There’s probably only one feeling worse than being a 15 year old with a new girlfriend and no wheels. That’s being a brand new ensign with a freshly signed-off Qualifications Book and not knowing port from left. Now, as a right proper Army officer, I know that answer. Left is left. Port is served after supper, with a cigar when not in the society of ladies. Count on the Navy to screw that up.
What troubles me is that these officers, and likely most ensigns since 2009, may be sporting SWO-Daddy badges and not really be expert. And getting promoted. And taking charge of ships and sailors. Just me, but what did Vice Admiral Richard Brown discover?
Led by the Surface Warfare Officer School, officer of the deck competency checks were conducted on a random selection of OOD-qualified first-tour division officers (the newest officers in the fleet) in underway bridge navigation simulators fleet-wide between January and March. Of the 164 officers who were evaluated, only 27 passed with “no concerns.” Another 108 completed with “some concerns,” and 29 had “significant concerns,” according to the message, which was released by the Navy’s top surface warfare officer Vice Adm. Richard Brown.
Brown, who leads Naval Surface Force Pacific, termed the results “sobering.”
No, Admiral. “Sobering” is talking to a police officer after your pickup truck got totaled by a Prius. Officers who are not masters of the craft of naval warfare, which includes seamanship as its core component, are an unmitigated disaster.
Now, I’m sure they use the proper plethora of pronouns, and are exceedingly salutatious of Xir and Xirette and all the other Emotional Intelligence PC slang. But an ensign who can’t properly Navy is just… wow. I mean, of what use is an ensign in this case? Use him as stuffing to stop a leak in the bulkhead? Guard the strawberries? What?
With VMI having taken the plunge into PC madness, I wonder if the NROTC Department is taking corrective action to ensure its graduates know how to Navy? Do you take them to the river and put them in a rowboat to learn? Should we ask Liechtenstein if we can borrow their navy for a little while, since it is of better quality than ours? Perhaps we issue learner’s permits, and set sail.