Browsing: Broadside moments

(U.S. Navy) The next few days are sacred. Two of the most consequential battles of World War II were fought this week (Battle of Midway and D-Day), and each year, all around the world, military units honor them – and those who fought – with dinners, ceremonies and formal balls. The results of both battles changed the course of the war, and therefore the course of history. Losses in either would have been devastating for America, but we won both…through tenacity, daring tactics, and – as always – the valiant efforts by those who were there. The Battle of Midway…

Memorial Day was created shortly after the end of the Civil War to honor those who have fallen in defense of our country. Today, in the news, we’ll hear about politics, about immigration, about the housing market. But also today, all across the country, people who will never be in a headline will be quietly honoring our military members – alive and dead – in their own ways. Flags will be flown from countless homes. The individual ceremonies will be private, the thoughts known only to the flag bearers’ own hearts. Other flags will be placed on veterans’ graves by…

The victim was thrust into the chamber, his fate already sealed. Through horrified eyes he glimpsed the instruments of torture – the needles, the picks, the elastic tubing. Strange machines hummed threateningly, watching him with unfeeling eyes as he was forced into the chair. Then the Dentist walked in. He was annoyed, and I realized the gravity of my situation. I had made the critical mistake of being (involuntary gasp here) the last patient of the day. Never, EVER do this. Nobody likes it when liberty is threatened. But not everyone has sharp instruments at his disposal, and not everyone…

“STAND BY FOR SHOT LINES FORWARD!” “Keep your head down! They’re gonna fire the shot line any second now!” On a beautiful day for an UNREP, I was on the bridge when the announcement was made. So was our XO, a great officer who insisted on strict adherence to procedures. We ducked down behind the bridge wing and waited. The XO kept a keen eye out to make sure no one stuck his head up too early. “Get down!” “Wait for the shot,” he shouted. Then, BANG! The shot had hit the bridge wing, and fell back into the sea.…

On the last day of flight ops, I was one of the lucky ones…I had a seat on the last COD off the ship. Or so I thought. As I sat in the Air Transportation Office (ATO) trying to figure out how to put on my cranial, a couple of officers came in and began to talk to the Sailors behind the desk. They didn’t look at me. Without knowing it, I was witnessing the beginning of what would become a rush – the first little leak before the dam breaks. Soon, more people came in. They avoided eye contact…

This Broadside Moment was sent to us by Erik Gilliam. Since the inception of the Underwater Construction Teams the personnel who have made up the Teams have been a cut above your typical Seabee. So when it has come to personnel inspections the standard that the Teams have portrayed has been one of excellence. This inspection related event took place in 1980 as the members of UCT-2 were to participate in a “greens inspection”. Many may not be familiar with the utility greens that Seabees wore years ago. Think of them as BDUs that were just one color. As the…

Veal (n): meat from calves that are, “…fed an inadequate diet and confined to a cramped crate to keep their muscles underused and tender.” (Teresa Farney, Colorado Springs Gazette) Buried deep within the bowels of our own Pentagon are hundreds – maybe thousands – of military and civilian personnel being held in small enclosures for hours on end, every day, with no windows, no exercise, and nothing to do except stare at unblinking LCD screens. I know. I’ve been there. They call it the Veal Factory. I’ve seen the pasty skin, the bloodshot eyes, the futility. I’ve seen the candy…

I was new, my lap was wet, and everyone was laughing at me. Was I having a nightmare? Yes. But I wasn’t sleeping. Was this a scene from a horror movie? Yes. But there was no camera. My first few days on board had been pleasant, like the first few minutes of every scary movie you have ever seen. I enjoyed being invisible and irrelevant. One night, a few days after arriving, I was invited to sit next to the Captain for evening dinner. Nobody wanted a seat next to the Captain. The problem with sitting there, of course, was…

They’re not garter belts. They’re shirt stays. They’re used to keep your shirt tucked in, and are sold in every uniform shop in the world. The only problem is, to everyone else, they look an awful lot like garter belts. The worst possible moment for a shirt stay to come loose is during your first appearance as a new Commanding Officer, standing in front of the entire command. This I know. It was the moment I had worked my entire career for – at long last, after years of toil, I had reached the pinnacle of my career, and all…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6UT5Uur2v8 It is the eternal story of a small band of men, pitted against an overwhelming force of merciless barbarians. Their destiny was to stoicly face certain doom, and by doing so, preserve their honor and heritage for all time. But this isn’t about Thermopylae, nor about the Spartans. This is about a Crossing the Line ceremony, and we were Wogs. The Crossing the Line tradition dates back at least to the Middle Ages, and has been practiced by navies around the world ever since. In short, it is a rite-of-passage to initiate newbies to the Realm of the Deep…

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