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Offline llsdjv

To Each His Own
« on: Feb 06, 2010, 10:03 »
First off, my appreciation goes out to anyone who stays in the Nuclear Navy.  I have experienced life in Iraq, Afghanistan, and a carrier in the Gulf.  I will say that most people probably haven’t experienced this broad range of life so I would like to tell you a little about it.

When I was on the carrier about 3 years ago I remember my CO coming across the speaker all of the time to tell us how good we had it on the ship and that the boots on the ground have it pretty rough.  I believed him until I came over here.

My preface to this is that I know things were rough when we first invaded and the soldiers that go outside of the gate are faced with constant threats of IED’s, small arms fire, and a host of other things.  However most people stay inside the base and that’s where I will make my comparison.

Probably the biggest shock to me was how people are treated.  No disrespect to chiefs and officers, but you guys would not like it over here.  Everyone is treated the same.  For example I have seen a General (O-7) wait in the same lunch line behind Johnny (E-1).  Everyone eats at the same place, sits at the same place, and no one is given priority or head of line based on rank.  If Johnny (E-1) takes the last seat in the DFAC (Galley) before the General gets it, the General stands.  Everywhere else on base there is no head of line privileges for officers or senior enlisted.  Personally I like this mentality because everyone is treated like a person with equal rights. 

As far as amenities go I consider lodging to be better, even if you’re sleeping in a tent because you have more room.  On some bases you actually get a very small room to yourself or a roommate.  The current Colonel I am working with apparently had to have some of his guys moved to tents because of lodging restraints.  So he made his entire squadron move into tents.  Could you imagine the Reactor Officer giving up his stateroom and telling all of his officers and chiefs to move into general berthing?  I think hell would freeze over first.  I have to give a lot of credit to that Colonel, it is very noble act. 

Food is another big thing.  I remember having to buy bottled water, Gatorade, and go to a vending machine on the carrier to get a drink.  It’s all given out free here.  You can take as much as you want.  The DFAC also has Baskin Robbins ice cream (8 flavors usually), pies, cookies, and almost anything else you could imagine.  They give out protein and energy bars for free.  It’s really amazing the differences.  Food is at least 10 times better here

If you’re lucky to be in Afghanistan you can buy/use a cell phone for about $80 and call home whenever you want and avoid DSN lines.  There are also multiple wireless internet hubs that people can use. 

The bad part of being over in Iraq or Afghanistan is that even on base you are not safe.  It’s not uncommon to have mortar and rocket attacks.  Some bases are relatively quiet while others get attacked multiple times a day.

Like the saying goes, “To each his own”, and I can tell you that I would much rather be in Iraq or Afghanistan than on a ship.  With that said I again thank each and everyone who is on a ship/sub or has served on a ship/sub.

Offline Marlin

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Re: To Each His Own
« Reply #1 on: Feb 06, 2010, 10:27 »
   This is not the first time I have heard this kind of sentiment. Even some of the Vietnam vets while I was in requested return tours "In Country". There are usually many more support people than front line troops in these conflicts and the duty for some of these troops is not that bad. A young man (by my standards anyway) that I just finished working with was recently separated from the Marines as a Sniper after 12 years. He did several tours in Iraq and talked a little about the mindset it took to do different jobs. He did a couple of tours as a sniper then one as a  hazardous material retriever packaging up ordnance and other hazardous materials for disposal/ shipment. Snipers have a short life span mentally if they cannot adjust, which he did and enjoyed his time in material retrieval as it was an independent job that let him travel around the country.
   The guest speaker this month at my SubVets meeting is an ex submariner reservist who just spent 11 months over there in a training billet. I look forward to hearing about his experiences and perspective on his tour. I wonder if he wore his dolphins on camos?  :)

JustinHEMI05

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Re: To Each His Own
« Reply #2 on: Feb 06, 2010, 12:07 »
Apples and oranges.

Offline llsdjv

Re: To Each His Own
« Reply #3 on: Feb 06, 2010, 09:37 »
I have to differ with you apples and oranges statement.

If I was the only one to compare the Navy to the other branches I would say it is apples and oranges.  But as stated in my first post my former CO would always make the comparison.  He is not alone, most if not all military members have at least thought about this comparison at one point or another. 

My whole point of this post was to give a different perspective.  Basically, a perspective from someone who has been there and is not guessing or making stuff up.  The whole time I was in the Navy I kept hearing about how much better we had it compared to the boots on the ground.  This came from Chiefs, Officers, and everyone else who had no clue of what its really like. 

Again when we first invaded it is a completely different story, but now things are relatively nice.  While you are much safer on a ship, you have a better quality of life on the ground.  I say "To each his own" because your choice will be based on whether you value safety or quality of life more. 

This post is also intended to let sailors on ships/subs know that they are making a big sacrifice for their country.  I felt somewhat meaningless when I was on the ship because my sacrifice didn't compare to the sacrifice of the boots on the ground.  Well no disrespect to the boots on the ground, but I think sailors have it worse. 


JustinHEMI05

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Re: To Each His Own
« Reply #4 on: Feb 07, 2010, 01:17 »
Well of course sailors are making a sacrifice as well, and I disagree with anyone that would try to diminish their experience as it relates to a ground pounder. But I say apples and oranges to things like "the CO was in line behind and E1" or whatever. That is simply a necessity of the situation they are in. The same would NOT be true on a base back here in the states. That is not to say I agree with all the ship board traditions, such as blue decks, but I also do not agree that there should be no separation between officers and enlisted or "perks" that come with rank. Its the military, that is the way it works.
« Last Edit: Feb 07, 2010, 01:17 by JustinHEMI »

co60slr

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Re: To Each His Own
« Reply #5 on: Feb 07, 2010, 08:41 »
Again when we first invaded it is a completely different story, but now things are relatively nice.  While you are much safer on a ship, you have a better quality of life on the ground.  I say "To each his own" because your choice will be based on whether you value safety or quality of life more. 

This post is also intended to let sailors on ships/subs know that they are making a big sacrifice for their country.  I felt somewhat meaningless when I was on the ship because my sacrifice didn't compare to the sacrifice of the boots on the ground.  Well no disrespect to the boots on the ground, but I think sailors have it worse. 
First, I don't know who you are, but you do not need to log into Nukeworker.com and talk to me about MY sacrifices I made in the Navy.  You don't have to compare your "garden of eden" compound that you sit in and tell me it's better/worse than Ship/Submarine life.  As Justin said, it's NOT apples/apples, so here's another person trying to figure out what your point really is in Nukeworker today.

I fail to see how "great" you have it in Afghanistan. Here are a few stats for you:
http://icasualties.org/oef/
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/afghanistan/
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/dates/2010/feb/03/david--j-hartman/
If you have facts to debate the issue further to your point, than post them.  I'd love to read accounts of how solders think they're having a grand 'ole time over there.

So, if you're ready to stand by your golden perspective, then I challenge you to man-up and send a letter to David J. Hartman's mother and convince HER how "great" is is over there in a War Zone.  Do you think David Hartman got the chance to eat a hamburger with some General before he died over there?  There's a serious mission going on OUTSIDE your compound, that you like to isolate in comparison to Sub life, which again is ridiculous.  In fact, I read your post as belittling the people dying over there with your immature "perspective" of military life. 

Personally, if I was sent to Afghanistan today and had a job that kept me inside a highly protective zone eating "sliders" with Generals, then I'd be a little embarrassed to Blog the world how I get to stay warm/safe while people around me were dying.  I'd log onto a Blog and thank the families of my fallen comrades and give the accurate perspective (as Justin also articulates) that "we're all doing what we can to survive and we're all praying to come home alive" which leads to the lifetime of camaraderie(that Marlin discussed)...regardless of your rank, title, or military service.  That is why, lad, this Forum is so passionate, so dedicated, and so fond of their time in the military:  it was a hard life at times and we could rely on each other.  WWII vets, Vietnam war vets, cold war vets, Gulf war vets...all the same.  Luckily, in the Nuclear Industry, that can happen outside the military.  (I knew there had to be a way for me to steer this topic towards something germane to this forum).

The President of the United States did NOT commission that General to eat hamburgers with E-3s in some tent overseas.  If you've been made to feel "special" by that event, then in my 20+ years of enlisted/officer experience, you don't understand what it means to be either one.  If you'd like to differ with me and continue this thread, please PM me the name of your General.  I'll bet you $0.25 that not only can I find a way to contact him, but I'll be happy to post HIS "perspective" of eating tents in the secure compound while his 17 year-old soldier (and others to come) is dead.  I'll gladly share your post here with him and ask if this is really an accurate picture of life over there.  I'm guessing that he IS thinking about David Hartman's mother and many other solders wondering what tomorrow will bring for his Command.  I'm certain he isn't worried about logging into some Blog and trying to convince the world how "great" is is over there.  Here's the difference I'd expect to hear:  HE has to go to bed at night with the weight of those deaths on his shoulders...under his command...in a time of war...then, live with it for the rest of his life.  Maybe one day you'll leave that warm tent on an unsafe mission while being in charge of a group of junior enlisted solders and maybe then you'll understand what MY perspective is trying to share.  Maybe some day you'll be burdened with the responsibility and authority to make life-and-death decisions that you will be held accountable for...positively or negatively.  Maybe then you'll be a senior officer yourself and decide to sit with a young E-3 one day in the galley and ask him how his day went. Maybe you'll find yourself wondering whether or not that young E-3 will not be going home tomorrow as a result of a bad decision that you made. 

I'm sorry that your shipboard experience was unrewarding for you.  This forum is filled with stories of similar situations laden with disloyalty, lack of integrity, and utter mismanagement of some of these ships.  We've all heard (and maybe seen) the stories of prostitution rings, drug rings, suicides, etc...in addition to some problematic technical issues.  We've all worked for (or heard of) the "worst COs in the world".  I challenge you to be part of the solution in those bad situations, to stay positive, to be the one that someone still sane in your chain of command can look to for help when THEY need it. You'll then find how easy it is to write an outstanding resume and how valuable you are to the civilian world as well.  I'm sure your compound is filled with enlisted folks complaining how much their situation and assigned leadership sucks there, probably in contract to your post of the same situation...just as they did on your first ship perhaps.  Neither is perfect, but the difference is in YOUR attitude.

God Bless and Stay Safe over there.  I pray for your return and the ability to blog the world about your stories for decades to come.  I really do.  I've known others to go to Afghanistan and be less fortunate than you and I are today.

Co60


Offline dcm965

Re: To Each His Own
« Reply #6 on: Feb 07, 2010, 09:20 »
Our sacrifices onboard a boat or ship, pale in comparison to being on the ground over there.  PERIOD. How much room do you need when you are half way around the world sitting off the coast gathering intel or conducting flight ops to support the ground troops?
I would rather suck it up by:
1) Making my own water and using my reusable bottle. (Better for the environment)
2) Mixing my own Gatorade. (Cheaper than a vending machine and better for the environment)
3) Eating 3 flavors of ice cream until it runs out.
4) Eating separately from the officers. (Never liked the formality of dining with the officers)
5) Waking up to a fire or flooding drill from my own climate controlled rack, instead of a mortar attack that took out 3 of my friends, one of which died in my arms.

All the stuff that you mention is done to keep your mind occupied from how dangerous it really is over there.

Keep our troops safe over there. My wife and I pray for them.

I agree with Justin, it is apples and oranges………

Offline Gamecock

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Re: To Each His Own
« Reply #7 on: Feb 08, 2010, 08:39 »
First, I don't know who you are, but you do not need to log into Nukeworker.com and talk to me about MY sacrifices I made in the Navy.  You don't have to compare your "garden of eden" compound that you sit in and tell me it's better/worse than Ship/Submarine life.  As Justin said, it's NOT apples/apples, so here's another person trying to figure out what your point really is in Nukeworker today.

I fail to see how "great" you have it in Afghanistan. Here are a few stats for you:
http://icasualties.org/oef/
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/afghanistan/
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/dates/2010/feb/03/david--j-hartman/
If you have facts to debate the issue further to your point, than post them.  I'd love to read accounts of how solders think they're having a grand 'ole time over there.

So, if you're ready to stand by your golden perspective, then I challenge you to man-up and send a letter to David J. Hartman's mother and convince HER how "great" is is over there in a War Zone.  Do you think David Hartman got the chance to eat a hamburger with some General before he died over there?  There's a serious mission going on OUTSIDE your compound, that you like to isolate in comparison to Sub life, which again is ridiculous.  In fact, I read your post as belittling the people dying over there with your immature "perspective" of military life. 

Personally, if I was sent to Afghanistan today and had a job that kept me inside a highly protective zone eating "sliders" with Generals, then I'd be a little embarrassed to Blog the world how I get to stay warm/safe while people around me were dying.  I'd log onto a Blog and thank the families of my fallen comrades and give the accurate perspective (as Justin also articulates) that "we're all doing what we can to survive and we're all praying to come home alive" which leads to the lifetime of camaraderie(that Marlin discussed)...regardless of your rank, title, or military service.  That is why, lad, this Forum is so passionate, so dedicated, and so fond of their time in the military:  it was a hard life at times and we could rely on each other.  WWII vets, Vietnam war vets, cold war vets, Gulf war vets...all the same.  Luckily, in the Nuclear Industry, that can happen outside the military.  (I knew there had to be a way for me to steer this topic towards something germane to this forum).

The President of the United States did NOT commission that General to eat hamburgers with E-3s in some tent overseas.  If you've been made to feel "special" by that event, then in my 20+ years of enlisted/officer experience, you don't understand what it means to be either one.  If you'd like to differ with me and continue this thread, please PM me the name of your General.  I'll bet you $0.25 that not only can I find a way to contact him, but I'll be happy to post HIS "perspective" of eating tents in the secure compound while his 17 year-old soldier (and others to come) is dead.  I'll gladly share your post here with him and ask if this is really an accurate picture of life over there.  I'm guessing that he IS thinking about David Hartman's mother and many other solders wondering what tomorrow will bring for his Command.  I'm certain he isn't worried about logging into some Blog and trying to convince the world how "great" is is over there.  Here's the difference I'd expect to hear:  HE has to go to bed at night with the weight of those deaths on his shoulders...under his command...in a time of war...then, live with it for the rest of his life.  Maybe one day you'll leave that warm tent on an unsafe mission while being in charge of a group of junior enlisted solders and maybe then you'll understand what MY perspective is trying to share.  Maybe some day you'll be burdened with the responsibility and authority to make life-and-death decisions that you will be held accountable for...positively or negatively.  Maybe then you'll be a senior officer yourself and decide to sit with a young E-3 one day in the galley and ask him how his day went. Maybe you'll find yourself wondering whether or not that young E-3 will not be going home tomorrow as a result of a bad decision that you made. 

I'm sorry that your shipboard experience was unrewarding for you.  This forum is filled with stories of similar situations laden with disloyalty, lack of integrity, and utter mismanagement of some of these ships.  We've all heard (and maybe seen) the stories of prostitution rings, drug rings, suicides, etc...in addition to some problematic technical issues.  We've all worked for (or heard of) the "worst COs in the world".  I challenge you to be part of the solution in those bad situations, to stay positive, to be the one that someone still sane in your chain of command can look to for help when THEY need it. You'll then find how easy it is to write an outstanding resume and how valuable you are to the civilian world as well.  I'm sure your compound is filled with enlisted folks complaining how much their situation and assigned leadership sucks there, probably in contract to your post of the same situation...just as they did on your first ship perhaps.  Neither is perfect, but the difference is in YOUR attitude.

God Bless and Stay Safe over there.  I pray for your return and the ability to blog the world about your stories for decades to come.  I really do.  I've known others to go to Afghanistan and be less fortunate than you and I are today.

Co60


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Offline Marlin

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Re: To Each His Own
« Reply #8 on: Feb 08, 2010, 10:15 »
   To come to llsdjv's defense, at least to some extent, there is some merit to his argument. As a sub sailor I always hated going anywhere that I considered regular Navy (even a visit to the tender) because of the different cultures of the commands, I think this is similar to what he is talking about. On the other side of the coin, all Branch's of the service have senior enlisted and officers that are more attuned to their privilege than their responsibilities and have little regard for subordinates. One of the members of my SubVets chapter is retired Vadm Al Konetzni also known as "Big the Sailors Pal" he was the Commander of the submarine fleet when he was in and I have to tell you he regards all of his subordinates as shipmates.
   I don't think llsdjv was trying to denigrate any branch or assignment as much as he was expressing his own preferences. There are those who would greatly prefer a carrier to a sub due to operational differences and occasional sunlight, that was not my preference but I understand it. Working at a base in 110 degree heat, dust in every crack and crevice, waiting on the next incoming random rocket is not for me but apparently suits llsdjv just fine. I'm good with that.

 
To quote MARSSIM... Peace
« Last Edit: Feb 08, 2010, 10:17 by Marlin »

 


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