Inspections are a way of life in the Navy. In addition to the daily berthing, personnel, uniform and maintenance inspections, each ship undergoes a near constant invasion by official investigators. They check for discrepancies in everything from turbines to galleys (kitchens) to readiness to paint. The old joke was that Sailors enjoyed getting underway so much because the inspectors would leave them alone for a while (this isn’t true – they follow the ships to sea too).
It is no wonder Captains and Executive Officers get to be so surly, because it is often their necks on the line if something goes wrong. In the military, the buck actually stops somewhere, generally coming to rest on the Commanding Officer’s desk.
For sure, life would be easier without the “Honor” in Honor, Courage and Commitment, but that’s not the way we roll. Instead, we bow our heads to the fury of the observers and accept our fates with dignity and submission.
In the debriefs we take our knocks, learn from our mistakes, listen politely to critical observations from people who may or may not know more than we do about our jobs, and move on.
And on those glorious days when things go well, we celebrate.
But not until the inspection party is on the pier.