If you’ve read anything about me, you already know that I was in the US Navy between 1988-1994. I went to boot camp in Orlando, Florida and then went to Pensacola, Florida for my rate training as a CTM, which meant I was an electronics technician with a security clearance.
This is a me after I was frocked. Frocking means that you get the rank before you get paid. In my case it was six months later.
I was at the NTTC Corry Station, Pensacola Florida for training when the “Lee Mirecki incident” occurred. Pensacola was flooded with journalists after the incident. I was a lowly E-1 at the time (Seaman) and we were told by our leaders that someone had drowned during his rescue training. We were also told that we could be waylaid by journalists outside the base.
Our only response to the journalists would be “no comment.” If we even expressed our opinions about the incident and it was printed or broadcasted that there would be consequences. At that time we understood consequences. We had gone through classes where they told us outright the worst things that could happen to us if we let slip any classified material. It was considered just short of treason.
Luckily for me I was never cornered by a young earnest journalist, looking for the ins and outs of a good story.
I don’t have an opinion now. I’ve never been through that training so I don’t know if what they did to that young man was justified. I don’t know if those involved were punished. I’m sure they were. Having been in the Navy, the Uniform Code of Military Justice has a lot of ways these men could have been punished short of a Court Martial.
We live in a world that has so much information. We have to spend most of our time shifting what we see and hear on the news. Every piece of news and every piece of information is not pure, it is twisted by the person who reports or uses it.
After being in a classified area, I discount everything I see and hear going across the news. My lying eyes know that it is twisted to benefit someone else or some other cause. When I finally perceive the cause then I know a small portion of the truth.
Was this young man bullied? I don’t think Lee was bullied anymore than any shiny new recruit who was training in a difficult job. Were there mistakes made? Oh hell yes. I don’t excuse his death. And yes, it was one hell of a mistake.
My lying eyes know that this isn’t the first training mistake and death of a young man in a training incident. It won’t be the last. Just recently we lost a Thunderbird pilot to a crash in Nevada. The C.O. of that base is probably having each one of those planes checked thoroughly and the pilots and crews are going through extreme training right now. The tech who fixed his plane is probably shaking in his boots too.
The Army has had their share of training accidents as well. It is part of training for war.
I do see things differently since I was in uniform. Just so you know it is still a major part of my personality even now.