I just discovered on the Facebook that it's the birthday of the United States Navy. Well congratulations! That's a great outfit.
I joined the Navy myself, during an actual war I might add, although I cannot claim to have made any success of my involvement. I did get an Honorable Discharge at the end of my service, of which I am justifiably proud.
The Navy, people don't really understand what the Navy does. Isn't it all so romantic and relatively easy? Not always.
Did you know that twice as many sailors died at Guadalcanal than did Marines and Army soldiers combined? There were four or five naval battles in the surrounding waters while the battle was going on, and push came to fucking shove too. Many ships were blown up and sunk, many of our ships, and many ships of the Imperial Japanese Navy too. That was a good outfit. It was kind of a scandal that the Japanese did so well, but the reason was that they were very good. The U.S. Navy did better as time wore on, and came out ahead at the end, but in the meantime something like 4,500 bluejackets got killed, just in those naval battles off Guadalcanal, and a lot of good ships went down.
Here's a great story: on D-Day in Normandy, a sailor off a destroyed landing craft, carrying an M-1, approaches an army general and asks him how to work the thing. The general shows him how. The sailor walks off to join an impromptu fighting group. "You know," he says, "I joined the Navy so I wouldn't have to do this sort of thing."
I joined the Navy for just that reason myself. But . . . et in Arcadia, ego.