As the Navy continues to transition and consolidate its old and diffuse pay and benefits systems into something resembling 21st century digital infrastructure, the sea service is asking that sailors quit trolling the MyNavy HR Facebook page so hard.
But even leadership admits there’s some justification for the onslaught of snark on many of the page’s posts.
Sailors, both active duty and recently retired, have seen their pay, benefits and healthcare subjected to a variety of glitches over the past year as part of the modernization effort.
And while officials last summer portrayed the transition as a temporary diversion on the path to something greater, problems still persist across the fleet.
Sailors are understandably frustrated. Back in the olden days, these sailors and their spouses might’ve commiserated in person, perhaps over a beer. Thanks to the internet, however, the virtual commiseration point is the comments section of many MyNavy HR Facebook posts.
On the regular, Navy news about government travel cards, advancement quotas and other Navy policies — posted to help keep sailors updated — are regularly slammed by commenters.
And the higher-ups have noticed.
“Wow,” Fleet Master Chief for Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education, Delbert Terrell, said in a June 17 video posted to the page. “I tell you what, I gotta be perfectly honest with you guys, you’re pretty rough in your responses to what we’re posting… Your comments cut right to the bone.”
Terrell also noted those barbs are justified.
“You’re absolutely right to be critical of our performance,” Terrell continued. “It’s your pay, it’s your benefits, it’s your career… When we don’t hit the mark, it has a direct impact on you, your shipmates and your families.”
Terrell noted that more than 2,000 personnel from the MyNavy HR family were “working very hard around the clock to fix our outdated computer systems, to update decades of old policies.”
“As my predecessor used to say, we need to fix stupid fast,” he said. “But we don’t always hit the target.”
Terrell assured those affected that the team working to fix the issues was not “randomly firing for effect and just calling what we hit the target.”
“We take responsibility, and we need to fix it,” he said.
At the same time, Terrell asked for patience and “your good ideas” for fixing these problems.
“With your constructive feedback, we can without a doubt make our Navy a greater place to serve.”
Comments on the MyNavy HR page at times suggest fleet members have grown tired of a polished social media presentation coupled with a lack of substantive answers as they wait for payments, paperwork and other needs that can greatly disrupt their lives.
The comment burns are as vast as the Freedom’s Choice brand offerings in your local commissary.
In a post this week about changes to the Navy’s government travel card policy for moving to a new duty station, sailors and dependents lit up the comments regarding how the sea service pays out travel vouchers so slowly — grammar and spelling errors are included below.
“lol every sailor will have a bad credit (sic) and increasing debt due to their inability to get travel vouchers paid in a timely manner,” one commenter wrote. “i am still waiting on my voucher its been 7 months…and 3 submissions.”
“Bro all y’all do is take L’s constantly,” another user wrote. “Stop posting is the only option at this point.”
That comment thread also featured the page’s administrator referring sailors to online answers, only to have the sailors point out that the online answers don’t answer their questions.
“MyNavy HR I wonder when was the last time any of you or those with these brilliant ideas pcs’d?” a user asked. “It sure does not seem like you remenber or asked around those who have.”
A Saturday post encouraged the fleet to check out the Sailor to Sailor newsletter. It featured a stock image of sailors firing a hose into the sea.
“Gonna fight water with water!” a commenter noted.
A Thursday post about an app for Navy weapons training featured a gif of the iconic “LEEEEEEEEEROY JEENNNNNKINS” video.
“nothing says ready to face an enemy and operating a weapon like an online course,” one user wrote.
“So when is the app for sweepers going to come out?” another added.
Another post that day asked a question about PCS’ing and then proceeded to answer it.
The question had to do with the average time for advanced travel/dislocation allowance payout, but the Navy’s answer only addressed the earliest time for payout.
Soon, the commenters surrounded the helpless post and began to feed.
“You literally did not answer the question you posted!” one commenter wrote. “It asked what is the AVERAGE time, NOT the earliest time!!!”
“The average is a negative number lol, that’s why they didn’t answer lol,” someone else wrote below.
Another post hyping a Navy civilian career app featured a commenter roleplaying the late crocodile expert Steve Irwin following random sailors in the workplace wild.
“Look what we got here!” the commenter wrote. “Krikey that’s a huge Petty Officer, must be at least an E-5. See how he just pounds that energy drink. You know they drink these to survive the harsh environment.”
“Whoa, look out guys. See how he lashed out at me, he really doesn’t like the khaki I’m wearing. That’s the color of their natural enemy, the E-7 and above.”
Send links and/or screenshots of the funniest MyNavy HR comments you come across to Geoffz@militarytimes.com.
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.