The Navy Way


by OPOVV, ©2017

(Apr. 18, 2017) — “Look, kid, I know you got a bad deal, but you don’t have a choice. Your name came up and that’s all there is to it. Look at it this way: this isn’t forever. I don’t know why you’re here and I don’t care; all I know is that you came from the transit barracks, so you could be reassigned anytime. I guess they figured you could contribute to the war effort better on our boat here than to waste time playing pool at the EM Club.”

“You are so right.”

“Your attitude and sarcasm is wasted on me, kid. Look, you’re Navy and this-here boat is Army.  I’m Army so we do things the Army way; not the right way or the Navy way, but the Army way. From what that Marine Gunny told me, you’re one bad dude but you’ll follow orders just the same. I’m in charge and this ain’t no democracy.”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way, Captain.”

“Call me ‘Tops.’”

“Okay, Tops, where do I bunk?”

“Down those stairs; first on the right.”

“So you have a kitchen, dining hall and toilets? Just like home. ‘Stairs’: indeed this is my lucky day. I’ll be writing my mother about the cloth-embroidered napkins and the after-dinner mints.”

“I take that back: I’ve heard about the Navy and their sarcastic sense of humor, but I never believed it could ever get to me and here it is; what, you’ve been on board less than five minutes and I’m wishing I’m the DI and you’re all mine back in Basic.”

“Funny; I feel the same way.”

“Okay, men, listen up! This-here is what they sent us. He’ll be along as an observer, so just go along as usual and don’t pay him no mind.”

“Hi, guys. This-here is mine: it’s a BAR and it works. It saved me in the past and I hope it’ll do the same for you guys.”

“Shove off. Here’s the plan: We’ll go up a ways, sit for six hours and then float back, nice and quiet-like. Stay alert on the way back.”

“So, like, how many times you-all go up, wait, and come back?”

“About 40.”

“And what happens?”

“Well, going up is a piece of cake ’cause if we take any fire we just call in the flyboys and they lay down napalm, so they don’t fire at us anymore; going up, that is. Then we find a nice quiet place to park for five or so hours, in the dead of night, and then we float back down and that’s when we always get in a firefight.”

“And that’s when they ambush you?”

“That’s right: same spot every time, no matter how quiet we are.”

“Let me get this straight: you leave at the same time every day, what, 1930? You travel up the same waterway; you park this thing for, what did he say, five hours, and then float back to where you started; is that right?”

“You got it.”

“So it wouldn’t make a lick of difference if you were a Mississippi River Gambling Boat or quiet as a mouse riding a log; they always know where you are on your way back. Wouldn’t you say that’s right?”

“Yes, I suppose so.”

“Suppose? Horse hockey. So tonight why don’t we, on our way up, let half of us off to go hide in the weeds, where they attack us from, and then when the boat floats by in 7 or 8 hours we attack them from behind as they ambush the boat? As in take out the bad guys.”

“That’s not part of the plan.”

“You mean that’s not part of the Army plan.”

“We have our orders: Army orders.”

“Do you ever get the feeling you’re just spinning your wheels, any of you? Tell you what: I’ll give you my observation report right now. I’ll make it short: the absence of innovative thought will give a US Navy Seaman goosebumps of joy just thinking of the limitlessness sarcastic and belittling comments he could lay down upon the Army, and that ain’t no lie.”

The moral of this story is that the Rules of Engagement have to be flexible so the person in charge can make battlefield decisions in an ever-changing environment.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.