The Laws of the Navy

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by USNA69, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    This is a poem out of Reef Points, originally written in the early 20th century by a RN Captain, which all plebes are required to memorize. It is a basic set of rules still applicable today to which midshipmen are held accountable. A recent comment on "the other forum" caused me to think of it.


    http://www.bluejacket.com/sea-service_poetry_laws_navy.html
     
  2. Zaphod

    Zaphod Founding Member

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    Yeesh. I hated those damned things. :mad:
     
  3. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    I don't know. I kept this posted on my bulkhead for 24 years:

    And when underway, I always projected it to food and sleep.

    Eat, sleep, fly; eat, sleep, fly.................................
     
  4. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    USNA69, I totally disagree with this statement. While the "Law of the Navy" might be a great guidance for all-hands, it is rarely enforced at the Naval Academy. One thing I have noticed is that a handful of MIDN become selfish...only worry about themselves....so there goes the "link in the chain". Everyone complains all the time....everyone questions policies ("laws")....especially 0013. I can't even count in my head how many times MIDN don't follow the "Laws of the Navy." So while these laws might be good morals to have, I'd say they aren't enforced as much as you think.

    Also, I didn't have to memorize all of them, just certain ones. This varies by company.

    If the following is the case: "Every law is as naught beside this one-
    'Thou shalt not criticise, but obey!'
    Saith the wise, 'How may I know their purpose?'
    Then acts without wherefore or why."

    I only just skimmed them, BUT....if there is nothing else in these laws....then if a senior gives an illegal order, there shouldn't be questioning of it? That would also justify that the subordinate should not be held accountable. Not the case in today's times.

    I heard from a JO...that a JO's job is to "think outside the box." That doesn't mean disobeying an order...it means that if something doesn't make sense or seems out of line...you might want to get clarification...sometimes CO's or XO's don't see things and if you follow their orders and something does go wrong....the CO and the person probably will be held accountable.
     
  5. USNA69

    USNA69 Banned

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    Don't overrate illegial orders. Most officers will never see one.

    I would state that a JO thinking "outside the box" in most fast paced operational tempos would be quickly summoned to the CO's stateroom. The daily DH meeting or weekly training meeting, perhaps, but during an unrep or during flight ops, the JOs job is , safety issues aside, to follow established procedures and obey orders. Perhaps, the next day during the hot washup, a criticism might be appropriate, but not during the operation itself. During shipboard flight ops, often all the senior officers might be out flying and the young LTjg SDO might find himself in charge, standing in front of the ship's CO. My policy was to tell the SDO to develop a plan with which he was comfortable and go with it, every one else was to follow along. I firmly believe that there is one absolutely perfect response, one entirely wrong, and 98 in between which have varying degrees of correctness, some moreso than others but all doable. Pick a plan and go with it. Critique it the next day. In this situation, "thinking outside the box" is synonomous with "second guessing". Nothing will bring an exercise to an embarassing standstill quicker.

    There is an old adage, "Order, counter order, disorder" by which the Marines live. We could all probably do well to also learn from it.

    Mids I have talked to over the past few years have all stated that the memorization of the Laws is still required. Maybe some have not grasped the correlation between commiting them to memory and living by them, as you have outlined in your first paragraph.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2007
  6. usnabgo08

    usnabgo08 USNA 2008/BGO

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    Agreed. Second guessing during real-time business is not appropriate (unless the order is unlawful)...I was referring to what you call the "daily meetings." Unfortunately, the only time MIDN really get the chance to be in an operational setting would be during summer programs (i.e. Leatherneck, Plebe Detail, etc.).

    Definitely a lot of MIDN are required to memorize BUT there are a handful that don't live by it, as you mentioned.
     

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