Black’s Beach

Stolen from Peter Yeschenko

Okay, who is going to admit that they went to Black’s Beach in San Diego! Lol.

There’s a sheer cliff you had to climb down to get to the beach…that’s what I heard anyways…


Emotional Learning Experiences

Stolen from Robert Stratton

I often reminisce about events I experienced in the Navy that were resolved without disciplinary action. In 1964 I received orders to the USS Nereus AS17, a submarine tender home-ported in San Diego, CA. The ship had a crew of about 900 officers and enlisted men. We also had several submarines tied up alongside us.

The food on the Nereus was great and plentiful. Take all you want, eat all you take. The supply officer CDR Goble was aware of food waste and wanted to know why. A petty officer was assigned duties as to where the sailors returned their food trays for washing. If you have uneaten food, the petty officer would take your name, rate, division, and why you didn’t eat your food.

The cocky sailor gave his information, then stated that the food tasted like shit.

Needless to say, when CDR Goble read those remarks, he wanted to talk with that sailor. When CDR Goble finished asking that sailor how long he had been eating shit, did his mom cooked shit for him at home, whether it was served hot or cold, whether it was a side dish or the main course, were there leftovers, etc.?

CDR Gobles office was in the supply office, and about ten sailors heard the conversation as CDR Goble intended.

That story spread throughout the ship; sailors answered honestly about uneaten food, and food waste was cut down to nothing.

2nd Story:

From day one, we were told that you don’t smoke while walking on the base or in a government vehicle. Sailors love to break rules, so if caught smoking by the base 1st lieutenant, you were given a bucket with sand inside. You would then walk around the base until for found someone smoking. Within an hour or two, you could not find anyone smoking.

There are many others, and they were called “severe emotional learning experiences.” Once adjusted to Navy life, it was a great experience.

I enlisted in 1962 when I was 22 years old and served for 26 years. Retired when I was 48 years old in 1988. Followed by a 29-year federal civil service career and fully retired when I was 78.

Not one regret!




Stolen from Peter Yeschenko

On 21 October 1797, the 44-gun 204-foot US Navy frigate USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides, was launched in Boston’s harbor.

The USS Constitution was never defeated in 42 battles.

216 crew members set sail again in 1997 for its 200th birthday.

Although her construction was almost halted by a 1796 peace treaty with Algiers, the USS Constitution was launched-christened by visiting Captain James Sever using a bottle of Madeira.

It was actually the third attempt to launch her; the first was a month earlier, when the ship got stuck after moving only 27 feet.

Two days later she moved another 31 feet before getting stuck once again.

For the third attempt, workers made the launching ways steeper, which finally enables a successful event.

The public, which included several French aristocrats, was warned beforehand that the launch of such a large ship might cause a dangerously large wave, but none actually materializes during the event.



Stolen from Peter Yeschenko

We’ve all heard much about the Chinese Balloon in the last few days. Not the first time balloons have been used against us.



Warren Hyde never served in the military, but his extraordinary effort in a remote part of Box Elder County, Utah, one day provided key intelligence in stopping a widespread Japanese attack on American soil during World War II.

On this day, 4 February 1945, Hyde, the county sheriff, received a call from Floyd Stohl, a rancher in the Blue Creek area.

While heading out to do his morning chores, Stohl spotted a strange-looking contraption that looked like a parachute floating in the air in one of his pastures.

When Stohl described the object to Sheriff Hyde, it immediately rang a bell in the sheriff’s head.

Sheriff Hyde jumped in his vehicle and raced to the ranch.

When he saw the object, he knew what he was dealing with…a weapon known as a Japanese “Fu-Go” bomb.

Between 1944 and 1945, the Japanese military launched an estimated 9,000 bomb-rigged balloons across the Pacific Ocean.

Carried by wind currents, the balloon bombs traveled thousands of miles to western US shores.

Hundreds were discovered up and down the west coast, and even as far inland as Indiana and Texas.

One killed six people in Oregon.

The bombs weren’t just aimed at killing people, but also at starting forest fires, something they never achieved, thanks in part to Sheriff Hyde and his wild ride.

On that February morning, Sheriff Hyde sprang into action.

He drove his car to the pasture as far as he could, then ran across the field, chasing the balloon as the wind carried it along.

When he finally caught up to it, he saw the bomb dangling below the balloon and knew he would have to be careful.

If he touched it, or if it touched the ground, it would detonate.

Sheriff Hyde grabbed one of the shroud lines, and when the wind picked up, it carried the balloon into the air…along with the sheriff, as high as 30 feet in the air.

He was eventually able to anchor it when it came back to the ground, and soon after, FBI agents and military personnel arrived to detonate the bomb and take the balloon away.

It was the first Fu-Go device to be captured fully intact, and the information it provided would lead to the end of the program.

Harrowing balloon ride aside, Sheriff Warren Hyde was a legendary figure in the Box Elder County, Utah community.

In June 1945, four months after his airborne adventure, Sheriff Hyde was summoned to the Utah State Capitol, where he was honored in a packed governor’s boardroom full of military officers, civilian defense leaders, state executives and others who had come to pay tribute to his efforts.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover wrote him a personal letter of thanks.


Old Ships and Rust

By Garland Davis

The Shipbreaker’s working up on the deck

Same deck my shipmates and I walked

Our young men’s dreams turned to dust

Watered with tears in among ships and rust

Old ships and rust

A whole way of life gone to old ships snd rust

Stretch of black oil that marred her side

Shade of a gun mount for a brief rest

Comes to an end with the Bos’n call

A long time since we had time on our hands

The man found where a thirsty sailor hid his booze

Can’t think of his name now don’t reckon I will

With no one the wiser what’s passed them on by

Well Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping dogs lie

There goes the port bridge wing

The chair where the Captain would nap

He mumbled while ship;s routine went about him

I’m glad he can’t see or hear what’s happening today

They rendered no honors as Charlie Noble went ashorel

And quarterdeck where thousands whiled away the hours

Where the Bos’n told stories of Barcelona and the Gut

And sugar sweet girls at the end of the day

Old ships and rust

A whole way of life gone to old ships snd rust

Progress oh progress move on if you must

But save me that small patch of deck and rust


“Drink Dave’s Beer”

By Garland Davis

Two years before enlisting in the Navy, I learned to bowl in my hometown’s first all-night bowling lanes. We worked in the restaurants until late and then went and bowled until two or three in the morning.

At my first duty station, I was assigned to the station Bowling Lanes for a short time. There were five of us assigned there, the Chief in charge, a Petty Officer bowling machine mechanic, two other non-rates, and me. The Chief and Petty Officer performed maintenance and oiled the lanes while our duties consisted of cleaning up before opening and issuing score sheets, renting shoes, and collecting for games during the day. There were three of us to accomplish all of this. The business was slow during the day, the lanes were idle, and we spent many hours bowling. It cost me nothing, and I became a damn good bowler with tutelage from the Chief.

Fast forward almost three years, which I spent in the Galley at the station, in an Ammunition Ship during a WestPac cruise, and five months in an advanced school for cooks and bakers. I arrived in Yokohama, Japan, in July 1964 as a twenty-year-old, newly minted Second Class Petty Officer. July 24, 1964, I moved into Bayside Courts and met the pretty girl who would become my wife a little more than a year later.

In those days, Yokohama was akin to Paradise for the underpaid sailor. But, a sailor couldn’t spend all his time in the bars and fleshpots of Chinatown no matter how hard he tried.

There was the bowling alley. I could bowl and drink beer, legally, for not a lot of money. Bowling was a cheap date, and the pretty girl liked it. We became frequent bowlers before and after we married. We eventually ended up on a few teams, bowling in leagues.

Japanese Asahi Taxi company offered to sponsor a team we were forming. This meant they would provide bowling shirts sporting their logo, and the team would incorporate the company name into the team name. The owner of the company became a spectator almost every week.

A televised Kanto area bowling tournament of two-man teams was planned. The owner of Asahi Taxi offered to sponsor another player and me as a team in the tournament. We worked through the preliminary games and made the cut for the televised games.

There were numerous donated prizes for the different accomplishments of the bowlers. We didn’t win the tournament but were in the top five. The prize for the fifth position was a suit for each of us from a tailor shop. I bowled the tournament’s High Game of 262. The prize for the high w game was a one-year’s supply of Kirin Beer! Turned out to be a twelve-bottle case of Kirin delivered to my quarters in Navy housing each Monday morning. The empty bottles from the previous week were required for the full delivery. Those of you who were in Japan in the sixties remember the almost two-liter war clubs of beer.

Almost twenty-four liters of beer each week was a bit much. I recruited help! My shipmates stepped up to ensure that twelve empties would be available each Monday. We worked Tuesday through Saturday. Sunday and Monday was our weekend.

For a year, Saturday or Sunday became “Drink Dave’s Beer Night!”


Beer for Life


In the picture, Chief Petty Officer Kenneth Slamon sampled his first installment of a lifetime’s supply of beer, which a brewery President awarded him in 1950.

Chief Slamon was watching a television quiz show on which Chief Slamon was a co-winner of a $6,350 prize.

The Chief said he would spend his share on “an annuity for life — in beer.”

This impressed the beer exec so much that he arranged for Chief Slamon to get free beer for life.

The beer company was the Jacob Ruppert Brewery and was famous not only for its Knickerbocker and Ruppert beer but also for its longtime owner Jacob Ruppert, who owned the New York Yankees.

Fred Linder, president of the Jacob Ruppert Brewery, was watching the program Chief Slamon appeared on and said,…..

“If Chief Slamon wants cold beer so much, then we don’t want his money. He’ll get free beer for the rest of his life.”

The brewery then began sending him a free case of beer every month no matter where he was stationed in the Navy.

Unfortunately for Chief Slamon, the Ruppert Brewery closed its doors in 1965, shortchanging his lifetime supply of free beer.

Chief Slamon was a Pearl Harbor survivor and veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, lived another 32 years without his free beer, and passed away on 4 August 1997.


Navy in Decline?

US Navy: a looming threat and a hollow force

The US Navy is not ready to fight


JANUARY 6, 2023Print

The year 2022 was an underreported but brutal one for the US Navy. The service is in crisis. Retention issues, an aging fleet, the revelation of several command failures, and a blunt inability to articulate its strategic mission in an increasingly hostile bureaucratic environment bode ill for the navy’s ability to meet American strategic needs. 

As the US faces a potential Indo-Pacific war that could spiral into a Eurasian conflagration, revitalizing the navy’s command culture and strategic thought is vital to American interests.

The roots of American naval atrophy run deep, far deeper than even the Cold War’s conclusion. American political culture ironically militates against naval power. In the context of Eurasia, the US is a maritime nation.

The nation’s founders understood this, and thereby authorized within the constitution the maintenance of a navy without restriction, as opposed to the stringent limitations placed on peacetime ground forces. However, strategic conditions did not bring naval power to the fore until the early 20th century.

The US Navy played a vital role in preserving American access to Eurasian markets, from policing the Barbary Coast to securing Anglo-American trade routes alongside the Royal Navy in the Indo-Pacific. But until 1898, America’s wars were land wars, either of continental expansion or civil pacification. 

The Civil War

During the American Civil War, the Federal and Confederate Armies engaged in land battles that resembled European warfare in scale. Nearly 200,000 men fought at Fredericksburg and Gettysburg, making each engagement similar in size to Waterloo or Austerlitz.  

But there was no great sea fight, no fleet action akin to Horatio Nelson’s victories at the Nile or Trafalgar. Rather, the naval war was attritional and logistical, with Confederate commerce raiders and blockade runners pressing the Federal Navy’s blockade, while Union ships supported amphibious assaults along the Confederate coastline.  

The navy played a crucial role in the Union’s victory. Without it, the Confederacy would have received far greater supply from the European powers, seeing no risk in opposing a United States incapable of policing the North Atlantic. Yet after 1865, the US reoriented toward continental expansion once again, de-emphasizing naval power.

Even the American relationship to significant naval power is unique. The US has maintained a world-class navy since the late 19th century, and since 1945 has maintained the world’s most powerful combat fleet. This navy defeated Spain in a major fleet action, imposed its will on the German U-Boat threat twice, facilitated an amphibious invasion of Europe, and defeated the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Nevertheless, the United States is an industrial-agrarian power, a unique hybrid of continental traditions. The American founders understood the role of maritime power in the national interest largely because they were northeastern Anglophiles, not southern agrarians.

The Cold War

With the death of the Federalist Party and the rise of northern industry, the US discounted the role of naval power beyond immediate wartime needs. Thus the US maintained a large ground army in Europe throughout the Cold War: American strategic thought is comfortable with massed military engagements despite the American political tradition’s skepticism of permanent military deployments abroad. 

The United States’ ability to maintain a globally dominant navy from 1945 to 1990 is the remarkable result of committed political leadership by naval officers and their congressional allies.

So it is unsurprising that the 1991 “Peace Dividend” fell hardest upon the navy. This is not simply a case of numerical decline – US Navy and Army personnel numbers fell by roughly similar proportions between 1990 and 2000, but the navy was nearly half of its Cold War size in 2000 as platforms were phased out rapidly.  

The fundamental issue, however, was strategic. The US Army and Air Force had a purpose. In 1991 they fought a decisive combined-arms ground war against a predatory Iraq. Then the USAF, alongside army special operations forces (SOF), fought another messy but low-casualty war in the Balkans. After 2001, US SOF and air power dismantled the Taliban. In 2003, another air-ground invasion dismantled the Iraqi military. 

Never mind that in each case the navy played a crucial supporting role. The troops needed to man the barricades were the army and marines, alongside precision-strike airmen. The future, insofar as it seemed in the 2000s, was asymmetricunconventional, and littoral. It was also joint and transformational – the navy would need to leverage new technologies and re-conceptualize its strategic role. 

In decline

Hence the first of the navy’s misfortunes, which still bedevil the service today. The F-35 program has finally delivered airframes, and the first Ford-class aircraft carrier has finally reached the fleet, both around a decade later than expected, notwithstanding their cost overruns. 

The littoral combat ship debacle is equally embarrassing. The navy designed a small modular warship for various “green water” operations against a poorly defined threat. The resulting ship lacked the defensive capabilities to counter modern anti-ship missiles and the offensive capabilities to pose a threat to targets in the late-2010s.

The same force-development issues persist today. If all goes according to plans, the navy will deliver two Constellation-class frigates a year from 2026. But it took the service well over two years to authorize construction once an initial contract was awarded because the navy, predictably, pushed the Constellation class into the same bureaucratic processes and capability reviews as every other ship. 

With the first ship only beginning construction in late 2022, the navy will be fortunate if it receives its 20 new ships by 2040. Meanwhile, the navy receives on average two new Virginia-class submarines a year, while it retires two Los Angeles-class boats. The submarine fleet, then, is static year-on-year, while various maintenance and overhaul delays disrupt deployment schedules even further. 

And under the options articulated in its NavPlan – which overlooks how to implement it – the navy will shed large surface combatants, replacing them with still-notional unmanned ships. All this points to a shrinking fleet at least through the early 2030s.

The US Navy is nevertheless asked to do more with less. Operational tempo has increased since the Cold War. At any given time, around 30% of US Navy ships are deployed. Yet the US Navy has far fewer ships, and it will have even fewer in the coming decade. 

Sailors are overworked without nearly enough rotation and training time. The results have not been good. Basic seamanship standards slipped throughout the 2010s, leading most notably to the two Indo-Pacific destroyer collisions. Navy ships routinely return to port shedding rust.

These difficulties are translating into wholesale command failures. The USS Bonhomme Richard disaster demonstrates the situation’s severity. The Bonnie Dick, a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship – the backbone of American amphibious capabilities and the most flexible ship in the fleet – burned nearly to the waterline in July 2020. The navy formally accused a single sailor of arson and punished 20 others. Yet when the case went to trial, the accused was acquitted in just two weeks. 

The command investigation had found that the Bonnie Dick’s damage-control facilities were non-functional: The ship’s automatic fire responses and firehoses were almost all in disrepair, and the Bonnie Dick’s hatches held open to enable shoddy power lines to snake throughout the ship. The navy sought, and failed, to concentrate its harshest punishment on a single sailor for a colossal command failure.

The Bonnie Dick and the attack submarine USS Miami, its predecessor in a fiery peacetime demise by eight years, were both scrapped. The two ships’ fate is a cautionary tale: The US faces its first naval peer competitor since World War II. The US lacks the secure repair facilities to receive and repair battle-damaged ships. If the navy could not repair Miami and later Bonnie Dick, what will happen if many more ships are damaged at once, or within weeks of each other, in a West Pacific war? 

Just as the navy’s training standards fall and its deployment tempo remains the same, it also faces a recruiting dilemma. This is true throughout the military – the navy barely met its 2022 recruiting targets, while the US Army missed its objectives – but the navy has taken several radical steps to remedy its woes. 

Most notably, it will increase the number of sailors it recruits from low-aptitude score brackets on the Armed Forces Qualification Test. This, combined with larger bonuses and a modified career progression scheme for senior sailors, may keep force numbers above their targets. But the quality of the individual sailor likely will decline, as will discipline, seamanship, and long-term military capacity.

Most distressing, however, is the navy’s total inability to articulate its strategic mission and ensure congressional support in the face of an unsupportive executive. Exercises at sea, training, logistics and planning all suggest an admiralty that is insufficiently bold in the face of a gathering storm. The pace of shipbuilding and virtually every other category of naval preparedness demonstrate that the most critical service in a West Pacific conflict does not believe that war is possible within the next decade.

Consistent with this, the current administration’s Defense Department actively seeks to ransack the military budget to pay for domestic priorities. The navy is first in the firing line for bureaucratic reasons. The defense secretary and chief of naval operations have been unable to withstand the political/bureaucratic winds. 

Congressional intervention saved 12 ships and authorized additional funding for the US Navy and Marine Corps. But this was despite acrimonious exchanges with Congress throughout the year when the navy could not or would not produce a coherent long-term strategic vision.

The issue here is bureaucratic, strategic, and political. As it successfully did in the Cold War, the navy must articulate a strategic vision that it can take to Congress, one that includes a structured fleet plan capable of meeting the country’s defense needs. This, in turn, requires far greater funding, both for ships and personnel to attract and maintain real talent. 

The US spends on defense a proportion of GDP similar to that of the late 1990s, a completely unacceptable state of affairs given the accelerating threat from China. A clear strategic vision will allow the navy’s allies in Congress to push back against President Joe Biden’s administration and allocate for it the funding it needs to grow the force.