Monthly Archives: June 2018

Long Day

By lex, On Tue – May 18, 2004

It’s a strange feature of life in the Navy these days – while the Army and Marines have their hands full on the ground in Iraq, the purely naval mission is complete. For twelve years every deploying carrier battle group knew right where they’d be going, and every air wing knew exactly what threat to train to. Nearly every TACAIR pilot now in the fleet has some measure of combat experience, between Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom and of course all the brush fires in the Balkans back during the 90’s.

When I first joined the fleet, only the commanders and those more senior had combat experience, dating from Vietnam. They had racks of campaign ribbons (chest candy), air medals, etc. There was a sharp difference in the chest candy between those old enough to have served in Southeast Asia, and those who just missed it. From 1972, cold warriors were always ready, but hardly ever committed. Now even lieutenants junior grade have seen the wolf.

Still, it feels strange to be focusing on the next threat when people are still fighting and dying overseas.

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Home!

By lex, on April 28th, 2004

I’ve got to work on some new titles

Two weeks and a bit aboard an Amphibious Helicopter Assault Ship. An LHA, for short.

Home dated 4 28 2004

Not a particularly attractive ship, I know. And coming from a carrier guy, that’s really saying something.

Our exercise was an interesting experience, which I’ll share more of tomorrow, I think. Some of that material will make for good musings.

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Leaving Again

 

By lex, on Tue – April 13, 2004

Off to sea again, couple of weeks. An Expeditionary Strike Group, this time.

It’ll be interesting in a couple of ways: The Strike Group commander is a Marine Brigadier General. I’ve never even heard of a Marine commanding Navy ships, but from what of seen of this particular guy, he’s supremely well equipped to handle the burden.

It’ll also be interesting in that my experience in the amphib Navy approaches zero. I cruised aboard an old LST as a midshipman back in the early ’80s, but I hardly count that. I’m a carrier guy, always have been.

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Vaguely Troubling

By Lex, on September 3, 2010

 

I like Ricky Dobbs, senior quarterback at the US Naval Academy. From everything I’ve read,  he’s hard not to like. He’s a tremendous athlete who led the midshipmen last season to match their best record in the institution’s foot ball history, 10-4. He also has an inspiring personal story, having risen from adversity, burdened with an absent father and a drug addicted mother. He is a person of deep faith who knows how to play hurt. There’s a lot to like.

And yet, I can’t help but admit that I found this sympathetic review of the young man vaguely troubling. Dobbs, one can’t help but learn if one was unaware, is not merely a midshipman at the US Naval Academy, but a black midshipman. It is not enough to be a star athlete, a likable guy and an exemplar of both sportsmanship and leadership. Midshipman Dobbs must also be cast into the role as a “credit to his race”, which carries to me the sniff of the “soft bigotry of low expectations”:

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I have received a proposal!

By Lex, on Thu – April 8, 2004

From Jules! (shhh! It’s strictly confidential!)

 

STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.

Attn: Director/CEO, (or Neptunus Lex)

You may be surprised to receive this letter from me since you don’t know me personally. I am Mr. Julius Maneti, the first son of Late Patrick Maneti, who was murdered recently in a land dispute in Zimbabwe. I got your contact through an internet trade journal here in Italy (ah, that explains it!) and I decided to contact you as a matter of fact. I did not know your person but I relied on faith to see me through. (Faith moves all things.) Before the death of my father, he had deposited the sum of US$20.5Million (Twenty Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars), in one of the private security companies in Johannesburg, as if he foresaw the looming danger in Zimbabwe.

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Heading Back to Sea

By Lex, on Tue – March 30, 2004

Again.

Short jaunt this time, no more than a week and a bit. There’s a carrier at sea, in their advanced training phase, and it’s a part of my role to observe, and report back my observations.

This doesn’t come at a particularly good time (it never does). But there are the needs of the service…

I don’t want to be cryptic, but things at home are not all that they could be, in a more perfect world. And it makes me very, very sad.

More than that I will not share.

Except this, which I ask you those of you who are regular visitors, and people of faith, to pray for us, even if it does not fit with your world view:

“Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who places solitary persons in families: We commend to your continual care the homes in which your people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech you, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, and godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in marriage, have been made one flesh. Turn the hearts of the parents to the children, and the hearts of the children to the parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly one to another; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

It is such a tiny, little thing, but it would mean so much to me. If you must, omit the parts you cannot countenance.

I’d really appreciate it.

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Monsters

By Lex, on Tue – March 23, 2004

When my son was only three or four years old, we rented “American Werewolf in London * ” and brought it home to watch. I remembered the film as light-hearted and funny, never thinking for a moment what the impact might be of some of the gory stuff on a young mind – he was the first kid, the experiment. We learned along the way. We hadn’t watched very much when we realized it probably wasn’t suitable for him, and stopped the tape until he’d gone to bed. After he was asleep, the Hobbit and I resumed watching it. At one point, while the protagonist is changing from human to lupine form, with his hand elongating into a claw, complete with sprouting fur and nails, we heard a gasp behind us. The Critter had woken up, and snuck back into the room just in time to see this scene. I remember the look of wide-eyed shock on his face, a look of innocence lost. He looked at us and said, “That can happen?”

No, kiddo, we explained. It’s just TV, just make-believe. There’s no such thing as monsters.

But that really isn’t true, is it?

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