…mark the decline of the US Navy.
This has been a week of marrow and fatness and lard is thick before me.
Alright, the Spartans were a warrior people. Their youth were segregated early on and trained to battle. Young boys were taken from their families and trained by trials deep to fight and win. There city state believed that soldiers must be hardened by mentors so that they might not break in the face of the enemy.
For much of our existence the US Navy wanted ships of steel and men of similar metal to man them. We wanted to follow the Spartans in this one area at least. The result was a Navy that could withstand the attack of Pearl Harbor and then crush the Japanese in naval battle after naval battle. Much of this had to do with training that was tough and living conditions onboard ship that were often as dangerous as the sea itself.
Today risk in training is to be avoided at all costs. The once brutal Chief’s initiation has been pared down to a few weeks and a lecture or two. The Shellback crossing-the-line ceremony requires no blood and bruises are kept to a minimum. For the “old Salts” out there these are pictures of decline and I don’t think I can disagree…
I received this via Facebook today:
From the article:
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – As they have for 70 years, students at the U.S. Naval Academy celebrated the end of their grueling first year by scaling a 21-foot obelisk on Monday. But this time, without a lard coating on the monument, students completed the task in minutes.
For years, the Herndon Monument was slathered in the grease to make the event as challenging as possible. It often took hours for a group of first-year students, or “plebes,” to hoist a peer on their shoulders to place an officer’s hat atop the obelisk.
The money quote:
This year, the event drew more attention after Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, the academy’s superintendent, cited “unnecessary injury risk” as a reason the school could end the yearly ritual. He declined to offer a timetable for a decision that will likely rest with his successor.
“I just think at some point it will become not very interesting and it will just cease to be a climb,” Fowler told reporters earlier this month, adding that there have been minor injuries in the past.
Warriors that don’t take risks in training, risks with their bodies and even their lives, die in battle in greater numbers. We have lost our desire to raise warriors capable of battle. This bit of silliness will come back to haunt us in years to come.
This is not to say that today’s Military has abandoned all things Sparta. No sir. We are embracing Sparta’s sodomy with open arms.