30 October 2007

Segregation in 2007

In the US Navy there are basically two kinds of personnel. We gauge these personnel by the uniform they wear. E-6 and below are historically referred to as “Blue Shirts” and E-7 to O-10 are referred to as “Khakis.” That segregation is reasonable. An E-7 or above (Chief Petty Officer) has earned the right to wear a different uniform. They have been selected to their positions, and as such deserve privileges associated. Officers (O-1 to O-10) have also earned their uniforms. Chiefs an Officers have their own Eating Space on a ship. The Chiefs have the Chief’s Mess, and the Officers, the Wardroom. They eat together, and relax together in these said places.

Blue Shirts (E-1 to E-6) share the Enlisted Mess Decks. My ship currently has a 21 Table configuration (which can comfortably seat about 84 personnel at any given time.) Once upon a time, we sat wherever there was room and enjoyed our meal, or in our off time, could use a television to play video games or watch a movie. There were no seating restrictions in place, and all was fine. As of this morning, the President of the First Class Petty Officer Association took 3 of the 21 tables specifically for E-6’s only. Mind you, at any given time, the Mess Decks are supposed to accommodate 340 Sailors (with the 84 seats available.)

Whenever Seaman Schmucketellie would try and sit down at said tables he would be turned away, even though there were only 2 E-6’s sitting down at the time. Dubbed “The First Class Mess” these tables are now exclusively for the 30 or so E-6’s that we have onboard our ship. The sad thing is that besides pay and maybe time in service (and that is a STRONG Maybe as there are some E-5’s who are in ratings that advancement is difficult and have more time in service than the E-6’s) there truly is no difference between E-1 through E-6. But the Jerk-off President of the FCPOA has decided that since he is currently incapable of making Chief, that he and his fellow E-6’s are entitled to their own Special Seating Area. It also happens to be the largest table on the Mess Decks and can fit 10 -12 personnel if seated correctly.)

The segregation created by the FCPOA is already causing animosity amongst the ranks on an already Morale Compromised Crew. The FCPOA has effectively cause a rift between those who once would work with them, and made it clear that they are superior, and now E-5 and below work FOR them. It’s condescending and just plain stupid. On a large ship, First Class Messes exist; and on larger ships there is room for such said Segregations. On a ship with about 370 Sailors, such segregation is harmful to the overall productivity of the crew. It’s bad enough that the majority of the crew are treated as children, but now they have to be reminded by people that should set examples and be leaders, that they are in fact measly peons, and not worthy to sit down and eat with their supervisors.

A good example is the San Diego Crew that once inhabited my ship. Before the hull swap, I got to see first hand the camaraderie (or rather, extreme lack of camaraderie) that they had. These A-holes had a First Class Mess, and also head of the line privileges for E-6’s in the Mess Line. As such, the E-5 and below had no respect for their E-6’s and even if and when those E-6’s made Chief, they would still not have the respect of their subordinates. I watched an E-6 an E-4 fight over a locker in the berthing during the berthing swaps. I mean, these two were physically fighting over a locker, punching, kicking, and verbal assaults on one another. Prior to this whole First Class Mess Crap, you would never see anything like that amongst my crew. Now that such segregation exists, I am standing by to see just how bad things amongst the ranks are going to get. I saw it just with the one meal that the First Class Mess was open, with snide remarks from the E-3 and below that were the direct result of hurt feelings and other such negative connotations. I hope that someone will put a stop to this senseless way of segregating and discriminating; because when you stop and look at it, that is all this is. A “legalized” form of discrimination.

1 comment:

Sean from DocintheBox said...

I wish cool things came with our FCPOA, we just get stuck taking over all of the fund raising and getting everyone else involved. Sort of a cheer squad? Being green side is totally different then being blue side on the ship though. No plans for us to go down the path of segregation (I won't let it) and plus we're scattered all over California and Arizona.