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.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Changes To Rope 'N Choke!

NAVADMIN 247/09 came out last week with some changes to the Navy Physical Readiness Program (PRP). It has some substantive changes, such as "Sailors Who Get Three PFA Failures Within A Four Year Period Will Not Be Able To PCS, Re-Enlist, Or Extend" and "Progress Waivers Are Also No Longer Authorized", but here's the part that interested me the most:
"Individuals failing a scale weight test shall be taped three times, with an average computed to determine actual body composition. If there is more than an inch difference in the three measurements, a fourth measurement will be taken by a different measurer."
Yes, we've done it! Now we'll truly be able to win the war against Al Qaeda! In the past few years, the Navy has done a good job realizing that way to win the War On Terror isn't to be smarter than the terrorists, it's to look better than they do in uniform. Unfortunately, it turns out that, unbeknownst to our Leaders until now, some Sailors have been getting around being out of standards by making friends with the guy who does the rope 'n choke! (The "thumb under the tape during the neck measurement" trick is one that I know has never been done, nor is the "pull the tape really tight around the gut such that the flab completely covers the numbers and you have to lift it out of the way to see the result" maneuver.) By putting a stop to this insidious practice now, we're sure to find Osama Bin Laden before the next PFA cycle is over! (Luckily, there's absolutely no chance that Sailors still won't make friends with the guy who does the measurements, and if they do he certainly won't be smart enough to remember his results from one try to the next and write the numbers down such that all of them are within an inch.)

I'm just glad we have such smart Permanent Shore Duty non-command-served O-5s and non-CMC-served E-9s in D. C. and Millington who can come up with such amazing new initiatives! They truly are in touch with the needs of the fleet. My tax dollars are well spent.


Blogger Bigbill said...

I'm sure it's going to be enforced exactly as written. We should create extra billets on ships just to do rope and chokes. Once I saw a master chief who failed four cycles get orders to be an EDMC so he could finish out 28 years, I stopped caring about it.

8/30/2009 8:56 PM

Blogger SonarMan said...

I agree with your sentiment BH.

I have heard enough stories from highly placed fleet level/tycom level CPOs of how E-6 CFCs were coerced into unethical measurments - better for those the Goat Locker liked, worse for those they didn't. CPO CFCs didn't need to be coerced because, as we know, the "Brotherhood" scratches eachother's backs.

The Navy's fitness program is a bludgeoning tool that allows the Navy to happily shoot itself in the foot by getting rid of the hardworkers and the smart guys. I've always felt it should be treated as a medical problem, and not a discipline problem that will affect your career.

Also, if the navy is going to go through all that trouble for tape measurements, they might as well use the calipers. Or better yet, immersion. Get a Nuke to do the calculations if no one else can do the math. For the physical challenge, why not do something a little more scientific as well. A graduated scale based on age makes no sense if everyone is exposed to the same environment. Is a 35 year old expected to get to the scene of a fire in 4 minutes, whereas an 18 y/o has to get there in <2 minutes? NO. The Navy should use treadmills, have the testee run at X MPH for 15 minutes, and then measure his heart rate, looking to be at or lower than the target heart rate. That would be a good test of physical fitness. If the Navy truly cared about the fitness of its most valuable resource, the Sailors, they'd make the investment in the treadmills.

Of course, when I become SecNav, this is how it'll be.

8/30/2009 9:09 PM

Blogger Bigbill said...

I was a CFC on my last sub and the only time I didn't feel pressure to pass certain people was after my name appeared on the LDO list. After that, I was quickly replaced.

8/30/2009 9:36 PM

Blogger Sabra said...

Ah, the exact reason my ex-husband is no longer a submariner. He was out of standards before I met him, and never got in standards. (He's said the only time he *was*, was shortly after bootcamp.) Mind you, a 14-year career means he was lied for a few times, got a few progress waivers, etc. He wasn't anyone's favorite, but he was damn good at his job, and that got him through until '06.

8/30/2009 10:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gents this another way the Navy is trimming the dead branches. No-one wants to see a Fat F**K waddling around base or the ship in black & tans or khakis. Nowadays, the Navy wants the leanest & the meanest in uniform. Appearance is everything.

If you have a pork eating beer gut, then get rid of the damn thing. Do sit ups or curls in front of the TV. When you're standing before another board, deciding rather or not you're to spend another year in the Navy, keep in mind that physical appearance is everything.

In short, if you're fat, then f**king fix it!!!!!!!!!

8/30/2009 11:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 11:15

You must be a squadron weenie or a real dick. The thing that used to count was "sustained superior performance at sea"!

My job was to get the boat to sea and keep it there. That's what counts. I agree you can't be a slob but these standards are a bunch of crap. What I've found is that the standards are winked at until a guy is middle-aged and has a few to go before retirement and the hammer gets dropped. Or an outstanding performing E-6 who is then told he's not recommended for chief. Maybe you're a dead branch with another affliction.

8/30/2009 11:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder what the navy's reasoning could be for these new PRP requirements. Sounds to me like the service wants healthy, relatively physically fit employees. The only people who should be complaining are the physically handicapped and compulsive overeaters.

When I entered the Navy, calithentics were still a daily shore duty regimen. Daily PT ceased years before my time was up, but there were plenty of shot-up and injured Marines and sailors ashore (survivors). Always thought that might have had something to do with it.

We did have 4 overweight guys in our crew of over 100. One went by the name 'Porky' and the others by Lt. or X.O. That was it.
Bo Bannon

8/31/2009 12:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I am not understanding the problem with the Navy wanting their men and women to be in shape. Marines, Air Force and Army also have standards. Navy seems to me the most lax. I say, get out there and run, lift some weights and practice your sit-ups! Time to get in shape!

8/31/2009 12:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are not cheating, you are not trying!

Great, a Navy full of skinny nerds.

8/31/2009 9:40 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

I always felt that the difference between someone's neck size vs waist size to determine body fat measurement is about as accurate as the zodiac. What mental giant came up with that formula anyway?

8/31/2009 10:02 AM

Blogger Richard said...

I think that most of the problem revolving around out of shape sailors is the fact that there is not enough time in a day to get it all done. How is a sailor going to get in PT during the week, when he is expected to be on board 12 to 18 hours a day doing everything else. Commands like to talk about giving crew members time to work out, but when it interferes with ORSE, TRE, etc. guess what loses.

8/31/2009 10:22 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has the Navy tackled to problem with the food that they serve? Its hard to eat at the mess deck when you're trying to loss weight.

8/31/2009 10:49 AM

Anonymous steve osc/ret said...

Lived through this b.s. in the seventies and eighties. Funny, there has never been much of a penalty for being a poor leader. Or a crappy shipmate. No rope and choke test for that.

8/31/2009 11:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Navy powers-that-be just can't have fatties showing up in those new "smurf suits". thats just double dumb!! the uniform board strikes again.

IMO the real test is are you fit to serve at sea. I'm 68 years old. Until last November I was sailing on MSC Ammo ships. I'm overweight by about 30 pounds. I could still suit-up in turn-outs and SCBA with the best of them, get up and down ladders and handle the hose in the engine room. I was still blocking and bracing in the ammo holds plus moving 65 pound stanchions around. I was not the oldest onboard either. There was another deckie who was 70 and our First Assistant engineer was 72. average age of a MSC Civilian Mariner is 51. MSC don't care much about the appearance of their work force. What it does care about is your fitness. Over age 60 you need to pass an annual physical. If you don't your not-fit-for-duty and you need to get it fixed--thats on you. MSC work aboard ship is very physical--you got to be able to do it--thats what counts. If you can't cut-the-mustard your paid off the ship--period.

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


8/31/2009 11:58 AM

Blogger SonarMan said...

To the anonymous Shipmate who posted on 8/31/09 at 12:41 AM:

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the Navy wanting its members to be healthy and in shape. We are the military after all. If you've been paying attention and reading the posts no one is saying otherwise. Most of the posts are discussing how, no matter how many variations the program has gone thru, it still sucks. Its unfair, unscientific, and rife with lack of integrity. The Navy pays lip service to physical fitness. Period.

There is also, as as I and another poster pointed out, a serious lack of committment to fitness in the Navy. The Navy culture and environment do not lend itself readily to a fitness culture. Why? Because we are a pseudo-industrial/production oriented/schedule driven service. We literally do or die by our schedule.

The nature of the other services, on the other hand, being landlocked and having a military style heritage, lends itself more readily to daily fitness regimens. My nephew in the USAF and my foster-son in the AirCav both have time set out during their day for self or unit PT. They don't have round-the-clock watches and a demanding maintenance schedule. Go tell that to the nuke electrician who's been up for the last 36 hours standing watch and doing maintenance of the MG sets that he has to go PT.

So something has to give. They have to either relax the fitness standards - not the best option - or relax the optempo - not always possible - or get more sailors and ships to cover all the commitments. But even when we had that things were the same.

So, Shipmate, don't paint everything with such a broad brush. Its attitudes like yours that create more, or perpetuates the problems, rather than create solutions.

8/31/2009 12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm the 11:15 poster from last night.

Am I dick?..yeah probably so. I'm not a squadron weenie, I'm worse...I'm what you Gents call a skimmer. This is a nice blog here. Quite a few of us who serve on top side could take a lesson on representation as you guys do here.

Nevertheless, I hate seeing overweight sailors walking around base or vessel. It makes all of us look bad in front of the other services. It doesn't matter if you're an airdale, a skimmer, a bubblehead or a brown water mud sucker. To each their own regarding rate, but there is no reason in the world not to keep your ass in shape.

If you have a beer gut starting to happen, then sweat out some sit ups and push ups while watching TV or a movie. What the hell is wrong with that? I don't give a good Gawd Damn if your name is Captain Einstein and you're also the smartest man in the room. Appearance literally is everything.

You don't have to perform kamikaze aerobics to stay in shape and maintain weight. Just figure out some kind of workout program and stick with it. Once the adrenaline kicks in you'll forget how bad you're sweating and how much it hurts to stretch and exert yourself physically and HABITUALLY.

It's not that damned hard to maintain. So, am I a dick for saying all this?...well maybe so but, hey so be it. If I get through to one guy atleast, then maybe we'll have one less fat fuck sailor running around in the world. It doesn't matter how smart you are or how effective you may be in your rate. YOU still need to maintain a proper physical appearance, end of story!!

The Dick

8/31/2009 4:07 PM

Blogger SonarMan said...

OK "Dick"... I've had plenty of skinny sailors who looked good in uniform that weren't worth a flying rat's ass fuck in a rolling donut, but I wouldn't have traded one of my overweight guys for a skinny guy.

And contrary to what you state, the job is everything. A sailor who has a "proper military bearing", but is an idiot will get you killed.

Obviously you Skimmer Pukes have lots of time to work out. In fact I know you do - and the space to have lots of nice exercise equipment. So, good for you.

But I challenge you to come down to a submarine for an upkeep/refit and a deployment/patrol, live in our shoes, stand 6 on 12 off every gawdammed day, live up to our level of work ethic, live with the meager exercise equipment, and see how far you get in maintaining your fitness. Oh yeah, and as soon as you step on board, you'll get a stack of qual cards - get hot and don't get caught in the rack until they're done. You may be able to pull it off, but it'll be a challenge.

And don't mind your shipmates who're pissed off at you for having to pick up your slack while you were working out.

8/31/2009 5:10 PM

Blogger reddog said...

We had a lot of guys who were fat as acorn fed boars. They were strong, smart, aggressive sailors. They worked twenty hours a day, kept the boat running and never bitched, as long as they got four meals a day and could stuff their poopie suits with PBJs, sticky buns and cookies at mid rats.

I loved every lard assed one of them and sure wouldn't have wanted to go to sea without'em.

NAVs got it's head up its ass. What else is new.

8/31/2009 6:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lots of back 'n forth here...and that's as it should be. Speaking for myself, the fattest of the fat boys generally had other problems on the SSNs I served on.

One, the QMC, would mainline peanut butter at every opportunity. He was also the guy to (I am not making this up) lift his hands to the sky and say "it's all in God's hands now" when things got brown at the nav plot.

Another, the Nav himself, had the same sort of k-cal problemo. Ran the boat aground one day as OOD in restricted waters (also a true story).

Another fat boy, the EMC, was a sharp cookie, but more than a little bit of a malconent. He was later off-loaded to LDO land before a hull cut was necessary.

So, sorry...but I'm not buying into the "all fat boys are the good guys" nonsense. That's just goat locker grease.

8/31/2009 8:27 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Same guy as prior anon)

Almost forgot the punch line to a fine submariner song:

"...Here's to the skimmers: FUCK YOU!"

We now return you to your regular broadcast.

8/31/2009 8:31 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fat guys and skinny guys are probably equally competent at their jobs looking at the service as a whole. My thought on this deal is that this is not so much an appearance issue as much as a cost issue. In general, fat people have life long health issues, being as the Navy is responsible for our health care, they can save money and hassle long-term by enforcing a fitness standard that lowers life long medical costs. That being said, it is more or less an unfunded mandate, given that being on a boat never really allows a reasonable work out schedule unless you are willing to sacrifice limited rack time to get it.


8/31/2009 10:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No gays, women or fat boys? The sub force is running out of potential volunteers in the near future!

8/31/2009 10:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skimmer, you are entitled to your opinion but just remember we are all laughing at you. Do a 60 day spec-op and then get back to us. Suppose your against us wearing sport tesam ballcaps and nike sneakers underway too. Been out 13yrs now. Do the boats still have
3M coordinators???? Skimmer, 3M at sea means meals, movies, and

8/31/2009 11:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey asshole..Yeah you posting at 11PM, why don't you have a few more brews while typing? I admit I'm not Mr. Wizard with proper punctuation and traditional grammar, but put your fuckin' drink down before you man the key board.

Laughing huh? Are you certain about that? I don't think you are. Why do you bring the ship's operations into this matter? That's completely beside the point here Pard.

It's called time management. One way or another, you have 20 to 30 minutes for a quick work out. If you tell me anything short of that, you know it's BS.

I'm not attempting to single out Bubbleheads. Far from it, I have a lot of respect for you people. Trust me, we have skimmers who are up for a PRP board. But you know what? It's there own damned fault. It is really. No one is asking you to have a washboard flat stomach. Just keep it within your designated weights and measures. A reasonable exercise program does not have to be made of torture. You're the one who decides it, so what the fuck is hard about that simple concept?

The skimmer dick

9/01/2009 1:49 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like it or hate it, PFA is here to stay. How do I stay out of trouble? I make sure I'm in standards, at least two times a year.

Any good nuke realizes that we're just a big energy balance - if calories in > calories out, poopie suit size goes up. Make calories in < calories out, and poopie suit size goes down.

Really, it's your call - stay within standards or don't - just don't complain when you're out of standards and held accountable.

And, yes, I realize that some folks get more benefit of the doubt than others. Work hard, do your job well, and project a positive attitude, and you can be one of those folks.

And, finally, I agree that the rope and choke is about the dumbest thing I've ever seen.


9/01/2009 2:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a lot of genetics involved.

It is sometimes more than calories counts. It is about efficiency.

The rules are the rules but PFA is not a morale issue and we should not be kicking guys out in my view.

I am on the border every time despite a 1500 cal/day diet ... 30 miles per week ... weight training ... and running a marathon and three half marathons per year.

I am not whining but it is silly to think that the Navy can tell guys what to do to meet standards ... it is different for every individual and a dumb way to decide who stays and who goes.

Adm Konetzni used to say "we won WWII w/o the PFA, we would probably be OK w/o it now."

This is just about a skinny N1 who has no real compassion for Sailors. It is also just about money and cutting end strength.

9/01/2009 6:25 AM

Blogger J said...

Skimmer guy (I'd prefer not to call you a dick for just being ignorant of the realities of Submarine life...)

I have some questions for you that should help us to understand where you're coming from, and some of the bubbleheads here can answer these questions as well so you can compare notes.

1. How many duty sections do you have on board while in port?
2. How many days in the last year have you spent underway?
3. What are the workout facilities like on your ship?
4. How many hours do you work in a NORMAL day while on sea duty?
5. Does your command have a well-organized PT program apart from the PFA?
6. How many people are in your division?
7. How many people are in your crew?
8. How much watch do you stand on a normal duty day, and how much rack time do you get on a normal duty day?
9. How often do you sleep underway?

These are all pertinent questions, the answers of which may shed some light on why the experienced dolphin-wearers here, including those of us who ARE in shape, are telling you that you have no freaking clue what you're talking about.

9/01/2009 8:39 AM

Anonymous ERFPandS said...

Yeah, port and starboard at sea, port and starboard duty section in port for three years out of five. The other two were port and starboard at sea, three day in port duty section. Add in run it may, but shine it must mentality as two of three COs on this particular SSN were Admiral-bound.

So, when exactly is workout time?

9/01/2009 9:22 AM

Anonymous tmarks11 said...

If the USN was serious about physical fitness, they would change the PRT.

Many people are part of the "3 mile a year" club. They run two PRTs a year, and that is it.

Most people can run/walk a 1.5 mile PRT in the given time. A 1.5 mile PRT does not motivate you to stay in shape.

A 3 or 4 mile fitness test would be a different beast altogether. Except for a few 20 year olds, most people would be challenged by this length of a PRT, and stay in better shape.

9/01/2009 9:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skimmer Type Dude,
What you say is correct but may have been presented in a not-so-nice manner.

Anon 6:25,
Sometimes genetics do play a part in the weight/body type scenario, however, I think those are the exceptions and not the norms. If they were the exception to the weight problem the Navy has, maybe they would handle them differently.

Before you all jump all over me, I was an A-ganger on four boats, one ship(tender) and various shore commands so I’ve punched the same holes in the oceans as a lot of you. One of my COB’s said “the hardest exercise to do was to push away from the table”.

I came in the Canoe Club at 19 years old, at 139 pounds with a 29 inch waist. I retired at 39, at 220 pounds and a 38 inch waist. I always passed the physical part of the test that we started running in 1983 but if it hadn’t been for my 17 ¾ neck, I would have failed them all.

I was an A-ganger so all of you who have been there, know what my schedule was like. I didn’t do movies or games because I chose sleep over fun/relaxation. As the surface type dude says, you don’t need all that much equipment to stay in shape. Calisthenics and a stationary bike(which we had on my last boat) can take care of it.

Could I have eaten less and found 20 minutes to do calisthenics, sure I could have. On my one ship (a tender = never got underway) or my shore commands, could I have developed a good workout regime and controlled my calorie intake, sure I could have. So why didn’t I? The answer is “because it is easer not to”.

How many of us, since retirement have dropped back to a decent weight? I did the Jenny Craig thing and dropped to 170 pounds, said “Made it” and started eating again. I did the Richard Simmons thing and counted every calorie I put in and made it to 180, said “Made it” and started eating again. It is hard work to lose and maintain a healthy weight but it’s easier not to do it.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

9/01/2009 9:28 AM

Blogger Bigbill said...

I've lived on both sides the water, 14+ years on subs followed by 9+ on carriers and tenders. On subs I wasn't really interested in movies but I was an electrician so I had plenty to do besides my three section watch rotation. When possible, I worked out on bike before watch and did situps/pushups on watch. After leaving for the surface, I found working out required me to be creative and flexible about when to workout. A carrier is no different than a submarine with lots of people working out during the first and last month at sea. In between you figure out the times of day that you can use the equipment. Jogging on the flight deck is overrated since it is usually greasy and wet.

Lots of discussion about doing longer runs as a measure of fitness. That only works if you're a runner. I liked the addition of bikes and elipticals since I absolutely hate running. Cardiovascular fitness is the same no matter how you measure it.

9/01/2009 10:52 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Almost forgot the punch line to a fine submariner song:

"...Here's to the skimmers: FUCK YOU!"

Yeah, up until you have to come to the surface and MEDEVAC someone with a serious problem and the surface guys get your squid off the boat and his life is saved.

That's the sort of cavalier attitude us skimmers could never understand from you guys. We were always supposed to be on the same side!

9/01/2009 12:30 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

Oh give it a rest. Interforce rivalries have existed as long as different forces have existed. Airedales have thumbed their noses at submariners for as long as both have existed. I'd be willing to bet George H.W. Bush took a couple of swipes at "bubbleheads" in his day, but that didn't stop him from catching a ride when his ass hit the ocean.

Yes, we are all on the same side. You're still a skimmer puke!

It's meant to be in fun.

9/01/2009 1:52 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...

I've kinda stayed on the sideline on this one, but I'm compelled to add my .02 now.

There are strong arguments on both sides of this "issue". Hefty sailors need to be concerned with their health, myself included. I'm like the "damn good looking Aganger from Iowa" in that I came in skinny and left not so skinny. It's my own damn fault, I know. I could have made the time to get some exercise in, I could have used the "two hand push" diet, but I didn't. I'm also of the mind set that I judge a sailor by his performance, not his appearance. You might be able to fix fat, but you can't fix ugly. You gonna kick all the ugly sailors out? How about the ones who look like a yeti standing in the head with a towel wrapped around them? Where do you draw the line?
I have no issue with promoting a healthy lifestyle and a fit Navy. I do have an issue with tossing good folks aside because they have more uniform material on their carcass than LT Marathoner. I've seen too many outstanding technicians and leaders GET OUT, not even tossed out, because they were sick and tired of the "second rate citizen" status assigned them by the powers that be. The high-paying civilian jobs they went to could give a skinny rat's ass if they wore a size 32 waist or size 52 waist.

9/01/2009 2:01 PM

Blogger Chap said...

If you think

Appearance literally is everything.

then your priorities are wrong.

You'll make a beautiful corpse in wartime. So will the people you lead.

This mistake in priorities tends to be common to skimmers--this is where some of the uniform messes come from--but it really got virulent in the sub force prior to WWII, when the fat guys got fired and the pretty sub COs failed.

We've seen it before.

Appearance can be an indicator of overall health. Assuming appearance is more important than other things may kill people.

9/01/2009 2:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all about lowering the overall number of sailors in the Navy so we can support building up the Army. Big Navy needs to cut 8-9K bodies out, so tighten up the tape and start forced retirement boards for marginal E7's and above with over 20 yrs.

BTW, if you're a nuke or ANAV - keep eating - you're safe!

The Navy continues to fail in the food service area. High cal and fat content 21 day cycle makes it difficult to eat healthy without lots of effort.

On my sub, we do Command PT 4X per week (during normal working hours, not 0600), have time at the end of the day (1500) to do individual PT, (most can't do it every day, but everyone has the opportunity for PT at least 3X + per week) and guess what...everyone passed the latest PRT. Still have to tackle the nutrition side since 3 of 143 failed body fat :(

Serving SSN CO

9/01/2009 4:17 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The standards are set. Tell the Sailors to meet the standards. Let COB and the Chiefs execute.

Command PT is a waste of time, especially on an SSN. Sorry, but I don't think 4 x per week PT is worth the 600 Sailor-hours expended. We don't do 4 x per week piloting training, weapons trainers, or RC div training.

Again, the standard is known and promulgated.

9/01/2009 5:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has ALWAYS been a farce. When I reported to my boat in '86, I proceeded to score the highest score on the boat for three consecutive years. But not on the fourth - because I was on leave - and the CO and XO couldn't stand me. Did I get to take a make-up? Are you kidding? They wanted to fail me on that portion of my evals. Meanwhile, the FFs continued to circumvent the system.

All that said, I'll readily admit that one doesn't need to be very fit to perform their job on a boat. Maybe it's so they are fit enough to be IAed to a third world $hit box?

One thing is for sure, it is chicken $hit to begin enforcing these standards after one is well into the "career" enlistment.

9/01/2009 5:52 PM

Anonymous AnnoyedNavET said...

Let me be be clear on one thing first: The health and physical fitness of our sailors is NOT a high priority in today's Sub Force, no matter how much lip service we pay it.

Now that I have said that, if you think that most sub commands use the PRT as a tool to promote fitness and the overall level of well being of their crews, or to trim "dead branches" then you are dead wrong. The sub force really doesn't give a $hit about appearance, either, unless it is politically convienent. The PRT is, in many cases, not a measure of physical fitness, but of political skill. Yes, I have went out and said it. BOAT POLITICS. How many popular people, how many command golden boys, how many Chiefs, how many politically-in people have you ever seen fail a PRT? Very few I'll bet. Does it happen? Yes, but not often. How many of the E-7 and above crowd do you ever hear of getting bounced for failing a PRT? Honestly, the only people I have ever seen fail a PRT, on paper at least, were those either too junior to have connections, or those who for whatever reason was unpopular or out of political favor. I have seen 9 guys bomb one PRT cycle, but only 2 have it documented as a failure. The other 7 somehow wound up with SAT-HIGHS. The difference? 5 were Chiefs, the other two were command golden boys. The two failures were out of favor with the chiefs quarters. We had a first class on my last boat whom I never saw run a PRT in 4 years. Command golden boy with a lot of backing in the chiefs quarters. He was a fatass too. He would huff and puff just walking down the pier looking like a bucket of f*ck. Somehow, he always scored a SAT-HIGH, even when he was on leave on the other side of the country when we had the PRT. Funny, right after he transferrd off the boat he wound up on the wrong side of the politics at his new command. He bombed the next few PRT cycles and is now a very fat, very well paid contractor.
The PRT is like anything else that can get you in trouble. It can be "managed" though effective use of command politics and "the good-ole-boy" system. Kinda like many other things people get in trouble for that somehow go away if the guy is connected.

If you think I am one of those guys who failed the PRT and has sour grapes, you're wrong. I have never failed a PRT. I am just annoyed by how the rules are so selectivley applied.

9/01/2009 6:02 PM

Anonymous cmoor98 said...


Thanks for your honesty, as a former nuke, I always laughed at the messages that had the note basically saying "nukes need not apply".

To anyone on this forum without dolphins:

I applaud you for your knowledge of life on board a submarine.

I also applaud you for your confidence in your vessel. (I sure as shit wouldn't want to operate at test depth 100% of the time).

With that being said, I also defend you. I have not walked a mile in your shoes, so I can't begin to make an assumption about your shipboard life.

To the skimmer idiot who gives all surface warriors a bad name:

I'm sure that the points you were trying to make in your ranting and raving were fairly valid, but when you come into a conversation with an insult and a pompous attitude, the only thing you do is make your audience stop listening.
While I have no idea what your rate or rank is, I can assume based on your attitude towards your "shipmates" (yes I used the "S" word), that you didn't pay attention to anything you were taught about leadership, and how to speak to your peers and superiors/subordinates.

Now for my two cents:

I am one of those guys who came in to the navy about 10-15 pounds overweight but within weight standards. I left boot camp "in shape", and spent the next 8 years putting the weight back on.

Our current system and optempo makes it extremely difficult to maintain a regimented workout schedule but it can be done if you are dedicated to it. I'm not one of those people, but it can be done.
Let's examine our measure of physical fitness.
1st, a 1.5 mile run. When and where on any naval vessel will you be required to run 1.5 miles? I understand it is a test of endurance, but I'm sure there is a better way to evaluate this.
2nd, situps. Great, we measure abdominal strength, this equates to fitness how?
3rd, pushups. Hey look, I have arm and chest strength. (Or the laws of physics and the principles of leverage are in my favor).
How about instead, we have a more comprehensive evaluation system:

How about we have a sailor DON an FFE and SCBA, and perform some obstacle course. If he can complete it in a set period of time, (without killing himself), then he is physically fit for duty. If he can't, he needs to be on a fitness enhancement program.

I firmly believe that a practical evaluation of a sailor's ability is much better than the current system.

9/01/2009 6:11 PM

Anonymous Nub JO said...

I just don't understand why it is that hard to show a little bit of moderation and eat within your means. You can be pretty overweight and still pass the Navy weight standards. Being outside the weight standards is a very good indication of a serious problem. Being able to show self discipline in your diet also correlates with your self discipline in every day life, work and play.

And the argument that you don't have time to exercise all the time is bogus. Calories in=calories out. If you don't have time to exercise during ORSE, TRE, workups, then cut your calorie intake. Easy. Show some self respect. That's all it's about.

Chops... it's your duty to ensure that the crew has reasonable and healthy choices on board for every meal. Even mid-rats... tuna/crackers/cheese, you get the idea. I wish more CO's would enforce stricter guidelines on their chops for food choices.

It's not a pompous attitude, it's simply one that states the facts. On the whole, people who have no self discipline for a decent exercise routine and diet will have no self discipline in other aspects of their life. Big Navy isn't out to get the fatties believe it or not, they're actually looking out for them.

But what do I know... I'm just a nub JO.

-Nub JO

9/01/2009 7:34 PM

Blogger reddog said...

Lifestyle as a health factor doesn't really kick in until long after most people are out of the Navy.

The vast majority of guys going to sea are younger than 40. It's not a problem. Anybody falls over dead before that is a statistical outlier and of no consequence. Weed out the stupid and the lazy. You'll get a better result. You got a stupid or lazy fat guy? boot'em out.

9/01/2009 8:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nub JO:
Good luck on your JO tour and the rest of your career. I’m serious about that. Just attach yourself to that fat ass Chief and learn from him.
I have to disagree with you on the discipline in other aspects of life. I have found that you can tell pretty much how a Division will be run by the way a Chief runs his house. If the house is a mess, the division probably is also.
However, just because one does not have self discipline at the table that does not necessarily radiate to other parts of his behavior. While I was a tad on the heavy side, my height and frame carried it pretty well. I ran a hell of a division and excelled at every aspect of which ever job I was doing. Those who knew me know I sweated the small stuff and I worked my ass of to make sure those above and below me were successful.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa.

9/01/2009 9:29 PM

OpenID beebsblog said...

I left the Navy Reserve after my active time because of the fatboy program.

I had to go to the Reserve Center for my monthly measuring and weighing. I had passed the measurements the previous month with an eighteen percent bodyfat. The corpsman pulled the tape tight around my neck and said, "Sixteen and a half inches".

I told him the last time my neck was sixteen and a half was in eighth grade. So I went back to my unit CO and resigned. I had my eight years of active and reserve in, so it was a relief to turn over all my uniforms to the Navy Relief thrift shop. I got a nice tax deduction.

Go Navy, beat Army!


9/01/2009 11:58 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nub JO,

"Hard to show a little bit of moderation and eat within your means" is exactly the type of generic attitude that doesn't take into account the individual.

Sometimes -- many times -- this is not a knife and fork issue.

Have several great First Classes that struggle with this but I would take them as Chiefs because they are truly IN-CHARGE.

I struggle with this.

All I know is I watch a lot of fat people working their asses off at the gym everyday and eating salads on the mess decks and in the wardroom. I know plenty of Nub JOs who eat like pigs in the wardroom -- are thin -- and never really work out.

You need to try and walk in someone else's shoes if you are going to be a real Officer. Empathy is a great quality. Learn that.

Get out an run a half-marathon with a fat boy and spend some time with him to see if actually is out eating you. Lead him if it is so easy ... instead of being so self-righteous.

Hope to see you in the Fleet.


9/02/2009 12:07 AM

Blogger MT1(SS) WidgetHead said...

It's bad enough we have to discuss this "New & Improved" PRP crap every other morning.Now I get to read about it here as well. NAVADMIN 247/09 originated from skimmer world.

Any guy who is worth his weight in gold regarding rate and job function shouldn't have to be subjected to this shit. I don't care if one of my guys is a couple of pounds over weight. Can he do his job? Can I trust him with my life? That's all I care about first hand.

I hate holding this PRP shit over some else's head. It kills moral considerably.

When it's that time of the year again, whatever happened to helping a shipmate out? If he needs to work on his run then do it with him around Sherwood forest and lay odds on who loses count first regarding how many laps it takes to make a mile. Hold his feet while he's huffing away with sit-ups back aft a few days before the test and tape. No one I know likes exercising alone. Let's not make it worse than it already is.

I hate skimmers, I truly do. Not all of them actually, just the ones with these indestructible Superman horseshit attitudes.

On a personal note, I really like SonarMan's comments. Can you say "Delivery On Target?"

9/02/2009 1:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know why the submarine fleet has problems with this issue? Same reason our life expectancy is lower than the rest of the military.


Stress causes almost all humans to gain body fat.

Adding more stress in a misguided attempt to make us look good in uniform probably will have the opposite of the intended effect - and shitcan a lot of damn good sailors at the same time.

9/02/2009 8:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Lots of vitriol here.

After service on four submarines, I haven't met a submariner yet that likes the PFA from either an administrative or practical aspect. We just endure it and do our best to meet the intent if not the letter of the instruction.

And to the skimmer-puke; you truely have no clue! Are you really Mikey in disguise?

I recall from my time as a JO on STURGEON a certain Machinist Mate that could single-handedly do the quarterly maintenance on the RPFW heat exchangers. Yeah, he could lift the end-bells. I don't think he ever passed the BCA but, damn, he got work done. And I'm certain that when he passed through the aft tunnel door, ears popped from the ensuing pressure difference.

And to Diesel Boat FT, you are da bomb! Your comment on this chain is right on the mark. We should be measuring a Sailor's job performance on the deck plate, not assessing his body fat index with mom's sewing box tape.

Here's a thought... if the Navy is so concerned that overweight sailors are a risk to mission effectiveness wouldn't it make sense that BUMED make the decisions to axe Sailors for being overweight? It is BUMED that would know whether a seemingly overweight jack-tar is a medical liability isn't it? So, the real question is why isn't the PARFQ and the annual PHA the extent of the PFA. If a Navy doctor says Sailor Joe is "fit for duty"; well... isn't he "fit for duty" irrespective of the PFA.


9/02/2009 10:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think its all about the secret addictive additives the farmers from Kansas, you know, the ones that drive really slow, are adding to the food the Navy buys. Wheres the transparancy in the agracultural business and FDA to stop the poisioning of our sailers with all these addictive additives.

Mike Mulligan

9/02/2009 11:19 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Mike, thought you were on vacation.


9/02/2009 11:33 AM

Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...


Yes, we are all on the same side. You're still a skimmer puke!

ARG, matey! guerilla guerilla guerilla clattered the TGO as the boomer surfaced! HELP! Can you take our garbage? LOL, all in good fun, but I gotta respect the bubbleheads....always have.

9/02/2009 2:01 PM

Blogger 630-738 said...


Right back at 'ya. Some of my best friends were skimmer kids; they look great through a set of periscope crosshairs!

9/02/2009 3:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Standby to mark the time.

MARK! the time.

I have now been out of the Nav for 30 years, two weeks, three days, 10 hours, and 14.5 minutes.

I love reading these threads. And I am proud of the dolphins I earned.

But, man I gotta tell you. This sure reinforces my belief that I made the right decision those many years ago.

Former STS1 (SS)

9/02/2009 6:51 PM

Anonymous MyDickYourMouth said...

The Navy should spend more time weeding out the faggots. Though that may leave very few E-DIV dudes left on subs.

OI-55, my ass! Those butt pirates practiced OI-69!!!

9/02/2009 6:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was a bubblehead from 1992-1998. i was always over by 5% body fat. i always stood a good watch, knew my rate and the boat. if they wanted a good watch-stander, they got one. had good evals too. 'they' kept riding me about my bodyfat no matter where i went. i guess they figured out one day that i didn't care if i passed a PRT, nor if they kicked me out for being 'out of standards'. 'they' finally left me alone and i finished my enlistment.

9/02/2009 6:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should get rid of the run/walk. We are in the Navy after all. The PRT should consist of the swim, and as mentioned earlier, practical tests.

I mentioned this once during a focus group hug type event concerning PRT that I got thrown into by the COB.

A Captain (skimmer, of course) leading the event rolled his eyes and said "Chief, silly idea, most people don't like the swim but everyone likes to run" I said "I don't". He just rolled his eyes and went on with his scripted, fake concern.

I left and told the COB later, don't ever do that to me again.

Jim C.
Retired ANAV

9/02/2009 10:22 PM

Anonymous ex-ET nuke said...

For just about every PRT I ever took in the Navy from my very first in boot in '90 until my exit PRT in '96 I was ALWAYS deemed "Obese" or "Fat" by the rope and choke standards.

Being a somewhat skinny and short guy, who was also a hardcore rollerskating racer, and hockey goalie growing up, I carried (and still carry) a large amount of weight in my leg muscles, so going by the strict letter of the law, I should have never even gotten into the Navy.

So, from the very get-go I alway forced the calipers, or when it was possible, an immersion test. The results of every single one of those tests was <12% body fat. It sucked to have to force the issue every single time (I eventually had entries in my med-record to back my requests up), but it can be done.

9/03/2009 2:24 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After 5 years of hearing what a sloppy douchebag I was, it got a bit wearing. Yup, 4.0 evals, top 1/3 of my rate (up against guys doing it for 15 years longer than I had in, to boot) but weightlifter/ectomorph body. I could lift the command physical coordinator above my head, but since those "hulk" legs weren't fast, I was officially a douchebag on the prt. Passed most (including one memorable year when I insisted they let me swim it) but it got to be too much of a drag, and I could see Khaki was not in the future with my 22 inch neck as part of the picture.

So, I set new goals and met them. They were to become comfortably fat and grow a long beard. I'm now one of the best Santa's around and not one person gives a rat's heinie about my moobs except me.

Point is, it's their game. It's always sucked. Do something else. I know for a fact that there's life after the canoe club. It was a great experience and I wouldn't have traded it for anything, but unless you look like you have marathon blisters on your twinkle toes, you have a lower shot at the prize.

9/03/2009 3:29 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, this topic is very polarizing. For me, I accept it since I cannot change it. I do my part to stay in shape. However, as a former XO, I fully understand the frustration with crew emembers on both sides of the fence. I tried very hard to allow time for PT, but the schedule made it damn near impossible.

We had a couple folks who met the adsep criteria, but I knew that if I sent them for adsep, I would be down crew members since NPC couldn't man the boats. I could not, in fairness to the readiness of the ship, recommend adsep. I always requested a readiness waiver.

As I think of the comments regarding health/fitness and body fat, I think of the Navy CAPT who dropped dead of a massive heart attack this past spring right after conducting a PRT. He was a great Officer and CO! His poor level of fitness is what did him in.

9/03/2009 3:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve Hark'oFAGEN:

Wow,a skimmer with a bit of bubblehead envy! You may be able to qualify Galley Watch Captain, or TDU operator. Go to your nearest submarine base and ask for a spot on "DV" cruise!

9/03/2009 6:02 PM

Anonymous ssnret said...

Yea I know it's late but this just in from MSNBC by way of Beer Makes You Strong and Healthy.
The picture alone is a classic.

9/03/2009 8:22 PM

Blogger Chap said...

Anon post-XO: Buddy of mine, when we were LTs, dropped dead of a heart attack who was in fine shape. Might be worth doing something different than the PRT program to ensure fewer deaths that way.

9/04/2009 8:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Dick the Skimmer:

I suppose times have changed. I was a skimmer back in the day and the concerns were (a) can you do your job, and (b) can you fit through a 18" scuttle. Nobody gave a crap about the rest, for if you were not reasonably fit, you couldn't do your job.

Of course, maybe the surface navy now has all those sparkly gas turbine ships with full gyms and the snipes are no longer doing two-section underway watches in nice hot firerooms and engine rooms. Maybe now all those first-tour JOs have time to watch movies underway.

Then again, there was a more potent adversary to worry about (other than a bunch of Somali pirates) back during the Cold War.

9/04/2009 11:26 AM

Blogger MM1/SS said...

This subject is very personnel for me.

I am 6'3" and 280 lbs. I range from 18% to 21% on the BCA depending on who does the measuring.

That's right, it varies. No 2 people ever get the same measurement. Hell, sometimes the same guy can't even do it x2 times.

I've been this size wearing a size 38 pant since 2000. And you can see those measurements go up/down since then on every single BCA.

The Navy PFA program is a joke. It's not a measurement of health/fitness. It is a "Force Shaping Tool" used by the Brass to cut personnel. Nothing more/less.

And for anybody who thinks the solution is less eating and working out...I have to ask you this.


Underway: I work a 18 hour day. 6 hours on-watch. 6 hours doing PMS and fixing broke stuff...and maybe 6 hours of sleep if I'm lucky. Usually the 6 hours of repairs/PMS turns into 8-10 hours.

In-Port: I personally show up at 0500 and leave the boat at about 2000-2100. Stuff has to get done. My workload cannot support me and mine leaving for something as trivial as PT.

The Navy has standards. I try to keep within these standards. But it is extremely hard at times.

It is also very insulting when people launch stupid broadsides that paint a picture of Fat, Obese, Lazy, Deadweight Sailors who are that way simply by choice.

Unlike many people, I simply don't have time to workout at work...and very very little time at home. Why do you think I am currently running 1.5-2 miles a night at 2100 or later? Because I like to run by starlight?...hell no

I am a EP sailor. Despite my weight and "unkempt" appearance at times. I've shown my worth to the Upper CoC. Put me in a FFE w/ Scott Air Pack or an OBA and I'll go toe to toe with one of those Navy Ideal types.

also, many of the people who are friendly towards the current program...well they are the ones who have no real job. Who have no responsibilites. Where the boat could continue without them, and nobody would notice. They are the deadweight In My Opinion. The people who are 4 section underway...or 9 section like I've seen before where they need a damn calender to know when they stand their next watch.

Some of you people need to come off your high horses...and take a deep sniff of the Horseshit you are shoveling.

9/05/2009 12:23 AM

Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

I never, in any way, prodded the CFC to improve the bottom line on PRT results. While I paid attention to how things went the day I ran it, I never asked about the other days. Is it likely that some that did not pass were passed? Yup. Is it possible some who were overweight were passed? Yup. It might have been wrong to look the other way, but it felt right, so I did it.

We also did PT every morning during working hours and people still left work at a good time.

Finally, those of us without weight problems DO NOT UNDERSTAND all the reasons some people do have weight problems. Self control is only one of many possible factors.

9/05/2009 5:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I simply don't understand the system. the body fat measurement, to me, has always been about how good you look. If the guy can run the run in 8:00, do 100 sit-ups and 67 push ups, then faisl the rope-and-choke, he fails the PRT...which just isn't right.

Make body fat a portion (i.e. calculate the score, then subtract the body fat percentage) as opposed to "pass-fail".

9/05/2009 12:51 PM

Blogger MT1(SS) WidgetHead said...

"also, many of the people who are friendly towards the current program...well they are the ones who have no real job. Who have no responsibilites. Where the boat could continue without them, and nobody would notice. They are the deadweight In My Opinion."

That's not just your opinion MM1/SS, it's a stone cold, hard fact of life.

I'm 6'1" and fluctuate between 180 to 185LBS. I eat like a pig, and I drink too much coffee and beer. Obviously, I don't have a problem making weight only because I have a fast metabolism...but I absolutely hate the way some of my guys are treated because there's a chance they maynot make tape.

Instead of concentrating on security/maintenance, missile loads and usage & storage of um...some of our magical and fun toys & tools in life, they're worried about not making weight and not making their next rate. I don't want their minds on that shit. I want them to concentrate on their jobs and then knock off and relax with a cold beer once the day is secured.

Hey Topside, Stop fuckin' making me subject this new PRP crap on my guys. Let's improve moral, not kill it.

First off, I say get rid of sit/curl ups. Personally, I hate doing sit ups. I can max out push ups and the run, no problemo. But I will only do the absolute minimum amount of sit ups because it fucks up my lower back for about 2 days thereafter. I think that area of the body is called the Coccyx...IE; the lower base of the spine just above your butt.

Another thing I've noticed about sit-ups, is that specific category is typically the lowest score for most guys. If you're starting to get a belly and you need to work your abs, running is just as effective. Yeah I know, most people hate to run, and I only run when I absolutely have to for cardio. But out of the three necessary evils, I truly feel we could do away with sit-ups. They are nothing more than a waste of time.

I don't know what else to suggest except that it's important to help each other out when it's time for the test. Have I helped a guy cheat before? Damn right I have.

Yeah, I said it. I've actually forgotten how to count when I'm holding someone else's feet while he sweats out a few sit-ups or counting their push up set. Oh wait a second, did I mess up my math on the run time. Oh No, I added 2.5 minutes to your timed run. Well shame on me. I guess that breach of regs and ethics buys me a possible spankin' now doesn't it?

Well, sorry Topside, but we ain't in High school gym class. I'm too busy making certain my people are able to do their job and have the active knowledge required of their present and possibly future rate.
Appearance is important, but only to a certain point. Performance in one's job is EVERYTHING!

9/05/2009 3:41 PM

Anonymous SubIcon said...

The biggest frustration I have about enforcing physical fitness standards is that we often don't give the sailors we work the hardest a fair shot at staying within standards.

One example is SROs who, over a several-year period on at least some boats, stood port-and-starboard duty inport with port-and-starboard watches, along with hefty unwritten-but-enforced requirements for hour spent training off-watch to go along with extensive inport maintenance requirements. That all adds up to a lot of time spent sitting in a chair basically just trying to stay awake in a monotonous environment. They don't help their waistlines any with Mountain Dew or the more modern, higher-calorie energy drinks but at least they stayed awake when they have to.

Even for the boats with the command-level courage to include organized PT in the Plan of the Week (not a priority for Naval Reactors or the Sub Force, while almost certainly coming at the expense of something which IS a priority for higher echelons), the guys we lean on the hardest always get "permission" to miss the PT in order to get important work done. Those are usually the guys who most need the time to invest in their health, but because they have high-demand, low-density qualifications we can't afford to take care of them. Then Big Navy puts them through the wringer of a waiver process just for the opportunity to continue to feed the beast of maintaining our metallic masterpieces.

That's the real shame of occasionally deciding to enforce one standard, when we haven't even resourced our other requirements with appropriate manpower and training. The poor E5s and E6s caught in the middle of that tension pay the price when CSF agrees to meet tasking demands that N1 hasn't provided enough resources to meet. Then N1 turns around and says "we need an objective measure to cut end-strength... obviously anyone who is fat chooses to be fat because they are lazy, so it's a good idea to just cut those guys."

Do we have sailors who simply don't make use of the time we give them? Absolutely. But we also have guys who for other reasons aren't able to meet one standard among many, and it's a bit disingenuous to force commanders to enforce one standard rigidly without providing any latitude to exercise judgment. Might as well summarily deny reenlistment opportunities to guys who miss a GMT, show up to work with a shaggy haircut or a single uniform deficiency, fail a monthly examination, fall behind in qualifications, or come up short of any of our other hundreds of standards which human beings occasionally fail to meet. Policy is a great tool to inform decisions but paper is an inadequate replacement for brains when it comes to decision-making.

Submariners tend to hate any policy which is overly broad and doesn't allow for commanders to exercise judgment in specific situations. We're trusted with an awful lot of things much more sensitive to national security than deciding which people the Navy should and shouldn't retain, yet THIS is something only the CNP can decide? I'd rather see NPC spend its time figuring out how to fill assigned billets with qualified personnel (funny how standards can be challenging to meet depending on circumstances beyond your control).

To be fair: I've never been at a command which ultimately lost a sailor we wanted to retain just because of this policy. Still, it's a draconian position which makes it harder to persuade some sailors that the Navy is an attractive career path for those individuals. Even if they have faith that their command will do everything to take care of them at the O5 level, they rightfully show some concern than Big Navy policies might override local command decisions to their future detriment. It's not a great precedent for keeping faith with our own people.

9/06/2009 1:04 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone know this is what it is, a force shaping tool. Why fight it? When things start going the other way, waivers will flying all around to keep people in. Nothing new to this.

For the younger guys who are seeing this now, keep it in mind before you re-enlist. If you don't want to put up with this and/or futre BS, do your best, play the game and get out.

I had, not too long ago, a CO/XO and COB who couldn't lead Jesus to a cross or a hobo to a biscuit. But they sure could run. They ran in marathons, 5k's, daily at lunch runs, with the Admiral, you name it.

Leave it to these skinny guys to man the Navy of the future, they should work well with gays and women!

9/06/2009 9:16 PM

Blogger NCdt Fred Genest said...

subicon, ref:
"Might as well summarily deny reenlistment opportunities to guys who miss a GMT, show up to work with a shaggy haircut or a single uniform deficiency, fail a monthly examination, fall behind in qualifications, or come up short of any of our other hundreds of standards which human beings occasionally fail to meet. Policy is a great tool to inform decisions but paper is an inadequate replacement for brains when it comes to decision-making."

I don't presume to know the inner workings of the US Navy, being in the Canadian Navy and not having ever served in the USN. However, fitness is a long-term commitment; it takes several hours a week to attain and maintain. Almost all the other deficiencies you pointed out take a few minutes every few days to correct. Need a haircut? How long does it take to get one at the NEX? Fifteen minutes, maybe? If you fail a monthly evaluation, chances are you didn't prepare enough. So on and so forth.

As far as the whole debate goes, I think most people who are overweight do show a lack of willpower, though that's not necessarily the only reason they are overweight, as it was pointed out that time to workout is sometimes just non-existent. That said, I've struggled with my weight most of my life, and it almost cost me my career. I ate crap and although I did exercise, it just wasn't working. Suddenly, once I put down the pop and the chips and all the other crap I'd been eating, I lost weight. And I almost didn't exercise! Fifteen pounds in a month, and I wasn't that fat. Sure, the guys who are working 18 hour days, every single day, can't really be expected to exercise... but do they really need to eat fried food every meal, and then eat donuts and drink Mountain Dew between meals? I doubt it.

Which leads to a funny problem. As I said, I don't know exactly how the USN is fed, but if it's anything like you guys eat at your service academies, (I've only been to West Point and Annapolis, so maybe the Air Force eats well...) it's bad. We have the same problem. What the Navy, and probably the other services, needs to do to help its people fit through the requirement is feed them good, healthy food. It doesn't have to be tofu and lima beans; it just has to not be fried carbs and fat. When it gets to the point where eating at McDonald's is healthier than at the galley, you know there's an issue. I'm not saying the Navy needs to eliminate bad foods entirely, but a healthy option that's actually edible would probably help sailors and officers make weight.

And, anon (the one about the CO/XO/COB who couldn't lead but could run), I think there are all kinds of officers/leaders who got to where they are, but maybe shouldn't be there, and it's not always about fitness. It might be gender, connections, a completely arbitrary requirement set to select one applicant out of a set of many similar ones, whatever. Cherish the good officers; grit your teeth and bear through the bad ones. I've been in only four years but I've seen plenty of both, from junior officers up to flag, and I think that, in the Canadian Navy at least, the good ones get that little bit further and get to show a good example so that, hopefully, us young leaders can learn and emulate those good leaders.

In any case, as I stated at the beginning, I don't presume to have inside knowledge into the US Navy, but some things appear to be universal. If I've strayed too far from my arcs of fire, you guys just let me know.

9/08/2009 6:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my experience, when the COB is a hatchplug, he gets 5.0 across the board on his evals (before CPO's went to the fitrep format, and RM's who do the XO's shred do get to see this stuff), and the E-5 PFA coordinator gets to be sailor of the year.

Gee, why would anyone want out?

9/09/2009 5:51 AM

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9/13/2009 10:47 PM

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