As many in the fleet found out last week, the Navy is serious about penny-pinching.
The Navy’s No. 2 officer ordered all commanding officers and senior enlisted to stop using appropriated money to purchase command coins, those treasured tokens that are practically synonymous with command. It also bars them from buying plaques, ball caps and other souvenirs given to sailors and civilians alike.
To be sure, skippers can still use official representation funds, earmarked for banquets, or pay out of their own pocket.
Not surprisingly, the Navy’s cutbacks have made command coin dealers gloomy about sales through the rest of the year. One large, private mint based in Seattle has already seen a drop-off in orders and estimates that the cutback could dampen sales by up to 10 percent this year.
“I look at the overall budgets and I say, ‘It’s not saving much of anything. It’s more of a psychological thing,’” said Ross Hansen, the chief executive of Northwest Territorial Mint, which sells ceremonial coins, knives and pins to service members around the world. “It’s unfortunate that sailors and soldiers and Marines have to pay for this stuff out of their pockets,” Hansen said, “because they’re going to get them anyway.”
What do you think of the Navy’s move and how will affect you?