Monday, June 18, 2012

Coffee slick

Mr. W. is 92 years old.

He had over twenty years of serving in the Navy (Aviation) and saw combat during WWII and the Korean War. He was still active during the early part of Vietnam but was in an advisory role only.

He was a "slick-arm" Chief Petty Officer (CPO).

I had not heard of this term prior.

He let me know that he had no hash marks prior to obtaining this high rank for an enlisted man.

A hash mark was received for every 4 years of service in the Navy. A "slick-arm" achieved the ranking in less than 4 years.

Because the Navy expanded so fast during the WWII years, a few enlisted men achieved the ranking of CPO in a third of the time required by most pre-WWII CPO's.

He let me know that during boot camp he kept seeing the same men walking around drinking coffee. When he found out they were CPO's, he quickly decided that he would do everything possible to get to the same rank.

A Navy historical web site confirms everything he said.

He was in the right place at the right time and was obviously qualified to be chosen.

The only draw back, history tells us, was that the slick-arm CPO's tended to be younger and less experienced and many, therefore, felt the prestige of this distinguished position fell somewhat during these times.

Mr. W. was much more than a battle tested veteran when he retired.

He also still loves coffee.

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