Officer Quote of the Past Four Decades and a Real X File
BackgroundM.E. is a submarine blog. The naval genre was not Vigilis's first choice, but his mentor, Joel Kennedy, a retired submarine officer and author of The Stupid Shall Be Punished soon persuaded him to place his political blogs elsewhere (mostly).
The problem with submariners, as anyone who ever qualified may admit reluctantly, is that there is probably not a more opinionated audience on Earth than one comprised of U.S. submarine veterans.
For good reasons (like mission success, vessel and crew survival, etc.) we were all taught to know the most important things to know about anything boat related. Naturally, this universal attitude eventually becomes our personal outlook ---in other areas, as well. Submariners like to be in control for habitual reasons, if nothing more.
President Jimmy Carter was criticized during his single term (by members of his own political party - Democrats) of micromanaging. As an ex-submariner and control freak, Carter was probably guilty as charged. He was the only peacetime president, for example, who gave the nation gasoline rationing with long waiting lines based on odd/even licence tag numbers.
Jeff Mellinger, the last enlisted ranked serviceman to be drafted, retired from active duty in 2011.
During his1968 presidential election, Richard Nixon had campaigned on a promise to end the draft. By early 1973, no further draft orders would be issued.
There were thousands of hard-working volunteer draftees in the submarine service. They became valuable crewmen. Due o the universal draft, their backgrounds were varied and often stellar. Some had more education than junior officers. Two U.S. nuclear subs were lost during this period with all hands. Some of our shipmates died. The SUBSAFE program was an afterthought during our era. Most of its beneficiaries have served since. Today's volunteer submariners are of the same sturdy metal, knowing full well that in war or peace, we will lose another sub, perhaps with all hands, someday again.
Attentive readers will note that the forty-year recruit quality comparison (in the following quotation) begins after the draft ended. An obvious question then, is just who's interim service has not been up to current quality?
Quote Covering the last Four Decades
“It’s not that we have a zero defect mentality, because we don’t, but it is true that the quality of military recruits right now is the highest it’s been in 40 years.” - Nathan Christensen, Navy public affairs officer for the Defense Department to the Kansas City Star. source: The Washington Times