I think it’s true that most of us in the Navy honestly love what we do, as much as anyone can love spending long months separated from their families doing arduous work in spartan conditions with the constant possibility of death by drowning.
Although we do not recruit exclusively from the ranks of the Vienna Boy’s Choir, we do work in close proximity – sometimes very close proximity – with some truly great people. Not everyone gets to fly a fighter off a carrier deck or rage into the break at 500 knots, but most sailors know that they are integral contributors to something important. Something bigger than themselves.
We get that, even while realizing that we’re very far from perfect. Not every one of us lives up to our core values of honor, courage and commitment. Some of us fall very far short of the perfect ideal of selfless service. There are days when each of us wonders what the hell we’re doing in this chickensh!t outfit. And then, with all of those around us, we straighten our backs and get back to the task at hand.
There are other times when we can’t believe they’re paying us for this. In the middle of a 1v1 BFM ride, or on high speed run through Perth. And there’s something about the word “home” that has a more plangent meaning for those who spend months away from it.
Sailors, young and old, understand this. We’re gambling that you will too.
The unusually candid and personal portrait of life aboard the Nimitz prompted Adm. Gary Roughead, the United States Navy’s chief of naval operations, to e-mail approximately 1,000 senior active, reserve and retired officers, and civilian executives, earlier this month to explain why the Navy agreed to the series, and to allay fears about the program’s potential negative impact.
“We did not get a Navy ‘commercial’ in the traditional sense,” wrote Roughead, a member of the Joints Chiefs of Staff and the senior military officer in the Department of the Navy. ” ‘Carrier’ is very different from the hardware documentaries we have supported in the past. This program focuses on our people and the reality-TV approach gives it a sense of authenticity and credibility. Since we did not monitor the individual interviews and ongoing production, the program contains material that does not always and fully represent the discipline, values and mission of the U.S. Navy.”
Warts and all. Let me know what you think.