Now Darken Ship
Do you remember being on ship during these times? Darken ship was called just before Flight Quarters, and during General Quarters, after sundown.
How many times did you knock your shins on hatchways during these times?
I remember being up on the Bridge during my phone talker watch behind the captain's chair. I can still smell the bridge.. those memories don't leave you. There is a certain smell to the Bridge.. sort of like being in a locker room full of beefed up athletes... the same odors that one encounters when they walk into a video arcade full of testosterone impregnated air from the excited kids playing war games. Yes, the Bridge was full of those pheromones as well, for it was a very exciting place, for all those there, who were on the edge, and operating on the 'Cutting Edge' of their abilities. It's the only time in my Navy career that I really felt a part of the Real Navy experience. Had nothing to do with being in the Captain's office, typing correspondence, or Officer Fitness Reports. It had to do with being in the middle of the real action, up on the bridge.
"Why darken ship?" asks someone who never experienced life at sea on a warship? Well, during flight operations and General Quarters, we were set to full wartime readiness. You don't want to be bobbing around on the open sea, with all your lights showing for the enemy to home in on. That was 47 years ago. Today, the Navy has to deal with high tech detection, and split second decision making.
I have a huge amount of respect for those who go to sea in ships today. While it is true, many war-time decisions can be made at the Pentagon; and the buttons can also be pressed at NORAD stations, it's those at sea, who must bear the consequences of delay. Although this is true in all era's of the Navy, it is even more true today. So we have to be highly trained, with men who are above average in intelligence and courage. You just can't get into the Navy and wish to be in such positions, these days if you are fit alone.. you must have the intelligence and the tenacity to act immediately, and follow orders explicitly without pause or question.
The Navy has always sought a higher caliber of individual to enlist.. but the requirements are so much greater today. Choose a Navy career, if you are of the "Right Stuff"!