Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Call Them Mariners

March 10, 2019

I recently posted an article on a Mariner spouse page. Call Them ‘Mariners’

I posted it for a couple of reasons… I’m big on education and if the spouse don’t use the correct terms and history… Well, that’s a pet peeve of mine.

It’s been received well. One person did ask what were the veteran benefits. I answered “Veteran status means getting recognition and benefits like medical care from the VA. So many WWII Mariners died before getting veteran status. Interestingly, it was the newly formed Air Force that opposed Mariners getting veteran status. They weren’t even their own separate branch from the Army in WWII. 😒”

One member asked me why I was singling out the Air Force… She posted the legislation as “interesting reading.” It is a very lengthy PDF from the Congressional Record. 2017 legislation does fix some oversights and errors. It’s a shame that most WWII Mariners are now dead.

My reply was “Yes, it was the Secretary in particular.”

I was then asked why I was dissing the Secretary of the Air Force because he was acting on advice of the Civilian/Military Review Board. I find it particularly interesting that that she mentioned civilian influence.

I replied with my go-to source that I have used for over two decades. The United States Merchant Marine organization’s position. My detractor sees this source as merely an OpEd piece.

Honestly, I don’t care who is responsible, it’s a shame. Look, I support our military and I am a proud Patriot. But how can someone connected to this industry not want equal recognition and benefits for those who served and also gave the ultimate sacrifice? Vet status given to those who flunked out of military training?? Vet status to dieticians and clerks before a branch of service that list 7,000 men?? And arbitrarily saying vet status was only good up to a YEAR before the official end of the war?? (2017 legislation appears to have fixed this.)

The USMM is older than the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Certainly older than the Air Force.

During my short time at Sea Power Magazine, I met former military who didn’t know the USMM actually has combat medals. I don’t know how many years the Almanac of Seapower had been published before I asked where were the Mariner medals? No one in the office knew that the United States Merchant Marine Academy is the only federal service academy to send it’s cadets, midshipmen, or airmen into EVERY war and military action. Including Desert Shield/Desert Storm. NONE of the other four took part in that conflict. No one in the office knew that USMMA was the only federal service academy NOT invited to the celebration parade!

I remember being asked to get a picture of a Mariner officer at work so I pulled a picture of the Chief off my cubicle wall and the Senior Editor said, “No I need an officer (in uniform).” My Chief was in jeans and a t-shirt so response was, “My husband is an officer and that is his uniform.”

We aren’t often include in Memorial Day services and Veterans Day services. I met the Merchant Mariner who fought to make sure the USMM medallion was included as part of the World War II Memorial. I met men who had accomplished the 1988 legislation and were still trying to vet status for those who served between 1945 and the end of WWII in 1946, Korea, and Vietnam.

I got tired of hearing that if I took my children out of school to celebrate the one holiday that honors past and present Mariners (Maritime Day–a NATIONAL holiday on May 22nd) it would be considered an unexcused absence.

It’s been 13 hours since I posted my link. I’m assuming the other spouse has Air Force ties. Where I live I know people from every branch of military service. I am not knocking them. I am grateful for their service and sacrifice. And I agree their benefits are grossly inadequate and veteran affairs and medical care needs such an overhaul.

And yet I also know that despite our “civilian pay” and benefits, our Mariners and families make sacrifices too. Currently, no my Mariner has not gone into a war zone but given the fact the Chief is “deployed” 5-7 months a year EVERY year for the past 27 and we don’t have Exchange benefits, support groups, housing, etc…, That if he were ever sent into a war zone I would hope he would be honored with veteran status.

Getting off my soap box now.

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De Ja Vue

June 1, 2017

I don’t speak French so hopefully that is the correct spelling.

This time last year I was anxiously awaiting news on a job I thought I was a shoe-in for and I convinced the Chief that an 8 year-old borzoi NEEDED me to adopt her.

Long story short, my current position (not the one I had applied for in May) is being eliminated as the school no longer meets the requirements for the federal funding. Yesterday I just got word that the other position is coming open again. I am definitely jumping at the chance. I’m not sure how the whole transfer thing works but I was told that every effort would be made to secure a new position. Hopefully, fingers and toes crossed, this will work this time.

Second, someone posted pictures of a new foster greyhound on the group FaceBook page. He is adorable. Yes, I said HE. A big goofy 4 year old male. I brought T1 in to see his pictures and she agreed–we should try to get him or another male. I pretty much submitted my application that moment, same as last year. The Chief is just laughing at me. A male. And he should be going back to sea before he has a chance to train this one and get him integrated into the pack with Simi-Ruthie (borzoi) and Hedwig (greyhound).

I know. We just lost Crookshanks at the end of March. Is it too soon? Simi and Hedwig are finally getting along. Simi still has issues. Are we upsetting the delicate balance by bringing in another dog? We definitely can’t get another female who might challenge Simi for alpha status.

I have never had a male dog before. I’m excited.

De Ja Vue. Nerve-wracking. Exciting. Stressful. Impatient. I am all those things.

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National Maritime Day 2017

May 22, 2017

The Chief is home so his company asked him to attending a Maritime Day ceremony, meetings, and an awards dinner tonight. I would have loved to go with him but alas as a full-time teacher I am doing standards of learning testing today. The Chief will miss T2’s band concert tonight too. 😦

NATIONAL MARITIME DAY (May 22)

Our nation has a little-known national holiday this week: National Maritime Day—a day set aside to honor those civilians who gave their lives for freedom upon the high seas. Because members of the U.S.-flagged Merchant Marine are civilians, most Memorial Day celebrations only give cursory mention of these heroes. As a result, National Maritime Day is their day.

Established by a joint resolution of Congress on May 20, 1933, National Maritime Day is May 22 of each year. The day was selected to honor the first successful trans-Atlantic crossing by a steamship, S.S. Savannah, which set sail from the United States on May 22, 1819. The president of the United States issues a proclamation each year, calling for observance of the holiday. Each U.S.-flagged vessel is sent the proclamation, acknowledging the continued service of the men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine. On April 4, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation adding that observances of National Maritime Day include flying the American flag on homes and all government buildings.

The U.S. Maritime Administration, a branch of the Department of Transportation, holds a memorial service—the only national memorial service that honors those American seafarers who lost their lives in service to their country. American seafarers have been involved in defense of the nation since 1776 to the present. In World War II alone, over 1,000* American vessels were sunk, and over 9,500** merchant seamen and officers were lost as a result of enemy action and war-related causes. Members of Congress, leaders from maritime labor and management, and government all participate in this memorial service.

*A Careless Word — a Needless Sinking: A History of the Staggering Losses Suffered by the U.S. Merchant Marine, both in Ships and Personnel, during World War II, American Merchant Marine Museum, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., 1983 to 1998. Captain Moore’s book lists approx. 990 ships. http://www.usmm.org list includes 1,600 ships.

**Total killed at sea, POW killed, plus died from wounds ashore

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., sends an honor guard and the academy’s Battle Standard to participate in the Memorial Service. USMMA lost 144 midshipmen in World War II. Since the academy’s founding in 1943, midshipmen have been involved in every major military action, including today’s war on terror. This makes the academy unique among the nation’s five service academies.

The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command holds a wreath-laying ceremony also on National Maritime Day. The ceremony honors the civilian seafarers who gave their lives manning U.S. Navy vessels involved in the transport of vital supplies. It also honors the Navy Armed Guards who sailed on merchant vessels, an oft-overlooked group of servicemen.

Civilian seafarers helped to build and defend the United States. Fredericksburg began as a colonial shipping port. Shipping commerce is vital to our country’s economy. In time of war gallant seafarers have come to the aid of our armed services—delivering troops, equipment, and food, often putting themselves in grave and mortal danger. As we celebrate Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day, please remember those who served along with our Soldiers, Pilots, Sailors, and Marines. And fly the flag proudly on May 22 each year in observance of National Maritime Day.

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Merchant Mariners do not automatically have veteran status. In fact the Secretary of the Air Force (not even its own branch of service until after WWII) blocked granting veteran status and rights four times!

From usmm.org:

The judge ordered the Board to reconsider their denial and the Board granted veteran status to most WWII mariners on January 19, 1988. Mariners who went to sea after August 15, 1945, serving in wartime in hazardous waters, got veteran status on November 11, 1998.

One of the arguments against granting status is the civilian nature of their job. “They get paid more.” One argument for veteran status is the hazardous conditions of war time seafaring and the disproportionate casualties the merchant marine suffered during WWI and between Aug. 1945 and Dec. 1946 (as well as other conflicts such as Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf Wars).

 

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Spring, Spring!

March 8, 2016

Is it here? I hope so. But then we had a 70 degree day on Leap Day and snow on Thursday night giving us a 2-hour school delay! And now we are expected to reach record highs this week, set back in 2000.

Crook and Heddie "chase" the sun around the yard on Leap Day 2016.

Crook and Heddie “chase” the sun around the yard on Leap Day 2016.

Crazy March weather!

Crazy March weather!

I am looking forward to Spring, even if it means we get crazy busy with soccer and T2’s last year in middle school. She is currently in the process of applying to the same select advances program as T1. More nerve-wracking the second time around than I thought it would have been. She had her final middle school band concert the other night. The Chief had to ship out early due to a schedule change later this year. But he will be home for her awards night and her 8th grade semi-formal.

 

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