Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veteran's Day 2011

As noble as it can be to honor our fallen veterans, it's also honorable to protect and speak out for those who are actively serving our country today. The men and women of our armed forces sacrifice much so that we can enjoy the American Way of Life.

As children, we learn to follow the leader, become links the family chain of command and to do as we are told. We grow up and find jobs where we must do as requested by our supervisors, colleagues and associates. The orders trickle down from the boss and the boss receives instructions from shareholders or partners. In the military, the chain of command is a bit more literal. Officers and enlisted personnel all must adhere to the chain of command. There are certain ways to do things and protocol to follow. This chain of command is instilled in the service men and women early in their training. Their A schools, where they learn to do their military jobs ensures they understand completely what the chain of command is. Career soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen (and women) know more than anyone, the value of this chain.

As a Navy Mom, I know what civilians must give up when a loved one is deployed. We miss our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, mothers, fathers and friends. We feel a void in our day-to-day lives when the one we counted on is no longer there. We write letters, mail cards, send emails, find jokes to lighten the day and we send care packages - because we do care. We miss our military men and women when they are not home.

They miss us more. We are still sleeping in our beds while they must deal with cots or the hard ground. We have the luxury of air conditioning and heat while our military are exposed to the elements. We eat fast food; they deal with MREs or cold food and don't mind crumbly cookies in our poorly packed boxes.

Every day, while we are complaining about our jobs or school, our deployed loved ones work without complaint in hostile environments - some are dealing with munitions and others are dealing with the indignity of having to search for a working toilet on a ship where the doors to toilets that do work are  -  -  - locked!

The USS George H.W. Bush is on its maiden deployment and many things can go wrong the first time ships cruise. No one could have expected the technological marvels of the Vacuum Collection, Holding and Transfer system to have failed as miserably as it has. Toilets are clogged, overflowing, simply not working. Cipher locks have been installed on the ones that do work and sailors dare not relieve themselves into the ocean, for fear of serious repercussions. Sailors are afraid to eat or drink in an effort not to feel the urge to void - then have to search for up to an hour to find a useable toilet.

Unlike the family sedan, aircraft carriers cannot just pull off the road when mechanical failure sets in. There is no "seaside service" that can fix this problem. The only solution I see is to airlift to the ship, experts from the company that manufactured and installed the system. The sailors still have a long time at sea. Depending on the world political climate, the deployment can be extended, but even if they come home as scheduled, they will be there much too long without working toilets. The months they have already endured with this failed system is far too long. 

Treat our military men and women like the heroes they are!