They mean things… How we interpret them depends on what our experiences are…
I’ve talked about this before, about ‘Navy Blue’ being the ONLY color you see. The author is unknown, but definitely on the money as far as I’m concerned. I just found out last night that two more of my shipmates have died, and we didn’t even find out about it for over a year, thanks to the WuFlu. 🙁
To understand a Sailor you must know:
We left home as teenagers or in our early twenties for an unknown adventure.
We loved our country enough to defend it and protect it with our own lives.
We said goodbye to friends and family and everything we knew.
We learned the basics and then we scattered in the wind to the far corners of the Earth.
We found new friends and a new family.
We became brothers and sisters regardless of color, race, or creed.
We had plenty of good times, and plenty of bad times.
We didn’t get enough sleep.
We smoked and drank too much.
We picked up both good and bad habits.
We worked hard and played harder.
We didn’t earn a great wage.
We experienced the happiness of mail call and the sadness of missing important events.
We didn’t know when, or even if, we were ever going to see home again.
We grew up fast, and yet somehow, we never grew up at all.
We fought for our freedom, as well as the freedom of others.
Some of us saw actual combat, and some of us didn’t.
Some of us saw the world, and some of us didn’t.
Some of us dealt with physical warfare, most of us dealt with psychological warfare.
We have seen and experienced and dealt with things that we can’t fully describe or explain, as not all of our sacrifices were physical.
We participated in time-honored ceremonies and rituals with each other, strengthening our bonds and camaraderie.
We counted on each other to get our job done and sometimes to survive it at all.
We have dealt with victory and tragedy.
We have celebrated and mourned.
We lost a few along the way.
When our adventure was over, some of us went back home, some of us started somewhere new and some of us never came home at all.
We have told amazing and hilarious stories of our exploits and adventures.
We share an unspoken bond with each other, that most people don’t experience, and few will understand.
We speak highly of our own branch of service and poke fun at the other branches.
We know, however, that, if needed, we will be there for our brothers and sisters and stand together as one, in a heartbeat.
Being a Sailor is something that had to be earned, and it can never be taken away.
It has no monetary value, but at the same time, it is a priceless gift.
People see a Sailor and they thank them for their service.
When we see each other, we give that little upwards head nod, or a slight smile, knowing that we have shared and experienced things that most people have not.
So, from myself to the rest of the Sailors out there, I commend and thank you for all that you have done and sacrificed for your country.
Try to remember the good times and make peace with the bad times.
Share your stories.
But most importantly, stand tall and proud, for you have earned the right to be called a Sailor.
I’m a Sailor.


Words… — 21 Comments

  1. Sounds like you would do it all over again if you had the opportunity.

  2. President Kennedy said it well.
    “I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.”

  3. Good read, thanks for that. I’ll forward it to my old shipmates.

  4. We think that we’re made of steel, but we’re only flesh and blood, Old NFO.

  5. We regarded sea duty as “prison with the added risk of drowning,” but going to sea taught me more about the world and more about myself than anything else I ever did.

    “We became brothers and sisters regardless of color, race, or creed.” So true. It’s my firm belief that if two years of military service were compulsory after high school, the race-baiter industry wouldn’t exist! White or black, we had each others’ back!

  6. jrg- Yep!

    John- True dat!!!

    CP- Greyhounds of the sea!

    Steve- Feel free.

    LL- Sadly true…

    Rev- Feel free.

    Tom- Concur! At least prisoners get MORE space than sailors… sigh

  7. This September, the surviving members of the VP-56 AW shop (FAW’s) are having a re-union. Unfortunately, health problems won’t let me make the drive to Tuscaloosa, AL to be there. For us missing members, we’ll have a zoom call to join in the fun. But in the back of my mind, there is a little bit of dread. I’m not sure how I will handle seeing all my brethren now old and past our prime. When I think of my time in the squadron I still see in my mind’s eye all those young, healthy, mostly dedicated sailors that we were. I remember the hard work and the harder play. The sacrifices of deployment and the joy of the adventure of going to new countries. The satisfaction of a job well done for 20 years.

  8. Even those of us who chose to walk to work recognize sailors are in a category of their own. Let’s not venture into the ranks of Naval Infantry.

  9. Ray- I know the feeling. Going to the Symposium in Jax is almost heartbreaking… We’re sure as hell NOT in our 20s anymore. And more and more are gone every year.

    WSF- This post can just as easily apply to ALL veterans. 🙂

  10. All- Thanks. Felt it’s important to share this now, considering the ‘games’ getting played by the higher ups…

  11. When your life depends on someone else doing their job right, you learn competence is more important than color.

  12. My Dad enlisted in June of 1951. After Basic and electrician’s school, he reported aboard the USS Wisconsin. He left her in 1955 when he was discharged and I was born a year later. When he was dying, he told me is service in the Navy was the greatest thing he ever did.

  13. I barely qualified as a Feather Merchant, but I get it. Anybody who’s spent time at sea on a working ship “gets it”.

    And I’m humbled and honored that you guys let me hang around.

    Thank you all for you service.

  14. Just wanted to thank you swabies for the ride. It was always a pleasure and damn fine chow.
    Semper Fi Brother