On Professionalism…

The following is an abject lesson loosely based on events that may or may not have happened.


Or not.

The inevitable side effect of having rules, regulations, and standard operating procedures is that somewhere, someone will feel these things do not apply to them. Take for example the sad tale of Lieutenant Navel Lint. This Navy O-3 was a fireball of scholarly and gentlemanly pursuits with a job to do. Unfortunately Lt Navel Lint failed to follow proper procedure and was not listed on any access roster given to FAST Company Marines charged with port security in support of various goings on in the AO. Thus the fine Lt and his vehicles were vigorously searched by intrepid young Marines intent on executing their duties because if they didn’t their 1stSgt would have flayed the living flesh from their bodies.

These laborious activities always occur in ideal weather. The events (that may or may not have happened) recorded here (allegedly) took place during a time of year conservatively described as hot. Of course “hot” and “The sun is touching me!” are both subject to interpretation. Scientists have proven the Kingdom of Bahrain is the geographically closest Middle Eastern country to the Sun. Westerners may scoff, but they are usually convinced the first time they nearly lose their head ducking the odd geyser of plasma. In addition, the port was constructed of a material that somehow conducted magma right up through the soles of the boots directly into the brain.

Lt Navel Lint (who was not once seen in anything resembling a uniform) felt he was special and demanded to know why he couldn’t enter, why he had to turn away from his vehicle, why he had to be wanded with a metal detector, and why he was being treated this way. He’s a Navy O-3! He shouldn’t be treated like a recruit! Having skipped proper procedure, tact, or any common sense, Lt Navel Lint continued to go with blustering and bullying Lance Corporals in an attempt to have his way. He soundly failed every time.
Here’s an example:

Lance Corporal Belt Buckle, a fine American on all counts, was standing post at the port security mission. He was manning a position at a waist high gap in the barrier surrounding the portion of the facility where U.S. Naval vessels were anchored. The opening is there to give the Marine an open line of sight along his left and right lateral limits.

Lt Navel Lint: “I’m coming through.”

Lance Corporal: “No sir, everyone has to go through the Entry Control Point (ECP) around the corner.”

Lt Navel Lint: “But my tent is right there.” Pointing to his tent and equipment staged on the pier.

Lance Corporal: “Everyone has to enter through the ECP around the corner, sir.”
Lt Navel Lint: “I’m coming through anyway.” Begins to climb over waist high barrier.

Lance Corporal raises his open hand: “Sir, if you attempt to enter through here force will be used against you.”

At this point Lt Navel Lint showed a glimmer of rational thought and grudgingly went around to the ECP where he was searched again. If a U.S. Marine with a loaded weapon recommends you do something, it is generally considered wise to do it.

After standing six hour posts in the 116 degree sun wearing full body armor, young Marines continued to endure the verbal abuse of Lt Navel Lint. Marine officers working logistical matters on the pier, not even in the FAST Company chain of command, became uncontrollably outraged at the Lt.

One one occasion Navel Lint was behaving so badly in the Vehicle Check Point (VCP) that a Marine Captain, who had patiently endured being ID’d, checked, wanded, etc, like everyone else, completely snapped. He vaulted the barrier separating the VCP from the ECP and invited Lt Naval Lint to participate in various acts of violence best not described in mixed company. It was reported the Captain, who forever will be thought of kindly by FAST Company’s 1stSgt, actually thrust his entire head and shoulders into the driver’s side window of Navel Lint’s vehicle to ensure he was heard correctly.

Not long after, when Lt Navel Lint was allowed on to the pier with his vehicle, a logistical type Marine was ground guiding the Lt’s vehicle. Because Navel Lint was a Navy O-3 he felt no reason to be constrained by the slow pace of a ground guide and kept attempting to go around him. The Marine kept stepping in front of the vehicle (because ground guides walk in front of vehicles). This stupid game kept on until Lt Navel Lint clipped the Marine’s leg with the bumper. Insane with fury Marine logistical officers began to head butt each other and excommunicated Lt Navel Lint from the pier.

The next day Lt Navel Lint discovered he was persona non grata and began another tirade of asinine, tackless behavior. Failing to grasp the concept that higher authorities had approved his banishment, he stubbornly refused to move his vehicle out of the VCP.

Lt Naval Lint: “Fine, I’m not moving and you can wait all day in the hot sun while I wait in my air conditioned vehicle.”

Corporal of the Guard in full kit: “Sir, that’s ok with us, we stand around in the sun all the time. It’s our job.”

Firm, courteous, and tactful. Seriously, how could you get mad at these guys?

During this entire debacle Lt Navel Lint would threaten anyone and everyone by claiming he was going to call his Commodore and let him know what was going on and how he wasn’t allowed to do his job. It was just another sign of his narrow vision considering the FAST Company Commander worked for a Vice Admiral and was guarding a port in support of a Marine Expeditionary Unit commanded by a full bird Colonel. [As a side note, Lt Navel Lint is invited to play poker with the FAST Company 1stSgt any time.]

The next morning Lt Navel Lint was seen entering the office of the FAST Company Commander with his apology. The FAST CO accepted his presence calmly, unlike the FAST 1stSgt who had to be locked into his office where he impotently strangled a sea bag full of dirty laundry while more diplomatic minds orchestrated events. Lt Navel Lint was informed officers are given special trust and confidence, that his actions were rather unprofessional to say the least, and he did not owe an apology to the FAST CO but rather to the young Lance Corporals who were sweating their guts out all over the pier. Suffice it to say that apology never manifested itself. Navy O-3s do not apologize for their behavior after all, no matter how despicable.

Not long after, Lt Navel Lint disappeared under a dark cloud. His final fate remains unknown but certainly isn’t enviable. The Marines on the pier were lauded for their quiet professionalism, particularly for not butt stroking Lt Navel Lint right into a dentist’s chair. Personally no one would have blamed them if they had. FAST Company’s reputation as a disciplined, squared away outfit was only enhanced and everyone who secured the pier received a letter of appreciation.

I present the above merely to say this:
If you do what is right, maintain your bearing, and remain a professional you will come out on top no matter how badly some clown is taking a dump on you.

Write that one down.
Semper Fi,
America’s 1stSgt

/ / / /


  1. God Bless The Marines. I would have behaved badly, said not nice words and thrown his s$##%y a$$ in with the poultry to be nibbled to death by ducks. Zombie ducks.
    It’s a good thing I am not in public relations.

  2. URRAH!!! Why anyone in the Department of the Navy would screw with armed LCpl’s is beyond me.

    Perhaps, 1stSgt, this particular Navy O-3 was suffering from an advanced stage of heat injury that rendered his brain unable to function properly. On the other hand, perhaps his head was jammed so far up into a region where the sun doesn’t shine that he couldn’t take in his surroundings and respond properly.

    Either way, a huge Bravo Zulu to your Marines. No wonder it’s called the Men’s Department in the Department of the Navy.

  3. At first I thought you had made a tiny error by writing “abject lesson” instead of “object lesson”, but after reading the full post I clearly see that it was both object and abject.

  4. Idiots like Lt Lint have been around since Christ was a Corporal, or maye even a Lance. Good to hear there are a few sharp young Marines around to make up for them (and I’ll bet there’s a Master Chief somewhere that’s not to happy with one of his Lt.s)

  5. Sheesh, I’m a dumba$$ Navy airdale and having been on said pier (and HQ 5thFLT) once upon a time when I was a (presumed) personage somewhat North of the LT’s position in the food chain, even I knew enough to NEVER, EVER [mess] with Marines, especially those holding loaded weapons.

    On behalf of the Navy, all I can say is there are a few flaws in the promotion process. Uh, sorry.

  6. My grandmother always told me you could say anything with a smile and get away with it. I don’t think Marine’s smile, but have personally witnessed the “Marine Face” which has the same affect, it confuses the recipient into either total outrage or compliance. Good for you and your men for using their “Marine Faces” to adjudicate the situation.

  7. Too bad that Lt. did not have a chance to discover why the Marines are such ACES when it comes to hitting what they have in their sites. ;0 [snicker, snicker]

    Hope the Lt. knows how to tread water because I got a ~feeling~ a Master Chief is going to give him a swimming lesson.

    Miss Em

  8. People like that worry me, because they have much more power over their subordinates than a civilian would. If they didn’t have senior Marines watching their backs, they’d have been in trouble…

  9. No worries Aniemeyer. I think that Lt Lint is about topped out. Of course I did have a Skipper of his flavor that made it to O-5. He was a Sith Lord though and kept a low profile till he got the command pin. Then he changed his nametag to “God” and expected us to address him as such when we were in our Squadron spaces.

  10. Top,
    I actually had a guy in my platoon who is a laser engineer. I asked him several times if he could make a small laser for me that would totally destroy the human body–total evaporation.
    I figured I could use it on such folks as Navel Lint….whom I have run into many times in both my cop job and the military.
    In the military, they are usually a major or below and don’t fully understand that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

    I can see it now: “Privates, set your laser on kill…and fire”

  11. applegoat, killing them with kindness is a technique we have found that actually works. Of course, as the 1stSgt it is probably best I am never there when stuff like this happens (or not). Daddy gets a little protective sometimes.

    Support, heat injury, traumatic brain injury due to a sudden impact with the deck, we’ll take what we can get.

    Foodie, absolutely correct. Actually the story isn’t over that individual but we may never find out his fate. Not that I am really that concerned. Revenge is not my business (if in fact, this ever happened).

    Jim, I am told this individual (if he truly exists) has even enraged his fellow Sailors with his antics. If they are tired of his crap I suspect he needs to brace for heavy rolls.

    Animeyer, it is also alleged this individual was prior enlisted! Can you believe that?

    Kristina, you obviously have not seen any pictures of me if you think Marines don’t smile. I use mine like a 2×4 belt people right between the eyes with it.

    Miss Em, usually when that lesson is taught it is the final lesson. So we like to save it for the truly deserving.

    Saker, fortunately what goes around comes around. People like that eventually get what they have coming to them.

    be603, that’s when you remind him the work area is not a place of worship and the chaplain will be holding services for him on Sunday.

    CI Roller, see if he can develop idiot seeking missiles. We don’t want any innocent bystanders getting hurt.

  12. American’s 1st Sgt I can’t find any decent pictures of your face that show this 2X4 smile that is used to battle the Dark Forces of the Commissioned Imbecile like LT. Lint… please advise. And I don’t know if you could use it on the likes of LT. Lint but my children will be the first to tell you “Silence is golden but Duck tape is silver.”

  13. “If you do what is right, maintain your bearing, and remain a professional you will come out on top no matter how badly some clown is taking a dump on you.”

    …has been added to my trusty quotes for all the ‘Lt Navel Lints’ I may ever encounter.

  14. I am impressed by the professionalism of your Marines, 1st Sgt. Truly, it’s not easy to keep a calm demeanor when someone is begging to become an example of “needed killing”. You are rightfully proud. God bless our Marines.

  15. J, I am flattered but am afraid of what other quotes you may have of me. Yikes!

    Kristina, you haven’t been paying attention. I believe Hope has hijacked the camp enough times to post incriminating pics of me smiling. You have to look around the site to find them though.

    Jenny, actually it is kind of a nice feeling realizing that you could actually kill someone who is yelling at you. Once on embassy duty I recall calming myself while some idiot was in my face when I realized: “This fool has no idea how close to death he really is.”

  16. Mike. Don’t be too flattered. I just quoted you using “professional, clown and dump” in the same sentence.

    Yeah, it could be a “yikes”!
    But since you work so hard to defend our country while dealing with naval lints, I won’t tell.

  17. “Navy O-3s do not apologize for their behavior after all, no matter how despicable”

    Well, certain Navy O-3s don’t apologize, but that’s certainly not true about all of them. I’ve ate more than my share of humble pie in my time, from O-3 all the way up to O-6.

  18. Problem is 1st Sgt, as a Squadron CO he “effectively” was God to a fresh E-6 aircrewman. He signed the evals. Me being enlisted aircrew he also determined my ability (directed Ops O scheduling crew priorities) to stay current and keep flight pay.

    Of course that was besides me working full time in Avionics workcenter where he embarrassed himself regularly by trying to direct the troubleshooting procedure and predict the needed repair on the maintenance (VIDS/MAF) form.

    That maintenance thing was where the fur on his God complex got rubbed the wrong way. Or course God had a Psych degree and figured that he was qualified to troubleshoot every gripe on the maintenance form. He actually called me on the Ready Room carpet, at 0200, underway Wespac, with all Dept heads and Div O’s in attendance because the required repair wasn’t what he had prophecied. That was hard on my motivation shortterm. Unbeknownst to me, that night I went to the top of the MO and Ops O lists for how I handled that Inquisition. 3 years later when they were rolling into Command tours they were calling to recruit me to lead their Avionics/Maint. It comes around — just don’t know it as a young guy.

    In any case that guy’s about a 3-beer sea story. Maybe next time you’re in San Diego. 🙂 I’m glad for him in retrospect.

    “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” Ps 119:71

  19. Lex, I doubt Navel Lint’s behavior is endemic to Naval officers or O-3s. But he did go out of his way to remind everyone his rank. It probably had something to do with the fact he never wore a uniform.

    Red, thanks. We’ll take all we can get.

    be603, some guys don’t get it and sadly they never will.

  20. Love it. I suspect Lt. Dirty Naval Lint had been given plenty of “go aheads you’re privileged” when he was a kid. It just mushroomed from there. He made the mistake of thinking everyone was going to be as easy to roll over as his own parents.

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