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CO Relieved of Command – A Balanced Perspective

{I chose not to read any comments since Thursday morning regarding this subject, instead leaving one comment last night, and focusing on writing this out for myself primarily, to process my own feelings and attitudes. No intention is made to be judgmental or corrective of anyone else.} 

I have realized within the last 24 hours that over the course of the last few days, I have forgotten to adhere to one of my principles that I use to judge/ approach information which I receive, whether from my children, friends, or media, that is: There are always two sides to the story, with a third side being that of the omniscient God whom I believe in and do my best to follow and serve daily. Let me begin.

Tuesday night, I read the ABC News article from my MSN feed – Captain of aircraft carrier struck by coronavirus wants sailors off ship - – Well not only did “MamaBear” rise up within me, but also that little part of my humanitarian, global, gifted thinking, I have had since I was a child. The insight which says, surely there is a way to fix this “hurt” in the world. If there is a solution to the problem, then why isn’t it being put into practice. DUH, I am blond, but sometimes I think people in charge are even blonder!! Believe me, this insight often gets the better of me instead of benefitting others. Reading the above article brought on that exact response. The captain said, “We are not a cruise ship.” He was, in my understanding, referring to the fact that they did not have cabins with individual heads/bathrooms, to help contain the virus and not transmit it from one sailor to the next. So, that was the problem on the ship, along with not enough housing on shore for 14 days of quarantine. Well duh, let’s get those cruise ships which are standing idle because no one wants to board them right now, called into action to come to their aid. After all, didn’t they say they were willing to do just that? I know it might take them time to get to Guam but why weren’t they already dispatched? After all the POTUS had sent the USNS Comfort and USNS Mercy to the aid of the rest of the country, what about our sailors? So, immediately after reading this article out loud to my husband, I told him I was going to write an email to one of our US Senators, something he does often on various issues. My husband, while he agreed with me regarding the need to get aid to the sailors in a timely fashion also understands chain of command protocol much better than I do. He stated then that the CO was likely to get in trouble for his statements. Still, he did not dissuade me from emailing Sen. Lankford with my "MamaBear" instinct and empathy for my Navy Mom friends whose sons are assigned to the USS Roosevelt. He recognizes I sometimes have to learn the hard way – my emotions were high.

By the time I sent the email it was Wednesday morning, April 1st. Sleep occurred, I was content with my actions earlier that morning, but ripples were starting. I started reading more comments on N4M and requests to reach out more. I called Sen. Lankford’s office, talking to his secretary, she told me that people had been contacting his office. I also found out my other senator was the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee!! "MamaBear" strike two!!! Another message left, I was feeling good, my “cubs” – our sailors were going to get rescued; I was making a difference. That could be my sailor on board, and not just any sailor, but one of the 10% that would get left behind to maintain ship readiness. I had done my part and I could leave for the grocery store – deal with day to day here on the Homefront.

I did not recognize how much my own emotions were being affected by the current situation with COVID-19 in our area. Emotional empathy for my N4M friends with sailors on the USS Roosevelt was at an all-time high. By Thursday morning, comments were being posted that the CO might be relieved of command. All I could think of was, relationships are always more important than politics or status quo. Some comments were even making me mad. Due to the circumstances of the day, I was not back on N4M until later in the evening. My husband returned home from “Essential” work, and asked me, “Did you see on Navy Moms that they have relieved the captain of the Roosevelt?” No, I had not! I think I was stunned more than anything and just allowed my husband to share his few thoughts. After dinner, I was going to watch a movie and read all the N4M posts that had come in, that proved to be impractical. Earlier in the afternoon, I had spent an hour, listening to Sen. Lankford’s, Town Hall Telephone Meeting. I wanted to call and ask about the USS Roosevelt but there were so many varied and important questions re: COVID-19, that I refrained and my perspective on the situation was broadened.

Finally, after the movie, I logged back in to N4M, choosing first to open the link to the SECNAV’s statement that B'sNukeMoM⚓️MMN had posted and began to read aloud to my husband. ; I am glad that I did. I had read the ABC article, stating the captain’s plea, I should read “the other side of the story.” I highly recommend you read it for yourself, if you have not already done so. My continued comments are my impression, understanding and perception that I took away from his statements, for my own benefit.

As I read Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly statement detailing what led up to relieving Captain Crozier from command, a new perspective emerged. Oftentimes, during my mentality of – “see a problem, let’s fix it because someone is hurting or a task needs done”, I do not recognize the larger picture. I tend to be as my children, sheltered and naïve, limited by my own lack of wisdom and years of experience in areas broader than my own surroundings. In day to day situations, my above noted philosophy is usually what prevails. And there is not necessarily anything wrong with it. Tasks get completed, relationships are developed and maintained. While I am aware of chain-of-command, my daily life is not generally dictated by it. But I am not just a mother, I am an “active duty” Navy Mom. I have a role, a part to play in this Navy family. Power struggles and inappropriate authority are something I shun, but that is not what I read between the lines in the SECNAV’S statement. I was reading truth. Truth to the best of his knowledge of what the circumstances and handling of the situation was from his perspective. Going forward it will be his responsibility to uphold this truth, and the statements he has made to both other CO’s, the families of the USS Roosevelt sailors, and I took it to mean the rest of us in the Navy Family as well.

This was the beginning of my epiphany, becoming something that I began to mull over before I went to bed, and waking up well before the alarm, taking the entire day to convey as best as possible for others to grasp. What is my responsibility as an “active duty” Navy Mom in all of this? I know we comment about OPSEC (I was sensing warning signs), I think I adhere to it, but is it my attitude? Is a chain of command mentality something that 1) I understand, 2) am I willing to submit and adhere to it? Do I grasp the larger picture that my roll as a Navy Mom plays not only in my daily life, but the influence that I have on my sailor, then in my community and nation?

Before I continue, I want to make it clear that this blog, is about me. It is about my response to what I am reading, not only on N4M but elsewhere, and what am I conveying to my sailor. The term “MamaBear” is something that I started with my children when they were little, and we were dealing other issues. My comments above, and below, are not intended to be directly addressed to any one person and particularly they are not in reference to any one with said nickname on this site. But it is important for me to share what was part of my realization last night, both in my own attitudes and perspective and what statements were made by the SECNAV.

I realized that bears, Momma Bears care for their cubs, but their desire and reason to do so is driven by instinct not sound judgement. To some extent, I would even say, emotion plays a large part in my own instinctual desire to help my children and to help others. My love and care for my family and their needs can not be based tossed and turned by every wave, wind of doctrine that comes my way – or in this case, emotion. Instead I am reminded in 2 Tim 1:7 “that God has not given me a spirit of fear; but of power, love and of a sound mind.” For me personally, I started looking at times in my life when I was more willing to allow the “MamaBear” to rise within me than I was willing to allow the sound mind of God to have precedence? I believe a sound mind, also means seeking after wisdom both from God directly and with wise counsel that I surround myself with. As I read the SECNAV’s statement, I could not dismiss the understanding I was gaining that wise counsel, compassion and a more omniscient understanding of national and global proportion than I have, all went into the decision to dismiss the CO. My “MamaBear” instinct (emotion) tends to cloud my judgement. I want to take care of my own first and then deal with others. In either case, hopefully I deal with all in love and relationally versus authoritarian, but I do have flaws. While “MamaBear” and her cubs are part of a larger bear population, she does not have the same influence in the next valley over the hill as she does in her own valley. My perspective is often limited, I don’t realize that I am not just part of my den of cubs, but a larger family, in this case -Navy Family.

A sound mind, sound judgement is not just for those in charge, it is for me, my husband, my sailor!! Even though my son is miles away from me, my words, my attitude, my prayers and encouragement can have a profound effect on him. I am still capable of influencing him. Do I want my influence to be that of emotion or sound judgement? There is a bigger picture here, that honestly, until I read the statement from the SECNAV, I don’t think I had fully grasped the role I play as an “active duty” Navy Mom with regards to our own national security. Granted, I am making my own inferences, but they have sobered me and humbled me. The first thing I did on my computer this morning was to send an email to my sailor, both with the website link to the SECNAV’s statement and a PDF file which he could easily open and read. I also sent the link to the ABC article, so he had context for the SECNAV’s statement. Why did I do this? Because I wanted him to know firsthand what those in command over his CO were saying. I also believe the words directed to the sailors and families of the USS Roosevelt are just as relevant to himself and our family. I want my sailor mindful that no matter how tired, how worn down from the circumstances, how intense and overwhelming the situation, he – not just his CO or other superiors, must rely on God’s wisdom, the wisdom of others around him. He must remind himself that although he is compassionate, caring, loving, and a friend that will stick closer than a brother – he must act with sound judgement and not be ruled by emotion/ instinct only. As his mother, it is my responsibility to lift him up in prayer, to continually encourage him, because he potentially could be the one holding the balance of all things in his hand, if it came to that point. And I would want to know that he chose wisely with sound judgement and not because of instinct. I do not want my words, my emotions, to cloud my judgement in all things either. I may not know everything that goes on with the plans of his ship or the maneuvers of the Navy – There are secret things, both in heaven and on earth that belong to the omniscient in each case to know and act in truth upon. My part is to trust, draw upon my training, stay sensitive to the Holy Spirit who I trust to be my guide, comforter and counselor, and hopefully is for those over me, over my sailor. My perspective has to be willing to change, to turn as a kaleidoscope and see the multi-faceted images that are created only when the chamber is turned, and many become as one.

I still believe that relationship is above the status quo and politics, I would rather have my sailor serve under a captain that would lay down his life for his crew – but I know, even though I fight against it in other situations, that there is a protocol and a chain of command. And as long as my son is a sailor, and I am an “active duty” Navy Mom – I must understand this and pray for those over my sailor that they as well are not influenced by their “instinct” but with sound judgement, wisdom from above, and clarity in any circumstance or situation. – Chipmunk

Views: 175

Comment by Chipmunk on April 3, 2020 at 5:33pm

Earlier today, my husband shared with me the YouTube link to the broadcast -

My intention had been to post my thoughts here, and provide an avenue for people to comment aside from the main group comments, but as this took me all day to write, that sort of missed its mark. Nevertheless, it was important for me to write this out and I could not do in the framework of the normal comments and I figured the blog format was more conducive to my intent with writing this than the discussion forum. Also it is readily available, at least currently for anyone to view and to comment on.

Comment by FireTeamLeaderWife aka FTLW on April 3, 2020 at 6:01pm

Chipmunk - Glad you posted your thoughts. Doing the same right now as I read up on this situation more.

Thank you for adding the You Tube link...don't have to search for it now.

I will post my thoughts as soon as I get them down!

Comment by Chipmunk on April 3, 2020 at 9:04pm

FTLW - Thank you!! I look forward to reading your thoughts as well.

I had intended to mention that for good or bad, I am still glad I contacted my US Senators. Even if I wasn't fully cognizant of the entire situation, and my reasoning for reaching out to them was from a much more emotional reasoning, my comments added to the overall picture of what concerns were arising in the Navy family. And I believe it is important for them to be aware of what their constituents are thinking, one of the reasons this senator goes out of his way to open up two way communication.

Comment by Phoenixmom on April 4, 2020 at 5:08pm

Thank You Chipmunk for sharing your Thoughts and for all that you did. I Myself reached out to my Senator to find out "Why' What was really happening. As you said sometimes we tend to jump to the "Mamabear" status before we actually take into consideration everything and the facts. Thank You for writing this. Much Love to you!

Comment by Chipmunk on April 4, 2020 at 7:08pm

Phoenixmom - Thanks for reading my blog! I truly hope that you are able to get some answers, but even more than that, I hope that the process that was being put into place to get your son home is able to move forward. Hugs and Much Love in return!!

Comment by Phoenixmom on April 4, 2020 at 8:14pm

We are definitely trying, as dad keeps asking for him, but he knows Bud has his duty as well. Thank You my Friend!

Comment by partyofseven on April 5, 2020 at 1:53am

Chipmunk- Thank you for sharing your thoughts. That was a good idea to contact your Senator. 

At times our Mamma Bear does come out and we respond more with emotion than we should. But after thinking things thru we give our selves time to think about what is happening. I enjoyed reading what you wrote. 

Comment by Chipmunk on April 5, 2020 at 8:19am

Partyofseven - Thank you!

Comment by belovedbyHim on April 6, 2020 at 12:16am

Thank you Chipmunk.
Please add my friend's Son-In-Law to the list of prayers.  He is also on the TR and is currently in a hotel room with a high fever, no appetite, coughing so bad he cannot speak to his wife when she face-times with him, Currently they are only checking on him twice a day.  Pray that he is getting the care necessary to help him recover quickly! (They want the Zpak/ Hydrocloroquine that seems to help but that evidence is not proven.)
Still praying that Bud gets home soon and healthy!!

Comment by Chipmunk on April 6, 2020 at 12:57am

belovedbyHim, I will definitely be praying for your friend's SIL!


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