Thursday, June 29, 2006
The Soccer Mom navy..........
A friend who is still in the Navy and I were doing some quality drinking the other night. He was bemoaning the outbreak of the what he calls "the morals police". He had recently been down in the Philippines and I had to shake my head at what he told me. They were unable to go out into the town and restricted to the limits of the former Clark AB. Which has to be frustrating enough know that the "promised land" of Angeles is just out there beyond reach. They are limited in what they can drink off duty and where and who with, is also tightly regulated. I asked him what had brought this on.
My buddy told me that originally there had not been these restrictions, then a couple of guys had been stupid and there had also been some hint that when the limits of movement had been reduced to the former Clark EEZ, that Sailors being Sailors, had figure out a way to get the girls to come to them. Which,as you can probably imagine had lead to someone getting caught, and the powers that be being "shocked, SHOCKED, that sex was going on." Evidently to make matters worse they put themselves on report and and sent a message to the chain of command saying they had found that out. Holy United Nations Trafficking in Persons, BATMAN!
Seems a far cry from my days as Maintenance Officer, deployed with the squadron in Panama, when I had the squadron corpsman put a box of condoms next to the box of ear protectors in the parachute loft, thus offering the guys a discreet way to take some protection with them when they went out into town. Then again, the only women they could "date", were out in town.
Robert Kaplan has a vignette in his book Imperial Grunts, where he points out that the powers that be had arranged for folks doing the hard work in the Philippines, "had arranged for R&R to be taken in Okinawa because the damn Bible thumpers know its harder to get laid there." (Which is true to some extent.......).
However I think the problem goes further than just one of sexual mores.
At my previous place of employ I watched the front office give preference to married folks over single ones when it came to summer leave. Even to the point of granting leave when it should have been turned down because it took the numbers too low. In the same week that happened, I watched a guy who wanted to take leave in Thailand get raked over the coals about what he was going to do there. As if that was anybodies business but the service members.
And God forbid, one has a fight with his spouse and it gets turned over to Security / the FAP mafia. My ex learned that lesson all too well that , by just threatening that, she could bend me to her will. I'm not saying that they don't have a job to do and their have been some bad incidents, but there have also been cases of folks using the system against the service member. Primarily it occurs when commanding officers forget that their advice is "advisory" and not mandatory. And that they can still make "gut calls" in favor of the service member.
IMHO, the trend is going too far. What ever happened to the idea of "On time for work, sober, ready to go to work" as the main criteria? That was always my scale for judging a guy. As for what happens outside the fence, well I believe that there are too many folks going, where its none of their business. Period. Don't ask don't tell should apply to heterosexual conduct too.