Author Sam Fellman

Doctors have one. So do karaoke singers, movie directors, librarians, pilots, journalists and disc-jockeys. Now, sailors can claim their own What-people-think-I-do meme. For the uninitiated, that’s the Navy’s top enlisted man, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/SW) Rick West, mugging in the top center photo. Scoop Deck thinks the rest of the 6-photo slide, designed by a sailor, speaks for itself — and with its own salt.

With the end of the ban on gays serving openly last year, sailors have been coming forward about their sexual identity in ways large and small to their shipmates. Now, deployed soldiers — and one sailor — at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan have filmed a message that it’s OK to be gay. “It’s hard being different when you’re young and even when you’re old,” says Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Erin Jones in the video posted Friday. “But it won’t get better until you accept yourself for who you are.” The video — uploaded to YouTube by the account intheNarmynow…

Earlier this week, the size of the fleet took center stage in the presidential campaign. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor widely regarded as the front-runner in the contest for the Republican nomination, raised the issue at Monday’s debate when he cited the fleet’s size as evidence that President Barack Obama is allowing the military to atrophy. “Our Navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917,” Romney said, going on to add: “We simply cannot continue to cut our Department of Defense budget if we are going to remain the hope of the Earth. And I will fight to make…

“ ‘Twas the night before Christmas and what no one could see / The men with dolphins were under the sea.” So begins the epic 8-minute Christmas video from the submarine force, with sailors from Kings Bay, Ga., to Yokosuka, Japan, reciting verses of “ ‘Twas the night before Christmas — Submarine Style.” In the the tale — written by former Interior Communications Technician 2nd Class (SS) Sean Keck, who left the service in the early 1980s — a navigator spots a certain reindeer-pulled sleigh through the periscope, but is laughed at by the crew. The sub dives. Then a…

Navy spouses upset with the latest round of sailor cuts are going on the offensive with a new video released Monday. The 5-minute-long video challenges the Navy’s rationale for sending home 2,947 sailors next year and urges viewers to sign a petition started a day before. The video quotes Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert, who has written that the board considered performance in making their selections, then asks: “Why are sailors with [driving under the influence citations] allowed to stay, while other sailors with clean records are being let go?” The video — uploaded by self-described Navy spouse…

The CNO’s first holiday video has a soundtrack – and backup singers. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert carols along with his wife Darleen, backed up by the 8-member a cappella group the Navy Sea Chanters in his holiday message, posted online Tuesday. “Happy holidays shipmates,” Greenert says above the cooing carolers. “We thank you and your families for your service and for your sacrifice and for those of you standing the watch tonight, remember what you do is incredibly important. You’re in our thoughts and prayers.” “Enjoy the holidays but please remember, stay safe,” Darleen adds. “Merry Christmas!” Greenert…

Stop hostile skiffs with a zap. Down enemy drones, too. These are some of the selling points of a new shipboard solid-state laser. Boeing and BAE Systems received a $2.8 million contract to test the 10-kilowatt commercial laser installed onto the 25mm gun mount, which is used aboard ship, in 2012. After decades of development, lasers have come far enough that a shipboard laser could enhance a warship’s self-defense, designers say. “If approached by a small boat with unclear intentions, a ship with Mk 38 [Tactical Laser System] could stop it with nonlethal means, such as frying the engine,” Amir…

With female officers reporting for duty this month to the submarine force, news stories have hailed these trailblazers as the first female submariners. While that may be true, they’re not without forebears, one reader told Navy Times. In the early 1980s, roughly 120 women were recruited into the nuclear Navy to join the submarine force, according to Jane Reoch, a former machinist’s mate first class who joined the Navy in 1979 as part of this effort. “Our mission was to get qualified so that we could stand engineering watches at the various ports where submarines were stationed,” Reoch said, adding…

At a Nov. 4 ceremony in Cannes, France, honoring the U.S.-French alliance, President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy reviewed troops from both nations. Amid them, standing at attention, front and center, was a formation of sailors in blue-and-gray NWUs. The fleet has often complained that the off-base restrictions on NWUs are too tight: In the U.S., you can’t wear them for personal appointments or shopping. But if it’s good enough for a formal review by the president, isn’t it OK for the mall? Asked that in a Nov. 8 interview, Greenert replied: “I have never had anybody approach…

Nothing says welcome back after a port call like the command: “Get on your faces!” That’s exactly how the crew of the destroyer Wayne E. Meyer, now on its first deployment, celebrated being back aboard the ship Nov. 14, after a three-day visit to Phuket, Thailand. Undoubtedly, push-ups with your palms straining on the fo’c’sle non-skid is a palpable reminder that you’re haze gray again. The push-up — or were they push-ups? — was to “celebrate” their successful port visit, according to the caption on this Navy newsstand photo, a moment captured by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Keim.…

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