As Broadside nears its thirtieth year in print (the one you just read was first published March 24, 1986), I thought it would be insightful to look back and see how much has changed over three decades. Surely there would be some jaw dropping differences between those days and today.
Oh, sure, some aspects of the Navy experience have changed dramatically. Some things that we take for granted now were introduced during the lifetime of Broadside, like sending females into combat and assigning them to command at sea.
Aviators used to be known for watching movies while everyone else was working. They would drive their Surface Warrior counterparts crazy by whipping up a batch of popcorn, firing up the reel-to-reel projector and settling down to enjoy a good film.
That doesn’t happen today. Today they watch the movies on DVD.
But for the most part, things are still pretty much the same as they were three decades ago. Sea and Anchor Detail gunners still get bonus points for nailing an officer on the bridge.
Aviators still find it impossible to figure out what goes on inside the heads of Surface Warfare Officers.
Nukes are still nukes. Marines are still Marines.
In fact, most things haven’t changed much at all.
And I’m OK with that. Because at about the time Broadside first appeared in Navy Times, the Soviet Union was about to collapse, the Cold War was ending, and the U.S. Navy was beginning to wake up to the fact that it was – by far – the best and most powerful maritime military force in the world. And so it remains today.
Of course, if I were to be totally honest, there are a few things I would have liked to have seen changed – at least a little.