31 March 2008

Guest Blogger

Just prior to getting underway we welcomed aboard Peter Brown, Ph.D., a college professor for the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE). He hails from Jackson State University, and as it turns out, is here to teach English. My scheming XO mind immediately went to work to enlist him, given his unique point of view, and it took all of 4.5 nanoseconds to get him to jump aboard. Here’s his first offering:

If you were to ask me my thoughts and feelings about life aboard the RUSSELL, I’d say that I don’t have much to compare it to. This is my first time aboard a Navy ship, or any other ocean-going vessel, so life here is still charming and new to me.

I also have the added benefit of only being with RUSSELL for a couple months, so the end, while not in sight, isn’t that far off. Even if I didn’t like it, I won’t be here long.

Our English classes have settled in fine. Speaking in terms of academic preparation and personal history, Navy students are a lot like the students at the university where I teach, although the students here have a more get-down-to-business attitude that comes from being adults.

My students and I fight, on a daily basis, our campaign against dangling modifiers and other such manifestations of slack-mindedness (many of you military types fear Al Qaeda; I fear the dangling modifier and its awful cousin the lazy modifier, the two suicide bombers of effective communication).

I witnessed and participated in my first Steel Beach yesterday. I found it disconcerting to no longer be the only one in mismatched beachwear.

There was of course one casualty.

The football will be missed.

As I watched the ball floating in our wake, I thought of the volleyball, Wilson, that Tom Hanks had for a companion in Castaway and how he lost Wilson out at sea. I can’t help but wonder where the RUSSELL’s ball will turn up. I don’t have any charts with prevailing currents, so I can’t speculate, but I’m rooting for it to show up on a future episode of Lost.

6 comments:

Rotorhead said...

Hey Chris-
Great blog! Good to see you've got PACE onboard, I hope the khakis are pushing it.

So...what do you and your guys think of the LCS concept? It's been contentious here in the naval blogosphere. Care to comment?

/r
Rotorhead
http://rotorheadsblog.blogspot.com/

LCDR Chris van Avery, USN, Executive Officer said...

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to invite me into the restricted waters.

Let me begin with the standard disclaimer: this is not Big Navy speaking, it's just little old me.

1) The modular thing is a good idea, and it helps overcome the "can't be two places at once" problem. Whether the Navy can execute the procurement of the modules is open for debate (see my next point).

2) The overruns and delays aren't unique to the LCS program, but are symptomatic of a general failure in the procurement process, from requirements to acquisition. This seems to be a common trend in all the services, so I'm really starting the believe that the industry mergers and general atrophy in the corporate world deserve much more of the blame than most of the critics of the services have allowed. Big Navy appears to have identified the problem, but the actions they're going to take are still in the realm of speculation. Now Congress is threatening to take the procurement helm, and I certainly won't comment on where that can lead.

3) There's a lot of skepticism on the deckplates about a crew size of 56, and the general trend in crew reduction.

4) All the Sailors like the idea that it can go fast. And, last but not least,

5) If the Navy needs someone to command one, I'm available.

cat said...

Hey Welcome Aboard Brown!
Be nice to him now guys, he's your English teacher. :) So hope you get a new football soon, and don't go chucking the pigskin overboard anymore. You'll end up making some beachcomber really happy. :)
Cat

LCDR Chris van Avery, USN, Executive Officer said...

Edited comment from maxxdog:

[Comment about the motives of Congress deleted - Sorry, but it doesn't fit with the Standing Orders.]
Are we going to be graded on the sentence structure of our comments? It bodes ill for me if we do.
Speaking of the Prof, did someone say they needed an ocean current map?
http://www.maps.com/map.aspx?pid=15901

MishMosh said...

Sorry to hear about the football loss, sounds like having the english teacher will provide a great perspective on life aboard the ship!

maxxdog said...

You're right! I apologize. I let my emotions get the better of me. It won't happen again.

Now, why didn't the code go with that link?