Friday, November 9, 2018


I had the good fortune in the Navy to work for and with many men of outstanding wit and character. One of the best was Wild Bill Snyder. He was the one that told the story of himself at a younger age and mind you, when I worked for him he was nought but a Lieutenant Commander, so a pipsqueak in these rarefied times.

He was in a billet, chief engineer of steam, that used to be what they call a spot promotion because hard. His old destroyer was in company with a brand new cruiser fresh out of the shipyard and due to commence its full speed trial. The insolent cruiser captain sent, via a flashlight, an insulting message to the ancient destroyer telling it to try to remain within visual signalling range and set about its full speed trial.

Both ships raced to the horizon except that the cruiser suffered a crippling engineering casualty. The ancient destroyer kept blasting along until at the very horizon sent back a flashlight message of its own to the crippled cruiser.

"Slowing down to remain within visual signalling range."

A ship's captain of any rank used to have joy in getting underway. Not sure if it remains the same today.


SCOTTtheBADGER said...

In the USN of today, there cannot be much satisfaction in Command. To many people commanding from afar,and too much lawfare.

HMS Defiant said...

We got a query from our Fleet CDR asking about our training standards with the Mk19 grenade launcher and had to tell them that we had found it impossible to train to the Navy standard on the only ranges we had available in SOCAL and so we used the Marine Corps standard for the weapon. When 3rd Fleet asked why we didn't use the Navy standard we had to tell them that our standard called for firing and then advancing to fire again and the Marines forbid anybody to go into any impact area which happens to include everything on the other side of the firing line. In short, they wouldn't let us use the stupid standard and our N7 guys heartily agreed with them.