Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Navy Paternity Leave: Continuing Wussification Or Idea Whose Time Has Come?

The Navy announced yesterday the implementation of a new "Paternity Leave" benefit:
The Navy announced the implementation of a paternity leave policy authorized Oct. 14 which is part of the Fiscal Year 2009 National Defense Authorization Act.
The paternity leave policy provides Sailors another tool designed to help balance work and family. It grants 10 days of non-chargeable leave to married fathers who are currently serving on active duty following the birth a child...
...The Navy, which is committed to becoming one of the top 50 employers in the nation and attracting the best talent possible, designed the progressive paternity leave policy after considering the changing perspectives of work and family needs in the Navy. These perspectives include a desire for more family time...
..."We're pleased to be able to offer this highly-valued benefit," said Capt. Ken Barrett, head of Task Force Life Work, which helped spearhead the paternity leave policy. "Addressing life/work needs for our Sailors is a top priority. The ability for new dads to bond with a new baby or help mom at home is important to building healthy families and is a big priority for our Navy."
I guess I'm kind of confused that the Navy thinks that "a desire for more family time" is somehow part of a "changing" culture. I for one would have appreciated 10 days of free leave to spend with my family even back in the '80s.

Based on my experience, though, I could see submarine commands not finding time to give their guys their "free" 10 days until sometime around Christmas leave period or a post-deployment stand down. (I still have my copy of my disapproved leave papers from when I wanted to drive my family cross-country for a move while the boat was in port for 2 months, and my relief had already been on board for a month, because they "couldn't afford to let me go for 10 days".)


Anonymous MM1/SS said...

It's funny you post this. My wife just gave birth to Twins. I was not given 10 days of "free" leave.

I was charged for the 3 full weeks I took. Oh well. At least I got it this time.

Last time I was deemed too vital to leave the ship for #1 kid. Needs of the Navy and all that B.S. jazz...despite being fully qualified with a 4 section watchbill...on a Sub.

This new plan is nice and all. But it doesn't change a single thing. It's just an administrative tactic that looks good and sounds good, but has very little affect. A few lucky sailors will benefit. The majority will not. Especially in the Sub community.

The only + aspect I can see of this is the Leave Balance. This will save some new father 10 days on his Leave Balance.

IMO, ust another futile attempt by Big Navy to appear family/sailor oriented. And people wonder why the 688 and 726 class boats are barely able to go to Sea

11/19/2008 9:54 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a nice program for relatively little cost. If you get it, great, if you don't then nothing's lost.

As for the sub force getting the chance to use it, some will get lucky and most won't. Remember that we are just small part of a overall Navy and not the center...despite what we think.

11/19/2008 10:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the commanding officer of a fast attack submarine I can tell you that we try our best to give every new father 2 weeks of leave. My A gang Chief who is a superstar just had his first baby and we are giving him two weeks despite having a TRE in just a few weeks. I need him really badly but in the long run it will be better for him to have the time with his wife. As XO I worked to get every new father off, some even being augmented on deployment, because it is important. But there are times and some individuals who just can't be there for their kids being born and a mature professional sailor recognizes that. A CO friend of mine just missed the birth of his son because he was at sea on local operations. He did nothing special on his own behalf to be there because he wanted to set the example. So please don't generalize that all submarines are the same. Believe it or not, we at the command level do try to balance the needs of the Navy with the needs of the individual. Sometimes sacrifices need to be made.

This is my first comment on this blog, but I just couldn't let this one go. I am sure there are plenty of bad examples that will be posted as well. so I hesitate to even attempt to defend the Navy, but that's my story and I am sticking to it.


11/19/2008 10:54 PM

Blogger Oz said...

I didn't even get leave from SOBC to attend the birth of my first while geo-baching. They said I would "miss too much" during the four days I would have wanted. Strangely enough, my current CO is pretty good about getting guys time for births, even when underway. Go figure.

11/19/2008 11:19 PM

Blogger Papaya Mom said...

It always has and always will depend on your CO at the time.

I hope it's good for Navy PR but on the ground/sea, it will only rest where it always has - in the hands of the command.

11/19/2008 11:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of being "the significant other" for 11 births during my husband's career. I wouldn't have missed any of it for the world. But, being a Navy brat myself, my father dropped my mother off at Portsmouth Naval, went to work and picked her up in 4 days...she hung on to her rosary which got her through her last one!

There will always be times of hardship...but may we always be stronger for it as we look back and say "I did it, therefore, I can do this."

Congrats to everyone on your new miracle!!!

11/20/2008 2:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

SSN CO is right-- most CO/XO/COBs work to get guys time off and now at least 10 days will be free, if the command can afford it.

My son was born 1 day prior to a 10 day sea trials; I attended the birth and then went back to the boat to finish pre-u/w's and get u/w. That was when I was in a leadership position and wanted to set the example. Note that in 2 years I was the only Sailor who we didn't manage to get at least 1 week off (starting from the birth). That included many U/W's.

11/20/2008 4:51 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

If the command cannot spare a man the leave because he is too "critical", then the CO may want to evaluate why that is so. If the man were killed today in an auto accident,would this prvent the boart from getting underway? Could it still operate and complete the mission? Could his place on the watch bill be filled?

No one person is supposed to be indispensable. Wouldn't the old smoke boat sailors tell us that when someone got their dolphins on a smoke boat, they could stand darn near every watch onboard?

I know that is not possible on the nuke boats, but deeming any one individual too critical to grant leave is only shooting yourself in the foot in the long run.

Just my two cents.

11/20/2008 5:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former SSN COB we always tried to get new fathers the time they needed. This meant making sure we had sufficient qualified watchstanders, etc.

The only problems we had were the single guys that groused about the married guys getting preferential treatment just because their wives were pregnant.

Is it "wussification" or something the Navy needs to do? Civil service has similar plans and some companies are fairly generous in this area. I think in the long run if it strengthens the marriage it's good for the Navy. A sailor on board ship worrying about his wife and newborn is a sailor distracted from his job. A new mother at home with little or no help is a pissed off Navy wife who will make her husband miserable when he gets back.

11/20/2008 6:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a thought from a guy with no kids but intense loyalty to the organizations which I work for.... BULLCOOKIES!

Yes, it is wussification. Period.

Every time you give a parent a perk, you screw the rest of the crew. I, more than once, had my sorry tail deployed so some daddy could stay home with mommy. Or, saw it happen to my shipmates (yes, rider-scum have shipmates).

I now work for a big corporation that does the same thing. You can get time off for teacher conferences and soccer games, but if no kids suck the lemon, bozo.

How about everybody gets 10 days bag every 11 months. That way the folks with kids can take it when the wifey pops and the people without kids still get the perk. Tie it to good conduct (oh, oh, judgement in the offing here) and if you ain't on track for the ribbon, you ain't in the running, kid or not.

And, one final item...yes, I am bitter. Just wanted to be honest. I was never a worse sailor because I didn't have kids with my wife, but I sure as hell was a more frequently deployed sailor as a result of it. Got the medals, got the letters of commendation, would have preferred sleeping at home more often.

Rider Scum

11/20/2008 7:12 AM

Blogger reddog said...

This is just another way for single guys to get short changed. Married personnel make way more money, get nice places to live and end up advancing. Single guys get a bunk, a few bucks and kicked out after 20 as E-6. Ya see it over and over. Single sailors end up putting in way more hours and are always more dedicated to the ship and their shipmates. The Navy spits on them for it.

11/20/2008 7:16 AM

Blogger beebs said...

The Navy, so long as ships go to sea, is never going to be in the top fifty family friendly employers.

I arrived to the Squadron while the USTAFISH was on deployment in early 1980. The CO's wife and the wives were balancing four new infants with shared babysitting and whatnot.

There were no husbands left behind. Later we did give one officer some time off with his wife due to a difficult pregnancy.

I think the ten days off is a good goal, but it shouldn't be basket leave. It should be leave without pay.

11/20/2008 7:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All-in-all, quit yer bitchen. You raised your hand and said “I do”. If you don’t like it, vote with your feet. The civilian community will hold their arms open for you and be thankful to have someone who learned dependability, accountability and was trustworthy.
If you are already out, get over it and move on. Bitterness like that will eat you up and it’s not worth it.

SSN CO – Good for you. Yours sounds like every command I served on. I was always had a great Wardroom and Goat Locker and if you needed time off, married or single, you got it unless you were stupid and asked when something important was going on. Every body has to weight their needs with the needs of the Navy and be smart about it.

I didn’t get married until I was in eleven years and on my third boat. I saw too many of the hardships the married guys had to go through and decided that I didn’t want that. However I also thought that if the married guys didn’t like the separation and the difficulties that went with it, then maybe they needed to go be successful in the civilian community. I stood a lot of holiday duty days for the married guys and that was ok. I was happy to do it.

Nobody is indispensable inside or outside the military.

Chief Torpedoman is correct, if I bit the big one while riding my motorcycle on I8 tonight; someone would step in or be hired to step in. It may be a rough road for a while but it would be done.

Rider Scum = wow, sorry you are so bitter. Sounds like maybe you should have gotten out after you got married. I had a few friends who went to Squadron after the boat and they spent more time underway at Squadron then they ever did on the boat. Sucked but who picked the job? Also, as a bubblehead, I saw very few sailors retire after 20 as an E-6. If they did it was because they got busted somewhere along the way or they were in a very closed rate. It was more common on the skimmers but not on the boat.

Reddog = Wow, get married man. Trust me, it’s all love and good times. We never have any money challenges, there’s always food on the table and we drive Cadillac’s. Our children all go to the best private schools and there’s always money left over for our annual vacations to Europe.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

11/20/2008 8:26 AM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

Actually, the reason the Navy will never get to "Top 50 Places to work" will be no FMLA. Turns out, if you have a kid, you can take off a lot more than 10 days if you want.

I put in for leave once during a RIMPAC, about 10 months early actually. And about 10 days before I was supposed to leave Hawaii for Maryland, they threatened to cancel my leave. After the threat of "I'll go smoke some weed, take my trip, wait a month, and come back," was all it took to get going. Apparently if I was too critical to not go on RIMPAC, but I was probably to critical to loose forever.

So I took my 45 days off the boat, and enjoyed every minute of it!

11/20/2008 10:12 AM

Blogger chief torpedoman said...

What will be the impact if Obama cancels DADT and you have a legally married lesbian (from a state that allows it) ask for those ten days when their partner has a kid.

11/20/2008 11:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why make it a Lesbian. What if your TMSN and your Second Class Sonarman want time off to adopt?

11/20/2008 11:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yawn, Nothing new here.... Single sailors complaining about brown-baggers on the boat. On my second boat (SSBN 619B) in 1963, common control room banter was how the brown-baggers got all the perks and single guys got nothing. Our skipper at the time CDR Al Whittle Jr. put an end to the discussion with his comment that, "it's a brown-baggers Navy today and you'all better get used to it." Back in those days we still had a lot of single sailors on the boat including Chiefs and First Class.

Wonder how this paternity leave thing is going to square with intrusive leadership as practiced by C7F?

My two cents, and keep a zero bubble......


11/20/2008 11:34 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Back in the day I recall you got one of two could be present for conception or delivery. My how times have changed!

11/20/2008 1:42 PM

Blogger Sabra said...

What will be the impact if Obama cancels DADT and you have a legally married lesbian (from a state that allows it) ask for those ten days when their partner has a kid.

Um, absolutely the same as it is when a legally married straight man asks for the ten days leave when HIS partner has a kid.

The ex was underway when the first kid was born. Didn't get off, obviously, but they did send him home a whopping two weeks early (so, when the baby was 4.5 months old, not 5 months old). The thing that pissed us both off was he was promised to be augmented right up until about two weeks before the deployment, then they changed their minds. Oh well, we dealt.

He did get time off after the second two kids, though. Once the boat was in shipyard & the other time he was on shore duty. Two weeks both times. Honestly, I thought it was SOP to do this when possible, so I'm not sure what's bright, shiny, & new about this, other than not being charged for the leave. (But Rob almost always had a 60-day leave balance, so it's not like it hurt anything.)

11/20/2008 1:44 PM

Anonymous NCCM USN(ret) said...

My Senior Chief told me years ago when I was requesting "baby leave" before the birth of my second son, "You only needed to be there when the keel was laid, your presents is not required when the ship is launched."

11/20/2008 2:11 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, only 10 days? Last time I read the Milpers the CO could grant up to 21 days of non-chargable leave for adopting a kid.

11/20/2008 2:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should Rickover have gotten ten days off for being the father of the nuclear navy? :-)

11/20/2008 2:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


With that said, good commands let their people have time off.

And gay adoption? If it happens then you cross that bridge when you get to it.


WTF is up with the comment "726 and 688 can barely get underway?"
Not any boat I've been on...

11/20/2008 2:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yup reddog, the best way to advance in this man's navy is to get married. You hit it on the head.

Of course, if you're bitter about being booted out of the Navy as an E-6 after 20 years, you might want to ask yourself why were you still an E-6 after 20 years?

of course, I'm sure the exam screwed you, or some chief, or some officer, or some married guy.

11/20/2008 3:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is utter BS! I was single while in as a nuke and I can vividly recall all of the bone-us jobs single guys got because of the "My wife, she . . ." list of excuses.

The only way this should be permitted is if EVERYONE on the boat qualifies. That said, I more than made up for it. Having a yeoman as a good friend can do wonders for how much leave one can take and not be charged.

11/20/2008 5:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If we let every new dad miss deployment or patrol enterprising wives would develop amazing timing. As I recall the navy is about going to sea...

All that said, 10 days is not unreasonable for new dads but most of us have enough trouble burning 30 days per year.

11/20/2008 6:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Damn Good-looking A-ganger from Iowa,
You wouldn't happen to be the 2nd class that made 3rd during upkeep in Guam would you? SSN-584


11/20/2008 7:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see why this should apply only to married guys. If a single guy fathers a kid, he should be just as entitled to this bennie.

As said, it's a relatively low cost benefit. A lot of commands and good YN1's already do something similar under the table. If it makes someone happy and it's officially in the books, then good. Of course, Needs of the Navy still apply.

For the military pushing hard on gender equality, this is one bennie for the good guys. Pun intended.

11/20/2008 8:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nope, I was never on the 584 but I have to say if he was an Aganger and he was from Iowa, he must have been damn good looking. All of us are.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

11/21/2008 7:35 AM

Anonymous CWO3/USN Ret said...

I think it is about time. One of the most precious times in any person's life is the birth of their children. It truly is a spectacular and joyous events in your life time.

I was truly blessed to have been there for all 3 of my children's births. Although I was underway on patrol within 8 hours of my daughter's birth. But, I still had the privilege to assist in her delivery (home birth, AWESOME!)

To SSN CO, BZ. I can tell you have your priorities set straight and really know how to take care of your people. This is TRUE Leadership.

To riderscum and reddog. The word is "commitment" If you cannot commit to a relationship with another human, how are you going to commit to a relationship with the Navy, especially submarines. And unless you commit, yes, you will retire as an E-6. Yes, you will be bitter because you are the victim. Yes, you will not experience the truly awesome experiences life has to offer. How about taking responsibility for your own life and happiness.

To that Good Looking Aganger. Thanks for taking my duty during those times it counted. I am blessed to have you as my friend.

With my youngest son getting ready to enter the Navy, it pleases me to see the Navy working to make it a great place to work. Although there were some rough times in 21 years, as long as I worked for the Navy, the Navy worked for me.


11/21/2008 8:03 AM

Blogger Ed Mahmoud said...

Never was a sub guy, but I did spend about thirty minutes aboard an SSN at NAS Alameda. I always thought it unfair married guys got to leave onshore and I had to live on the carrier, and I still do, but having transferred to ComNavSixPack, I see a bias in the civilian world toward married folks as well, and now that I am married, I don't complain so much.

I just saw this blog, with the famous quote from Admiral Rickover, and had to visit.

I was in Section 14, Class 8403, and thankfully, did well enough I did most of school not on mando hours, thanks to MMC Sparks, who was darned reasonable and mellow for a CPO, and spent much time enjoying all Orlando had to offer.

11/21/2008 10:45 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure paternity leave is a good idea, but it'll almost certainly be one more benefit guaranteed on shore-duty, probably given to skimmers, and good luck to you bubbleheads. But everyone knows you get short-changed on a lot of things when you go subs: daylight, real milk, a reasonable in-port watch rotation, etc. What really made me bitter when I was in was watching all the little things that offset these sacrifices slowly being banished, until we weren't our own elite (at least in our minds) separate arm of the Navy, but just a screwed-over bunch of sailors. First we had to get rid of the horseshoe and the offerings to Jobu on the evaporator (to be more PROFESSIONAL). Then they cracked down on tacking on dolphins, even under the radar (can't have HAZING in the fleet). By the time I got out, we even had to wear nametags, collar devices and dolphins on our poopy-suits, which at the time weren't mentioned in the Uniform Regs (but are now official uniforms issued to everyone, erasing one more sub perk).

I don't know how things are now, having been out for almost 10 years, but back then I watched the Big Navy slowly whittle away at the traditions that made the sub force distinct, without really giving us anything in return. If subs are really going to be treated just like surface ships, but without the benefits, I don't know who in their right mind would volunteer.

Oh, and from someone who was single while I was in, it DOES seem like just one more way single guys get shafted. How about 10 days' pay to every sailor who doesn't have a kid, as a reward for "sucking it up" for the married guys?

11/21/2008 11:17 AM

Blogger Patty Wayne said...

I was a single nuke EM. Many times I took the duty of another EM who wanted to be at the birth of a child. After qualifying SRO and the command not letting 2nd classes qualify EWS, I qualified AMR2UL(637 class) and AEF. I was able to cover inport duty for nuke ET so he could be there for the birth his first child and a weekly op for an ICman for the birth of his first son.

I was able to cash in these favors for no duty during two 3-day liberty calls in Lahaina, one 4 day weekend over a Thanksgiving, and numerous home made meals.

I never saw what the big deal was. These guys weren't just my shipmates but friends and family.

Even now, at the power plant I work for, two former submarine ELTs I work with each had a child this summer a few days apart and I was on-call to cover for them. Only now I got paid time and a half when I did cover their shifts.


11/21/2008 11:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

reddog - perhaps being an E-6 after 20 years and still single are related....

11/22/2008 7:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During my command tour, we tried to get everyone we could off for important family events, whether they were single or married. That included all of the fathers during a deployment (married or not) who got to go home for the birth (if they wanted - one did not).

As for myself, I was able to see the birth of both kids because we were lucky enough to be able to plan for off-crew and shore duty times. I did get grief from my wife when I left her in the hospital the day after my first child was born to attend a training exercise....

Another SSN CO.

11/22/2008 8:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nobody should be whine-assin' about this. be happy there is a perk to leading a normal life while serving, we need to take every one we can get and be happy it is there rather than be bitching if you don't.

3/29/2009 10:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


9/26/2011 10:44 AM


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