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  • Tell us what you think: Mess deck rules

    This is a follow up to my previous post. My personal opinion on the issue is that what Sarmajor Espinal is did is unsat. According to the in Navy times he decided to speak up because he was told that the enlisted members of the ship wanted him to eat lunch in the mess decks, and he later found out that this was merely a ruse to keep him out of the ward room. Whereas the alleged trickery can certainly be considered in bad taste, I am perplexed with could possibly be Sarmajor Espinal’s actual motives; I frankly do not believe that his motivations are quite that egalitarian. Sarmajor Espinal has been a Marine since 1979, and by his own admission he has been onboard numerous ships. I find it hard to believe that it took 31 years of service in the Marine Corps to motivate him to say something.

    Secondly; as a senior Marine NCO that has been onboard numerous ships by his own admission, I am sure that he knew that he was perfectly welcome to dine in the Chief’s Mess. Thirdly, and most deplorable in my opinion; Sarmajor Espinal should have addressed this issue with the ship’s Command Master Chief, and he should have seriously considered having a conversation with MCPON Rick West if he truly finds this particular Navy tradition as objectionable and “un-American” as he claims. He should not have made this a case of “airing out dirty laundry” by writing an open letter to Navy Times taking the entire Navy to task in the process. That is the sort of thing that I would expect from a Lance Corporal, never from a senior leader like him, but I guess that I was wrong.

    The tradition of segregating the mess is not in keeping with our American values; it’s time the Navy abolishes this age-old tradition and allows all sailors and Marines, officers and enlisted, aboard the ship to dine as one. It’s time to make this tradition a thing of the past,” Sgt. Maj. Louis Espinal, command sergeant major for U.S. Southern Command, wrote in an open letter.
    http://www.navytimes.com/news/2010/0...query_042610w/

    If you follow the link you will be able to read the original article and the letter written by Sarmajor Espinal.
    Give me a fast ship and the wind at my back for I intend to sail in harms way! (John Paul Jones)

    Initiated Chief Petty Officer
    Hard core! Old School! Deal with it!

  • #2
    Originally posted by bass_man86 View Post
    This is a follow up to my previous post. My personal opinion on the issue is that what Sarmajor Espinal is did is unsat. According to the in Navy times he decided to speak up because he was told that the enlisted members of the ship wanted him to eat lunch in the mess decks, and he later found out that this was merely a ruse to keep him out of the ward room. Whereas the alleged trickery can certainly be considered in bad taste, I am perplexed with could possibly be Sarmajor Espinal’s actual motives; I frankly do not believe that his motivations are quite that egalitarian. Sarmajor Espinal has been a Marine since 1979, and by his own admission he has been onboard numerous ships. I find it hard to believe that it took 31 years of service in the Marine Corps to motivate him to say something.

    Secondly; as a senior Marine NCO that has been onboard numerous ships by his own admission, I am sure that he knew that he was perfectly welcome to dine in the Chief’s Mess. Thirdly, and most deplorable in my opinion; Sarmajor Espinal should have addressed this issue with the ship’s Command Master Chief, and he should have seriously considered having a conversation with MCPON Rick West if he truly finds this particular Navy tradition as objectionable and “un-American” as he claims. He should not have made this a case of “airing out dirty laundry” by writing an open letter to Navy Times taking the entire Navy to task in the process. That is the sort of thing that I would expect from a Lance Corporal, never from a senior leader like him, but I guess that I was wrong.



    http://www.navytimes.com/news/2010/0...query_042610w/

    If you follow the link you will be able to read the original article and the letter written by Sarmajor Espinal.
    All dining as one? Speaking as far as the R.N. is concerned, I do not think so! I am sure that from the highest rank to the lowest the majority want to relax over a meal and most find that being amongst their own whilst eating is the answer to that!! Mind you I cannot speak for the American Navy, the folks across the 'Big Pond' come up with some funny Ideas at times.
    'By Horse by Tram'.


    I was in when they needed 'em,not feeded 'em.
    " Youuu 'Orrible Lot!"

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    • #3
      Originally posted by lcm1 View Post
      All dining as one? Speaking as far as the R.N. is concerned, I do not think so! I am sure that from the highest rank to the lowest the majority want to relax over a meal and most find that being amongst their own whilst eating is the answer to that!! Mind you I cannot speak for the American Navy, the folks across the 'Big Pond' come up with some funny Ideas at times.
      Concur Shipmate, not to mention the deletorious effects on good order and discipline. Now, if he really wishes to take issue with something, I really do not think that in this day and age we should require junior enlisted to serve the officers in the ward room. They are grown up and they should bus their own dishes, and the enlisted are not on a ship to be the officers servants.
      Give me a fast ship and the wind at my back for I intend to sail in harms way! (John Paul Jones)

      Initiated Chief Petty Officer
      Hard core! Old School! Deal with it!

      Comment


      • #4
        I believe that it is never a good idea for Professors to get too close to their students and Managers to get too close to their employees. This opens up room for abuse of situations from both sides and it can make it hard to make the difficult decisions. Therefore I understand why the military has such traditions. I also imagine that there is even some separation between the Chief and the lower enlisted ranks even though they share the same mess.

        The Marine should have known better and respected the tradition. Especially being senior himself, he should have understood professionally why these traditions exist in the first place.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Miss Saigon View Post
          I believe that it is never a good idea for Professors to get too close to their students and Managers to get too close to their employees. This opens up room for abuse of situations from both sides and it can make it hard to make the difficult decisions. Therefore I understand why the military has such traditions. I also imagine that there is even some separation between the Chief and the lower enlisted ranks even though they share the same mess.

          The Marine should have known better and respected the tradition. Especially being senior himself, he should have understood professionally why these traditions exist in the first place.
          Actually Huyen, Navy CPOs have their own mess separate from the junior enlisted. The Navy has a really clear demarcation line between senior and junior enlisted. The most dramatic transition in Navy ranks is when one goes from Petty Officer to Chief Petty Officer, the level of credibility and authority jumps dramatically; in a nutshell, it has been demonstrated abaord ship that every Navy CPO can seamlessly take over his/her division officer's job. That kind of authority at the senior enlisted level typically does not exist in the other branches of the service. I spent my last two years of active duty on an Air Force base and I can say without esitation that the only thing in common between a Navy CPO and an USAF Master Sargeant is a paycheck.
          Give me a fast ship and the wind at my back for I intend to sail in harms way! (John Paul Jones)

          Initiated Chief Petty Officer
          Hard core! Old School! Deal with it!

          Comment


          • #6
            I'll add my 2cents to this discussion. After 20yrs in the Navy I obtained the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO). I severed aboard various surface ships. During the period that I was E-1 to E-6 there is no way that I wanted my "Chief" to eat in crews mess. There was the feeling that "if the Chief showed up someone had screwed up". This feeling was not deserved, but.....
            The Navy is very traditional and as far as I know it still is (I retired in 1981). However, I think they have done away with the CPO Club and O club (anyone can gain entrance); someone on active duty could verify. If so this, IMO, would be a bad move. There is nothing more that I would have hated is going to the CPO club after work for a cool beer and have a E-3 sit down next to me. I had to deal with them all day and didn't want to have to deal with them after working hours. But back to the Mess Deck issue. As a Chief I wouldn't want to partake of my meals in the Wardroom. A lot of shipboard issues are discussed during meals in the CPO mess and the last thing I wanted was a officer listening to the conversations. Most CPO's are older than most of the Division Officers aboard ship and in some cases older than the Captain. We as CPO's needed a "safe" area to relax and discuss issues pertaining to the ship. It was etiquette for anyone seeking entry into CPO Quarters that was not a CPO to knock at the door as ask if a certain Chief was available. This included the Commanding Officer. It was then up to the Chief to invite the person in or go elsewhere to discuss whatever needed discussing. (The Captain always was asked in though, it was just tradition and etiquette for him (or I guess her now) to ask permission to enter). The SgtMajor was completely off base in his comments and as a Marine should have known better. If this is an example of what the USMC is coming to, I think the "Old Breed" are turning over in their graves. Now I don't know what goes in the "bubblehead" Navy since the living conditions are considerably less.
            Too Much To Do Too Little Time

            Comment


            • #7
              It's a Navy issue, so let them handle it. This is the same Navy that continued using minorities for menial labor aboard ships at sea and in officers messes long after Truman ordered desegregation of the military.

              If this guy is a Sergeant Major, he has more clout than all of the Admirals combined, and can make their lives and careers miserable without saying a word in public. H is, after all, the most powerful enlisted man in his service.


              Now let's look at the other side of the coin - why would the officers conspire to snub him? Is he that dirty?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FTCS View Post
                I'll add my 2cents to this discussion. After 20yrs in the Navy I obtained the rank of Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO). I severed aboard various surface ships. During the period that I was E-1 to E-6 there is no way that I wanted my "Chief" to eat in crews mess. There was the feeling that "if the Chief showed up someone had screwed up". This feeling was not deserved, but.....
                The Navy is very traditional and as far as I know it still is (I retired in 1981). However, I think they have done away with the CPO Club and O club (anyone can gain entrance); someone on active duty could verify. If so this, IMO, would be a bad move. There is nothing more that I would have hated is going to the CPO club after work for a cool beer and have a E-3 sit down next to me. I had to deal with them all day and didn't want to have to deal with them after working hours. But back to the Mess Deck issue. As a Chief I wouldn't want to partake of my meals in the Wardroom. A lot of shipboard issues are discussed during meals in the CPO mess and the last thing I wanted was a officer listening to the conversations. Most CPO's are older than most of the Division Officers aboard ship and in some cases older than the Captain. We as CPO's needed a "safe" area to relax and discuss issues pertaining to the ship. It was etiquette for anyone seeking entry into CPO Quarters that was not a CPO to knock at the door as ask if a certain Chief was available. This included the Commanding Officer. It was then up to the Chief to invite the person in or go elsewhere to discuss whatever needed discussing. (The Captain always was asked in though, it was just tradition and etiquette for him (or I guess her now) to ask permission to enter). The SgtMajor was completely off base in his comments and as a Marine should have known better. If this is an example of what the USMC is coming to, I think the "Old Breed" are turning over in their graves. Now I don't know what goes in the "bubblehead" Navy since the living conditions are considerably less.
                Navy base clubs have largely disappeared from the stateside bases, although I know when I was in Japan the CPO club still did great business. The restaurant side was open to the general public, but the bar was for Chief's only; we tapped danced around the issue of opening the bar by citing mess dues. Completely that the Sarmajor was completely off base on this issue, like I said, he should have addressed that privately with MCPON West.
                Give me a fast ship and the wind at my back for I intend to sail in harms way! (John Paul Jones)

                Initiated Chief Petty Officer
                Hard core! Old School! Deal with it!

                Comment


                • #9
                  If everyone eats together where do the crew go to let off steam? Dont get me wrong Its not a bad idea as an occasional scheduled thing and might even help.

                  But permenantly? Not in my opinion. Unless thing have changed dramatically since I was in the RN, ships arent democracies. They are tyrannies. Every day there is something or some one that you want to moan or complain about, its not serious, well, its seldom serious, its just venting. But if the subject of the complaint is standing behind you its called plotting a mutiny.
                  "Sometimes its better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness" T Pratchett

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    ..when in doubt...send the Marines!

                    [QUOTE=FTCS;1478574]I think the "Old Breed" are turning over in their graves. QUOTE]

                    Not to be a nitpicker here but the term "Old Breed" refers particularly to the 1st Marine Division. I'm sure, however, that all "Leathernecks","Jarheads" and "Grunts" would be proud to be called "Old Breed".


                    ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
                    IN MARE IN COELO

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                    • #11
                      The other downside is the officers may have to take notice of a lot things that the enlisted do not want them to take notice of.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        [QUOTE=jose50;1485388]
                        Originally posted by FTCS View Post
                        I think the "Old Breed" are turning over in their graves. QUOTE]

                        Not to be a nitpicker here but the term "Old Breed" refers particularly to the 1st Marine Division. I'm sure, however, that all "Leathernecks","Jarheads" and "Grunts" would be proud to be called "Old Breed".


                        Yep misspoke there
                        You left out "sea-going bellhop" but I guess us swabbies, and anchor-clankers can sometimes get-away with our jabs at the USMC
                        Too Much To Do Too Little Time

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                        • #13
                          Yes the Taxi Drivers do get carried away sometimes with the names they call their 'working stiff' passengers.

                          It's ok though, us Teufelhunden (yes I picked the most obscure and difficult nickname) are proud to be chaffeured around by cephalopods.
                          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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                          • #14
                            eat in the Chief's mess? Not me...I'm not authorized...

                            To get back to the original thread....I believe that senior enlisted personnel have earned that measure of respect that comes with longevity in the service. They are entitled to separate eating (lounging/recreating/berthing/etc.) spaces than are the younger, less career minded, lower enlisted grades. As Mr. Natural used to say, "Twas ever thus."
                            That jarhead SarMajor absolutely should have known that for a fact. Perhaps there was some other issue that was working its poison here.


                            ARRRR! International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19th
                            IN MARE IN COELO

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