Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Doldrums

Dutch Ships in a Calm
Willem van de Velde the Younger
(Source)
Down dropt the breeze,
the sails dropt down,
'Twas sad as sad could be;
And we did speak only to break
The silence of the sea!

All in a hot and copper sky,
The bloody Sun, at noon,
Right up above the mast did stand,
No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean. *
No, I'm not becalmed in the Intertropical Convergence Zone,** 'tis the other meaning of that phrase which has me in its foul grips. I'm just a bit listless and stagnant, there is not a breath of inspiration to fill my virtual sails.

Work has been busy as of late, pleasantly so. I'm doing things of a naval nature and that always pleases me. Unfortunately it's not out on the water but it is in support of those who "go down to the sea in ships" and that's the main reason I took on this gig some 18 years ago.

Well that and it pays pretty well.

Getting up the energy to provide you all with new, enlightening, and educational stuff to read is just not available today. No doubt The Nuke would recommend bringing another reactor on line to take up the slack, but this old hull is just about at it's design limits.

I daresay The Muse is off gallivanting about with persons of ill repute (yes, fighter pilots, shoe clerks wouldn't hold her interest for long) and will return with fresh material any day now. Until then, I highly recommend you go peruse those folks on the sidebar. They have much to offer.

In other news, The WSO received her "thank you for playing" door prize recently. She got out of the Navy as she was passed over for promotion twice (which is, I believe, the magic number) and bounced out to the inactive reserves. Though she has well over the mandated eight years of service (active and reserve) she received a separation bonus by agreeing to hold herself available in the inactive reserve for a cuppla years.

With that came a promotion to lieutenant commander, or "hinge" as it is known in the aviation world. A former SWO of my acquaintance says they used the term in the surface world as well, though The Naviguesser denies all knowledge of the term when he was in. I might mention that he remains a member of the JOPA, both of his sisters having surpassed his highest rank, which was, after all, their goal.

What's that? What's a "hinge" you want to know? (As used in the parlance of the naval service.)

Glad you asked -
Hinge: Slang for an O-4, or lieutenant commander (LCDR). So called because of the lobotomy that is supposedly mandated as soon as a naval officer is promoted to this rank, in which half of his brain is removed. A hinge is then inserted that allows for reattachment of the removed gray matter later. The hinge also limits the LCDR’s head movement to the fore–aft axis. This is clearly demonstrated as the O-4 is constantly nodding in the affirmative and saying, “Yessir, yessir” when in the presence of the CO. (Source)
Son-in-law Big Time is also a hinge. The way his former squadron mates congratulated him on attaining such greatness can be summed up in one short phrase...
"You're dead to us."
Gotta love the JOPA. You can almost feel the love.

Carry on, that is all.




* Stanzas 6-8 from Part II of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Source)
** LINK
NOTE - Membership in the JOPA is restricted to ensigns and lieutenants. O-4 and above need not apply.

62 comments:

  1. "We're kicking you out because you're not worth promoting, but here's a promotion on the way out the door" has a certain, uh, "logic" to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, puzzles this old Air Force guy.

      Delete
    2. According to an anonymous source I know with extensive experience in AF Personnel, AF promotions carry a four year active duty service commitment. Interesting that the Navy might be different, or maybe this is another rule that changed with the prior administration.

      Delete
    3. On further discussion with said source, additional information came to light. Said active duty service committment can be served in both the active and inactive reserves.

      Delete
    4. These anonymous sources get somewhat snippy when asked for clarification. "Why didn't you ask that first? You coulda blown my cover!"

      Delete
    5. Important point here is, does LUSH know?

      (I'm sure she does.)

      Delete
    6. The AF's version of the JOPA was the LPA, solely for the protection of 2Lt's and 1Lt's. Captains were older than dirt and therefore not of much help. The Juvat Boys Choir was almost entirely composed of members of the LPA, and a few SENIOR Captains who were on their last tour. AHHHHHH....Those were the days! Political Correctness did not stand a chance.

      Delete
    7. I did not know that. At the lofty rank of Master Sergeant, we did not notice the antics of mere mortals.

      [Wink. Grin.]

      Delete
  2. Not that I'm entirely nautically parochial or enlisted-centric, but are Army, Air Force, and Marine Majors Hinges as well? Does the JOPA exist in those societies? For that matter (and you kinda hinted at this a bit), does an O-3 hatch into an 0-4 Hinge in the non-aviation part of the naval service?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To my certain knowledge the Air Force has no hinges per se though the concept applies. As far as I know the Army and the Marines do not have hinges. The JOPA is primarily Navy and from what I've seen the aviators and NFOs own that concept. The SWOs subscribe to the concept only in passing (the "SWO stab" is a real thing).

      My SWO son denies all knowledge of hinges, my SWO colleague at work insists that the SWO world does indeed have hinges. As to the submariners, I don't know, they are, after all, the "Silent Service."

      Delete
    2. I never heard of the term prior to making Sarge's acquaintance. I did have two pieces of advice given to me as I made the transition to field grade (i.e. was promoted to Major).

      1) A seasoned Major (whose picture is on the masthead) told me that the AF should provide Majors with a revolver and 6 bullets. Those could be employed as needed with indemnity. A given Major could shoot someone with all 6, or just 1 and no questions asked. After those 6 were expended any additional shots would incur the full extent of the law. People would then ask, I wonder if he's got any bullet's left? Maybe I just better do what he says. I think Ras was saying that tongue in cheek, but....

      2) Another Major (albeit a Major General) told me that the only two dangerous ranks were Majors and Major Generals. They were either on their way up and therefore dangerous to anyone in their way. Or had reached their max rank and there for didn't Give a ....! Upon further experience, I realized he was correct.

      Delete
    3. Sound wisdom all the way round.

      I should think Ras would have made four stars with two revolvers, at least wing command with the original six. And the Air Force would be better for it.

      Delete
  3. 'Hinge' is a term which I was not familiar with while holding that rank. By that time, I was assigned to a command that were full of Juvat's #2 above.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh.

      As certain aviation-types of my acquaintance might say, "The sad thing about hinges is that they don't know they're hinges."

      [Wink. Grin.]

      Delete
  4. I don't recall the term "hinge". But I was a SWO. I resigned, but they still promoted me to LCDR a month before I got out (I'd made the cut). I made sure that there was no obligation before accepting it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some SWOs have heard of it, some have not.

      You would have never been a "hinge," regardless of your field. I just don't sense any "hingeness" in you. Juvat's No. 2? I'll bet you had that in spades! (Said with all due respect, of course.)

      Delete
    2. Been a long time, but one of the motivators towards my getting out was my willingness to disagree with the CO and XO. That tends to be somewhat career-limiting.

      Delete
  5. So... when one advances to O-5 are they unhinged?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that when you make Captain (O-6) they put the grey matter back in, or take the rest out. Not really sure. I've known O-6s on both ends of THAT spectrum!

      Delete
    2. When you promote to O-4, they take out part of your brain. When you promote to CDR, they take out your spine. When you make Captain (O-6), they take out your heart.

      Delete
    3. Hahaha!

      Tuna knows these things. Don't ask.

      Delete
  6. "The Nuke would recommend bringing another reactor on line" ? Don't we have another reactor named Lush?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. By the way Lush- congrats and sorry at the same time. Save that bonus for a down payment on a house in San Diego. Big-Time is surely on his way to some job at CNAP, C3F, or CSG-15.

      Delete
    2. We do, but she hasn't passed her ORSE* yet.




      * Operational Reactor Safeguard Examination

      Delete
    3. Big Time will be a department head in VFA-146 come winter. (Yes, winter is coming.)

      And that money has been blown, er spent already.

      Two words: Dodge Durango...

      Delete
    4. The ORSE is an ORSE, of course, of course.

      Delete
  7. Hinge is a new term to me, heard for the first time here. Interesting. My service to Uncle Sam was an enlisted hitch. Later, I served some years in the California State Military Reserve, finishing out as an 04 holding down an 05 slot as a Bn commander. I liked 04. I had enough authority to get things done, but was low enough on the ladder to avoid (most of) the political mud balls. So, does all this make me a hinged mustang?

    ReplyDelete
  8. My father who was a Reserve AF officer, accepted a promotion after 20 years rather than be commissioned as a regular officer as the job he would have gotten if commissioned would have been to a Pentagon job. Hmmm, still on the fence about that.

    And, if you find yourself becalmed, try kedging yourself. Hey, if it worked for the USS Constitution, then it should get you out of the dead water you are in.

    (For those not in the know, kedging is the archaic use of longboats to take the anchors as far forward as possible, and using the anchor capstans to pull the mother vessel forward.

    Old Ironsides got herself out of a sticky situation once when outnumbered in light winds by both sailing and kedging. Damned yankee ingenuity.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew:

      Perhaps this ( " My father who was a Reserve AF officer... " ) helps to explain the affinity which I feel towards you. My father was also one such. We likely have many common experiences.

      Paul L. Quandt

      Delete
    2. The Pentagon, Juvat survived a sentence, er assignment, to that storied establishment on the Potomac.

      That is a great story and a great suggestion.

      Stay tuned.

      Delete
    3. "Juvat survived a sentence"

      Yes, I served time at the Northern Virginia Penitentiary for wayward Fighter Pilots. Still have the scars.

      Delete
    4. PLQ - Offsides! You entered your comment while I was commenting!

      Delete
    5. Juvat - Mental more than physical I would guess. Not saying the latter weren't possible, but...

      Delete
    6. "PLQ - Offsides!" So what is my penalty, Ref? Do I have to walk back 15 yards before I comment, not comment for the next 15 posts, what?

      Paul L. Quandt

      Delete
    7. You don't actually incur a penalty. Sarge just gets to through his flag! We've got to humor him a little.

      Delete
    8. PLQ, it was a "figure of speech." A bon mot, (which is French for "smart ass remark." Or something.

      And see Juvat's comment above.

      Delete
    9. Juvat - upon further review, I'll pick up the flag.

      Heh. I did get to throw it.

      Delete
    10. What I should have said was "promotion and retirement rather than accepting active commissioning" and this was in 1973 during the beginnings of the drawdowns from Nixon, so they really wanted him bad.

      I miss him.

      Delete
    11. I figured that was the case.

      As to the missing, I get that I really do.

      Delete
  9. In my time in active duty and reserves, I encountered and served under both good and the other sort of hinges ( O-4s ). As an AF brat, I don't recall my father being other than the good sort, but then again, I wasn't serving in uniform under him. When he was promoted to O-5, I don't think he became unhinged, but again... ( see above ).

    "O-4 and above need not apply." By definition, would they not be ineligible? They would no longer be ' junior '.

    Thanks for the post.

    Paul L. Quandt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. BTW, I should have signed this LttB.

      Paul

      Delete
    2. As to the question regarding O-4 and up eligibility for the JOPA. Yes, by definition they are no longer junior officers. But it's tough getting them to realize that they are no longer carefree and happy. For them life is now all responsibility and hard work. Some (to my certain knowledge) have had to be physically restrained from entering their old haunts as J.O.s. Sad, but it happens.

      Delete
    3. If you comment before midnight, you're gold.

      Not that I keep track of that sort of thing.

      LttB has a ring to it though.

      Delete
  10. You do know that you don't have to enlighten, educate, or tap dance stunningly for us every day, right? Simple musings are many times enlightening, and amusing, as well as enjoyable to read. Just saying...

    Kedging is something I had heard of before...and describes not only pulling a ship along, but also how it can feel to get out of the mental doldrums.

    And, I do like the van de Velde paintings you keep putting up!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inquiring minds want to know if Sarge had "tap dance stunningly" for us on this blog (with links). They would like to review that video for the comedic value solely.

      Delete
    2. Suz - there are days I want to just muse and provide perhaps a little light fare. But then my mind goes off chasing some virtual squirrel. I always dance as if no look is looking as many can't bear to watch.

      He was an excellent painter!

      Delete
    3. Juvat - I'll have the staff get right on tracking down that video.

      As to seeing it here? One never knows.

      Delete
    4. Found it. Must have been during a trip to Britain, but his dance starts at the 2:30 mark.

      Delete
    5. Hahahahahahahahaha!

      Hysterical!

      Delete
    6. You should post warnings along with links such as that. We old people could die of cardiac arrest watching that video of OAFS dancing. Juvat: You must be more respectful of your elders ( oh never mind, I almost forgot- fighter pilot ).

      PLQ

      Delete
    7. Juvat:

      Sorry, I forgot to capitalize Fighter Pilot.

      Paul

      Delete
    8. PLQ - Concur on the old guy warnings for such videos.

      Delete
    9. PLQ (again) - Shouldn't forgot be in quotes, as in:

      Sorry, I "forgot" to capitalize Fighter Pilot.

      \snarc

      Delete
  11. You wouldn't be in this situation if you had just left the albatross alone.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sidebar:

    I posted a comment/question about membership in JOPA, which seems to have disappeared. Perhaps it got tossed into the spam file.

    I did have something else to write when I started this comment, but, as I didn't have my fingers in my ears, the thought jumped out and ran off. Rats! Oh well.

    Ok, now I remember: I see the comment Gestapo are back on the job. Just adds to the fun of this blog.

    Paul L. Quandt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I told those guys to take the week off!

      Membership in the JOPA is limited to O-1, O-2, and O-3. (In the naval parlance, that would be ENS, LT (jg) and LT. In the rest of the services, 2LT, 1LT, and CAPT.)

      Delete
    2. Well, my question was as to whether " honorary " O-3s qualify for JOPA. If so, then I am/was a member.

      Also, you know that the Gestapo never sleep of take a day ( much less a week ) off.

      Paul

      Delete
    3. I was a Master Sergeant, I can't really answer for the JOPA, but my guess would be no, have to be a real O-3.

      Any members of the JOPA care to comment?

      And Nazis, I hate those guys...

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)