"......Not for the first time, the squadron commander wonders why it is necessary for a career FA-18 pilot to conn a ship alongside. After all, there are black shoes, surface warfare officers, who are paid to do that very thing. He is a brown shoe – more than that, he is a strike fighter pilot, paid to put warheads on foreheads, to bring the heat to the foe at five bills, to wield the hammer from above, to swagger down main street. He’s better than this.
Except that the company does not agree – no, not at all. The company thinks that he is a by-God naval officer, and naval officers ought to be able to conn ships. So that one day, if called upon, they might responsibly command them. The company feels this very strongly. So strongly that if he should fail to achieve this simple qualification, he will be un-promotable – his career will be over. He is not sure that he knows what he wants to do when his twenty is up. He might fly for the airlines. He might teach high school. He might stay in and try to make captain. He doesn’t know. What he does know is that that he wants to have a choice.
So he curses quietly but vehemently, earnestly. Turns on the light. Sits up. Rubs his face. Looks again with jaundiced eye at the alarm. Sighs, and moves towards an inner door – today, for the first time this cruise, he’ll beat the ship’s operations officer, with whom he shares a connecting bathroom, to the shower. He takes no pleasure in this fact......"
I had more than a few bottles of Guinness last night for Lex..............