Navy Birthday, Traditions et al.

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Re: Navy Birthday, Traditions et al.

Postby Sleeper » Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:20 pm

I know how to fix it: more NAMs for Sailors who selflessly abandon their jobs in order to plan the Navy Ball. Better yet, COMs! :rolleyes:

But seriously, my experience with Navy Balls has been DJ'ed music, mediocre buffet food, and drunk Sailors/dependents. If I'm going to hire a babysitter, get fancied up, and spend a decent amount of money, my expectations are higher. I appreciate the history and customs of the service, but the minimal amount of tradition (5 minutes each for cake cutting and toasts) doesn't elevate it to a "must-attend" event for me.
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Re: Navy Birthday, Traditions et al.

Postby Schlag » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:14 pm

Sleeper wrote:I know how to fix it: more NAMs for Sailors who selflessly abandon their jobs in order to plan the Navy Ball. Better yet, COMs! :rolleyes:


I know you said that in sarcasm, but the reality of the situation makes me wish that I was still a SWO during this time of year.

First we go from Chief's Season to NDB to Holiday crunch. It's a wonder that we get any work done from Aug until New Years. In fact, the NDB buffoonery has reached epic proportions at my command (IMHO). The week leading up to NDB, Home Plate was nowhere to be found to provide some answers/support to my (deployed) team. In the end, we figured it out, but it wasn't with the help/support of NIOC.

What irritated me even more was the sheer number of emails that were being flung to the Wardroom distro about "get out and buy your NDB tickets." CDR were dropping the hammer left and right and pulling Officers out of the office to rehearse skits/dances at NDB. Thank God one DH had the presence of mind to start calling out the CDR as they abused email flaming to make this shit happen. I believe the quote that was used was "More punctuation = MORE PARTICIPATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

...if we want to call that the finest traditions of the Service then count me out. I'll be the asshole SWO that clings to traditions and camaraderie that turn good commands into great commands while attaining operational excellence. IMHO, shirking primary duties in the pursuit of collateral duties is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. It's rampant at my command and I have a good feeling that many of the other Big 4 are like that.
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Re: Navy Birthday, Traditions et al.

Postby Schlag » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:17 pm

With my previous post in mind, that is why I tend to avoid Wardroom gatherings. I'm too busy putting in stupid hours in the office to get operational tasks done while everyone else abandons their day job in pursuit of collateral duties.

It gets to the point where I don't want to hang out with those people (because it'll just make me angry) and more importantly, the fact that I need to spend SOME time with my family instead of the Navy.
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Re: Navy Birthday, Traditions et al.

Postby Mjölnir » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:44 am

Schlag wrote: First we go from Chief's Season to NDB to Holiday crunch. It's a wonder that we get any work done from Aug until New Years. In fact, the NDB buffoonery has reached epic proportions at my command (IMHO). The week leading up to NDB, Home Plate was nowhere to be found to provide some answers/support to my (deployed) team. In the end, we figured it out, but it wasn't with the help/support of NIOC.


Agreed, seeing that I have seen places where the mission was forsaken for the ‘fluff’ and that isn’t the right thing … by any measure. The fact that something like the Navy Birthday Ball has turned into a full time job for some people for upwards of two months to put on an extravaganza is (admittedly) excessive. Some of my best Marine Corps Birthday Balls were far less than regal, one held on the basketball court of a gym at Camp LeJeune.

I can completely 'get' our work loads, OPTEMPOs, crappy work hours and general frustration can make an evening spent around the people we work with (sometimes spending more time with them than our families) not the first thing that comes to mind when asked "what do you want to do on a Saturday night?"

Schlag wrote: ...if we want to call that the finest traditions of the Service then count me out. I'll be the asshole SWO that clings to traditions and camaraderie that turn good commands into great commands while attaining operational excellence. IMHO, shirking primary duties in the pursuit of collateral duties is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. It's rampant at my command and I have a good feeling that many of the other Big 4 are like that.


I wouldn’t say that makes you an asshole. You are 100% correct: shirking our primary duties in pursuit of a collateral duty is not ever acceptable (in this aspect we are talking about a lot more than the Navy Birthday.) At the same time, I joined the military a long time ago (in part) because of the traditions and the difference between it and the civilian world. I have stuck around for 24 years because this isn’t just a job, it really is a way of life (hence the deployments, the camaraderie, the (at times) crappy work hours etc.) Honoring our history is just one facet of that way of life, one I really wish more people took a couple of hours to do once a year.
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Re: Navy Birthday, Traditions et al.

Postby Schlag » Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:38 am

Stalwart wrote:At the same time, I joined the military a long time ago (in part) because of the traditions and the difference between it and the civilian world. I have stuck around for 24 years because this isn’t just a job, it really is a way of life (hence the deployments, the camaraderie, the (at times) crappy work hours etc.) Honoring our history is just one facet of that way of life, one I really wish more people took a couple of hours to do once a year.


So trying to turn this into something that is actionable and can make an impact; how do you walk the line between honoring tradition but not having it detract from the mission?

I feel like part of the reason why the NDB Syndrome exists is because the NIOC/IW community needs to feel some sort of communion with the Fleet but is too distant from the Fleet to get it. Not just talking location, but in terms of experience as well. Granted, there's a lot of IWO's that have had extensive Fleet experience. But there's also a lot of IWO's that have had minimal Fleet experience or their Fleet experience is approaching 10years removed from today. That said, I feel like that dynamic makes it so we have to get our dose of Navy in a concentrated sitting. Any ideas on how to fix it?
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Re: Navy Birthday, Traditions et al.

Postby Mjölnir » Tue Nov 11, 2014 8:59 am

Schlag wrote:So trying to turn this into something that is actionable and can make an impact; how do you walk the line between honoring tradition but not having it detract from the mission?


I would think it would vary from place to place. In very large part, institutionally this is something that is different than the Marine Corps -- Every Marine knows the significance of 10 Nov 1775, of Capt Samuel Nicolas and Mullen's Beefsteak House in Philadelphia; I have met several Sailors that do not know the date of the founding of the Navy, who John Paul Jones was, Stephen Decatur or (much closer to our IW home) the significance of "AF is short of water."

The biggest, broadest thing I can think of would be expectation management -- have a ball but we don't need to throw the party of the century. Cut a cake, recognize the oldest and youngest Sailors, recap the command's accomplishments in the past year, recognize the SOY etc. It isn't about door prizes, prime rib and free flowing booze but about celebrating the Navy's heritage and recognizing that we are part of that.

Schlag wrote:I feel like part of the reason why the NDB Syndrome exists is because the NIOC/IW community needs to feel some sort of communion with the Fleet but is too distant from the Fleet to get it. Not just talking location, but in terms of experience as well. Granted, there's a lot of IWO's that have had extensive Fleet experience. But there's also a lot of IWO's that have had minimal Fleet experience or their Fleet experience is approaching 10years removed from today. That said, I feel like that dynamic makes it so we have to get our dose of Navy in a concentrated sitting. Any ideas on how to fix it?


In part yes, and in part our community is just different ... IMHO not right or wrong but a different section of a much bigger whole. Naval Aviation is a different monster than pier life in Norfolk as well. One needn't be married to the Fleet to be a Sailor or Naval Officer, based on what we do it is altogether possible & even likely that we will have people who do a 20-year career and never get underway on a ship, there are also a lot of Marines who never serve in a line unit. We should take the time to push the pause button & be social, to not talk about work with someone you work with and talk about other things and actually get to know one another ... I would be lying if I was to say that my bridge watch team didn't learn a lot about each other on the 2200-0200 or 0200-0700.
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