April 14, 2005

It’s incredible to think about how fast the weeks are just flying by these days. I look at the calendar, realizing it’s already 10 April, but still feel like it’s late evening from two months ago. With just three weeks to go, it’s definitely Crunch Time. As one of my old professors once told me, “May is coming; get on the horse.”

Our Navy unit just had its annual Dining In ceremony, a ceremony where only those within the unit and a guest of honor are invited. It was a fantastic opportunity to have fun with everyone, share a good many inside jokes, poke fun at each other, and just enjoy a good meal and a great evening. Though not much like what it was last year, it seems everyone was very pleased with the event. My roommate and the Mr. Vice for the event and myself got together to perform a heavily derivative skit about our Staff Sergeant and another Sergeant in the unit, reminding the midshipmen about the joys of Orientation. We took the ideas of Pablo Francisco’s skit on movie previews and presented a side-splitting rendition of our own “Orientation: A Sergeant’s Tale.” The evening topped off for many of us over 21 at the bar, discussing politics, sociology, philosophy and the works. It was a tremendous experience for me, to finally have that kind of stimulation at this school. I miss it dearly, and to find we have such fantastic thinkers both in the Unit Staff and the Battalion itself is deeply inspiring. It was so stimulating that my roommate and I are postulating the formation of a discussion group to meet twice a month, just to give midshipmen the chance to do more of this discussion and group learning than we have.

Color Guard is gearing up to present for a dedication ceremony of our gymnasium to a former instructor at the school, Jamie Fletcher, a former SEAL and aviator who died in an aviation accident about a year ago. Once that’s finished, it’s just graduation and our commissioning ceremony for those few that’ll be around when we’re done. Training will change dramatically, where I will no longer take on the National Ensign position, giving our Officer Candidate the opportunity to learn the position, as he’ll need it for presentations before and during the summer. Likewise, it’ll be time to start planning to whom I’ll pass the torch onto. I’ve been put up for a few positions within the unit, including Public Affairs Officer and Color Guard commander for next semester. I don’t know how likely I am for any of them, but either way, I’ll have to groom a replacement. I have a few in mind who would do well, but as to their interest in the position, I’m not certain. I’ll likely have next semester or year to figure and work that out.

Something along similar lines is something that’s fast grown from a matter of personal curiosity to immediate contention. I’ve always been chided about being proper and living morally, and it’s never really given me much issue until the last few weeks. Until recently, there’d not much been the necessity to really make such a lifestyle evident, but a friend of mine spoke with a Captain from SOCOM and in a shared communication, this captain particularly stressed the need for moral, mature leaders throughout the military. I’d always come from the camp of understanding that mature leaders were the residing norm in the military, but that email and some issues I’ve discovered have forced the issue directly to my doorstep, where I can no longer look at aberrations and write them off as “it just happens like that.” Unfortunately, at this time, I cannot go into more detail about this issue, but for all those aspiring officers, and even enlisted men who are reading this, the point is raised for one primary issue. The military is full of interested, capable men and women. There is no problem finding people who are capable of doing their jobs and doing them well. At a time when the military is condensing and looking only for the best, and especially as we move into an era where warfare is falling under increasingly stringent criticism and attention, those leaders who posses such qualities as discernment, self-control, dependability, loyalty, deference, truthfulness, and above all humility have the edge and the preference. It is a lack or immaturity of such things that cause the disgraces we’ve found so many events, not the least of which the torture of prisoners.

That’s all for now. Many of you have been writing in with all sorts of excellent questions about the school, your options, and life in general. It’s been great to converse with those of you who are willing to step out and make your voice heard. Keep it up! Until next time:

Onward + Upward

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