Friday, November 18, 2011

Blogger is not a dirty word

After reading Captain Luther's message to "Families and Friends," comments were decidedly for or against one version of the truth. Fence riders did not take a stand. I used to ride the fence about many issues. I thought that by remaining neutral, I could remain objective. I wanted to keep an unemotional detachment, but what's right is right; I believe I did the right thing, the right way. Being civilian, my chain of command is limited to my workplace and that happens to be the media. I didn't have any special connections. I have the skills and the determination to research and reach out.

One person I know who has never opted to ride the fence had this to say in response to the skipper's letter:

oh wow. I think it's interesting that you are only referred to as "the blogger." He might have well called you any other name, like the insurgent, for how he was picturing your presentation of information. I found it interesting that he tried to use factual information to back up his retort - however, when you really analyze the information given, it doesn't make anything better. If the #1 cause of the problem is sailors flushing objects that shouldn't, then provide some means for them to dispose of material that is biologically hazardous.

She's right. I'm not just "the blogger." Captain Luther knows very well who I am and which sailor is my son. I have never tried to hide, because I have never had a reason to hide behind a "blogger" name. Ten days ago, I started a mission to bring attention to the fact that every sailor on board the USS George HW Bush, at some time, did not have access to any working head and that some sailors on that ship were unable to perform basic bodily functions due to a system failure for which the United States Navy did not have any sort of contingency or backup plan. When I started this, I had no idea how it would spread, I just knew that as an American, I had the right, nay, the obligation and the responsibility to speak out for the sailors and the taxpayers. Ten days ago, only a few hundred people in my circle of family and friends knew my name. Today, this site alone has been viewed more than 4,000 times. Thank you for reading!

In addition to the thousands who have read this blog, many others have read my writer, editor and photographer website - found only through search engines. I sent this site address out with 700 or so press releases, but the Navy found my other site and started circulating that link. Many Navy Wives and Moms, and a few Navy Dads told me their sailor had forwarded the link to them. That site has generated more hits than this one!

Navy Times and Virginian-Pilot reporters scrambled to get the scoop after interviewing me, sailors on board "the Bush" and after contacting AIRLANT and the Navy for comment. Once their stories hit the wire, other media picked up the story. Some headlines reflect the unfortunate humor behind the catastrophe. Others take this very seriously. Navy Times and Virginian-Pilot have run follow up stories.

I haven't discussed toilets or body functions with or in reference to my son so much since he was a toddler - even then, I probably wasn't as vocal as I am now!

Blogger is not a dirty word. I am not an anonymous entity hiding behind a meme or clever user name. I am Mary Brotherton. Foremost I am a mother. I burst with pride when I speak of my firstborn son, a career sailor with the United States Navy, war veteran and skilled aviation mechanic. Like it or not, his name has spread on his ship. I felt and expressed publicly, his frustrations when is attempts to follow the Chain of Command weren't met to his satisfaction. The Virginian-Pilot story took his anonymity from him. AM1 Richard Frakes is the father to my grandsons and brother to my other source of pride. Aron Matthew Frakes is my lastborn son, a talented author and illustrator. I have the honor of editing his first novel, Prob'ly Not Katie.

In addition to being a mother and blogger, I am a four-time award-winning journalist, a three-time award-winning editor and my photography has been noted and earned awards as well. I'm also an actress. I founded my own writers group and work with emerging writers some might call "up-and-coming." I'm much more than an unnamed blogger.

I'm a wife, a sister, a daughter, a cousin, an aunt, a friend. I guess, now, I'm also an advocate. Go ahead. Google me. See what you find.