By lex, on May 5th, 2008
Over at his Yankee Sailor blog, Chris Avery has a bit up about a proposal to revise the Sailor’s Creed. ** Well intended, I’m sure, and great good fun for them as go in for such things. For his own part, your humble scribe always considered the Oath of Office the next-best-thing to divinely inspired, and containing within it all things necessary for secular devotion.
About the best you can say for top-down directed credos are that they permit the officious an opportunity to preach to the disinterested. We don’t change lives through “teachable moments” nearly so much as we might hope. Acta, non verba.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
I had a knife-in-the-teeth department head when I was a squadron CO who finished a brief for a high risk strike against a well-defended target thus: “Hot work ahead of us, but there’s nothing here we can’t handle with speed and violence.” The air wing commander was so enamored of this brief distillation of the warrior ethos that “Speed and Violence” became the air wing motto – I believe it is to this day. (We’re all about brevity in the fleet air arm. Soul of wit. Also helps to keep the bad guys from getting a fix on you.)
Still, if it’s a creed that’s called for, I rather prefer the version Chris has on his sidebar:
I am a United States Sailor, and a Warrior first. I fight under the Red, White and Blue of my Fathers and descend from the line of Jones, Decatur and Perry. In my ears rings “I have not yet begun to fight” and “Don’t give up the ship”, and in my veins flows Fire and Gunpowder.
I will master my profession and demand that my fellow Sailors master theirs. I will follow when led, and lead when able. I will place nothing above the welfare of my fellow Sailors, save my Mission, and no matter what my ship, squadron, station or watch, I will help deliver Defeat to the Enemy.
With Honor in my deeds, Courage in my heart, and Commitment in my hands, I will do my duty until Victory is in hand and Liberty is secure.
A whiff of grapeshot. That’s the ticket.
That, speed and violence.
** 08-20-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.