The United States Navy is a branch of military service with a long history filled with rich traditions. These traditions, more powerful than laws and regulations, dictate how the Navy operates and interacts with the world at large. It is called the Navy Way.
As you can see, it covers a wide variety of situations:
A US Navy cruiser anchors off Mississippi for a week’s shore leave. The first evening, the ship’s Captain received the following note from the wife of a wealthy member of local society:
“Dear Captain, Thursday will be my daughter Melinda’s Debutante Ball. I would like you to send four well-mannered, handsome, unmarried officers in their formal dress uniforms to attend the dance. They should arrive promptly at 8:00 PM prepared for an evening of polite Southern conversation. They should be excellent dancers, as they will be the escorts of lovely refined young ladies.
One last point: No Jews please.”
Sending a written message by his own yeoman, the captain replied: Madam, thank you for your invitation. In order to present the widest possible knowledge base for polite conversation, I am sending four of my best and most prized officers.
One is a lieutenant commander, and a graduate of Annapolis with an additional Masters degree from MIT in fluid technologies and ship design.
The second is a Lieutenant, one of our helicopter pilots, and a graduate of Northwestern University in Chicago, with a BS in Aeronautical Engineering. His Masters Degree and PhD are in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering from Texas Tech University and he is also an astronaut candidate.
The third officer is also a lieutenant, with degrees in both computer systems and information technology from SMU and he is awaiting notification on his Doctoral Dissertation from Cal Tech.
Finally, the fourth officer, also a lieutenant commander, is our ship’s doctor, with an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia and his medical degree is from the University of North Carolina. We are very proud of him, as he is also a senior fellow in Trauma Surgery at Bethesda.
Upon receiving this letter, Melinda’s mother was quite excited and looked forward to Thursday with pleasure. Her daughter would be escorted by four handsome naval officers without peer (and the other women in her social circle would be insanely jealous).
At precisely 8:00 PM on Thursday, Melinda’s mother heard a polite rap at the door which she opened to find, in full dress uniform, four handsome, smiling Black officers. Her mouth fell open, but pulling herself together, she stammered, “There must be some mistake.”
“No, Madam,” said the first officer. “Captain Goldberg never makes mistakes.”
Delivered for your pleasure with a hearty thanks to my wife, jmochagrrl who reminded me of this one.
Fair winds and following seas and long may your big jib draw!