One of Lex’s frequent readers, Claude Berube, released his first novel, “The Aden Effect” on Monday. Its a great naval thriller, and I highly recommend it. You might want to check out the acknowledgements page (viewable at Amazon.com) for something of interest to this group.
The author’s webpage is here, where there are links to his Twitter and Facebook feeds.
A little over 4 years ago, The Wife and I signed up to be sponsor parents for the Academy. Sponsors act as a sort of home away from home for a midshipman, a refuge from life on The Yard. Yesterday, we watched as 4 of the most extraordinary young women we’ve ever met walked across the stage to receive their diplomas and took the Oath of Office as commissioned officers the Navy and Marine Corps (hoo-rah).
A midshipman’s first, or Plebe, year is a tough, demanding ordeal, both mentally and physically. There is also almost no escape from it. The Plebes are only allowed liberty on a handful of weekends that first year, but whenever she was able, we brought her home for the weekend to relax. And wear something other than her uniform.
One of the things we were told during sponsor orientation was “if you feed them, they will come”. How true that was. We love to cook, and are always looking for new things to try. By the end of Plebe year, we had 3 additional Mids making semi-regular visits to our home. The more the merrier.
So much has happened over the past 4 years. Countless loads of laundry, dozens of trips to Brewster’s for ice cream, way too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (are you sure there’s nothing on the Military Channel you’d rather watch?), rugby games followed by washing the team’s uniforms. Aggie had just learned how to walk when we med our mids on sponsor introduction day, and today marks her last day of pre-school. She has grown up with the mids, and thinks of them as big sisters. By the way, there’s nothing cooler than a sofa cushion fort made by a bunch of engineering students. The Pirate arrived towards the end of their junior year, and all the mids were so helpful in those chaotic first months. The Pirate is as comfortable with them as she is with us.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the mid’s “real” families, who obviously did all of the heavy lifting in raising these women. We got more out of this experience than you did, and we’d be more than happy to do it all over again.
As of today, they are out of our nest, living on their own. Two have already left Annapolis and are en-route to their ships, one heads out the The Basic School in July, and the last departs in mid-August for Pensacola to begin flight school. That being said, there will always be room in our home and our hearts for them.
Congratulations to our “girls” and the rest of the USNA class of 2012. Welcome to the fleet!
Midshipman Beasley, you’re my hero…
Full story here.
Sorry for the back-to-back posts, but I came across this story and had to share.
The good folks at the Beeb bring us the story of US Army Chaplain Father Emil Kapaun, a Catholic priest and POW during the Korean War. As a result of his heroism and selflessness, he is simultaneously being considered for both the Medal of Honor and Sainthood.
One of Lex’s classmates pulled a pretty good one at the Pentagon.
One of the things that you learn by being in the military is that traditions mean something. They’re important. We wear swords and sabers. We get medals and ribbons. We salute. Some of these things, like the salute, are functional. They remind us of where we stand in the pecking order. That’s good in a more-or-less fully functioning meritocracy. Some are purely window dressing. Sure, my ribbon rack is a short-form resume, but the sword is only good for cutting cake and impressing the ladies.
“Oh my. It’s so… long.”
Where was I? Oh, right. Tradition.
Sometimes, traditions fall victim to economic reality. We have to do away with things because it just doesn’t make sense to spend the money. We used to have (in the Navy at least) up to four different clubs on the larger bases and stations. There was the E-Club, the Acey-Ducey Club, the Chief’s Club, and the hallowed grounds of the Officer’s Club. It’s pretty rare to find even 2 clubs these days. Oceana still has an E Club and an O Club, but that’s pretty rare. Cutbacks. As a club become less frequented, it becomes harder to justify the expense. Ergo; the “Combined Club.” All ranks welcome. We don’t discriminate.
Which has its plusses and minuses. Neither of which are the subject of this post.
As I said, I realize that there are economic realities that force us to change well-loved, nay, beloved traditions. Things we have known about for as long as we remember. Cherished parts of our collective past we are loathe to surrender. I get it. We must, on occasion, yield.
But not this.
This is not forgivable. And it’s a shame.