Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Direct Input Limited Duty Officers

The military has classifications for the officers who serve. Most are considered line officers, which means they can do just about anything and are in line for the top job; not sure and can't be bothered to look up if the 'line' comes from 'in line' or 'front line,' but that's what they are called. Other officers are restricted in what they can do, some may serve on a ship, but they'll not ever be a ship's commander because they are limited in their duty responsibilities.

Navy Nuclear Power School in Orlando in the mid-1980s was staffed by both line officers, most of whom had served on ships or subs and were getting some shore duty time managing our daily lives, and limited duty officers, who were grabbed upon completion of a physics or chemistry graduate program, shown how to tuck their new shirts in, and shipped to Orlando to teach us enlisted guys the basics of nuclear science and the related disciplines.

We sat through lectures about heat transfer and fluid flow, worked out complex physics problems, learned about interstitial point defects, and a whole bunch of other top secret stuff that I'll probably get arrested for if this blog ends up in the CNO's hands. The see-en-whatchoo-say? That's an acronym for Chief of Naval Operations. Like most bureaucratic organizations, the Navy loves acronyms. I suspect that creating many acronyms is a way of making up a new language, without it having to be something that adds any value to anybody's life; knowing how to use a bunch of little codes is a way of signaling other members that you are in The Club.

Letting civilians into the military during wars has resulted in a hijacking of the secret language. In fact, those draftees ended up adding their own acronyms that took off and have gone into the mainstream. Two of the best are SNAFU and FUBAR. Look'em up.

So, back to Nuke school (which was sort of a weird thing to call it in the penultimate moments of the Cold War), where I was taking classes from those LDOs straight out of grad schools in Berkley and Boston. The best one was this hot little blond Ensign, named Heisel. This being the eighties, and all nuclear-powered vessels being front-line warships, the Nuke program was a boys club. Only men could go to war at that time. My understanding now is that women are in the foxholes and on the front lines in aircraft carriers, et.al. I don't have any problem with that. I know that my biggest fear while serving on my front line ship was not the gender of the guys I was working with, but the intelligence level. A cigarette butt in a fuel tank full of a couple hundred thousand gallons of jet fuel was the thing that I feared far and above a silkworm missile from the Ayatollah.

And so but then back to Ensign Heisel and the rest of the LDOs. She would stand on this podium at the head of the class, wearing her officer khaki skirt and stroking up and down her thigh, while a classroom full of 19-26 y/o sailors watched her answer a question. Did she know what sort of reaction this was causing? I'll never know. What I did find out, however, is that all of these teachers were not only LDOs, they were also direct input, which if you put the whole together, in the right order (like in the title of this post) in an acronym, comes out as my favorite of all time.

1 comment:

random person said...

Direct input limited duty officers
Direct input limited duty officers=DILDO