FY16 AMCSB Results


Hearty congratulations to those selected at the most recent aviation major command screen board. Some folks are celebrating. Some are digging up their college calculus books. Some are praying: “Please, God. Just one more tour in Oceana. Just one more. I own a house there. My kids are in good schools. My wife has a high-paying job. I’ll be a good boy. I promise!”



A Black Day in the Great White North


Just 20 days ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canadian aircraft would participate in the fight against ISIL. It did not take long for ISIL, or in this case fools with questionable ties to ISIL, to bring the fight directly to Canadian soil. Given that, it’s hard to blame other nations for not showing eager willingness to get involved, isn’t it? The easy path would be status quo. It’s an American problem; let the Americans handle it. Our wonderful neighbors to the north didn’t take the easy path. They must have understood that backlash was utterly predictable, and they should be commended for accepting that risk.

None of that will serve as consolation for the friends, family, and military mates of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo.

Vincent was killed by a car in a parking lot hit-and-run attack near Montreal on Monday. The assailant, a Canadian citizen, was killed by police after a brief chase. He is one of 90 citizens Canadian authorities have identified as ISIL members or radicals who have attempted to become ISIL members.

Yesterday’s attack was more sensational and grabbed more headlines, but the outcome was identical. The unarmed Cirillo, an honor guard at Ottowa’s National War Memorial, was gunned down by another radicalized Canadian citizen, who was later shot and killed when he made a run at Parliament Hall. The lockdown and ensuing gun battle is captured on a cell phone camera. I don’t typically watch blood and gore video. Were I to make an exception, that one would make the cut.

Canadian leadership’s response has been impressive. It shows resolve. It shows that they understand who they are and what makes them great.

“We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governments are by their very nature attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all.”

“But let there be no misunderstanding — we will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated.”

Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair called the shootings “a cowardly attack designed to strike at the heart of our democracy, the heart of who we are.”

It reminds me of the response to a 2007 terrorist attack at the Glasgow International Airport. Airport worker John Smeaton threw himself into the fray and attacked one of the terrorists. He is interviewed here.

“You can come to Glasgow. Glasgow doesn’t accept this. Do you know what I mean? This is Glasgow. You know? We’ll set about you.”

Yes, John. I do know. I get it.

The contrarians have, to the surprise of no one, entered this discussion of terrorist attacks on Canada’s home soil. “It’s just two people”, they say. “Everyone settle down. You’re blowing this out of proportion.”

I don’t agree. Strict numerical comparisons rarely tell the full story. They are an easy distractor for people who can’t or won’t take the time to think. This has come about recently with regards to Ebola. It is now hip to point out that somewhere between 3,000 and 49,000 people die of the flu each year, which is why you shouldn’t worry about Ebola. Do you want to know the difference? if I contract Ebola, I am likely to die. If I contract the flu, as I have done many times in my life, I am not likely to die.

More than 6,800 American service members have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since the global war on terror began. More than 32,000 Americans die in motor vehicle accidents each year. I don’t see any relevance in comparing those two numbers.

Then why are the recent events in Canada about much more than the death of two service members? Because they are not random. It’s that simple. The criminals who carried out these attacks were motivated by ideology, which means there are more of them out there, and potentially even more in the making. That’s not to say this is cause for panic, but it is certainly cause for concern. This concern will necessitate increased vigilance and action to stay left of the requirement to respond.

Kudos to Canada for getting into the ring for the latest round of this bout. Now maybe you could let us win a hockey game, eh?


ISIL Fighters Get US Weapons from Airdrop

Islamic State group fighters seized at least one cache of weapons airdropped by U.S.-led coalition forces that were meant to supply Kurdish militiamen battling the extremist group in a border town, activists said Tuesday.

The cache of weapons included hand grenades, ammunition and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, according to a video uploaded by a media group loyal to the Islamic State. The video appeared authentic and corresponded to The Associated Press’ reporting of the event. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants had seized at least once cache, but may have seized more.

Ahhh narts.

The full story is here.

On Tuesday, Islamic State loyalists on social media posted sarcastic thank you notes to the United States, including one image that said, “Team USA.”

At least someone understands social media and strategic messaging.


Not Gay Enough for the Fringe Element

This is Jillian Michaels.

jillian-michaels-womens-health-june-2012- (1)

She is best known for her televised work on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. She is not, how you say, unattractive. She is also a self-described pansexual, which is a new term for me. Pansexuals differ from bisexuals in that pansexuals reject the gender binary. It opens them up to “relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women.” I had no idea. They even have their own flag.


Her current choice of partner is a female, and together they have two children. In this current day and age, that is hardly the makings for controversy, even in the military. Controversy only erupts when you talk about it in a manner deemed unacceptable by the fringe element.

I don’t know that I am [comfortable talking about being gay] now, to be honest with you. The gay thing has always been hard for me. When Heidi and I are out and somebody older asks, ‘Are you sisters?’ I say, ‘We’re friends.’ I guess it comes from thinking that they will be shocked or disturbed. Look, I wish I had some strapping football player husband. It would be such a dream to be ‘normal’ like that, but I’m just not.

That’s understandable. If you see two females with children, there should be little doubt that, one way or another, there was third-party involvement. I don’t find her comments offensive. Others did. In what way, you ask? Was it her inference that older people are intolerant and narrow-minded? Don’t be ridiculous. No one cares about the feelings of older people unless they need to be frightened into the polling booths by the threat of lost Social Security or Medicare benefits. Instead, the fringe element is outraged, calling her, of all things, homophobic.

Let that sink in. Homophobic. Ms. Michaels is a celebrity in an internationally-recognized committed relationship with another woman. Good for her, I say. How is it even possible that she be a homophobe, and why do people go so far out of their way to be offended? It’s crystal clear that she is very open about her sexuality, which can only mean that she is not loud and proud enough.

At some point in every movement, those with extreme views hijack it and do more harm than good to the cause they allegedly embrace.

Take the Republican party, for example. With the help of the far right, they have allowed themselves, unwittingly I hope, to be painted in the following light.

  1. Anti-woman
  2. Anti-minority
  3. Anti-immigrant
  4. Anti-gay
  5. Anti-environment
  6. Anti-poor people
  7. Pro-war
  8. Pro-big business (the evil types)
  9. Anti-civil liberty / privacy
  10. Anti-choice
  11. Anti-Islam

That’s anti-nearly-everything, which makes the Dem ticket the easiest sell in town. It worked in the last two Presidential elections, and unless radical changes are afoot, William Jefferson Clinton is moving back into the White House soon.

Not long ago, two guys from Greenpeace showed up at my front door. They were looking for someone else, but “Hey, since we have you here…”. I told them I was in the middle of preparing dinner (kinda true), thanked them for what they do, and turned them loose. “Greenpeace is committed to saving our oceans” they told me before exiting. I have a hard time seeing anything wrong with that. I have a hard time seeing anything wrong with most (not all) environmentalist positions. The earth is a really cool place. See for yourself.


What is so offensive about reducing oil dependence, limiting the amount of carbon dioxide we belch into the skies, and protecting our planet? Nothing, until the fringe element inserts itself. Once you start forcibly occupying oil platforms, setting fire to crops, and staging militant attacks against loggers, your mainstream support is gone. You got hijacked. Your good cause is a good cause no more.

I’m tired of the loud voices from the far ends of the spectrum dominating the dialogue. Stay in the middle, folks. I beg you. We are here, and we are here in large numbers. Let reason and logic guide us, not hyperbole and emotion. We have quite enough of that already.


Give Me Your Sermons!


As red-states go, Texas is about as red as they come. Much of that is based on their fiercely bred sense of independence and fondness for personal freedom. It’s not my favorite place for reasons more personal than political, but I admire it greatly. I love Shiner Bock. I love Tex-Mex cuisine. I love the state’s rich history. I loathe the weather.

I predict that the state will lean more blue in time. Maybe not fully blue, but more blue. The immigrant population will grow and cities will swell. Even California would be a red-state if were it not for her largest cities. They make up the vast majority of the population, so it’s irrelevant.

Clear evidence of this Texan transformation is underway in, of all places, Houston. Houston. Had you told me that when I was a resident of that state many years ago, I would have looked at you like you had a horn growing from your forehead. As it turns out, the time of unicorns and rainbows is upon us.


In June of this year, the City Council, spearheaded by openly gay Mayor Annise Parker, passed the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. I read it for you. Do you see how much I care? Go there if you’d like, but be warned. It’s mostly legalese. It is not, however, a terribly offensive document. As they do, opponents seized on an inflammatory part of the law that allows humans to decide which restroom (male or female) to use based on the gender with which they most readily identify. I suppose that could make for some awkward moments. I don’t much care. I’ve seen plenty of women in men’s restrooms, if only because the line for the women’s restroom was too long. The emotional argument against this particular passage is that a man could go into the women’s restroom and justify it by saying he feels like a woman that day. I might exercise that right just to unlock the shackles on the female conundrum via careful eavesdropping. What?! When she says the word “fine”, she doesn’t actually mean it’s fine? Sumbiscuit. And here I thought she was totally cool with my four-day Vegas golf trip with the boys.

Houston is not just the home of a recent progressive movement. It is also the home of the mega-church. The Lakewood Church alone has 43,500 weekly attendees. Yes, you read that correctly. No, I didn’t add any zeros. These churches can mobilize folks in a hurry, which is exactly what they did. To place a referendum on the ballot to propose repeal of this (or any) ordinance, the city of Houston requires a petition with 17,269 signatures. That is not an arbitrary number. It represents 10-percent of those who voted during the most recent mayoral election. The champions of HERO opposition got 50,000 signatures, some 40,000 of which were tossed aside by the city because of irregularity in the documentation. How convenient.

Shots fired in both directions. The skirmish is on. The city of Houston escalates the conflict.

The city of Houston has issued subpoenas demanding a group of pastors turn over any sermons dealing with homosexuality, gender identity or Annise Parker, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. And those ministers who fail to comply could be held in contempt of court.


Perhaps the mayor is so principled that she doesn’t care about re-election. If not, she better enjoy her time in the seat. You never give your adversary a cause around which he can rally.

There are a great many distractors here. Don’t be like the American public at-large and fall for them. Any of them. Freedom of Religion. Freedom of Speech. States’ rights. Transgender equality. Tax-exempt status of churches. Don’t get me wrong. These are important matters one and all, but as they pertain to the issuance of subpoenas, they are noise, and they divert attention from this latest tactic. I implore you to see this tactic for what it is – government bullying. Nothing more, nothing less. You don’t issue a subpoena because you want to make sure all relevant information is on the table. You issue a subpoena to intimidate, indict, or both. The city’s message could not be more clear. You have to tolerate me, what I say, and how I live. The opposite is not true.

If the mayor and her thought police really want to know what is happening in area churches, all they have to do is grab a cup of coffee on Sunday morning and watch a live internet feed. They can also download most of the sermons from church websites. Better yet, maybe they could get off their collective arses and plop them in a pew. The hardest part will be finding a place to park.

Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because something is right doesn’t mean it’s fair. And if you want to be fair, be consistent in your fairness. If you want to be consistent, subpoena the sermons from all Houston area mosques. When you do, set your watch and tell me how long it takes for the ACLU to arrive with Hollywood celebrities in tow.

Photo Credit: Dallas Observer


Dude, Just Put the Jacket on Your Lap


I’ve touched on this topic previously. For those who are new to the party, and for those who chose not to devote brain cells to my family lineage, I’ll share that my father was a career Marine Corps infantry officer and Vietnam Vet. Accordingly, I grew up around the military. It’s all I ever knew. My father was still on active duty when I went to The Boat School. Aside from a steady paycheck, reasonable health-care, the commissary, and a move every three years, I don’t remember many any ancillary benefits. That’s not true. When I was in high school, my dad had a unique on-call schedule that gave him more free time than he could handle, so he signed up as s substitute teacher at my high school. He knew, and still knows, more about history than most PhDs. As he was walking past the lunchroom, an unruly kid who very few of us liked tossed an apple that splattered on the cafeteria floor. My dad saw it, grabbed the kid, and made him do pushups in front of the entire lunch crowd. It. Was. Awesome. That was the first time I witnessed the birth of a cult hero. Dad never got invited back, nor did he care.

The point is, I never once went to an NFL game for free. We didn’t get 10-percent off at the hardware store. And we couldn’t go to Sea World once each year for the affordable price of zero dollars. I didn’t complain then, and I’m not complaining now. But regardless of how you look at military service in its current state, from the standpoint of perks and respect, times are good. Actually, they’ve never been better. We would do well not to take it for granted. I was once walking to a restaurant with a fellow officer from the UK’s Royal Air Force. We were both in uniform because it was required for this function. Someone stopped us in the parking lot and thanked us for our service. My counterpart, who had not been in the States for long, said to me with an astonished look, “That would never happen back home.”

If only because it’s been jammed in your face for a few days, you must know that a female flight attendant on a US Airways flight from Portland to Charlotte refused a US Army First Sergeant’s request to hang his jacket in the first class cabin’s closet. Reports indicate that she did not exude the kindness you might hope to find in a flight attendant. I wasn’t there, so I can’t verify her tone of voice or general demeanor. I can verify that he made a reasonable request, and that his request was denied based on company policy. I would consider it a reasonable request for someone flying coach who is wearing an expensive suit. The difference is that the guy in the suit knows the answer is going to be no, whereas the guy in the uniform expects the answer to be yes. Therein lies the problem, dunnit?

Do not allow yourself to build expectations of special treatment. Do not get upset when the guy at the check-in counter refuses to check your 50 lb suitcase for free because you are not traveling on orders. Do not eat lunch off-base and even allow yourself to hope that someone is going to walk over and pick up your check. Those who have served in the modern era, to include your humble author, have done so willingly. With that service comes great sacrifice, but also occasional benefits. It’s not occasional benefits that mark the beginning of the slippery slope, it’s a sense of entitlement. Be a reluctant hero. As a vet, you have earned a modicum of respect and absolute acceptance by society, not a free lunch at Carrabba’s.

We’ve had discussions here in the past about the LGBT crowd. I won’t arrogantly claim that I speak for all readers of this blog, much less the public at large, but I will say that the majority of those who spoke-up were clear in their opinions. LGBT crowd, we accept you, even in the military, but there is no need for cake and theatrics. Just do your job. Please don’t ask me to celebrate you, as I won’t ask you to celebrate me. Do you see the parallel?

Let us not malign the First Sergeant. I don’t know why he was traveling around the country doing job interviews in a dress uniform, but that’s his business, not mine. I would not make that decision, if only because dress uniforms are uncomfortable and flying in coach is miserable enough as it is. Plus, I’m a blend-in guy. “Yes, FA-18s are very fast and night carrier landings are very scary. Might I go on reading my book now?” The First Sergeant did not make a fuss; the passengers around him did. That was a mistake. They turned a non-news story into a news story, and turned a fleeting chance for short-term good into long-term harm. Now every flight attendant at US Airways, and likely other airlines as well, is going to feel compelled to roll out the red carpet for everyone they see in uniform. That in and of itself is not horrible. It is, however, less than desirable when you account for the fact that they are doing it because they fear backlash, not because they want to honor a service member.

Should the flight attendant have hung up his coat? Yes. For the rest of us, just be glad no one is throwing blood on your uniform at a parade or calling you a baby-killer at the airport.


Back to The Boots on the Ground Thing


Like many of you, and I’ll admit that this is supposition since I can’t know exactly what and how much you read, I have a list of websites I visit each day in order to stay abreast of what is happening in the world. Some I read thoroughly; some I browse. This is also self-serving since it churns my brain and helps me uncover topics that churn it enough to compel me to write. Of late, most every website, whether liberal, conservative, comical, serious, military or beatnik has run an article that expresses doubts about the long-term effectiveness of an air-only campaign. I’m not going to post links. These articles are ubiquitous, and many of them come from surprising sources. In spite of repeated uppercuts to the jaw, ISIL is holding most of its ground. Coalition aviation assets have thwarted attempts to seize further territory, which is good. We should not be afraid to celebrate and find encouragement in those minor victories.

Air campaigns find success against groups like ISIL because they are not just a terrorist group. Their stated goal is to re-establish the caliphate. That is not going to happen for hundreds of reasons, but it’s still important. It’s important because they want to govern. Governing requires much more than hiding out in safe houses waiting for the next opportunity to wield the blades of terror (Al Qaeda), or waiting for your adversary to leave (the Taliban). Governing presents certain vulnerabilities that can be exploited from the air. It requires centralized leadership. It requires the ability to generate finance.

While those vulnerabilities have given us opportunities to date, it’s becoming clear (isn’t it?) that a campaign limited to precision guided weapons will not deliver a decisive victory. Degrade and destroy. That’s what we said.

Let’s concede for a moment that ISIL and its constituents are not stupid. Misguided and evil? Perhaps. Dumb? No. They are going to find ways to mitigate the effectiveness of weapons raining through the skies. It is, quite literally, not rocket science. I could list dozens of methods, but I’ll not be a party to it. Just know that they will adjust, and most likely have already.

At some point, men and women with much more nerve than I have in my personal toolkit are going to have to go house-to-house and kick-in doors. Increasingly, that looks like an incontrovertible truth. I don’t see any way around it. The optimist in me wants to continue believing that our Arab partners will be the ones to do it. I wouldn’t bet my Roth IRA on it. I wouldn’t even bet an hour’s worth of wages on it. Meanwhile, we will use terms like “advisors” in order to avoid another sticky quagmire. The Generals and Admirals in DC can implore POTUS until they are each out of oxygen and red in the face. I can’t envision a scenario by which he will formally commit ground troops. We are, after all, in the midst of a military draw-down en route to more peaceful years.

Whether or not I agree with that approach, I can live with it so long as we are honest about it, and that requires us to first be honest with ourselves. Say it with me. We are making a limited investment to combat this problem, and limited measures get limited results. ISIL is just the latest actor on the stage, albeit a capable one. If not them, it would be the Khorasan. Or the specter of the Khorasan. The number of potential actors appears limitless, for this disease is continually fed by a malignant tumor.

Eventually, you have to find the tumor and treat it. The other option is to throw your hands in the air and accept the outcome for whatever it is.

Do you remember that earlier passage about men and women with tremendous nerve in their personal toolkit? This young lady has it in spades. If you watch nothing else, start at the 3:45 mark and view for a minute-and-a-half.


JAG Finds Flaws in Retention Survey


War on the Rocks is a nifty website. If you haven’t been, I recommend that you add it to your list of places to visit online. The articles are well-written and insightful. The subject matter is compelling. It’s a professional gig, no doubt, unlike this particular hamlet.

Yesterday, an articulate JAG took a swipe at the Navy Retention Study. Unlike the author, I’m not going to put the word Study in quotation marks in an effort to demean its importance or veracity.

Executive Summary: The author doesn’t believe that the survey is accurate because the only people who took it were motivated by the opportunity to grind an axe, therefore the results are not fleet representative. He also posits that the survey team’s recommendation to stop highlighting the firing of COs / XOs / CMCs has no basis in data, and was simply a pre-existing opinion that found an opportunity to be heard. He spends the remaining 2/3s of his post explaining that public floggings are necessary and beneficial.

This will give you a good idea of the article’s tone.

But, the fact is, this so-called “survey of the fleet” was nothing more than an effort by the survey’s organizers and respondents to lobby Navy leadership for policy change, resulting in questionable recommendations based on unsupported extrapolations.

The methodology used for this survey does not deserve the label. It was more akin to a signature petition for change submitted to Navy leadership.

While I recognize the obvious limits in constructing an unofficial survey that is representative, the survey’s authors do not. Instead, the survey’s report provides seemingly limitless extrapolations in speaking for the Fleet’s, not the sample’s, dissatisfaction with leadership.

You get the idea.

All surveys are a reflection of those who choose to respond. Every last one of them. Does this survey suffer from volunteer bias? Absolutely. Mandatory surveys are no more accurate. Those with no desire to complete it are not going to take the time to provide thoughtful responses, so the data will be skewed. For that matter, isn’t our voting process arranged in much the same way? Not everyone votes. Those who do are motivated, whether by civic duty, passion or agenda. Like it or not, that’s how the system works.

Since all surveys are biased, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute survey is necessarily included, which is ironic since it is often used as a springboard to launch investigations that lead to relief from command. Ditto the MCAS / CSA (safety surveys).

The author cites Congressional pressure as one of the reasons the Navy should stay the course.

For instance, in May, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to include a provision in the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act mandating that the Department of Defense publicly release all DoD Inspector General investigations into senior officials.

So there you have it. Would that Congress held itself to the same standard, and all public officials for that matter. Do you remember all of the media hubbub surrounding Undersecretary Bob Martinage’s “resignation”. No, you don’t, because it never happened, and never will happen.

Assuming that Guy and Ben, who initiated and ran the survey, only wanted a pulpit requires belief that they have an agenda. They don’t. I know them both. Their only agenda was to help the Navy get in front of what they see as a looming crisis. Why on earth would anyone invest that amount of time, effort and money to advance a self-serving cause while on active duty? This wasn’t amateur hour. They hired-on a PhD from Cambridge. I don’t even know a PhD from Cambridge, much less where to find one and convince him to participate in survey-building.

Speaking of assumptions, let’s further assume that the survey and its results are garbage. Here are your takeaways:

  1. Everything is great.
  2. Sailors have absolute trust in senior leadership.
  3. Most Navy personnel want their boss’ job.
  4. There is no retention problem.

Do you feel better now? We’ll have this discussion again in 12, 24, and 36 months and see who was right.

I don’t have all the answers, but what I do know is that The Man doesn’t need another mouthpiece.


Maher was Right


I’m not a huge Bill Maher fan. I did my best to remain open-minded and give him a fair shake over the years. One of my major hangups is that he is smug. If you don’t buy whatever he is selling, you’re an idiot. Ultimately, I just don’t agree with many of his viewpoints. If that makes me an idiot, so be it.

The man is smart. Ivy League educated, actually, if you care about such things. Moreover, he is consistent, which is admirable. A self-described agnostic, he has long expressed views that are highly critical of organized religion. Any link he has to liberalism ends right there. Liberals aren’t opposed to religion universally. They are selective, and no target for their opposition is more popular than a Christian in the United States of America.

Last Friday night, actor Ben Affleck sparred with Bill Maher and a few others on Maher’s show Real Time. Press coverage has been sporadic, with most outlets focusing on Affleck’s comments that Maher’s views on Islam are “gross, racist, disgusting”, thus making him a champion of compassion and global understanding.

“You and I have been trying to make the case that liberals need to stand up for liberal principles,” Maher said to fellow panelist, author Sam Harris.

“Freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities, including homosexuals, these are liberal principles that liberals applaud for,” Maher continued, “but then when you say in the Muslim world this is what’s lacking, then they get upset.”

“Liberals have failed us,” Harris added.

Are they wrong? I don’t see how they are. Affleck would have none of it.

“How about the more than a billion people, who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punish women, who just want to go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day, and don’t do any of the things that you’re saying all Muslims do,” Affleck added, passionately.

Here’s the breakdown. If you are a Christian with the audacity to oppose gay marriage, you are a bigot who is still living in the 1950s, or worse yet, The Stone Age. Even if you support the right to gay marriage and do not judge homosexuals, but choose not to endorse it/them favorably, you are condemned as one with a heart full of hatred. Remember that tolerance is no longer enough. One must embrace and celebrate.

For reasons I don’t understand, fairly common practices to Muslims, not the least of which is oppression of women, get a pass. Not only are such practices not condemned, anyone who speaks out against them is judged for wholesale denunciation of an entire religion. That, my friends, is conflating issues, and Affleck fell for it. When you are out of ideas to prop up your hollow argument, you resort to name calling. Maher cornered him with an uncomfortable truth, and we are no longer allowed to have conversations that make people squirm in their chairs. It’s unfortunate for everyone, for the world is a complex place.

Maher was right. Sorry, Ben. I hope the new movie does well.


It’s Not a Breathalyzer!


Those are the famous words uttered shouted by a certain four-star toward anyone who forgot to use the more euphemistic term – Alcohol Detection Device (ADD). In a world of professionals, euphemisms are not necessary. In fact, they indicate condescension. Anyone using a euphemism is either pushing an agenda or believes you don’t have the mettle to handle the truth. In my world? Just give it to me straight. Deceptions are lies, and lies don’t become us.

Since we’re being honest, I’ll admit that the Navy’s roll-out of breathalyzers shook my faith tremendously. The building blocks for the nanny-state were firmly in place, but the use of breathalyzers kompleted konstruction. The concept was bad enough; the spin campaign was worse. It is a benevolent program for the benefit of the Sailor, we were told. It will help us identify at-risk individuals and get them the help they need, they said. I never bought it. Here’s why.

Telling me, or telling anyone, that this program is not punitive doesn’t make it so. Imagine you are the Captain of a US Navy ship. For one reason or another, you send for a young Lieutenant. As you are the Captain, you become nonplussed as said Lieutenant doesn’t make his way into your presence with the speed to which you’ve become accustomed. The Ops-O arrives at your cabin and tells you that the wayward Lieutenant won’t be coming to meet you because he showed up at work this morning with alcohol in his system. He’s in the holding pen awaiting a second breathalyzer, the results of which may allow him to mill about the ship in the normal execution of his duties if it’s below the mandated threshold.

0.04 BAC or higher indicates a Sailor is not able to perform their duties. The Sailor will be relieved of their duties and remain onboard until the reading is not detectable.

Less than 0.02 BAC is considered non-detectable.

You were perplexed. Now you are angry. You also just built an indelible memory of what kind of officer this young Lieutenant really is. Not punitive? As if.

I’m not the hugest supporter of the entity that produced this particular article. Give credit where credit is due, my mom always said. It’s a good piece of journalism, complete with solid research and interviews that support its premise.

When Commander X arrived aboard his ship late one Saturday night, he was greeted by his command master chief administering a breath test, even though X was not on duty.

Less than a month later, in mid-September, X was removed from his post as executive officer of the cruiser Y, after being found guilty at admiral’s mast of drunken driving and conduct unbecoming — charges for which the alcohol detection device provided part of the basis for further action. He had left the ship less than two hours after walking aboard, and a witness saw him get into his car and drive off, said an official with knowledge of the situation.

I don’t know why the XO went to the ship on a Saturday night after drinking, nor do I know why the CMC was the one administering “random” tests with the breathalyzer. What I do know is that the test was not conducted in accordance with the Navy’s instruction.

Random ADD inspections are authorized for those Service Members who are on duty and during normal working hours. It is not the intent or purpose of ADDs to test those in an authorized leave or liberty status.

Apparently that’s not true. Even if it was true, it’s too late to benefit the former XO. Words he will never hear: “We’re terribly sorry. Not to excuse the possibility that you drove a vehicle while impaired, but this process was all wrong. It should have never happened.”

The alcohol detection device result played a central role in X’s firing. The command reported his blood-alcohol content as 0.119 in a “Navy blue” situation report that alerted the service’s leadership and used the finding as a basis to launch a command investigation.

Again, straight from the Navy instruction.

Results of ADD testing are not to be used as a basis for disciplinary measures.

Let me spell it out for you. You were duped. Are you surprised? Lack of trust in senior leadership is just a figment of your imagination.