The title in context: Most of the Naval personnel in the 1960s were men who referred to that branch of service as “a man’s Navy”.
Back in 1967, the Vietnam War was well underway. My brief stint of a few months at Wharton County Junior College was a big disappointment. My Palacios High School counselor advised this college to pursue my electrical engineering objective. My funds insufficient to go elsewhere, I returned to the offshore ‘oil patch’.
Military service was inevitable. Should I settle for a two-year term as a draftee in the Army or join the Navy or the Air Force? I chose the Navy. The choice was logical. I was born and raised four blocks from the Gulf of Mexico and daddy served in the Navy in the first World War. The Air Force was unappealing. I knew nothing about airplanes. My elder half-brother served in the Army in WW2 but he and I had no personal connection. Doyle, one of my two stepbrothers, regaled me with his Navy Seabee experiences in the South Pacific theater of WW2. The Navy was a natural choice and, to this day, I am thankful for that experience.
My Navy education and my service record resulted in an invitation by the Norden Company to come aboard as an engineer. The company assigned me to various posts in support of the Southeast Asia war effort: as a tech writer in the home office, field engineer to two USAF bases, one Marine Corps air station, and an aircraft carrier in the Tonkin Gulf.
My last assignment was to Altus AFB in support of the C5-A program. At that time, the USAF elected to place women on an equal footing with men. This was about 1973.
The Air Force technicians whom I supported were good guys. All were smart, well behaved, almost all married with children. Did I mention they were all 100% male?
Susan (not her real name) was the first female technician added to the squadron. After her preliminary technical schooling, she came to the 443rd AMS squadron. Ahead of Susan’s appearance, the squadron commander who had become a good friend gave me a ‘heads up’, promising this move will be good thing. “You’ll see”, he assured me.
Initially, Susan demonstrated her willingness to work. She behaved like a lady, too. During hours when the aircraft were airborne, the men would gather to talk about ‘guy stuff’. Their ‘guy stuff’ featured occasional sexual references, some profanity. You know — guy stuff.
When Susan approached the men during their idle ‘guy stuff’ discussions, the men would immediately assume the roles of gentlemen. I thought to myself, “I was wrong. This is going to work out okay.”
But, Susan felt like an outsider. She longed to be included in the fellowship of the ring of men. So it was, she began to offer her own jokes, salted with some profanity, and acting like one of the guys.
The squadron commander came to me for reassurance the ‘inclusion’ was working. “Yes, Pete, she is just like one of the guys.”
48 years later, The Daily Wire reports: ‘Diversity Is One Of Our Greatest Strengths’: Navy Under Review For Proper ‘Equity,’ ‘Inclusion’. The Federalist published a companion article with a somewhat different point of view titled U.S. Navy Announces It Will Implement Racist Critical Race Theory Throughout Fleet.
As reported by The Federalist, “Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker signed the memo, which calls for reviews that ensure the branch aligns with its determined goal of imposing affirmative action.”
Imposing? This is an interesting verb choice. Words have meaning and the verb ‘impose’ means to apply by authority; force the acceptance of; to thrust (oneself) impolitely upon others; to lay on or set as something to be borne, endured, obeyed, fulfilled, paid, etc.
By the way, the Navy successfully applied affirmative action to all aspects of Navy life in compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Black sailors were afforded the same opportunities as white sailors to be all they could be.
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Harker’s ominous threat to impose affirmative action should trouble all Americans. Think of this post as an invitation to pray for all the men and women, including Navy Chaplains, under the fascist heel of the Chief Diversity Officer.