Category Archives: Navy

About that retirement ceremony

By lex, on March 16th, 2006

Got some pics back. To go with the speech, I guess.

A lovely day aboard ex-USS Midway. My goram sword came out of the spindle just as I took the podium and started to pontificate. I had an awkward moment trying to put it all to rights, before finally giving up, unsnapping it, and laying it across the lectern. The sour lemon face you see below is the realization that I’m about to give a speech to a bunch of chief petty officers out of uniform…

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After that the Master Chief got his medal. Promptly turned around and gave it to the missus. Which is something I’ve got to remember to do, when it’s my go.

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As to the speech itself? Below the fold, if it do ya…

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T.I.N.S.

By lex, on March 12th, 2006

I’m feeling vaguely dyspeptic and out of sorts in this blogging thing, for all that I had a wonderful bike ride this afternoon up the coast. Carmel Valley to Del Mar, and up that miserable hill. Then down again, through Solana Beach, which soon gave way to Cardiff and then finally Encinitas. At Swami’s in Encinitas I turned around and came back the way I’d gone, to the tune of 23-odd miles or so of a very pleasant day.

So to put it all away and just write something, I thought it’d be fun to share a mini-sea story with you.

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I Fixed the Internet

By lex, on Sat – June 18, 2005

It’s what I do. Well, that and fix the TV remote control.

I think it’s why they keep me around.

We’ve got a wireless home network, courtesy of an Apple Airport base station hooked up to my machine. No wires, no muss, no fuss and everyone gets to share the DSL. Except that every once in a while, for no apparent reason, the base station itself petulantly ships the bed. It crabs out, in other words. Goes tips up.

You get the picture.

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BFM

By lex, Tue – April 5, 2005

I never met a fighter pilot I didn’t want to gun.

BFM – Basic fighter maneuvers. Dogfighting. Mano a mano. One versus one.

Play hard or stay home.

There’s nearly nothing a fighter pilot would rather do, completely sober, than try himself against another fighter pilot in the physical and mental test of skill that is man-to-man air combat. Sure, there’s a great deal of job satisfaction to be had by shacking a weapons cache from 20,000 feet, and seeing secondary explosions – it’s lovely, in fact. But it’s not personal, it’s just business. And yes, the sensation of a near-perfect landing aboard the ship is as close as one can come to le petit mort while fully dressed. But that is a part of what we do. And it is true that in a many vs. many air combat brawl there is to be found the kind of fey, wild joy that was only paralleled perhaps a hundred years or so ago in the clashing collision of cavalry troops, there is the element of chance: You could do everything right, in a big fight, and still get killed. Continue reading

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Leadership

By lex, on Wed – March 30, 2005

During the fall of last year I had the opportunity (that’s what we call going to sea: an opportunity) to plan and execute three major exercises for three different carrier strike groups. We essentially put all three groups through the same wringer, with only minor modifications from exercise to exercise.

And in retrospect, the fascinating thing was how three nearly identically configured carrier strike groups, facing three nearly identical scenarios, came up with markedly different processes which often led to completely different results.

Which is kind of funny, but not in the “ha-ha” kind of a way: the Navy had invested the same amount in materiel, manpower and training on each group. And yet the same input signal often yielded different outcomes. And while all strike groups were successful, some of them, or their component warfare commanders were much better than others: More lethal, more survivable, and more nimble.

Which begs the question: Why?

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Home!

By Lex, on Thu – March 24, 2005

Back again from the grips of the perilous, wine-dark sea.

The debrief is complete, and the strike group did a fine job, wonderful in fact. I could have just hugged them, except, well… it wouldn’t have been appropriate. They’ll deploy soon, and we’ll be left behind bemoaning our fate.

In the warm embrace of our families.

Karma. You take the good with the bad.

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Lost at Sea

Mon – February 21, 2005

Which has a dramatic title, but is really only a wee, tiny little sea story that doesn’t go anywhere in particular.

But which I’ll share with you anyway.

In the spring of 2002, the carrier on which I had the privilege of serving was returning from a relatively successful in port period in Mazatlàn, Mexico. By successful, I mean: No one was incarcerated (overnight), everyone came back to the ship (by the time we left port) and what very little had been broken had already been paid for. Since Sailors of all ages, stripes and varieties are, as a class, much given to howling at the moon once ashore (and away from home), we reckoned this a successful port visit indeed.

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