,” the executive officer pointed … Continue reading

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Bring back the draft?

The idea of reinstating the military draft keeps popping up. Sometimes it’s anti-war reverse psychology: Politicians won’t start wars if their kids have to fight them. Others think it’s unfair that fewer than one percent of us actually fight America’s … Continue reading

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Veterans Day and Chicken Marengo

On this Veterans Day, I bypassed the free meals many restaurants offer to veterans and instead made my favorite Veterans’ Day feast: Chicken Marengo. Chicken Marengo illustrates one of the best qualities of servicemen everywhere: the ability to improvise, adapt … Continue reading

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Of wooden ships and swordfish

My sea duty in the Navy was aboard a minesweeper: a class of ships designed to clear mines from harbors and shipping lanes. In a fleet of steel hulls and armor plate, minesweepers were an oddity because they were made … Continue reading

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SHOUTING BETWEEN SHIPS IN ALL CAPS

The news that the Navy has abandoned its tradition of typing messages in all capital letters reminded me of the quirky communications I experienced in my seagoing days. The all-caps format had its origins in the limitations of teletype technology. … Continue reading

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Adventures of a Pentagon warrior

My career in the Navy probably included more time at the Pentagon than at sea. The Pentagon, legendary nerve center of the world’s largest military establishment, is known by such nicknames as the “puzzle palace.” As a reserve public affairs … Continue reading

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Best music I ever heard

Another story from my Navy days… The hour before dawn usually is a quiet time aboard ship. On this morning all hands are on deck for underway replenishment, the regular delivery of fuel and supplies that sustains our tiny minesweeper … Continue reading

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