Thursday, June 02, 2016

US Naval Academy Graduation Part II

After Mabus finished telling the USNA grads what a swell guy he is, SecDef Ash Carter spoke in a monotone for 45 minutes.  The thesis of what was at one time thought to be a never ending speech can be summed up in two words – China bad.  Who knew that Dope Carter had so much in common with the presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump?  There was little in Carter’s speech – at least the part that I was awake for - to disagree with.  China is bad.

Carter did announce USNA star quarterback Keenan Reynolds can defer his service to play in the NFL.  Reynolds was drafted in the 6th round of the NFL draft by the Baltimore Ravens.  I do not know what “defer” means in this case.  After a 15 year career in the NFL Reynolds reports for duty with the navy as a 37 year old ensign worth 10s of millions of dollars with two banged up knees, a bad shoulder and a requirement for concussion protocol every time he’s exposed to a gust of wind?  He fulfills his commitment via reserve service during the off-season?  He gets a cushy post at some navy billet in Baltimore, MD?  He technically has a commitment to the US Navy.  Can a commitment be deferred?

By contrast, there was another pretty good quarterback who attended the USNA – Roger Staubach.  Staubach won the Heisman Trophy his junior year at the academy.  He was drafted in the 10th round by the Dallas Cowboys.  Upon graduation, Staubach entered the fleet with his shipmates of the USNA graduating class of 1964.  Staubach was offered a stateside billet, but he refused the job instead volunteering to serve overseas in Vietnam.   After fulfilling his commitment – there’s that pesky word again - to the US Navy, Staubach joined the Dallas Cowboys for the 1969 season.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The Navy sums their core values up in three words: Honor – Courage – Commitment.  Commitment?  I guess there’s a reason the Navy puts that core value last in the set.  If you get drafted by the NFL, well then commitment coshmitment.  You take the money and chance for fame. 

But hey an old sailor once told me as we watched the starboard duty section head off for liberty: “The first rule of Naval Service is – Never cuss another sailor’s good deal”.  So, good luck in the NFL Keenan. 

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