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Letters to the Editor: NWU; UAV medal

Mar. 25, 2013 - 09:43AM   |  
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BLAME LEADERS, NOT NWU

I can’t stand the Navy working uniform. All along, I have been asking myself, “What do I need to be camouflaged from?”

I much prefer my wash khaki uniform and utilities, since they at least represented the past and the uniforms that made us sailors. I came in wearing dungarees and watched them be prohibited for the same claim [made by some about NWU wear] — that they were sloppy [“Correcting sloppy shipmates,” March 18].

One reason I feel we have this problem is we as a Navy have an identity crisis. When we look at pictures of the Navy from five years ago, we can’t identify with those sailors because we don’t have any of those uniforms anymore. It almost looks foreign to some newer sailors.

The fact is, uniform changes are not up to me, and like any good chief, I wear the uniform I am supposed to wear and wear it right and with pride.

What does have my blood boiling right now is that I wrote to Navy Times in 2005 about this same issue [“Uniforms elicit strong opinions,” April 11, 2005]. We blamed the utility uniform for making sailors look sloppy.

My point then, as it is now, was this: It’s not the uniform’s fault if a sailor looks like a slob! The fault lies with the sailors and their leadership. And for the junior sailors who want to blame the chiefs for letting their people get away with uniform infractions, my question to you is, did you address the issue?

If you are a petty officer third class and a seaman or airman looks like he just walked off a “Harlem Shake” video, did you address it?

Blaming everything and everyone else seems to be a trend nowadays, and we need to stop it. Don’t whine to the MCPON about it and wait on him to establish new uniform regulations. We all know in our gut when something is wrong, so step up and lead.

ADCS (AW) Jake Lobaugh

Lexington Park, Md.

NCIS AGENT TRANSFERS

I recently read the article titled “NCIS agents battle bosses over forced reassignments” [March 18]. As the national president of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service Association, which represents nearly 1,000 active-duty and retired special agents, I take exception to the article. The article appears intended to discredit the NCIS.

I served as a special agent for 28 years and executed several permanent change-of-station moves to include three overseas assignments with my family. I always believed NCIS was and is a professional organization that daily carries out complex and dangerous missions on a global basis.

The NCIS mission requires that approximately 30 percent of the special agent corps be deployed overseas or onboard aircraft carriers or other Navy combatant ships. This means there is constant rotation and PCS transfers of NCIS personnel. That is and has been for decades the mission of the NCIS. Every candidate for the position of NCIS special agent is told at the time of application and employment of the requirement that agents will experience several PCS transfers during their career. To that end, each applicant and newly hired agent executes a mobility agreement in recognition of and commitment to the NCIS mobility policy.

Several of the agents cited in the article had remained at one duty station for extended periods (a decade in one case) and were indignant that they were being moved. Those who remained at one duty station for 10 years should not have thought of themselves as being discriminated against, but rather fortunate that they had remained in one assignment so long. Those agents who identified themselves as a specialist in one investigative discipline (fraud, counterintelligence, etc.) apparently forgot the core mission of a special agent is that of a criminal investigator — one who will be assigned to various disciplines to meet the needs of the service.

The article states that former Director Mark Clookie “stepped down,” when in fact he retired after 31 years of dedicated and distinguished service. He served as the NCIS director for three years and most certainly upheld the Special Agent Creed that a special agent serves with dignity, determination and distinction.

Blair M. Gluba

Special agent, NCIS (ret.)

National President of NCISA

Fredericksburg, Va.

I read with interest your article about NCIS and the involuntary moves to force retirements, but this is a standard practice in the criminal investigator community.

I had attended a meeting in which a member of the senior executive service from another agency and former Defense Department official boasted that he not only could — but would — involuntarily transfer people across the country and thousands, of miles with only two weeks notice, and without regard to the expense or requirements of the agency, for the sole purpose of forcing them out.

He also boasted that he had done this in the past to force retirements, transfers to other agencies and “voluntary” downgrades. But of course the agency denied this was practice or these actions were officially condoned.

Capt. John DeMaggio

Special agent in charge (ret.)

U.S. Postal Service Inspector General

Millbrook, N.Y.

AVIATOR BLASTS UAV MEDAL

I am a retired naval aviator — a former squadron commanding officer who never fired a shot in anger. The thought of a medal for working in a little air-conditioned box with absolutely no threat of injury bothers me [“Hagel orders review of drone medal precedence,” March 25].

I had to do a lot to pin those wings on, but any Bronze Star or Purple Heart recipient has done a lot more than I.

I do not want to call the guys and gals running drones wimps, but when the drone crashes, they just launch another one. Not a lot of guys walk away from putting one into the fantail of a carrier on a dark night.

We have all served this great nation in our own way. We are all warriors. I believe that the medals earned in combat speak with so much authority that their voice should drown out this flawed Distinguished Warfare Medal idea.

Capt. John K. Riess (ret.)

Bonita, Calif.

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