By the time the fighting dies down in the sandbox, some twenty percent of sailors will have had the experience of serving with the army. No telling what long term effects that will have. But so far, the navy sees the IA program as a net plus. Sailors know more about the army, and soldiers, by working with sailors, and hearing their tales (many true*) of naval life, know more about the navy. This makes it easier for those times, and they are increasingly frequent, where soldiers and sailors have to work together.” In the 19th Century, sailors often served as infantry, or at least Marines. It’s back to the future, I guess.A while back we had dinner with Mrs. Drang's cousin the Chief Petty Officer, now stationed somewhat locally at Naval Air Station Whidbey. (Naval service runs in Mrs. Drang's family, and The Chief is not the first CPO in the extended family, although, so far as I know, she is the first female Chief.) I had actually met her several years ago while I was attending a technical course in Texas, and she was at another one at the same place and time. So I met my wife's cousin before she did...
Anyway, we talked a little about her last--that is, most recent, not final--deployment to The Sandbox, although not much, as I could tell certain parties to the conversation were not thrilled about hearing about The Chief qualifying for an Army Combat Action Badge. ("I guess the mortars were close enough, but it seemed kinda silly.") She also confirmed something I had learned from some Navy Reservists at The Salt Mines: This program seems popular with both the Navy and the Army. Sailors don't actually mind shore duty if it means doing what they are paid to do, especially in support of a Real World Mission. Few join the Navy who are averse to getting their hands dirty, after all. And the Army is generally tolerant of people who wear funny insignia as long as they pull their weight.
This does not, of course, mean that I will cease making fun of the Navy, just that it's meant in a friendly manner.
*"Many true". Heh.