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USS Scorpion


I have written other articles and one poll on the USS Scorpion (you may search my archives to find them), so I will not rehash those articles now.

May 27, 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the loss of the USS Scorpion and the 99 men aboard her. The last time the Scorpion left port it’s underway was momentarily delayed so that a crewman could leave the ship to fly back to Norfolk, Virginia on emergency leave. He was on pier 22 that rainy Memorial Day 50 years ago, waiting with the families for the return of his ship and his shipmates. I salute the 100th member of the crew as well, and thank him for his many years of service to the submarine service.

What actually sank the USS Scorpion has still not been settled. Unlike the USS Thresher, which was lost 5 years before the Scorpion, the United States Navy still considers the loss of the Scorpion a matter of national security and keeps part of the official record classified to this day. Decades after all the material on the loss of the USS Thresher as been declassified.

The USS Thresher is in 15,000 feet of water off the coast of New England, and is in the condition you would expect of a submarine which imploded.

However, much of the USS Scorpion looks recognizable. Though the engine room was forced inside the machinery room and the sail (conning tower in the Hollywood movies) was separated from the ship, large portions of the sub look as it did when she was tied up in port.

What we do know about the USS Scorpion is that her last overhaul was supposed to be three years. But, was cut to less than a year as a cost saving measure by a Defense Department dealing with the increasing costs of the war in Vietnam. (After the loss of the USS Scorpion this cost saving measure was discontinued).

We also know that the Navy has a few dozen photographs and no video footage of the wreckage on its archive website. The navy claims this is all the film it has on the Scorpion wreckage.

Dr. Robert Ballard in his memoirs details the weeks he spent (just before finding the Titanic) taking still and video film footage of the USS Scorpion for the navy as well as checking on the integrity of nuclear material at the site. (All of the nuclear material is safe and has not contaminated any of the ocean or sea floor).

None of Dr. Ballard’s still or video photography is even acknowledged by the United States Navy to exist, and certainly not allowed to be seen by the families or the public.

The time has come for the United States Navy to declassify all the material the navy and the United States government has on the Scorpion. Not to fuel another book or movie, not to fuel the public’s morbid curiosity, not to satisfy the thousands of submariners who have never forgotten the Scorpion or her crew, but to give closure to the families and loved ones of the entire crew of the USS Scorpion. Wives, daughters, sons, siblings, mothers, fathers, and loved ones will never be able to visit the grave of their loved ones. But they do deserve the closure of knowing the entire story of the final chapter of the USS Scorpion and their loved ones still on eternal patrol.

If the navy does not want to release that information to the public, I as a submarine veteran, support that, but only on the condition that they DO release that information to the families.

Any submariner will tell you the things we did under the sea were only possible because of the support we received from our loved ones back home.

The families deserve the full unabridged story, even if that story cannot yet be made public.

Mr. President, Mr. Secretary, Chief of Naval Operations – it has been 50 years. The time has come for you to give closure to the families.

To the families of the USS Scorpion and USS Thresher, I want to tell you that your loved ones live on in the heart of every sunmariner world wide. I have personally heard the stories of submariners from the Soviet Navy, British Navy, Canadian, Navy, French Navy and others. They always speak of the exact moment and what they were doing the moment they heard of your loss. They all speak of the shock and the difficulty in believing that such an event actually happened. They also speak of changes in the design, construction, and operation of submarines after that loss. Then they go on to tell of specific incidents where those changes were responsibly for their own submarines being able to return to port after an emergency while submerged at sea.

Your husband’s, your daddies, your brothers, your sons; they did not die in vain. They have saved the lives of unknown thousands of their brothers and sisters, some of whom continue to go to sea on submarines.

We will never forget your loved ones. And as long as men and women continue to wear dolphins (submarine warfare pin) WE will always be your family.

May God bless and keep you all.

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My Priority Readjustment


Yeah, it’s time. For far too long I’ve let too many people occupy too much of my time.

Why?

They come to me for help, advice, or both. One of my weaknesses as always been my inability to tell people no. I’ve had times when people helped me, and for that I will always be grateful. Particularly for those who took it upon themselves to notice and step up without any word from me when I was determined to “go it alone”.

So, why the sudden change? First it is not sudden. It is something I have been contemplating for months. Second, and more important, those who matter the most are the ones who pay the highest price for my altruism. Not to mention the strain on me as well.

Those closest to me know how important they are to me. A perfect example of one is my daughter.

Also, some of those who come to me seem to keep coming back for the same issues over and over again. Those who have sought me out know I always keep their confidences. Even when I post something for someone on social media I never tag them or give any indication that the post is anything other than something I just felt like posting. While I am sure some (the ones the posts were intended for) appreciated the gesture, that too has caused issues as well, as other people have mistakenly thought the posts were about them.

So, I will be pulling back more, doing less for the many, and more for the few. Also, I am going to put more thought and planning into this next move than I did the last.

So, to those few closest to me, I am sorry for the high price you have had to pay. And, though old habits are hard to break, you will be getting more from me.

To everyone else? I will always keep what was said in confidence, you never have to worry about that. To anyone I have made a promise to? You still have my word, I always keep my promises.

This is just a priority readjustment, one that is long overdue.

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Book stores


One of my fav book stores.

Google review of Eighth Day Books

https://goo.gl/maps/9jmTXn2zFYR2

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God ~ Thank You For My Enemies


I have four other articles for you waiting to be published. This week was to be the first in a two part series on Southern words. But…..

I awoke in the wee dark hours of the morning, just moments before an Instagram friend, Ayman, made a post.

I say Instagram friend, but I really don’t know her. I do not even remember how we ended up following each other. One of us probably made a comment the other liked on a mutual “friends” post and hit follow. Then the other did the polite thing and returned the follow. Life in our social media culture. But, it doesn’t matter. I am glad we follow each other, I do like her posts. Anyway…..

I awoke in a contemplative mood (writerly mood some say). Moments later she made a post that dove-tailed my thoughts, and here they are.

I love my enemies.

Not because any religion or God says I should or must. No I love my enemies in the Blackfoot way.

Once many years ago I met a man who was Blackfoot. In our short conversation he taught me much about the Blackfoot. Though I have forgotten most of his words and even what he looked like, I have remembered two things he taught me.

First, the Blackfoot are not a tribe, but a confederation of seven tribes.

Second, the Blackfoot measure the greatness of a man by the greatness of his enemies. At the time I did not understand just how profound that truly is.

Now I am not talking about someone who believes every bad rumor about you and gleefully passes it along. That person, for one reason or another, is jealous of you. They want to see your downfall because they feel that somehow it will increase their own stature or stop their own feeling of inadequacy.

I am also not talking about the person who has decided you are now persona non grata because you called them on their bullshit. That person has underestimated your intelligence, your worth, or both.

Neither of those people really KNOW you, and they never will. They can’t. They only know you as a reflection of themselves. Only those things in you that directly impact their self-image are even noticed by them. It is nothing personal.

Actually, the low regard both of those people have for you, has nothing to do with you. So get over it, it is not personal. Both of these people are convinced they know you like the back of their hand. They don’t. Which is why you surprise them (though they would never admit it), with your words and deeds from time to time.

So who am I talking about?

I am talking about a person who really, truly, knows you. They get you. They know your core beliefs, your core values, they see you. Not just your public image most people get. When you do or say something, they are not surprised. If truth be told, they probably could have predicted it.

It is those core principals of yours that they don’t like. They dislike you because of what they stand for.

Those last two sentences? Means they have core values and principals that guide them as well. It also means your core values clash with their core values someplace on the list.

There are only two people in this world who will ever surprise you. Those you see as family & friends, and a principled enemy.

Those who are close to you are the only ones who can betray you. Their betrayal, if it happens, will surprise you and hurt you deeply.

So…..

How can a principled enemy surprise you?

A principled enemy will surprise you at those moments when they defend you!

What?!?

Defend you? Not going to happen! They are an enemy, they will never defend you!

Au contraire my friend!

We are not talking about someone who is jealous of you, nor are we talking about someone who is upset because you caught them on and called them on their bullshit. No, we are talking about a principled enemy who dislikes you because your values clash with their values.

Those petty people? They will take any victory over you they can, and if it includes things that are not true. Then so much the better.

Ah, but the principled enemy. It matters a great deal to them. Yes, they want to defeat you, yes they oppose you. But they want to defeat you on their principles vs. your principles. So, when the situation has played you false. The principled enemy will watch and wait. When no one else comes to your defense, your principled enemy will. No, you are not friends now. Yes, they still want to defeat you. But they want to defeat you fair and square, they want to defeat you because somewhere on the list your core values clash, and because you are preventing them from their goals, they are preventing you from your goals, or both.

A principled enemy is worth your respect. Principled enemies are also rare. Only a principled enemy will push, make you reflect on your core beliefs. Only the principled enemy will make you stronger and teach you WHY your values are your values. The principled enemy will challenge you right down to the very foundations of what you believe. They will force you to know what you believe and why. A principled enemy will force you to stand on your convictions or change them, even if you do so alone.

Now….

You know….

Why the Blackfoot measure the greatness of a man by the greatness of his enemies.

Have a good day my friend.

And may all your enemies be great men (or women).

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Learn a Foreign Language ~ Speak Southern


We are starting a series on the Southern language. Yes, it really is like another language.

For those of you who live in other parts of the country you will see words that are used where you live also. However, those words, when you trace them back to their origins, came from the South.

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