Is Change Always Good?
By: Garland Davis
Someday, probably sooner than later, some progressive son-of-a-bitch looking to change something for change sake will take a look at the impractical white hat and throw it in the lucky bag along with the flat hat, the blue working hat, and the knit watch cap, if that is still a thing. Someone will probably call a maven of high fashion and Haute Couture who will inform them that the white hat is not in line with the fashionable naval forces of the world.
American sailors will probably end up with a European inspired piece of shit instead of the versatile white hat. Progressives seem to like substituting overseas loser crap like berets and camo uniforms with bloused trousers over combat boots for sensible and comfortable dungaree uniforms with a white hat or a blue working cap. I’ll bet there is an asshole somewhere in the Navy department who just loves those French pouf hats with the red pompoms.
Take a look at the legends of World War II, Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, Cutter, Lockwood and others. These giants wore over their left breast a handful of ribbons that meant something, accompanied by Gold Wings or Dolphins. Now look at the, literally, hundreds of no combat Flag Officers of today. They are wearing so many ribbons, qualification pins and other meaningless crap that they walk with a port list.
The practice of awarding everyone for everything has proliferated down to the lowest levels. Seamen graduating from boot camp can receive a ribbon just for accomplishing something that millions before them have done and under more stringent conditions. I was at a Denny’s for breakfast a few weeks ago. A group of shore duty sailors came. Yeah, the shore duty stations have a shoulder patch identifying the command these days. A non-designated female Seaman was with the group. She was wearing four ribbons, including the Navy Achievement Ribbon as well as the ESWS pin. I had eight years in the Navy before I had any ribbon other than the Good Conduct and I only had one of those. (How the fuck does an E-3 qualify for ESWS on shore duty?)
Our Navy held our own and contributed to winning the cold war at the same time fighting a hot war in Vietnam and responding to incidents such as the SS Mayaguez incident. Yeah, we not only won the cold war, but it also looks as if our leaders are hell bent on winning the World Wide Naval Silly Shit Awards Race. Looking around, we must be ahead.
You can have a dumbshit commanding a pisser and shitter rehabilitation depot in East Bumfuck who looks like one of Bonaparte’s Field Marshalls. I wonder if the bastards wearing all that hokey garbage fool themselves into thinking it makes them relevant in the competency game while deep down they know they are posers and losers. Do the medals make the man? Are subordinates impressed with all the colored ribbons and shiny doo-dads?
“Hey Chief, is Ensign Stumbles getting another medal at quarters today? What did he do for this one?”
“Hell, I don’t know. Got up at reveille or wiped his own ass. Who cares, the damned things don’t mean shit.”
You know, it is a damned shame. Medals and ribbons once meant a lot. These awards were worn by men who earned them in Harm’s Way. They were more than souvenirs that say, “I have been there and done that.”
We have diminished the standard for so much that was once so meaningful to Americans. The political and Naval leadership has become complacent and have stood by uncaringly while many of our important traditions are cheapened or discarded like so many leaves in the wind.
I guess if you accept shit, the world will hand you all you can handle. One morning you wake to find a draft dodging, worthless, asshole in the White House getting hummers in the oval office and, overnight, it becomes “No Big Deal.”
Boy, talk about getting sidetracked, I started this about the white hat and ended up talking about “Blow Jobs.”
There is a memorial in Washington for the sailors of the United States Navy. There is a lone sailor, wearing a white hat, peacoat collar turned up and his hands in his pockets. A typical American Bluejacket, standing there with his seabag. I sometimes worry about him. He is so out of step with the newer, gentler, modern navy. Someone should go down some moonless night and award him eight rows of reflector tape ribbons, bolt on a G.E. refrigerator emblem and a Harley ornament to make him conform to the present day Navy.
The last time I saw him, he had three inches of snow on his white hat and shoulders. If you are in DC and heading to San Diego, you might consider giving the poor bastard a ride to a warmer climate before he freezes to death.