- The submarine force is still the military's best of the best with so many promising, intelligent and progressive men and women leading the charge for a better, safer America.
- We need to not be doing this shit anymore because the people leading those wonderful people are, well, not really helping the needed advancement.
This all came to somewhat of a head when Vice Adm. John M. Richardson held an "open spouse call" for wives to come and chat and ask some questions. I was unable to attend (my husband had to work late because hey, what do you know, a Vice Admiral was visiting, the irony is palpable), but I hear it was quite the show. These women wanted to know what was happening and why their spouses no longer had job security and just what was going to be done about it. Poor Mr. Richardson...probably should have seen that one coming, I certainly did. If these women can notice in a matter of weeks that something is rotten in Denmark, why has it taken the Navy years, and a few thousand tanked careers, to notice? I don't think our dear Vice Admiral appreciates that line of questioning. Most submarine higher ups don't like being challenged especially by prissy little women, an important lesson learned during my brief stint as Ombudsman on our previous boat. Since then things have been pretty ugly here on the waterfront.
The grand finale came while we were out of town. I only learned about it today when normally I would have had the gossip way earlier. A Commanding Officer was fired because he had an affair, got the girl pregnant and then, when he had to relocate/end it he....wait for it because you can't even make this stuff up...faked his own death. Yeah, you heard me. Faked. His. Own. Death. All the details are here.
This is the kind of person that you routinely see serving as Commanding Officers in the submarine force. This man's delusions of grandeur, clear personality disorder and general disregard for the lives of others perfectly sums up the traits displayed by many of the flailing skippers on the waterfront here in CT. If a man thinks he can just shrug off a woman carrying his child with a poorly executed e-mail, it is not hard to see how he will fire as many sailors as is required to hold on to his job. If you will be a jerk for sex, you will be a jerk to the nth degree to keep your livelihood and reputation. So thank you Mr. Ward for perfectly exemplifying everything I have been trying to articulate.
The sad part about the situation is that change is coming and five years from now, the submarine force will be a whole new creature. By then, the force will be exactly the kind of place that Chris would love to work. Unfortunately, for now Chris can do more to make that happen from the outside than he can by trudging along inside the machine. Our loyalty to submarines runs deep and true, but it is just too hard to fix a system while struggling so hard to survive within it. My feelings on all this are, as illustrated by how much time I spend rambling about it all, mixed. I feel sad that we are ending this phase, but so happy for our new plans and relived that we are no longer working in world where people like Mr. Ward are leading the charge.
* I will concede here that why the current crop of captains feel this way is worth addressing. What kind of system places COs in a position where scrambling to fire scapegoats is the only way to ensure career advancement? A really bad one.