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As the first African-American President of the United States, it’s sadly ironic that Barack Obama, in his capacity as Commander-In-Chief of the nation’s armed-forces, presided over a lynching today.

Yet, that’s exactly what happened.

I don’t mean that a group of drunken, ignorant and possibly inbred people threw a rope over a lamp-standard and pulled someone up by his or her neck, but the net effect for the person at the other end of the electronic rope is the same.

It is ironic that as Americans, many of us love to spend time on such sites a YouTube, M90, NothingToxic and a plethora of other electronic ‘p-traps’—look up the term, if you don’t know it…it’s the plumbing-related definition—but when confronted with something by the media with something at which we would normally laugh, we scowl and goose-step into political-correctness.

As a hip-hop artist one said, here’s the situation:

In the middle of the previous decade, Captain Owen Honors, the then “XO” or executive-officer of the USS Enterprise produced a series of instructive, editorial and just plain-damn-funny videos for an on-board broadcast series called “XO Theatre”.

(For those who are unfamiliar with Enterprise or other nuclear-powered aircraft-carriers, the roughly 300-metre long vessels each have their own TV stations to entertain and inform the roughly 5,000 to 6,000 people aboard. Enterprise has always had one, even when my father was aboard in the late sixties.)

These videos addressed a number of subjects, including flight-deck safety, same-sex showering, drinking, masturbation, use of the word f*ck and the necessity to keep the heads—toilets—clean.

At the beginning of each video, Captain Honors plainly stated that they weren’t for everyone and invited those who were easily offended to skip them. He further stated that the Captain and Admiral—Enterprise is a flag-vessel—were not aware of each video’s content.

(I’ll pause at this time to state that this was—and is—absolute bullshit. When my father was on Enterprise, the Captain knew everything that occurred aboard, especially when it was broadcast on televisions throughout the ship, including the bridge, wardroom and Captain’s stateroom. Further, the Admiral knew what happened on Enterprise, because at that time, it was the flag-ship of the U.S. Navy. Seriously!)

Anyway, here’s where—at the risk of being blunt—we move from bullshit to chickenshit.

The video series ended without incident in 2006 or so, when Captain Honors was posted to another assignment and nothing was even said when Captain Honors returned to Enterprise in early 2010 as the latest person in charge of her bridge.

For roughly five years, the videos were a non-issue. Those who weren’t aboard Enterprise during the series’ run weren’t even aware of their existence.

Then, a few months back, the local newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia and a TV station in adjacent Hampton Roads, Virginia came into possession of several of the videos.

They asked the U.S. Navy and DOD about the videos, and were basically told it was a non-issue, due to the amount of time which had elapsed, the lack of complains from Enterprise crewmembers and the longstanding practice of Navy personnel to let off steam while in combat-zones.

Naturally, as media outlets in the age of political correctness and forever in search of ratings or readership—I spent almost six years in this world—both felt it their sworn duty to trumpet the matter to the world, to verily shout it from the rooftops and whip it into a story.

Naturally, as politicians and government-appointees in the age of political correctness and ever frightened of offending a soul who isn’t male and Caucasian, a lynch-mob of talking-heads, secretaries and undersecretaries, members of congress, military analysts and anyone able to find his or her way in front of a camera screamed for Captain Honors’ head and possibly testicles.

That’s when a funny thing happened. The crewmembers about Enterprise during the period in question, including women, overwhelmingly rallied to his defence. If you doubt this, “friend” Enterprise’s Facebook page and read the wall-posts.

Of course, this being the era of political correctness, it made no difference. Chester Nimitz and “Bull” Halsey could have vouched for Captain Honors, and he would have still been the bottom guy in the scrum. He was relieved of his command, earlier today.

Before you accuse me of being insensitive, please allow me to explain something.

This isn’t an aberration. You all just got a glimpse of the real U.S. Navy and, let me assure you it’s no different from the other military branches.

This is what people do when they’re in a combat-zone, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

This is what people do when they’re on a cruise that’s nine months long, with a damn good chance of getting extended another three to six months. My father was once away for eighteen consecutive months.

Not only is this nothing new for the Navy, but it’s nothing new for Enterprise.

The photos in this blog illustrate a “crossing ceremony” aboard Enterprise in late Summer 1969.

Such ceremonies were held whenever a ship crossed the equator, in order to initiate those had not previously done so.

The sailors each received a summons to the court of King Neptune—the guy with the trident and a wig fashioned from a cotton-rag mop head—where they would each have to approach the “baby” on their knees and use only their mouths to pluck a cherry from the baby’s bellybutton.

My father and his friends decided to skip shaving the previous day, so they could move their faces back and forth, giving the baby’s belly whisker-burn.

Also aboard Enterprise, were “dopey-books” made from blank log-books. My father has one somewhere, but damned if I can find it and I wish I could. I grew up reading the contents of that book, from which I learned my best profanities as well as how to string them into a triple-curse, and admiring its beautifully-drawn, often x-rated cartoons. I assure you, Captain Honors would never have read a “dopey-book” on TV…not, unless he wanted to tempt the Navy to reinstate keel-hauling.

Nonetheless, these things…the ceremonies…the “dopey-books”…even the “XO Theatre” video series are morale boosters.

They’re the things which relieve the tension when you’re ready to kill someone, decide to miss ship’s movement (also known as being UA, which stands for Unauthorised Absence), drink some of the contraband alcohol hidden in the ventilation ducts or do something equally stupid.

These are the things which build and main the esprit de corps, but about which you do not ever write home to mother, because mother won’t understand unless she was in the military as a young adult.

As politically incorrect as these things are, if you attack them you inevitably attack the morale of the crew. That…a loss of morale, more threatens the military effectiveness of a ship than the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell, a visit by Gloria Allred and a six-hour karaoke of Elton John songs, because those three only involve homophobia, while everything else mentioned involves the ability to of military personnel to laugh at themselves, enjoy satirical comments about the chain of command and just relax a little.

Captain Honors was well-regarded and quite possibly loved by the men and women who served under him, and that, not his comedic tastes should be the determining factor when deciding who commands a floating city powered by nuclear reactors and armed with everything including nuclear weapons.

Leave politics to the politicians and the military to those who know it, live it and, if need be, die for it.

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37 Comments

  1. politics never has a place in the military. but who’s in charge of it? a bunch of assholes that have no idea about commradery.

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    • That’s it. Those in charge are almost always people whose combat experience is confined to cinema and home video.

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  2. thnx bro

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  11. Здорово вы мне помогли. Честное слово, новыми красками все заиграло. Я понял теперь, как на самом деле все круто. Автор, низко кланяюсь ))) В каком, кстати, городе живете?

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  12. Что ж… и такое мнение допустимо. Хотя, думаю, возможны и другие варианты, так что не огорчайтесь.

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  13. Скажите, а у вас есть RSS поток в этом блоге

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    • Я не знаю, если это сайт кормит моего блога в RSS. Я хотел бы, чтобы корм RSS, но если я должен настроить его, я не знаю, как это сделать. Спасибо за чтение моего блога. Пожалуйста, подпишитесь. Приятно, на самом деле говорить с людьми.

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  14. Потрясающе! Хочется перечитывать снова и снова… Такие авторы сегодня большая редкость.

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  18. thanks, very good =)

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  19. Достаточно интересная и познавательная тема

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  20. Спасибо! Буду теперь заходить на этот блог каждый день!

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  21. Тут уже столько написали комментариев до меня. Осталось только присоединиться

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  22. Спасибо! Супер статья! Блог в ридер однозначно

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  23. Very interesting site

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  24. Уважаемый автор блога, а вы случайно не из Москвы?

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  25. Конечно, мы все с удовольствием проводим время в сети, но далеко не всегда – с пользой. Вот и я тоже. Редко попадается что-то действительно стоящее, что-то, что не только рассмешит, но и заставит задуматься. Этот пост как раз – одно из ркдких исключений, когда читаешь с удовольствием и что-то для себя выносишь. Спасибо автору.

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  26. Спасибо за статью, всегда рад почитать вас!

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  27. Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one!

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  29. я бы сказал не интересно, а разумно

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  32. What you said made a lot of sense.

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