This is my first post, so I want to start off with a decent hook. Something interesting. How about this:

All three of my kids have flight time in Marine Corps aircraft. My oldest daughter, almost 7 years old, has 110.9 total hours, all in a Cobra. 36.4 of those are from night vision goggle flights (22.6 of them under low light conditions, thank you very much), and she was along for the ride on my Night Systems Instructor (NSI) check flight, since I was 4 months pregnant when I completed the qualification. She used to kick like crazy in there when we’d shoot the 20mm. Liked the sound the 2.75-inch rockets made coming off, too.

My second daughter, now 3 years old, has fewer hours. She only has 25.4 hours in the Cobra, 4.5 of them on NVGs (but all 4.5 under low light conditions), since by then we knew that Cobra pilots definitely were not allowed to fly pregnant (OPNAV was not clear, and as there had never been a pregnant Cobra pilot before, we made our best guess the first time). I waited until the end of my first trimester to ground myself, since that’s the traditionally “safer” time to tell people that you are pregnant.

My son, now 18 months, didn’t get to fly in a Cobra (poor dude), but he does have 30.7 hours in a King Air (UC-12B). None on goggles, since they don’t do that stuff. And he never seemed particularly impressed by the aircraft, since he didn’t do extra kicking or shifting to let me know.

But I digress. This is my first post as a USNI blogger-person, so maybe I should back up a bit. Chronologically speaking. While looking through some of the USNI blog entries a few months ago, I noticed something interesting. Or rather, I noticed—in an interested way—that something was lacking. There’s an amazing breadth of experience and knowledge available there, and the subjects addressed are broad and relevant. But I didn’t see anything out there remotely reminiscent of my experiences in the Marine Corps or at USNA. And considering it’s been 14 years since I graduated and got commissioned this month (plus the 4 years by the bay), that is…interesting. I know, in some eyes having only 14 years in makes me a baby. Which is wonderful, because these days I’m feeling pretty old. But at the same time, young women and men are signing up for the Navy or Marine Corps today, and they could have similar decisions to make. My choices and my story could help them. And with greater numbers of women joining the military, experiences like mine will become more common. Which makes this stuff…relevant.

In case the bio didn’t show up, here’s my story:

I’m a USNA grad, class of 1998. Graduated, got a commission in the Marine Corps, and set off for TBS and flight school. Winged in February 2001, selecting West Coast Cobras, since East Coast (New River) skid squadrons weren’t accepting women yet (I was quite happy to go to Camp Pendleton anyway, but found the restriction interesting. As in, “Really? You’re going to force me to go to Southern California, and keep me out of Jacksonville, NC? OK, twist my arm…”). Went through SERE school and the Cobra FRS, and—after my checkride from the FRS got delayed, since it was originally scheduled for September 11, 2001—checked into HMLA-369.

I was the third female Marine to fly the Cobra (I think) and the first in my squadron (the only one for most of my time there). This led to some great stories—mostly funny ones, a few disgusting ones, and one or two downright wrong ones. It was a familiar role after USNA and TBS. And to be honest, men are just as catty as women, only they are less honest about their cattiness. I went to an all-girls Catholic high school for all four years, and the only real difference between my four years there and my four years at USNA was the smell in the hallways.

At 369, I deployed three times (SE Asia/31st MEU, then Iraq, and another Thirty-worst MEU again), went on a bunch of dets, made some lifelong, amazing friends, served under two fascinating and inspiring commanding officers, and worked in Operations for the majority of my time there. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I miss it terribly (especially these days as I fly a desk in the Pentagon part-time and run around with three little kids the rest of the time).

Pre-flight school, back in 1999, I married my husband, a USMC infantry officer. We did NOT want kids. Of the first 9 years of our marriage, we lived in the same state for about 3 of them. In my mind, kids = wasted career. We were happy being childless and laughed at the idea of having kids, and how it would “ruin” things. Why would we ever want to have kids, right? Anyone with kids is laughing at us and the stupidity of that comment.

But…as it turned out, we had three kids, who are now aged almost 7, 3, and 18 months. And instead of still flying, still deploying, and staying on active duty for 20 or more years, I find myself a Reservist with three little kids, not flying at all, and driving myself crazy. This was NOT the original plan. It took me three years to accept the fact that life had changed (in what was a wonderful way, of course, but I didn’t see it like that at first). And I don’t know that I’ve really accepted it yet.

I don’t regret the choice to leave active duty for the Reserves (when my oldest was 2 ½ years old), but it shouldn’t have been the only viable option. I had nearly ten years in at the time, advanced qualifications in the aircraft, and the desire to keep doing it all. For a long, long time. But single-parenting through most of my oldest daughter’s first two years of life showed that I could not do it all, at least not without something coming off of the track. I went kicking and screaming from active duty, but did not see any other way, since I was failing at parenting and failing at being a Marine Corps officer/pilot. And that is one big reason that the services lose experienced women and men at a certain point in their lives and careers. But is it necessary?

This seems like a good forum to encourage dialogue and a sharing of ideas and experiences. Professionally. In this vein, I want to tell my story, as a pilot, a mother, a veteran, a Reservist, and also a Marine spouse (which is also growing more and more common these days). I want to ask a bunch of questions, maybe get a couple good ideas, and try to focus some attention on what will be a growing issue in the military.

Comments are encouraged. I can only tell my story, and hopefully that will encourage greater dialogue on the topic(s). But with women being allowed into more fields, the ongoing debate about women in combat (which I have some strong feelings and thoughts about), and about a million other things going on that are downright fascinating, these topics are relevant.

Plus, I can tell some good stories.




Posted by Jeannette Haynie in Aviation, Marine Corps, Navy


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  • Eagle1

    Welcome aboard! Your voice has been needed here.

    Good start, look forward to more.

  • http://smadanek.blogspot.com Ken Adams

    Welcome to the blog, Jeanette!

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Sol

    sounds like you haven’t quite come to terms with your choice.

    if a female service member becomes pregnant and has the child (or children) then what responsibility does any of the services have to that person?

    i’m still trying to understand how the US military is getting away with paying married servicemembers more than single ones. if that happened in civilian life then there would be so many lawsuits it would boggle the mind.

    now you suggest that losing personnel due to personal choices is a problem that must be solved by the different branches is to me stunning.

    others of course will be too polite (or more likely politically correct) to challenge you but it must be done. i look forward to your answer.

  • Jeannette Haynie

    Thank you (all three of my readers!) for your comments. I’m glad to be writing and to have the opportunity to join these ranks.

    Sol, I’ll do my best to address your questions. You’re right, as I stated in my blog, I haven’t quite come to terms with my choice. Which is why I’ve started the blog. I really hope to start some good conversations in this vein. I made what I felt was the best choice for both my family and the Marines I worked/trained with, but I still feel the military would benefit from better options if it wants to retain servicemembers (especially women, as–in my experience–women tend to bear the brunt of the family duties even within a dual military couple).

    As for the military’s responsibility to a servicemember with children, it depends on what kind of responsibility you’re asking about. Are you asking if I feel the military is responsible for trying to retain that person? I don’t think the military has a “responsibility”, per se, to keep parents in, regardless of gender…BUT I do believe that if the military wants to retain quality, educated people, and not lose the experience of those people after 5-10 years of service, it will look into more options.

    And not just because of the military training and years of experience the services lose. Parenthood has made me a better officer, and it seems to have that affect on many people. Why not do a better job of trying to retain us?

    As women and men get better educated, the military will suffer in comparison to the civilian workforce in terms of family. And while women certainly aren’t the only ones leaving to take care of their families, I can use my USNA class as a comparison. Of the women in my class that joined the Marine Corps in 1998, I can think of only two off of the top of my head who are still on active duty. and neither one has children. And many of us did not leave active duty because we had plans to be mothers, but because we felt we had no other real choice.

    I’m not sure how to address the married vs single BAH question, since that’s nowhere near something I’ve got expertise in, and I’m no lawyer. I am not advocating for different–or similar–BAH rates.

    My experiences have shown me that while some may view the losses of female enlisted and officer members as due to their personal choices, it really is often anything but. If the military wants to attract high-quality, educated people who are loyal and professional, I think the smartest thing the military could do would be to figure out ways to keep them. And I have some ideas, but they are only in the early stages. Which is another reason I like the idea of this blog. So yes, in that vein I do view it as a problem to solve.

    By all means, please challenge me here. I hope a dialogue will help me think out everything running through my head here. And I fully welcome all comments, politically correct or not (insert a smiley face here). Trust me, I spent most of my fleet time in an all-male squadron. I have a thick skin and a good sense of humor.

    Thank you all, if you’ve read to the end. Sorry, I am prolific!

  • BJ Armstrong

    “This seems like a good forum to encourage dialogue and a sharing of ideas and experiences. Professionally.”

    Well said Jeannette. Welcome to the discussion, can’t wait to hear more. Maybe Sol just assumed that since you’re a Snake driving skid-kid he had to roll in on an attack before you could get your Nr up!

  • Old AF Sarge

    Jeannette – an excellent read! Glad to see someone like you around here. A rather different perspective from the norm. I can understand your feelings. My daughter is an F-18 back-seater, married to a Naval Aviator. She was out of the cockpit for two years when she had my granddaughter. She’s just now getting back up to speed and is torn between motherhood (which she loves) and flying (which she loves). I look forward with great anticipation to your future posts. All the best!

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Jeanette – Welcome. The commentariat here can, at times, be a bit bumptious, but as a whole you will find us debating ideas, sometimes with a lot of vigor.

    Nice bio, after deployed combat ops, everything else will indeed be, well, less. But DC? Really? The only advice I can give you is get out of there as soon as you reasonably can. Yes, there’s loads of active duty available for “contractors in uniform.” But do you really, deep down, as a combat aviator, want to be a part of “Big Marine Corps?” No, I thought not. There are other billets out there. Find them. You’ll like the view. In any event, welcome aboard.

  • http://xbradtc.wordpress.com xbradtc

    Throw those ideas against the wall, and let’s see what sticks.

    “This seems like a good forum to encourage dialogue and a sharing of ideas and experiences. Professionally.”

    If only there was an organization… an institute… that could serve as a forum to discuss the naval profession…

  • http://www.usni.org admin

    Welcome aboard Jeannette!

  • Frank Ch. Eigler

    At least four readers, looking forward to more.

  • Surfcaster

    Welcome aboard!

  • YN2(SW) H. Lucien Gauthier III

    Ma’am, welcome aboard! Great post, looking forward to many more.

    V/r
    CTR2(SW) (Sel)

  • YN3(SCW) Pawlikowski

    Ma’am, again, welcome aboard! It seems that you have a very fresh perspective, as you noted, and I much look forward to reading your articles moving forward!
    Very Respectfully,
    YN3(SCW)

    Break

    HIII,
    CTR!?! So bugging you for info on this.

  • Mongo

    Welcome aboard, Jeannette, and thanks for the good read. By all means, please do be a prolific writer. The personal and professional challenges of women in military service are the stuff that we men can only imagine. “Okay. Who let them in the treehouse?”

    Thinking back to the PBS series “Carrier” about the Nimitz cruise of 2005, it seemed there were fewer female officers per capita in the crew than enlisted. I wondered how the female officers fared amongst their male counterparts (the enlisted seemingly were more “integrated”) and so I look forward to your observations.

    Regarding Sol’s comments about married vs single bah/bas, married members have always enjoyed higher rates than single members. I believe such differences have always been justified as necessary to a married man/woman’s need to adequately support their family. Nothing about military life was ever designed or intended to be monastic in nature.

    Semper Fi!

    Mongo

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Sol

    Mongo.

    i just used that as an example of a wider discussion that needs to be held. there is nothing monastic about military service, but why should marriage be subsidized? no one wants to have an honest discussion about several social issues facing the military.

    tailhook effectively muzzled many people, and political correctness castrated the rest. for those that fall into that category i’d surmize that they’ve been neutered and mellowed and perhaps removed from the realities of things.

    anyone who has ever heard a grown man cry for his mother would never want that for his daughter, yet thats exactly what some combat vets that have been there and done that are calling for for there daughters and grand daughters.

    i simply want an honest conversation, [but as usual the herd rebels against it because it makes you uncomfortable.]

    racial issues can be discussed ad nauseum. gender issues are off limits.

    i mean seriously?

    [you people need to get real.]

    *******
    Admin update: SOL, your comments stand with this comment on the two sections I put in brackets above: If you want an honest conversation, please have one, but don’t sling insults and make it personal. The comments in brackets are completely unnecessary. I am letting them stand as an indicator to all that this will not be allowed. Jeannette has signed on to have an honest discussion, let’s allow that to happen.

  • John M. Andresen

    Is this an example of why the “Have it all, do it all” paradigm doesn’t work? I am anxious to read what possible solutions will be offered by the author.

    “WESTPAC Sailors, Last Of A Breed”

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Sol

    [just delete the damn comment instead of bracketing it then. fuck it.]

    *****
    Admin edit: No Sol, I will not. Your comment had many valid points. Should you choose to engage sans personal attack, we welcome the discussion.

  • Jeannette Haynie

    John, very valid question. I’ve thought about that, and with three little kids, I realize there’s just not enough time in a day to do it all.

    My ideas tend to run more toward the “what other options are there besides ONLY active duty and ONLY being with my kids” end of the spectrum.

    Here are a couple of things to start with:
    -sabbatical: allow a temporary break in service (a year? two?) where the servicemember could start up again in the same MOS only would be with a new set of peers (in other words, the “break” years wouldn’t count as time in, but you could retain the experience and quals). The Navy started a very limited sabbatical program in 2009, but it was not extended to the USMC and is very restricted (actually, that part is good, because something like that needs to be controlled or it will end up being abused). And it ends in 2015. Started too late to help me, and it will end…which is not the point. And this far along, I’m probably too far along to help anyway. But I’m looking for more permanent options for people to have in the future. This is my favorite option.

    -child care options: I actually need to dedicate a separate post to this. One of the hurdles I ran into was child care. Between CDCs with year-plus waits, in-home day cares that were not supervised properly (my daughter was left in her high chair for 10 straight hours one day at one place, and at a year old sat in front of a TV watching cartoons for the whole day at another), and child care on base that closed at 1630, the lack of care (both out in town and on base) was and still is a big problem. I’ll go with this one on a separate post.

    -some kind of hybrid between what the reserves are and what active duty is. I got to do some of this flying for HMLA-775 in CA before it shut down, because with AFTPs I could fly another 4-6 days a month in addition to my drills. But a)it was still limited (as in, 6-8 days a month), and b)it applied only at reserve squadrons. This sort of thing would need a lot of work to make it a usable solution for the fleet, it wouldn’t work for quite a few billets, and there’s got to be all kinds of implications with it that will need to be worked through.

    This doesn’t translate well to a blog comment, so I’ll dedicate another post to this as well. I’ve only put a few details above, but have thought about that one quite a bit. Especially as a reservist.

    Bottom line, military-wide, do the only options need to be either full-time servicemember or full-time parent? I don’t think they do. For some billets, absolutely. But not for all.

    I’m also not suggesting this should be a long-term role for people–it should only be a short-term option. But if I’d had an option in ’05 or ’06 to take a year or two off without pay or benefits, then come back to the fleet, I would have jumped on it. Same for the option of working 2-3 days a week instead of 5-6. With commensurate pay.

    This whole thing is quite literally me throwing stuff against a wall to see what sticks. So please, offer criticism, offer ideas, whatever. Ideally, one day I’d like to put out some valid, well-thought-through ideas and have them get tried.

    And again, no need to be politically correct with me. THICK SKIN. I can address some of Sol’s concerns in a post as well…this comment is wayyyy long now.

    Thanks to everyone else who posted. I look forward to more discussion. And Andy, I agree…DC is a bizarre, bizarre place. I am from New Orleans, born and raised, and this place makes my hair stand on end.

    I’ll check this again tomorrow. Thanks to all!

  • http://snafu-solomon.blogspot.com/ Sol

    ok.

    i’ll bite. the Marine Corps in particular and the military in general is becoming family based and family biased.

    i can’t tell you how many different ways Marines with families are given breaks, time off, slide out of duty assignments or given better assignments because they’re married.

    just like my argument about pay being higher for married people that’s just wrong. the deal with children is an additional affront to not only practicality, common sense, budget priorities and a warrior ethos but its also just plain unfair.

    in addition to having to solve family issues (which take up too much time as it is…give me a platoon with just single people and compare it to one with married Marines and you get the idea) but now the US battle winning Marine Corps is being asked to take part in some type of child care scheme?

    i mean seriously. say it out loud while you’re in your cammies standing in front of the mirror.

    is that what you want the Marine Corps to become? not even fortune 500 companies go that extra mile for their worker but we’re asking the Marine Corps to?

    and the idea of a sabatical is just plain nonsense! we have x number of boatspaces and then we’re going to have to allocate a certain percentage to people on sabatical? and how do you work that out? is it just for female servicemembers that become pregnant or is it extended to males? and be careful for the enlighted ones that have no problem with it just applying to pregnancy. you’ve already asked some young hardchargers to swallow a few ‘social issues’ this year and have seen the leadership squelch discussion of the topic.

    long story short, everyone’s idea of a kinder and gentler Marine Corps will PROBABLY carry the day. but its a Marine Corps i won’t recognize and will not want to be associated with.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Welcome Madam,

    To the debate…

    “As it happened…” you have three children, beloved little stair steps in the family line. Really? Just happened, three times, badda bing, badda boing, badda boom. Mmmm.

    Not quite. There were some decisions in there, some policy, some tactical, why and and how I shall not inquire. Not my business and not my point.

    Then the realization dawns that life is an unending series of compromises with consequences (as it does to us all). The laws of physics, the laws of biology, the laws of statistics, the continuing nature of humanity, and the never ending tyranny of Murphy’s Law all interacted and here you are…not where you planned.

    Yep. Different in detail and just. like. all. the. rest. of. us.
    (Of those like us.)

    The Naval Service has no need of dependents, except that they recruit individuals…and retain families. So they tolerate spouses and children. The new wrinkle is the feminist mistake…because no parent can have it all, and no family gets a sailor or marine full time. Every enlisted person and officer sacrifice family for country, and every family sacrifices beloved parent(s)and what the parent provides to children for country.

    If both said active duty member parents stay. Which ‘taint likely with a Pilot married to an infantryman. Something has to give. It isn’t a gender issue. It’s a duty to God, country, service and family, balancing issue. Usually the nurturing Mother instinct means Mom steps up to the plate. Not always, but statistically, it’s the way to bet.

    And every family faces it, along with which side of the drawer the spoons go in, and all the other compromises a long marriage forces. How to split the load for the long march, that is the question…

    Long haul truckers, private practice Pediatricians, top flight neurosurgical scrub nurses, and swing shift factory janitors face it too, not just hot stick lady jet pilots with 3 beloved children who need a full time Mother. Reality bites. Or nips, or chomps. Luck of the draw, “fate is the hunter”.

    You are LUCKY, and blessed. You have seen and done what few men or women ever do, and you have 3 near perfect kids. The reason I say perfect is that if any of them had a significant (pick a circumlocution for at risk, ok…) issue, the downside of the choice you made would never come up – you don’t second guess heading for where the line is thinnest when the battle is on the see-saw. You get to do the reserves and get a pension. You got a shot at Col., if second string. Want to swap with Judy O’Grady? Check the cracks on the hands of a scrub nurse or oyster prep lady?

    The mommy track hurts careers, or at least doesn’t improve the billets available and the selection statistics. So does the widower track, for an hot running SSN nuke, or pretty much any guy. Not everybody has an Aunt Bea. Service requires sacrifice, family requires sacrifice. Duty.

    It’s the nature of the business. Fortunately, the Navy and the Corps take care of their own, as best they can, in their absent minded, brain damaged SNAFU sort of way. Could they do better? Dunno. They could do a lot worse.

    Sabbatical? Which guy or single gal bites the bullet and takes the extra months standing on Hadrian’s Wall, or banging on a frozen topsail with one fist and hanging on its yard with the other down south of Cape Horn, or chasing pirates off the coast of Africa, or what ever your Corps and MOS does along those lines?

    How long, how many times? Per kid? (!!).

    You see, you would be asking for boon (A favor from the Duke, or Count, Viscount, not to mention of the no account guy/gal who gets extended, and that spouse and kids – not that they get a vote).

    But you have a prize of great price in hand, just not the one you want.

    Which, in my view, should not happen in this phase of the war-truce-uneasy peace-blindside attack-war while unready and, well. fill in the blank paradigm we are looking at for the next few decades.

    Lady jet jocks, bubbleheads, shipdrivers, and all the rest, are a luxury. Why? Because Mothers are not expendable. Lifeboat rules. Birkenhead Drill.

    A matter of duty. For the Mothers and the men in ranks. And yes, Ma’am, I am old fashioned. Put me down with Mr. Astor.

    Over to you.

  • Sperrwaffe

    @Grandpa
    Old fashioned? hmm I don’t think so, Kamerad.
    And certainly not out of time to be left on the ground of the atlantic. I very well accept your point Duty! And around that there are the decisions which have to be made. I will explain the heritage of my point of view in a moment when answering to Jeannette. But first a short addition to your post. And maybe I am far off. And I will not elaborate on US society issues, which I don’t understand in every detail since I am not US.
    But some of the points @Sol posted seem to touch that: Everybody is responsible for his life? Ok, but does have to be like this: All for me, nothing for the rest, take everything you can and give nothing back. Those who cannot cope are left to die for “Darwin to chew on them bones”…? Interesting, that’s even worse than I thought…But maybe Sol is just thinking of the Marines as another branch of Leonidas and his 300 looking to fight the Persians…If that is so, then you must clearly restrict and look only for those Spartan role model. I thought times had changed. I always thought Marines were far more than just that.

    However, it’s about sacrifices on one side and I see obligation on the other side. Servicemembers and their families make sacrifices every time. That’s ok so far. You choose that way. You serve your country. But on the other hand who has the obligation to enable you to make such sacrifices? The country you serve. It must give the guidelines, or better the possibilities to sacrifice. Without that it is a one-way track. And there must be already more than just mere honor which makes people join the military. You give and you get something back. And things look different when you are young. You give different (I will not say you give more, because that would be the wrong point) than when you have a family (and believe me I have a very broad definition of what a family might be).
    But you still give and you earn a “right” to receive something back or maybe to enable you to give more. And that is not just on a plain monetary basis. To make that clear, I see this from my heritage, my society background, my personal situation. and I know there are a lot of differences.

    But I wanted to elaborate a little bit on my heritage. I will try to keep it short for this time… ;)
    @Jeannette:
    I am very thankful and delighted that you entered the discussion and now contribute. I was always interested in that perspective and I am curios to learn more and discuss things.
    Why is that so? Well, our situation can somehow be compared. But currently with only one kid. ;)
    When my wife and I met we where both active. I as a Navy guy having the status of career officer, she as an Army officer. She belonged to the first women in the German Army since the Bundeswehr was opened (not just medical as before) for women in 2001.
    For a lot of reasons I gave back my career status and left our Navy, now being reserve. One of the reasons was clearly the point of having a family with a life around it. Or to say it with Grandpa Bluewater: I made a sacrifice. I decided!
    Now I work for industry. My wife stayed, because she sacrificed a lot for being eye to eye, for achieving what she already had achieved. And I didn’t want her to give up on that. It was easier for me, because our Navy had changed, certainly not for the better…
    Anyhow, so now she has the status of career officer, Capt. Army and will go her way. Our son is now 2 ½ years old and I take the main part of responsibility for him. My wife was recently on a deployment and during that time I arranged for the rest. Different mechanisms allowed me to do that. But to be straight: The military didn’t help at all during that deployment. I don’t mean the responsible superiors from battalion to division level. I mean the organization. We did it on our own and with the help of my employing company. And I certainly don’t want any thanks or special appreciation. It’s just my point given above: You serve, you give, and you should get something back.

    And maybe Jeannette, we can also exchange on some of those ideas and things which exist in our country which might just have another name in yours. I am sure that some ideas would of course “endanger” the foundations of US society for being tooooo “socialistic” and therefore belonging to the enemy… :)
    But anyhow, this should do for the moment, and I look forward to an interesting exchange.

  • F/A18 2 C-40

    The military has a duty to protect the country. It seems that many of your discussion items are actually really good arguments why the ‘experiment’ to open up more areas to women is a poor decision. Women will necessarily always be the sex that will bear children. Even a hard-core snake eater like you who could never imagine herself giving it up to be a mom has succumbed to what God put into you for a reason.

    (I don’t want to get into the discussion on here, but do you really want your kids in child care long enough for you to be a full-time Marine and a mom? The statistical evidence as to how poorly kids turn out that do not have a full time parent or relative at home during their formative years (through mid-teens) is so damning. Just something to think about.)

    So, now the military has already given up spots to women to be trained in most aspects of military life. They already have to let you out of the cockpit (or off the ship or out of the hanger, home from deployment, etc) if you choose to have a baby. They cannot even tell you when you may/may not get pregnant. They have to give you leave after your baby is born to be a new mom. All of us on active duty have seen how disruptive that is to a command when right before deployment, a significant percentage (anything over 1 or 2% is significant in our lean times) of women become pregnant. Now all the investment in preparing that sailor for deployment is lost, and you can only hope you get a body, let alone a trained body, in her position before deployment. Even somebody like you who was probably responsible in deciding when to have your children from a ‘duty to the Corps’ prespective still had some effect on your squadron’s readiness.

    Bottom line, you are basically saying that since they opened the door to you and allowed this disruption to occur, we should make more allowances and disruptions in service to further make life easier for women to be in the military and have families. Maybe that is what society wants from our military. Unfortunately, with the resources they are currently offering, we cannot afford to have back-ups for you when you decide you want to have a baby and still get the mission done effectively and efficiently.

    I hope this is taken as frank discussion and not an attack on women in the military. I have flown with females that were just as competent as their male counterparts. This is not a discussion of ability. This is a frank discussion of genetic realities. Is it really fair to the service?

  • Diogenes of NJ

    Never mistake jargon for truth. The fewer the acronyms the closer you are to the truth. This is what Diogenes perceives as he holds his lamp up to the two posts above.

    - Kyon

  • Pags

    Jeannette-
    Thanks for the interesting read. There are a lot of similarities between your post and discussions that Mrs. Pags and I have every once in awhile. My wife likes to remark that she and other women of her generation (and yours, Mrs.Pags is four years your junior) were sold a bill of goods when it came to the possibility of balancing careers and family. Like you, she came to find out that she couldn’t do it all on her own. There’s only so many hours in a day and it’s just not possible to be both the professional and the mother you want to be on your own.

    As a fellow military officer I think family based discussions are important for all hand up and down the chain of command to have. To simply say, “if the Navy wanted you to have kids they’d have issued them to you” is pedantic and dodges the issue. To wish for only single Sailors or Marines to simplify leadership is ridiculous. We lead people who have human issues of all stripes. We can’t wish away dependents as much as we can’t wish away DUIs, ARIs and the trappings of young, single Sailors and Marines.

    And to say this is just an issue for women is also misleading. Male service members may also feel the pull of simplifying their lives by relieving themselves of the burdens of the service when a family comes in to the picture. In a few months I’m headed back to Sea Orders, and although I’m looking forward to the challenges of my upcoming tour, I’m in no way looking forward to the months of separation from my family. It’s easy to think that life could be easier in the civilian sector when there’s no watch bill, no late night flight sked, and no deployments. Of course, this line of thought is guilty of seeing the other grass as being greener as balancing a family and a career is not necessarily easier in a suit and tie vice a flight suit.

    As a final aside, the notion that I’m making money off of my dependent BAH is a little silly. I guarantee you that my single JO brothers have far more disposable income at their disposal than I do.

    Best,
    Pags

  • UltimaRatioReg

    As others have said, welcome Jeanette.

    You asked for discussion, and certainly Grandpa and Sperrwaffe and F-18 gave you some food for thought to chomp on.

    I am going to shift fires a bit. I concur with Grandpa’s comments in their entirety and will amplify something he strides close to but does not linger upon. “Mothers are not expendable”.

    You may have very strong feelings about women in combat. Lots of us do. The Marine Corps has never been shy about training women to fight. We have for decades. I had women Close Combat instructors in my CC section when I ran ITU at Parris Island more than twenty years ago. I have served with women in combat. They did fine, just fine. Training them to fight is the right thing to do.

    However, there is a world of difference between incidental combat between a unit fighting its way through an ambush or securing a perimeter, and one whose mission is to locate, close with, and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver, or repel his assault by fire and close combat. And I do not speak simply of the physical, where the differences are much larger than being recognized.

    In Remarque’s masterpiece “All Quiet on the Western Front”, Paul remarks after three years of an unspeakable and unremitting cycle of horror, death, fear, grief, and deprivation. He says “The war has ruined us for everything.” He was right. The generation of German (and French, and British) soldiers who endured the Western Front and managed to survive were never the same, and carried the deep scars of the Great War for the rest of their lives.

    While we today do not believe that such a war would ever be fought again, we have been terribly wrong with our predictions before, as we insist time and again on the “changing nature of war”. Which never, ever does.

    Point being this: The damage done to the male Great War generation by the horrors of the trenches seriously impacted Western society, its future, and its outlook on itself and the world, and largely not for better. Had that same damage been done to the mothers and potential mothers of that generation, Western society would have been destroyed utterly. Without chance of survival or recovery.

    That, much as we may protest to the contrary and label it an outmoded ideation, remains immutable fact.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Dio from Joisy: Fortunately I only sling the slang and make literary allusions. Oh, and puns. Well, in the above anyway. TAF (Totally acronym free). Free and open debate – WETSU.

  • Maki Thomas Livesay

    Jeannette,

    Thank you for writing! Apparently you’ve hit on a great topic leading to lots of discussion. I can’t add much more to what’s been said, but will offer the following:

    - Civilian employers offer “family” benefits, too…not just the military (I used to work for three health insurance companies).
    - Sometimes, people who make unprofessional comments hide behind monikers; try to understand them and their points of view but don’t let them “get” to you.
    - I do not have children, but have had my share of personal challenges during my service. I choose to continue to serve because it’s something I truly believe in.
    - Though not a requirement, it would have rounded out your blog a bit more to offer alternatives to consider…that said, the point of the blog is to “express thoughtful, productive ideas, insights and opinions” so you’ve definitely done that.

    You have a talent…keep writing! Thanks for the thought-provoking blog.

  • Aubrey

    I’m a bit late to the comment party, but I want to welcome you to blog – whether for those who tackle the pro or con side of the “women in combat” argument, having more voices and more points of view is valuable.

    Welcome, and keep posting!

  • Charity

    If AD members never have children or a spouse, where will our future military generations come from? For many families military service is a proud tradition repeated through generations.

    Many dual AD families or AD/Reserve families make it work, through family support, timing, and a bit of luck. Their children turn out to be responsible contributing members of society, often choosing to give their lives back to the service as adults. It is disappointing so many AD women leave once they have children, aside from saying they bring a new perspective to military service, often their loss simply amounts to the departure of a great leader. Could there be more childcare options in place, yes, does there have to be, no.

    Would the implementation of such changes improve the service overall, by helping maintain the expertise of highly trained people…there’s a definite possibility. Opening up this discussion in a mature professional manner is a positive for all involved.

    Best of luck Jeannette and welcome to the blog. I look forward to your future posts.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    @Grandpa

    You sir are entitled – 900 ship Navy when I was a Bluejacket. How about you?

    - Kyon

  • Jeannette Haynie

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! Long day at work and home here, so I am having a (small) drink and hope to get a full post (not just a comment) written tomorrow or Wednesday. I welcome the debate and discussion, and look forward to more. Didn’t plan on hitting the women-in-combat piece just yet, but happy to address that sooner rather than later. Goodnight, all.

  • http://www.mikeshepherd.org Mike Moscoe

    I’m a personnel manager, and so far, little has been said from this side of the issue.

    A hard case type pointed out the Corps or Navy recruits a sailor and gets a family, as if that was a surprise these days. Are you sure? Have you checked the number of married recruits we sign up these days?

    The fact is, the Navy doesn’t chose to fill sea billets with women because the good fairy says to. The Navy and Corp have billets and the only people available for them are women. The high schools these days are not graduating enough smart, skilled boys willing to sign on for a six month deployment or a four month float. Even the corps infantry platoons can no longer be filled with the scum and leavings of the cities that Wellington unhappily made do with for his cannon fodder.

    To get the smart sailors/marines with the skill sets we need to operate the modern weapons system in hand today the Navy and Corps have to draw on the best that American is willing to offer them, and that includes women and now mothers.

    One thing appalled me. Does the base daycare really close up shop at 1635? The Federal Office building where I once work had the day care open from 0600 to 1800. That was the hours their people could work and the union negotiated those hours for the daycare. There may have been an extra fee for those early or late hours, but they were there. If the Navy isn’t looking out for its people any better than that, I know a union rep I don’t much like who would be glad to talk about improving matters.

    Yes, boys. You may think the present Navy is a lot worse than your grampa’s Navy, but it can still get a whole lot less to your liking if it doesn’t look to its people. All it’s people.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Diog du NJ:

    Much the same in my callow youth, I confess I never kept track back then. We had more than we could properly man (or repair) and were rode hard and put up wet for years on end. There were a significant number of ships in very active service which antedated Pearl Harbor (the battle not the base). Of course they hadn’t clicked over the 30 year timer, either.

  • Diogenes of NJ

    @Grandpa, et al,

    Sorry to have appeared to have given you short shrift in my brief comment. I have more time now to elaborate, and to perhaps provide a target of opportunity.

    The truth be told, F/A18 2 C-40’s comment got in just before mine, or I would have increased the number to three posts.

    But before I further explain my abbreviated comment, I must mention that after I had turned in my “canoe club” membership card, I was fortunate enough to get the VA to assist me in obtaining a Commercial/Instrument ticket (yes kiddies, the VA did at one time pay for that) so I’m reasonably fluent in “pilot”. If you add to that more than a few years of working for the “Death Star” people in various capacities – I’d say that I’m capable of holding my own in a conversation with military pilots as well (I can’t out fly you, but I know what you’re thinking.)

    Now when certain topics of flying come up, there is a tendency among some to break into a heavy duty pilot dialect that is interspersed with many, many acronyms (the more obscure the better) and in lieu of being able prove the point any other way – they’ll break out the log books. Since the word “Flying” starts the topic – I was, shall I say, on alert and since this a rather eclectic forum, my intention was to encourage the dialog in a more uniformly comprehensible direction.

    Flying is a drug, and a potent one at that. The “slipped the surly bonds” thing has caused more than a few to singularly focus their life’s efforts in service to flight (and in some cases to the detriment of family). However, I’m reasonably sure that flying was not the point here; rather it was one of a number of accomplishments, which also included obtaining the finest education available to anyone who serves in the Navy/Marine Corps, and establishing a family.

    Now some may have perceived Grandpa’s post as lecturing about priorities. Well he was. And it is a uniquely well conceived and thought out lecture that is more than worthy of this forum; and which imparts wisdom in a straight forward, un-watered down, attention getting, direct manner that is suitable for adult consumption. PC it wasn’t, but that dog doesn’t hunt for Diogenes.

    Old men experience much change, and are not far from experiencing the biggest change of all. Some say that old men resist change – not true. We are amused by it. What some of us find most amusing is the head long rush to change young people feel compelled to embark upon in an attempt to rectify all the situations that have plagued mankind since that unfortunate incident in the garden. Ambition also plays a part – the ambition to be say – Ozymandias (Sorry URR – it’s not Kipling, but here’s a link anyway: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7JOCJX-N7c ) It all eventually falls into place.

    So here’s my pilot’s advice: have a flight plan, always pre-flight the aircraft and keep a pilot’s manual in your flight bag. You are responsible for your passengers and it helps to have a wingman.

    - Kyon

  • Benjamin Walthrop

    I, for one, do not see anything particularly incomprehensible in the dialog. Diogenes makes some interesting points regarding more experienced generations being amused by change and being most amused by the headlong rush of youth to attempt to rectify the situations that have plagued mankind since the beginning.

    It’s a skeptical view, and I understand it to a degree being at the cusp of transition from headlong seeking youth to a knocked about person of some experience. While skepticism has its place, the folks like Jeanette experience the tip of the spear of the new reality. After all, history is replete with evidence of change. Often events that are seen as change for the worse do not actually play out in the devastating manner the skeptics predict. I believe that the vigor associated with advancing mankind’s position in the world is generally good for us all.

    The reality is that as long as the older generations continue to choose to send rambunctious youth to confront the world on their behalf, accommodations will need to be made to meet the expectations of those at the tip of the spear.

    More to the point, I support a well regulated version of Jeanette’s sabbatical approach. It would go some distance in bridging the civil military divide and returning the nation’s armed forces from a strictly professional all volunteer force to a model more accommodating of citizen soldiers and sailors. That doesn’t seem too much to ask, and the second and third order effects seem to benefit the concept of citizenry in general.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Mike:

    It is just silly to have Base Childcare close at all. Every sailor is supposed to have childcare arrangements in place for emergency recall, but those are often not well thought out, particularly for the first child or single mothers. Current arrangements, like the policy on pregnancy, will collapse in short order after invoking the M word (mobilization). An inevitable headache, given how things are.

    As for retention of married personnel, if the spouse says that it is time to go, all the reenlistment incentives in the multiverse do no good.

    The Navy has to take care of its own (most specifically including families) because the cost of not doing so is prohibitive, in the long run. Overall, it tries and often succeeds.

    As for how things could get worse, just keep on being politically correct, they will. They are.

  • Dr. G.

    Interesting discussion, everyone! Flying moms can have it all. There are well over 200 pages of success stories in Linda Maloney’s recently published “Military Fly Moms.”

    BTW, I second the severity of the issue with base day cares and the questionable quality of other options. I finally settled on au pairs after those options all let me down, and now as an ol’ Navy retiree and single parent of 3, I have an awesome nanny to back me up.

  • LD

    Jeannette,

    Thought provoking post — thanks, and thanks for your awesome service and contributions in uniform and out! Life as a dual-military AC/AC, AC/RC, and civ/RC with children was great…all flavors. Had always planned to be part of the 30-year, never-married AD crowd, but then life happened around the 10-year point and I landed in the Reserve component. My choices while on AD contributed to that vector. In retrospect, I wouldn’t trade where I wound up for anything, and while certainly not the path I had originally planned, I cherished the honor and priveledge of serving in uniform, both AC and RC.

    As Dad always said, things turn out for the best. The addendum to that optimisim is that we have the lead role in writing and executing that script. You will savor success and find satisfaction when you accept that it’s your choice to play your hand as dealt, and your choice to trade it in for something else… but whichever choice you make, play it well, with all your heart, and you can’t help but “win.”

    Three closing thoughts that seems petinent to this thread:

    (1) Navy sabattical experiment (“career intermission”)underway beginning in 2009..for any one, for any reason, up to three years. Billets limited and competitive. Wheels of change are slow, but your observations and concerns regarding flexibility and retention of talent are spot on and certainly not unheard or unworked.

    (2) Excerpt from “My Way” lyrics (Anka), popularized by Sinatra:
    “For what is a man, what has he got?
    If not himself, then he has naught
    To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
    The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!”

    (3) Punch line from Rudyard Kipling’s “If”: “….Your’s is the Earth, and everything in it…”

    And the whole poem, for those who wish to review:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too:
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same:.
    If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build’em up with worn-out tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
    And never breathe a word about your loss:
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much:
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

  • Jessica

    Jeanette-
    Your post came to me at such an interesting time as so many related things are happening on this particular day.

    1) We, the female captains of EWS, met with a female two star reservist this morning and happened to discuss, among other things sabbaticals and pregnancy—which would be nice, but I really don’t see how they would work when it comes to equality in promotions, unless the person going on sabbatical was willing to let that time not count toward their time in grade. But interestingly enough, we were told the first and only year they tried the sabbaticals men with exceptional circumstances were the only ones to sign up…no women. Don’t quote me, I only heard it second hand this morning and haven’t done a lick of research. But something tells me no woman would sign up for this “good deal” as it would be sure to ruin what career she’s started for herself, at least at this point.

    2) I am seven months pregnant with my second child and put on the maternity “alphas” for the first time just this evening in preparation of our graduation on Thursday during which I am suppose to stand up and march across the stage to be recognized individually for my research paper. My roommate and I had a tremendous laugh at the ridiculousness of the “uniform.” I have a roommate because I’m in the middle of a PCS and my husband remains in Cherry Point on his orders. In any case, it must surely be one of the most unprofessional garments I have ever seen or worn. Here I am a decorated combat pilot wearing a girl scout’s smock, wings of gold, four rows of ribbons, expert rifle badge, and sharpshooter pistol badge. It’s as if the Marine Corps is telling you, “Here—you want to get pregnant? Here is your scarlet A.” My husband and I joked, where are your wings, your ribbons, and badges supposed to go? I suppose as long as they’re not on your backside they’ll let you slide…you are after all, you’re just a dumb, helpless pregnant woman. I am seriously considering sending a picture of myself onstage to the uniform board to show them the embarrassment of a uniform they are forcing their females to wear. Earlier this evening I had on my cute little fitted top and jeans that I can still fit into as long as I leave the top button unbuttoned. It’s amazing the difference in looks you get on base in uniform from the ones you get off base in civvies, looks of disgust v. looks of happiness.

    3) Just yesterday I had recounted my story of flying and pregnancy to my roommate.
    So to begin, I have no answers or solutions. I also have very little whit so I won’t even try. I only have my experience and how I’m managing to make it all work…so far, and this is what I’ll share with you and hopefully provide inspiration for some other women out there.
    Our paths are nearly identical and at one point they actually crossed. I graduated from Navy in ’04, TBS, flight school, HMLAT-303 (where I ran into you and nearly had you fail me out of the “RAG”). From there we diverge slightly. I went to an East coast HMLA. I was, I dunno, the fourth female on the East coast. I struggled, I triumphed, I deployed twice, I gained respect. Believe it or not they actually made me an NSI and even sent me to WTI, second female cobra student ever. And here is where the trouble begins. Shortly after my return from WTI my husband and I gave ourselves one month to try to get pregnant (so that he would be home for the birth). To my astonishment, success, first attempt. I might even add that I ran a 300 PFT shortly after becoming pregnant. To spare you the details (which we can discuss off-line) I was removed from my squadron and given the explanation that the flight waiver was very difficult to get and I could be of better use at MAG.
    While there is some disparity between the order and what aero-medical would allow (the order says you can fly the first two trimesters while medical, at least at New River, only allows you to fly during the second). I asked for an additional waiver to fly during the first but never got it. The standard waiver was however, not at all difficult to receive, it was approved right there at New River as soon as I crossed the 12 week point, didn’t even have to go down to Pensacola and NAMI. But the move had already been made and I was parked at MAG for the year. I managed to get a few hours though. My daughter has about 25 -28 hours airborne. After giving birth and returning from maternity leave I wasn’t able to go back to the squadron since I was already slated to go to EWS, fudging the readiness numbers at this point just wasn’t practical. I got in one or two more flights though.
    My husband left 9 days after our daughter was born. He returned when she was 7 months but shortly after his return had to leave for Whidby Island and would remain there for another 5 months. Somewhere in there we managed to get pregnant with number 2. Gents—there is only so much time—we have to get it done when we can. The Marine Corps isn’t going to thank us for our service after 20 years, hand us a teenage kid, and a life full of memories. For the past 14 months I have had a pretty standard 0730-1630 work schedule with some fluctuation but pretty stable so it hasn’t been bad. Since my husband returned to the East coast our daughter has spent two weeks in NC and a week or two with me in VA (I’m thankful we didn’t have to do this longer than we did.) The glue that holds us together is my mom. She is a saint and I don’t know where I’d be without her.
    Timing was such that my mom hit one of those social security wickets the same month my daughter was born. She retired and moved up to NC to take care of her first grand-baby. This obviously isn’t feasible for the majority of military moms but it has been a blessing for my family. I don’t have to worry about her being left in a high chair, sitting in front of the TV all day, or the cost and short hours of the CDC. While I’m fortunate my mom was so ready and willing to be the day-time care-giver to her first grandchild I have no idea what I would have done otherwise. I didn’t have a plan. For any females contemplating having children, have a solid plan to make this work. It is vital if you want to stay in.
    I hope to make it to 20, obviously 12 years to go. Another factor we have working for us is my husband’s prior enlistment he’s approaching 17 years already. Maybe he’ll extend to bump up his high 3, maybe he won’t. We’ll see what the board will hold for him and how back-logged promotions are. Right now he’s just started 3 year orders to a squadron while I have orders to MWSS so I won’t be flying yet again. Like you, I took my orders kicking and screaming and throwing temper tantrums because I wanted to be in the air and proving my worth. On the other hand, I’ll take the desk job for now so that I can be with the kids (I hope to knock out one more while at MWSS to round out our family), remain active duty, let my husband have his (perhaps) last tour and then at that point be able to get myself back into a squadron.
    My long term vision is as follows (you can knock my dreams all you want):
    2012-2015 MWSS
    2015-2018 HMLA
    2018-2022 HMX-1
    2022-2024 Pensacola flight instructor
    So some final thoughts:
    1) you’re not alone, you’re still blazing a trail for those of us behind you to follow. While I was pregnant with my first your name was a constant reminder that it could be done.
    2) The Marine Corps, while time consuming, is definitely no worse, and I’m sure vastly more accommodating, than a high paying executive job, appropriate for women of our intelligence.
    3) While I cannot fathom spending 7 months away from my daughter (and dash two and possibly/ hopefully 3) I am sure by that point I will be looking at the time as a vacation and a chance to focus on me. I hope my husband can understand that and I hope my mom will still be there for us, all of us.
    My apologies for the long response.

  • Lisette

    In reading this post and every single reply, and as not only a non-military professional, but as a cook and bartender, every single word that I want to comment on I have condensed a great amount…

    There is beauty in the ability to write well. There is also immense talent to be able to see in certain statements, whether they are hidden between the lines or blatant, scream the ugliness we all try to avoid. Those small hints at what, in my opinion, in every single aspect of life, set off an alarm in what I like to call a ‘good’ person, giving a warning. A red flag. Don’t trust this person. At least not whole-heartedly. It’s called intuition. Conscience.

    As much as I wanted to verbally attack Grandpa at first, I changed my skepticism and anger throughout his posts, because he made some amazing and unfortunately painfully realistic points. There is one underlying message i picked up on, though. If I am wrong paw-paw, please by all means correct me.

    “hot stick lady jet pilot”

    For me, as a woman, in ANY profession, that single phrase hits me in the gut of my intelligence. What it tells me exactly is not important. What matters is that I feel sorry for you.

    Sol…”swallow a few social issues this year”?…seriously? If I am getting the wrong message from your comment, please go into some detail for me.

    UltimaRatioReg…Well put. “Mothers are not expendable” I love that comment. That’s the sacrifices, the decisions, the love of not only the family, but everyone involved in the lives of all of you who put yourself out and into danger so we can live. I think this forum and all the ones that branch out from it is a constant battle to make the world as idealistic as we individually want. Unfortunately, we all want different things.

    Everyone has a huge part in this beautiful world. There are some people out there who I cannot and will never understand. Ingrained prejudices. Those negatives are easily recognized for anyone with an ounce of intelligence. Hence the constant question…”what the fuck is wrong with the world?!?”

    What I can say as a ‘civilian’ is: When an amazing, brilliant, dedicated, loving, honest, and pure woman is 6 months pregnant and angry (huge understatement) that she has been grounded, and will not be able to deploy a month (!!!!!) after having her first child…the obvious inner battle going on in her head…fighting for the person inside of her, or for the men and women of the military she physically protects because in a way they are also her babies…For those of you who cannot see the love in that, then I pity you.

  • Lisette

    one more thing…

    Sol…about your blog that you keep separate from this one…now I understand why. It is not only unacceptable and offensive(or at least should be), but it takes away any credibility you could possibly have. Two things go hand in hand in my experiences in life: ignorance and unmerited hatred that is burned so obviously deep into some people, that it’s just as hard to accept that there are people like you, as it is easy to almost(ALMOST) ignore anything that comes out of your mouth. The worst part about being more human, and more intelligent, than you is that trying to find the perfect balance in the world includes people like me refusing to believe that someday maybe you will love enough to have a change of heart. That is a glimmer of hope that keeps the good people in my life going. Hatred is not ‘okay’. It is what creates random crime, murder, abuse, rape, fighting, crying, etc. I firmly believe that not only do bad things happen to good people, but sometimes really good people do very bad things. The realization that I’m wrong, and it’s happened quite a few times, is painful. Sadly, there are very bad people. They are usually the haters. I’m just sayin’…

  • Diogenes of NJ

    @Lisette -

    I heartily endorse your disdain for “the hatred”. Weather or not Sol’s opinion, that he expresses elsewhere, rises to the level of “hatred” is also a matter of opinion (your opinion perhaps).

    However, what I perceive from your above post is genuine hatred of the haters – those whom you choose to label. (A position supported by your superior intelligence which you point out, yet offer no evidence to support.)

    I’ll tell you what you can do if you would really like to extinguish the hate – spend a year or two in the “Sand Box” or sitting on top of a pile of rocks in Afghanistan. If you got lucky you might have the privilege of sending some real haters to hell to meet up with their 72 virgins – if you weren’t so lucky you might be staying there a lot longer than you had planned.

    So to refrain from being labeled a hypocrite – I will merely deride the hate of the haters of hatred.

    - Kyon

  • Byron

    Lisetter, look at Grandpa again; he is wise in the ways of the sea, the Sea Service (the Navy to you) and to those of men and women. He is a gentleman of the old school, more so than myself. He’s also pretty damn smart. Please don’t condemn him out of hand; to do so, would cause you to miss out on a lot of wisdom. Remember, you can learn even from those you think you despise.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Lisette,

    Before you use the phrase “very bad people” and try and associate it with ANYone here whose remarks you find distasteful, suggest strongly that you go and meet some of them. They are out there, but my guess is you have seldom come across them, the ones who would kill you because they believed you to be insufficiently devout, or murder their own children for “honor”.

    None of them reside here, nor comment here. In fact, plenty of the commenters and bloggers here have fought to keep those people from our shores and from your life.

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Lisette: Apparently I struck a nerve. Good.

    I have never served with, or known, a Naval Aviator – this includes Marines who wear the same wings – who did not consider themselves a “hot stick”, a highly skilled pilot to eschew the vernacular; in their own estimation.

    Any serving female officer, I would pray, would consider herself duty bound to be a lady, just as any male would strive to be a gentleman. My grandmothers were ladies, my mother was, my wife is and my daughters are, the granddaughters are ladies under instruction. It is a compliment I extend to all women until they prove themselves unworthy of it.

    Jet pilots are considered, by most, to be the elite of the aviation crowd, so I chose use the term considered (quite incorrectly in many cases – brilliant talent exists in all subspecialties – thank God) to be inherently complimentary.

    If you held those achievements, earned in your own right, which would you be willing to drop? I was describing an exemplar. So what is the nature of your complaint, madame?

    Do you think being described as lady is a slur? Au contraire.

    I think the bitter pill is that the Navy could operate just fine without any women, at all, as enlisted personnel or officers. Not in a World War II sized effort, mind you. But with 200 and a bit warships, no frigates, a dozen minus bird farms and matching AAW cruisers, way too few Amphibs or NGFS capability, almost no auxiliary vessels outside USNS, and over total current ship inventory Admirals consuming overhead, there is no absolute NEED for women on active duty. Foolish to not draw from that incredible pool of talent and intelligence, in my opinion. But not as important a thing as the advocates of total gender equality, at the point of an early out to any who disagree, have been shouting from the housetops for the last quarter century.

    Enough qualified recruit inputs and trained sailors (all male) is, if distasteful to some, is still… enough.

    I quite agree, such a scenario is not fair. Nothing, in practice, about modern naval personnel management, to the extent it is management, is fair. It can’t be and get the job done, or (more realistically) save enough in underfunded peace to sell the blood and lives of our outnumbered sailors at a high enough price to buy the time needed to attain adequate Mobilization to stop, hold, force back and defeat. Which is the Navy’s destiny, at best, in the 21st, and possibly 22nd century. Guaranteed by bad decisions of every administration since the Berlin Wall went down.

    I advocate no slack for all on other than humanitarian grounds. Earned leave and liberty, emergency leave, and judicious use of basket leave for superior performance, sure. Special deals and childbearing multiyear furloughs, no. Rigged for slings and arrows, fire away.

    My aim was to stimulate cognitive dissonance between the propaganda from DACOWITS and the head shed and the realities the fleet is facing due to the fiscal mess we face. Thinking it through, based on the facts, is hard work. But it relieves the psychic pain of thinking two impossible things at the same time.

    Which has been going on for 1.25 times service to qualify for retirement, now. At least.

    Thank you for noticing I was bringing up painful truths. It’s my hobby in my old age, and I take pains in order to do it effectively.

    Byron: Thanks.

  • Byron

    Lisette, the thing about us folks who have had our AARP cards for 10 years+ and who are grandfathers of strapping young men (mine, sadly, can no longer join the Navy as his father once he was diagnosed with diabetes), it that we no longer feel the need to hide the truth from younger people like yourself. Grandpa, gentleman that he is, is polite to a fault…but he DID speak the truth. I’m not so much a gentleman…but I will hold the door for you :)

  • Diogenes of NJ

    I would prefer to retire from this thread without leaving the impression that I was scolding the younger generation. I try not to fool myself into thinking that whatever I wrote was in the least bit thought provoking – since that like much else has apparently gone out of style. You can chalk this up just one more old man’s lecture, so here goes:

    Diogenes of NJ said: “So here’s my pilot’s advice: have a flight plan, always pre-flight the aircraft and keep a pilot’s manual in your flight bag. You are responsible for your passengers and it helps to have a wingman.”

    This is what that means:

    1) Have a flight plan – know your life’s objective. If you don’t have a complete flight plan, it’s OK to take off in VFR weather as long as you have an intermediate destination and a route to get there. You won’t get above 15,000 feet, but you can fly as long as the fuel and the weather hold up. If it looks like it’s about to close in or the engine starts to run rough, consider a precautionary landing. If you perform a precautionary landing, you may find out that you’ll need a different aircraft to reach your destination. It’s probably socked in where you’re going, so you’ll eventually need to file IFR. That will require an alternate and enough gas to get there with a reserve. Also bear in mind that eventually we all arrive at the same destination. It’s the last landing that you will ever perform – it won’t matter all that much if you crash, but somebody else has to pay for the airplane if you do.

    2) Always pre-flight the aircraft – you need training, education, some kind of marketable skill. Looks on the outside don’t count. You need to look into the tank and pull the dip-stick. If you don’t like what you see, get it fixed before you take off.

    3) Keep a pilot’s manual in your flight bag – it’s best to fly the aircraft by the book. Exceed the envelope at your peril – if you survive it was more luck than skill. An example of flying by the book is to be married before you get pregnant.

    4) You are responsible for your passengers – your children and those who depend upon you.

    5) It helps to have a wingman – stay married.

    To bring item 5 up to date – stay married to the opposite sex. This isn’t completely original as I’m sure I’ve read something like this somewhere before. We all know it. I bring it up again to complete my meaning and because apparently some may have forgotten the principles.

    Had he survived, Lt. Col. ‘Bull’ Meechum would have said much the same, although I’m sure in a much more attention getting way.

    – Kyon

  • Grandpa Bluewater

    Diogenes du NJ:

    You may put down your lamp whenever you are close aboard any mirror. You need look no further.

  • Capt. HW “Woody” Sanford,MC,USNR(ret.)

    Major Haynie:
    It has been quite an iformative exercise to read your first 3 posts. What I want to talk about is You, not your children,husband,duty stations,flying hours,etc. It’s YOUR career we are writing about!

    Before and during your time at the Naval Academy, how much had you thought about a military career? Were any family members career? Had you been on military bases, Navy Ships,combat Aircraft,firng ranges, seen or visited wounded Veterans?

    MOST IMPORTANT of ALL!! Had you imagined yourself in command of a unit of all men? If this answer is yes, Please stay in the military for at least 20 years. This country and the Marine Corps needs you!I really believe there are a number of ways you can have a very happy marriage and family life while serving on active duty or in the reserves. Some questions:
    When are you in the field for promotion to O-5? I got my scrambled eggs 3 days before leaving active duty. The yeoman at the check-out desk said “Congratulations, Commander!” I almost cried. My situation was different, I was a doctor and could make a lot more money on the outside, but I thought about that moment many times in later years.
    In your Helicopter Community, how does the sea/shore/overseas rotation work? Do detailers control everything or can you influence some choices and assignments. Do the East Coast squadrons now take females? Are your sea-duty tours mainly Carrier- based or other? During my Intern year at NH San Diego,
    I was heavily recruited for Flight Surgeon training, but someone whispered in my ear that I would likely end up sitting on Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf,losing my pilots on a regular basis. So, of all things, I went into the submarines for 2 years. Not too bad really- 3 out,3 in, Blue and Gold, diving and driving as Diving Officer of the Watch- Docs could not Qualify as OD. I got my Dolphins. Did you consider fixed-wing? I know a couple of carrier pilot girls got killed, but don’t really think that changed anything. The COBRA is an attack helo- do you like firing all those guns and rockets in combat? The one thing I really wanted to do on the USS JAMES MADISON was fire a MARK-37 torpedo at a real target. Of course nobody could do that.
    I think the Tailhook Convention Disaster was before your time, but a lot of Senior Aviators were shot down over that deal. The perpetrators went after an Admiral’s Aid, a,uh,buxom LT in starched whites, in an elevator. BIG Mistake. Frank Kelso, one of the best submariner’s ever ,was CNO. Th scandal went all the way to his level and he was forced into early retirement. As I’m sure
    you know, there have always been some “bad boys” in Navy/Marine Aviation.
    I see you as being very smart. If you love aviation, stick with it and Raise Holy Hell if you don’t get what you want.
    If you stay in the Reserves, let everybody know you want to be CO of a Unit. When in Command, COMMAND and do it your way. Trust me, you will be quite comfortable and SUCCESSFUL!
    Take the the most challenging things you can get every year for 2-week Acdutra- something at 29 Palms, Lejeune, the Mountain Warfare School in California, Course at Quantico or Naval War College. That’s what I did and loved it. Also do Correspondence Courses during the year. Take your husband and kids with you and just WORK IT OUT.

    Semper FI, Major Jeannette. I will write some more

    Woody Sanford,MD,FACR
    P.S. Your French name and use of “Y’all” suggests Louisiana. Am I right? Also, does your male Marine husband know how lucky he is?
    OO-RAH!

  • Capt. HW “Woody” Sanford,MC,USNR(ret.)

    Major:

    Just now read your earlier post that I missed confirming you are from Louisiana, in fact New Orleans, the “Big Easy.” If you get back there, please send me some Muffeletas from Central Grocery and some Beignets from the ? breakfast place in the big tent. I would also would love a big Hurricane glass and the recipe from Pat O’Briens. I’m joking of course, but I’ve had some great times there. My first visit was August, 1960, just prior to my Senior year at The Citadel. If you attended the Mardi Gras Parade, you may have seen our Summeral Guards drill team that performed most every year. I didn’t try out because of difficult Pre-Med Academics, but we were proud of those guys. I don’t know if any girls have made it. Several trips since, last time for Saints- Panthers game in 2008. Panthers QB Jake Delhomme from Breaux Bridge, LA led the Cats to victory over Drew and the Church Boys. But we got crushed in the first Playoff Game by Mark Warner and the Red Birds.

    Hope you have had a chance to read my first Blog to you from 2 days ago.

    Love and Luck,

    Woody Sanford

  • Jeannette Haynie

    Thanks for the comments, and the trip down memory lane…I remember that game well, my husband and I were there. We try to make it to a game every year or so (life permitting…we’re about 5 for 20 right now), being diehard Saints fans. Luckily for us, the 2009 season was MUCH improved for our boys. We made it to the Saints/Panthers game (which the Saints nearly lost) and then got to go to the Superbowl victory parade.

    Our kids are also Saints fans and love the guys even when the team is completely busted for running a bounty scheme (not worried…Sean Payton is akin to God back home, so I’m sure he’s coaching by ESP or astral projection).

    As for the Citadel, we’ve seen them marching in a number of Mardi Gras parades, always looked sharp and proud. One of my best friends graduated from VMI in 1997, and I used to head home during Mardi Gras to see him march (he was in the band).

    the beignet place is Cafe du Monde, but if you ever get back, let me know and I’ll send you to some amazing restaurants! Thanks for the comments and for your service.

  • Capt. HW “Woody” Sanford,MC,USNR(ret.)

    Wow, Major, I have been reading all your Posts and many of the replies, not knowing you are a pro football fan! That one thing should take down most of any difficulties you have experienced or will experience in life, social and gender interaction, and the Marine Corps. The Marines we drilled with at N&MCRC, Greenville, SC called us “Squids” or “Squid Docs,” but if they ever had a medical complaint, they would stand at attention at the Sick Bay door. Corpsman: “What’s up, Marine?” PFC: “Gotta see the Doctor.”
    Corpsman: “What about?” PFC: “Can’t tell YOU.” Corpsman: “OK, but this better be important.”PFC:” Is he gonna give me a ‘finger wave’”(rectal exam.)These Reservists, not long out of boot camp, had been told by their Sergeants and Corporals that was part of every medical check, regardless of the complaint-skin rash to brain tumor. Corpsman:”Yeah, probably 2 or 3 times. now get in his office, strip down and Buck Over.” This is when I intervened, laughing, and reassured the poor Grunt in the office. Later, they would be delighted to learn that their officers had to have the finger wave every year at their annual physical.

    Keep in touch, particularly about football. Us starving Panther fans are hoping Cam Newton and Co. can pull off a few more miracles this year and maybe sneak into the playoffs.

    Regards, Woody
    wookiinunion@charter.net
    P. S. I have eaten at Antoine’s, Commander’s and Gallatoire’s over many years. Also ? Redfish on Bourbon ST. Went to place on Canal ST. famous for Red Beans and Rice, but they didn’t serve it on night I was there(Sun.) What is the best place for Crawfish?

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