Sunday, May 8, 2016

Humor in Uniform – Fleet Night

Humor in Uniform

A Memoir

This happened long back – almost 30 years ago – in the 1980’s.

It was “Fleet Night” – the Annual Fleet Awards Function.

The Chief Guest for the function was the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) – who had come down from Naval Headquarters New Delhi to grace the occasion.

The C-in-C – the Fleet Commander – and – the local “Top Brass” – all were present with their families.

Officers and Sailors of various Ships of the Fleet were seated with their families in the grand auditorium.

First – there was a most enjoyable entertainment programme performed by officers and sailors of the fleet and their families.

This was followed by a prize distribution ceremony to present the Fleet Awards.

Various Trophies were being awarded to ships.

Our ship was a frontline warship which had performed exceedingly well in all aspects throughout the previous year.

We were sure that our ship deserved to win most of the Trophies.

Many thought that – maybe – our ship would win all the Trophies.

In fact – even officers from other ships acknowledged that our ship deserved most of the Trophies due to our superb consistent demonstrated performance.

The prize distribution ceremony started.

The winners of the various Trophies were announced by the Fleet Commander – one by one – and – the respective Captains went up to receive the Trophies from the CNS who was the Chief Guest.

As the prize distribution progressed – we were disappointed that our ship had not been awarded even one single trophy so far.

It seemed that our ship was being totally ignored.

The blatant bias was evident to all.

Our XO remarked that maybe this prejudice against our ship was because the Fleet Commander did not like our Captain.

We really did not know the actual reason for Fleet Commander’s dislike of our Captain.

But – someone said that this aversion was because our Captain was a “CW Officer” – who had been promoted from the “Lower Deck” under the “Upper Yardman Scheme”.

During his Sailor Days  our Captain had been selected as a CW (Commission Worthy) Candidate – and then he been promoted from the ranks to the rank of Acting Sub Lieutenant (a “Mustang” in US Navy parlance) – an officer who started his career as a sailor and then had come up the hard way – unlike most of his “elitist” counterparts who had joined the prestigious National Defence Academy (NDA) and had been commissioned as Naval Officers after training as Cadets and Midshipmen.

It seemed that the ex-NDA Fleet Commander had a dislike for CW Officers in general – but – he had a particular dislike towards our Captain – and – in fact – many officers felt that the Fleet Commander was biased against Direct Entry Officers too.

It all seemed very unfair to us – that – our ship was being discriminated against – because of personal likes and dislikes.

As the award ceremony progressed towards its conclusion – we were reconciled to returning back to our ship empty handed.

Suddenly – we were surprised to hear our ship’s name being announced for a Trophy.

The Trophy was for “Maximum Days at Sea”.

“Days at Sea” was a recorded fact – and – this could not be manipulated.

And – it was an undisputed fact that our ship had indeed spent the maximum days at sea as compared to other ships of the fleet

Our Captain went up to receive the Trophy.

While presenting the “Maximum Days at Sea Trophy” to our Captain – the witty CNS remarked to the Fleet Commander:

“Well – You couldn’t deny him this trophy – could you…?”

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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This is a revised re-post of my "Humor in Uniform" Story PARTING SHOT posted online by me 2 years ago on June 20, 2014 in my blog at url

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