Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Letter From the Fleet (by Luke Meineke)

Somewhere high over San Diego.  Photo by MC3 Marty Carey.

One of the coolest things about my Navy journey so far has been the people I've met.  Most don't apply to our military...even less excel once they're in.  An even smaller percentage wow me.  /grin  I came up through 'A' school with Luke Meineke.  He was an instant leader, a gifted writer and orator, a talented photographer, and motivated Sailor.   

If you've read my previous blog posts, you have an idea of the hit a new Sailor takes when he/she reports to a ship for the first time.  Ship life is tough.  It takes a lot of getting used to.  It saps your energy.  It takes strong character to rise above and continue the hard-charging attitude instilled in us at Fort Meade.

MC3 Meineke has written me a Letter From the Fleet from USS Carl Vinson
.  It's one of many, from all over the fleet, that I hope to present to my readers.  Read his letter, modified slightly for language, and see the effect of strong self-motivation.  Keep em coming buddy!

We are well underway.  Overall, it’s been pretty good, to be honest.  There are frustrating things, of course, but it’s been pretty damn good.  We had our frocking ceremony, and, like all ceremonies, it was way too long and the speakers were way too long-winded.  It’s cool to wear something on my uniform for a change, though.
Our media department is kicking ass, especially in the photo department.  We have some really good shooters on board, and they have been producing a ton of good stuff.  There’s a couple of guys that have me totally eclipsed.  I’m a pretty good photographer with a respectable eye, but some of their shots are humbling. 
I’m working nights and have since going underway.  I actually like it, but, again, it has positives and negatives.  I heard from someone that only 5% of the ship operates the night shift, but it still seems like a lot of people.  It is definitely quieter at night, and that suits me perfectly.  I was assigned to video from the get, and shot a couple of things.  I did a story on a fitness class where I reported the story while participating in the class.  That was fun, and pretty embarrassing.  

I’ve shot supplementary stuff, as well.  Lots of b-roll.  I covered an unrep (underway replenishment), a burial at sea, caroling on the foc’sul, the barbershop, a Hanukkah ceremony and all the Facebook shoutouts we do.  That’s me ultimately, ‘Facebook Guy.’  It really fits when you consider how I live for Facebook. 

Ram's Head Tavern in Savage, Md. ('A' school days)  Photo by the waiter.

Mainly, however, I worked my way into SITE TV … well, kind of.  Being the junior guy on video, I was tasked with writing up the weekly movie schedules.  I’m an organized guy, so I noticed that our SITE had room for improvement. So, I set about fixing it, and everyone, supervisors included, were only too happy to see the motivation.  I ended up writing a proposal for my lpo and my night supervisor laying out all the problems with SITE and how I think we should go about fixing them (read: how I was going to fix them). 

My lpo said, "cool, do it."    So, I did.  

I set about writing all the policy and procedure for our SITE TV station and just recently submitted my report and SOPs for SITE.  What I have written is now the “mother-FN standard,” (my lcpo’s words)   There’s a lesson there about documenting everything you do, using the chain of command, and seeing that the word gets passed along.  I kept plugging away, submitting and re-submitting my work, and it paid off, I believe in a big way.  I received a personal call from my lcpo about my work.  “Perfect to the letter” were his words.
The biggest frustration with working nights is it is hard to get qualifications.  A lot of what you do has to be self-motivated and it’s all self-paced.  For my 3M qual, I had to study solely on my own – I had virtually no instruction from my work center supervisor.  I knocked that test out of the park and ever since, I’ve been making noise about getting enrolled in the basic damage control class.  I have to switch to days for a week to accomplish that, and I haven’t heard anything in about a month.  F- me. 
I’ve heard rumors I’ll be moved to days shortly so that I can get my qualifications, but we’ll see. 
One thing I can say about the whole thing so far:  

No matter your imaginings, expectations or wishes, if you keep an open mind, a positive attitude and work hard and competently no matter your task, you’ll make the right impression and see the benefits in the end.  

I also recommend finding the gym with the punching bag for those absolutely sh-tty days. 
They haven’t issued me a camera, but I’ll try and hit up a co-worker to try and get you some pics.   I’ll try and call whenever I get to port.  Boy do I miss land.


Fight on MC3, and know that your day-to-day IS the good stuff...

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