Random thoughts

February 23, 2018

On this date in 1945, Marines raised our flag in Iwo Jima atop
Mt. Suribachi. A picture taken by Joe Rosenthal won the Pulitzer
Prize for photography and is one of the most recognizable and
reproduced picture of all time.

Locally, The Heart Ball is scheduled for March 3rd. And 11-
year-old Hannah Wells has been named the Princess of the Quad
Cities Heart ball that is hosted by the American Heart
Association. She was diagnosed with critical aortic stenosis
but is doing great and hasn’t had any surgeries since 2014.

The AHA opted to choose a princess to represent childhood heart
conditions since many of us believe heart disease to be a mans
disease or an older persons problem. Hannah’s parents started a
non-profit organization to help children with heart disease and
helped many since the beginning. You can visit the organization
at Helping Hannah’s Heart.

And we don’t know about where you’re from but here on the east
coast of Iowa the potholes are back with a vengeance. I hit one
the other day that could easily swallow a 57′ Buick. Ah the
rites of spring in the mid-west.

And finally, I have put the monster lens back on the camera to
see how it differs from my other lens. So far so good. That may
change depending on how long I leave it on. We’ll see and
perhaps share some pictures at a later time.

So enjoy our Friday as the weekend is here. We don’t have
anything planned, but hey, it’s the weekend!
Comments are always welcome.


Fair weather Navy?

January 10, 2018

A recent opinion piece in the Navy Times leads me to believe we
have been very lucky we haven’t had more collisions and fatal
mistakes than we have.

In the opinion of the author, a 2nd class petty officer, the
problems lie with the higher ups. In a policy based modern Navy
the E-5 believes the problem lies with civilian officials or
high-ranking Navy personnel who haven’t performed the tasks they
make the policy about.

And also the claim that the Chiefs care more about looking good
than being good. Perhaps this modern Navy forgot the Admirals
Law. Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn’t have to do

To paint the entire Navy with the same brush does an injustice
to all. There are good non-coms just as there are good sailors.
Some commissioned officers are inspiring while others make you
bite your tongue.

And the military does run on rules which means somebody has to
make the rules. We don’t always agree with them. These days
everyone is looking for a solution. Why not go back to the Blue
Book and see what it says. I’ll bet I wouldn’t recognize it
since 40 years have past since my discharge.

We don’t know the answer as we don’t have all the facts. Now
isn’t the time for rash judgements based on scuttlebutt. The
problems are there and we hope they will be adressed.

Now I need more coffee while I’m ponder the 1 pound Snickers
bar and if it is a single serving. Enjoy our Wednesday.
Comments are always welcome.

Somber anniversary

January 9, 2018

Later this month is the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the
Tet Offensive which began on January 30, 1968. It was also the
deadliest year of the Vietnam War with more than 16,000

In fact, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall has 140 panels of
names and 72 of those panels are for 1968. And there are still
1,602 unaccounted for.

Started on the Tet holiday, the Vietnamese New Year, by the
Viet Cong and the People’s Army of Vietnam against the forces
of the South Vietnamese Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the
United States Armed Forces, and their allies.

You may be too young to remember, you may have protested the
war, or you may have been drafted; but we cannot forget.
Comments are always welcome.

Camp Pendleton explosion

December 12, 2017

photo by Marine Corps.

Yesterday, during a training exercise at Camp Pendleton, 4
members of 1st Platoon, Company A, a Navy Corpsman and 9
Marines from C Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines were badly
burned when training went FUBAR.

All were riding in an armored amphibious vehicle when they
pulled off the road and nicked an above ground gas line. When
the treads of the vehicle hit the gray gas line it exploded.
The gas fire welded the steel treads, ate the entire roof and
right side of the vehicle, and melted weapons inside.

The explosion ruptured the vehicles gas tank which added 170
gallons of diesel fuel to the fire that took 6 hour to get
under control. 6 paramedic units, 3 brush fire engines, a
ladder truck, 5 aero-medical ambulances, and a firefighting
aircraft were on scene.

The officials who planned the exercise didn’t know that a
Marine D8T bulldozer had ruptured the same line, 30 yards away,
3 months earlier. In that instance there was no explosion and
everyone was evacuated safely.

Our condolences to the victims, their families and friends,
and others affected by this tragedy. For the whole story go to

Enjoy the rest of our Tuesday and if you could, give these
Marines and sailor a quick prayer.
Comments are always welcome.

Three problems

August 27, 2017

While the rain has put a damper on outdoor activities on the
east coast of Iowa news of all sorts has been filtering through
our daily lives. The storms in Texas, the nut job with the bowl
haircut firing a few missiles, and the Navy not being to
navigate friendly waters come to mind.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Texas, we can only
imagine the grief caused. We know the fact that help is on the
way is of little consequence to those hardest hit but there is
not much more to be said at this point.

North Korea fired off three missiles yesterday and a thinking
man has to wonder where the threat is. The first missile failed,
the second blew up shortly after being launched, and the third
missile failed. This means only one of two things.

Either they are dumber than bricks for trying the same thing
over and over, are they are intentionally firing off the duds
so others get complacent. I don’t like either of those options.

As I perused the Navy Times a story caught my eye and had me
staring at the monitor in disbelief. The headline was ‘Maybe
today’s Navy is just not very good at driving ships’. Huh?
Isn’t a Navy supposed to involve ships?

As I read the article I was concerned as the statement came
from a retired Navy Captain. First off, you don’t drive a ship.
A helmsman pilots the ship. Surface Warfare Officers don’t even
know the terminology? According to the retired captain ‘the
current generation of officers rising into command level
billets lacks the skills, training, education and experience
needed to operate effectively and safely at sea’.

This begs the question, who on the ship does have the skill to
operate the ship safely? 17 dead sailors this summer because
the ability to operate a ship in open seas is unknown to those
doing so? I’m glad my hitch occurred when we knew how to do it
safely and bring all hands back to port.

It may just be time to bring God back to the public. Enjoy
our Sunday, I’ll still be shaking my head tomorrow.
Comments are always welcome.

McHale’s Navy?

August 21, 2017

My brother called Saturday and asked if I could give him a
hand with a plumbing problem over at Dad’s. Between both of us
we wouldn’t make a decent plumbers apprentice but figured two
heads are better than one.

While diagnosing the problem we talked about how there seem
to be more helicopters crashing and ship collisions than when
we were in. When we finished and after visiting with Dad, he
went his way and we went to a car show. Then yesterday came
news of another collision of a Navy ship and a merchant vessel.

Picture by US Department of Defense, Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Vazquez – United States Department of Defense, Public Domain

The destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker
in Asian waters at around 06:30 am. But how does the lookout,
radar, and sonar miss a 600 foot long tanker? In the aftermath
10 sailors are missing and 5 were injured. A search and
rescue was ongoing when I read this in Stars & Stripes.

None of the injured sailors have life threatening injuries
and the destroyer is heading to Changi Naval Base in Singapore
under its own power. To read the entire article, go here.

The USS John S McCain, DDG-56 is an Arleigh Burke-class guided
missile destroyer with 4 GE LM2500-30 gas turbines putting out a
combined 100,000 hp and a top speed of 30 knots with a range of
4,400 miles at 20 knots. It has a crew of around 300. I can
think of no reason why this should have happened. We hope
questions get answers and solutions are found.

We’ll leave it there as my cup is dry and the pizza oven is
begging to be filled. Enjoy our monday and be careful watching
the eclipse.
Comments are always welcome.

Update on the update

July 31, 2017

Told you the Navy base at Norfolk was on partial lock down
earlier due to possible sightings of an unknown diver in the
water. The lock down of ships and piers has been lifted because
it was indeed a diver in the water.

The world’s largest military base was breached by a scuba diver
who somehow got around the underwater wall that runs along the
water surrounding the base. For more on the update go to
Stars and Stripes.

Enjoy our Monday.