27 November 2008

A few holiday rants

So dear readers today is Thanksgiving. My only question for all of you as you all are reading this probably just finished eating the turkey with stuffing, some giblet gravy, some mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a slew of other typical food for the feast. My only question is What in the world happened that caused this day to suddenly show up. I remember in years past when I was younger (like under the age of 12) that the down time between Halloween and Thanksgiving was the ramp up for Thanksgiving. In the stores there were Thanksgiving decorations and on TV there was usually a Thanksgiving-themed episode for all my favorite TV shows. At least maybe a Thanksgiving themed special. Now a days, you might as well just forget it. It seems that in the last twenty years Christmas has creeped closer and closer to the summer. Heck in a few stores out here in good ol' Washington State I shopped in they were already had a corner set up for Christmas decorations and gifts. Don't try and tell me it was because of the economy, because it the "Christmas Creep" as some have called it is happening earlier and earlier for the past few years even when the economy has been strong.
The two biggest annoyances have been since the first of November when a few radio stations have been playing Christmas music along with all the typical top 40 rotational. Heck since the day of my wedding on Veteran's day there were two stations in the Seattle area that transitioned straight in to only playing Christmas music.
Even worst was the fact that I was at the mall the weekend before the wedding and Santa had already setup and was in the process of setting up for pictures with the rugrats.
I feel very much like Charlie Brown and asking what is the true meaning of Christmas?

On another side of the coin as these holiday times approach and people are asking to donate some of my fellow bloggers out there are donating to the VALOUR-IT project. This program give laptop computers to severely disabled service members so they can help to progress with their lives. This is a very worthwhile cause and I would highly suggest that you all stop by and try to find time to donate either your time, your money, or anything else that these fine people need to help out.

The other thing I would seriously ask everyone that reads this blog is find time to donate to the United Service member's Organization, or the USO. I have stressed it before and I will stress it again. This is a wonderful non-profit organization that provides a little bit of home to the folks stationed away from the US. Whether that is care packages that are delivered to various service members, providing places at airports for someone to put their feet up, or helping to bring entertainers around to help brighten the mood if even for a day of everyone on a ship or at a land base. Even if you can't donate money, find a way to donate your time.

That is all for today. Have a happy turkey day and enjoy the time you have with your friends and family.



14 November 2008

Mea Culpa

So on top of trying to help plan a wedding, I was also trying to check out of my current command and plan for a series of inspections that are annual requirements. As I was on a drive around today I realized that I have failed in making the place that I am leaving a better place. So here are my Mea Cuplas for failing.

Since about March of this year I have had in my hot little hands, written orders detailing me from the Happy Zappies and over to another EA-6B outfit up here at the Rock. This outfit is a Western Pacific deploying outfit and they just returned from a deployment this past June. One of the processes to check out is to start handing over programs to another person. One of my programs is a Secret Squirrel program. That is all I can describe and some of you who have been in Naval Aviation or military Aviation know what sort of Secret Squirrel program I am talking about. Anyhow, it isn't anywhere near where I am happy with it being, but I have a little less then three days left at my current command to try and fix it. The guy I am passing this on to
has a decent grip on this program and with only a little less elbow grease then what I have put in can make this work and at least getting it working to the condition that the Big Navy out there while only smack their hands for these little gray areas.
I should of had it a whole lot closer then what it is and will probably spend the rest of this weekend working on massaging my guilt on this part to make this happen. So I failed here
As I mentioned early in this piece we have a series of required annual inspections coming at us. Ones from the Naval Safety Center, then from our type commander, and the final one (which I will be gone for ) is from the Big Navy (CNAF themselves). All of these inspections deal with maintenance related programs. Such things as tool control, Foreign Object Damage Control, Support Equipment Licensing, Training, Technical Directives, and a whole slew of other ones. The overall guidance is from an instruction referred to as the CNAFINST 4790.2A NAMP. In the king's English this is Commander Naval Air Forces Instruction series 4790.2A, titled Naval Aviation Maintenance Program. It is a large binder of about 16 chapters on the basics of how to fix airplanes and what everyone's roles are.
We were inspected by our type commander and found to be so seriously snafu'd that we are going to quit flying just to get the squadron back online and on track. I had always heard of other squadrons and even ships that this has happened to, but never one that I was in. This is the biggest place that I have failed at. Being at that leadership position I should of never let my own work center get to that place. This is the toughest Mea Culpa to swallow and accept. Right now the command that I am at moral is at an all time low. There are a series of folks who are tired of the Navy life and are leaving. Which is their complete right, however they are also bad mouthing the Navy and the command in general. In turn feeding ideas to some of the more impressionable juniors and basically started a death spiral. This is something that I should of put a stop to months, maybe even years ago. Yet, I didn't. Why? I am not completely sure. Part of me feels that what they are speaking is the truth, part of me didn't want to get involved because I was leaving the command myself, and I think the final reason was that I just didn't want to feed their fire of self-consuming hate with leadership.
On top of that some of these people only seem to put in the minimum effort on their own aircraft related maintenance programs. This effort just seem to be enough to keep ahead of the Khaki Mafia and their hit squads. Again I should of stepped up and said something, done something, instead I contributed to it. So out of forty different programs we only had eight of them running according to the book. Nineteen of them were in serious need of review, and the other thirteen were off track. This again is unacceptable. The command is probably going to begin to sacrifice weekends and long hours to pull themselves up. The other thing is that those of us in the first class mess are going to have to start knocking heads with those who can't seem to say anything nice at all about the Navy or the command. Again I have failed and should of helped to push to those who don't want to be part of the solution out.

I have failed as a leader and as a supervisor. The most that I can do is grab a hot shower and collect my thoughts. Attempt to wash these damn spots off my hands and go back in swinging to improve things.

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09 November 2008

One day and counting

Survived the day. Stood up on the altar in my dress blues with full medals. She was in a gold strapless gown. The day cleared as we went running out to my car and it stay cleared through out the reception. It didn't start to rain until I pulled up to the honeymoon suite at the hotel and we settled in for a long night of fun and excitement as a married couple. Now comes all the fun stuff in the next few days, ID cards, Tricare enrollment, stickers for the car, and signing over half of my paycheck.

Oh and long hours, long deployments, and missed anniversaries. That might be easy though. "Honest, I wish I could be there this year but I will be deployed. So here is your gift a few months early."

Any hints on how to survive please be sure to share.

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06 November 2008

36 Hours and counting

Well dear readers in 36 hours I will no longer be the swinging single sailor. Rather I will be married and tied down. As per the norm here in the evergreen state, it is raining cats and dogs so some of the outdoors shots in front of the church have been canked. See what will happen the actual day of the event. I know everything is going to go off with out problems. The only problem is to settle the future misses's worries.



03 November 2008

Our long national nightmare is almost over

As I write this it is election day on the East Coast of the US. So that means the nightmare of the election season is over. I can't wait myself. Why? Mainly because for as much as I love politics that this past election season has just seemed to be so full of hate and so full of horse hockey that is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Part of me wishes that I was still haze grey and under way just to avoid listening, reading, or even seeing some of these ads. I can't wait to do it all over again in two years.

That being said, I have done my part a few weeks ago with my absentee ballot and voted. What about you dear readers?