The first post I ever wrote here was horribly written. I admit this.

The point I attempted to make was this: if you continue to pay Sailors at the current rate, you will not be able to afford us.

Now, this thought seems to be coming to life.

The Navy’s top officer has announced that the service, after some study, will embark a detachment of civil-service mariners on a yet-to-be named amphibious ship during the next year.

Head over to the good Commander’s place and see what he had to say about this. For additional background here is another post of mine, when I first caught wind of this possibility.

I’m not going to launch into another diatribe concerning how I feel about this. But, I am going to ask some questions. To qualify my questions, I am going to say that I spend a good deal of my free time reading about everything I can concerning the Navy. These are the questions I am left with… Imagine what the average deckplate Sailor will question.

Why should I sacrifice just because I wear a uniform?

Is our ability to train Sailors so broken that we have to do this? I would only assume this would be considered as a last resort, with all other options not viable.

Is the Chiefs mess not able to hold the deckplates to standards? If it was, would we need to be doing this?

What does service to one’s Nation mean? Standing side-by-side in harms way–a civilian just as much a warfighter as myself.

Alright, so I am going to give a small diatribe, as I feel I must further qualify my questions. I don’t believe there is any problem with the Chief’s Mess. I don’t believe there is anything irrevocably wrong with the Navy’s training system. But, I do believe that this initiative belittles any sense of honor I can have as a service member, let alone a Sailor. Warships are MY ships–Sailor’s ships–not a Mariners. I understand this the way I do, after reading every biography of every great Admiral I can get my hands on (currently reading: Bruell’s biography of ADM Spruance), as well as every account of every great deed our Navy has ever committed–every great deed done by Sailors. I predicated my own self worth in being a Sailor from their deeds and me carrying that legacy. I can’t reconcile what I’ve read and come to understand with what the Navy is doing here. I just can’t. I’m not sure my Navy will be able to reconcile this for me, either. I go through all the lousy stuff I have had to go through, not because of the pay check. But, because of the sense of honor I gain.

The last time I talked about this, I said I wish I could make myself a drink. This time, I have beer. I really cannot overstate how much this bothers me. But, the meat of how I feel, is not for public consumption. Please Navy, please do not just start doing this. Talk to your Sailors. See what they have to say.

Posted by CTR1(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III in Uncategorized

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  • Anathema

    YN2 – you are not alone. And it will take me some time to figure out how to be able to talk about this “initiative” without passion, anger, or a general feeling of loss and hopelessness.

    This feels like the beginning of the last decade, all over again…

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Well, steering the torpedo via the wire into a reattack….

    Once again,first a little history. Once upon a time, the RN used civilian mariners to man minesweeps. The usual reasons given, economy, specialized skills not in the current fleet, smaller crews etc. etc and so forth.

    Peacetime decision, long peace.

    War came unexpectedly, as usual. A critical operation requiring effective sweeping of a narrow passage, prior to the fleet passing through enroute to the objective area, was carefully planned. Mineweeps were sunk, initial effort disrupted, surviving ships retreated, crews stated that they were civilians, not combatants, and had never contemplated sweeping command detonated minefields close inshore to commanding seacoast heights, with covering artillery emplaced. The “solution” was to replan, sieze the relatively narrow peninsula forming one shore of the strait and the mine control posts,(by amphibious assault), allowing the heavies to steam past unmolested. About all that is remembered of this tragic disaster before a subsequent huge disaster, is the name of the peninsula (if that)…Gallipoli. 95 years ago, stiil pertinent. Careful study and application only meant the Republic survived the forties, why worry about it now?

    Other than escorted vessels in convoy, carrying a naval armed guard for self defense, civilian manned ships’ crews are not up to bloody, essential naval operations. This most specifically includes amphibious assault ships. The AKA and APA and the L for Landing craft were manned by the Navy due to lessons learned from the first few operations of WWII.

    The problem is we have a long Pax Oceana, now being ended by doctrinaire politicians absolutely ignorant of any aspect of the sea, ensuring – in due time – a desperate, initally losing, war at sea. They just don’t know, and are sure they are the “smartest guys in the room