Happy Hour


Mother, Mother Ocean

Mother, Mother Ocean, I've heard you call
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all
Watched the men who rode you, switch from sails to steam
In your belly you hold the treasures, few have ever seen
Most of 'em dream, most of 'em dream
Yes, I am a pirate, two hundred year's too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothin' to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late


"Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."
―Yoda, to Luke Skywalker

Counted the Stars

Counted the stars on the 4th of July
Wishing we were rockets bursting in the sky
Talking about redemption and leaving things behind
I have these pictures and I keep these photographs
To remind me of a time
These pictures and these photographs
Let me know I'm doin' fine
We used to be so happy once upon a time
Once upon a time
But the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line
And the sun sank west of the Mendocino County Line


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Changes of a different kind

Me and Snigs were having a face book chat earlier. She was interested in things that I had experienced during my Naval Career. Among them was women serving along side men. I can only speak for the time I was in the Sea Service.

Here we go, then. Women were not allowed to serve aboard a man-of-war or in squadrons that operated from ships. This included helicopter detachments on Frigates, Destroyers and Cruisers. Auxiliaries do not intentionally go in harm's way. So the Tenders and Repair Ships had women starting in the mid seventies. When the Service Academies went Co-Ed, for lack of a better term, things really started to change. But even before then, we had women aviators. Jane O'Dea and Rosemary Mariner-Conatser were flying in the mid seventies in support units that did fly on and off carriers.

In the summer of 1980, while conducting work ups for an upcoming deployment onboard USS Ranger CV61, we had midshipmen aboard as part of their required summer in the Fleet or Fleet Marine Force. No trip home between the third and fourth year at Annapolis. It so happened that a young female midshipman and an E-3 from one of the Deck Divisions were caught in the act in a fan room. By the Ship's Master-at-Arms Force(police), no less. She said one word...............rape.................Yeah. Rape. The young man got a trip to the US Correctional Barracks, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The young lady got a reprimand. The whole world knew it was consensual. But her position would have been jeopardized had this gotten out. Class divisions, Officer-Enlisted. It is against the rules, period for reasons of good order and discipline.

Fast forward to my last trip to sea in the fall of 1992. The squadron I was in was embarked in USS George Washington CVN73 for it's initial shakedown with the Air Wing on board. I was sent to the Ship's Master-at-Arms force. I had 13 months left until retirement. We call it marking time. I had occasion to have to deal with the Discipline Officer concerning a young sailor's paperwork. A young, attractive, female Lieutenant. She asked the then First Class Petty Officer what he thought about her serving aboard ship. I asked her if she wanted an honest answer or did I have to sugar coat it for PC reasons. She asked Petty Officer Cassel to be straight up. I honored that request. I informed her that the Old Petty Officer thought it was one of the biggest mistakes the Department of The Navy ever made. Just about got a royal ass chewing out of that but she did ask. The LT then asked me to qualify my statement. I did. I related the above incident on Ranger. And then I asked her for permission to be candid. Permission granted. I informed the LT that being and attractive woman and in the khaki trouser uniform, walking down a passage way, these young pup sailors would turn around and watch. She said, no they don't! I reiterated that they did. When asked why would they do that and how did I know? I responded, I used to be one of them. After pondering this for a bit, she said that she understood my point and it was duly noted. I had been advanced to PO1 when the Lt was in high school. In that world it is almost a generation difference. At the nineteen year mark, at which I was, I was an old man at the age of 38.

Now Women command ships, squadrons and stations. Bob Dylan reference goes here.
Next June, I plan to go to Whidbey Island, Washington for a retirement ceremony. Rebecca (Burt) Hagemann is retiring with 25 years of service as a Mustang Lieutenant Commander. In 1989 to 1991 she worked for me as a young and extremely capable AMS2 while I was on my last shore tour. My own vanity tells me I had a hand in her success. Just a little bit but a hand in it none the less. I am extremely proud of her.

And I look forward to seeing her and many other shipmates from long ago. Straight up, it may be the last time for some of us. I did start a "Bucket List" of sorts last year. Only prudent at the time, don'tcha think? Not being pessimistic but simply dealing with reality. 85 percent survival rating after the surgery is good but at 55, anything is possible.

Just relaying what has transpired since a bewildered nineteen year old from the middle of nowhere went to sea in 1974. Not taking sides? Make your own conclusions.


Buck said...

I went thru the "integration" phase, as well. It was different in the Air Force, obviously. We... males and females... didn't live in close quarters for months on end and our guys had many other outlets (can you say "off base?" Sure ya can!) in the course of a normal tour of duty. I knew women that bemoaned the fact they were ignored, for all intents and purposes. And there was a reason for that, too, but we won't go there.

I was a SSgt/TSgt when we integrated my old career field and was basically ambivalent about it as long as my troops got the job done, male and female. As a single guy I also took advantage of the increased "opportunities" integration presented, with the understanding that I NEVER messed around with anyone that was or could have been in my direct chain.

Now... about that O/E thing... I had REAL issues with that, still do. The class distinction really grates on me but I've been largely silent on the subject... mainly coz I don't have any viable alternatives. That doesn't make the class thing any easier to take, tho.

Glenn Mark Cassel said...

I knew you would understand. Today we would be considered to be animals of some kind. We simply had a job to do. We did it.
And I did have more than one occasion to torpedo my sort of Illustrious career. Didn't need the heartburn or going home with a bust or bad paper.

Snigglefrits said...

There are reasons aplenty that I think make "coedness" a bad idea. Hopefully, I'll get a chance to lay them on ya and see what you think of them later. Gotta get ready for clinicals the next few days first.

;) Have a great Monday & Tuesday and pray for my sanity.

Glenn Mark Cassel said...

We are pulling for you there Snigs! Don't worry about your sanity. If Mother Nature couldn't affect it, nothing else should.

I will not go down and tell my children I didn't have the courage, the conviction, the commitment or the character to fight for this country...Don't go home and let your children down~~ LTC Allen West

Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus

‎"Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.("Therefore, he who desires peace, let him prepare for war")" from "Epitoma Rei Militaris," by Vegetius (Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus)