I might have been born Air Force. I did, in fact, give birth to a kid determined to join the Army. But I count myself lucky, lucky, LUCKY that I have spent my entire adult life loving on the Navy. And even at it's ripe old age of almost 238, it's still looking good.
So I was delighted to run into so many other Navy lovers at our Live Spouse X event in Norfolk, Va. this summer. One of our groups put together this top ten list of how the Navy beats every other service, hands down, whether it's the 238th birthday or not.
(OK, OK, OK -- Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force send us your lists and we will print them on your service’s birthday, we promise.)
So why is the Navy the best service? We'll tell you:
Top 10 Reasons the Navy is the Best Service1. Oceanfront property. Be it ever so humble, the Navy forces you -- just forces you, Dear -- to live near an ocean. You have to walk on beaches in the sunset -- there is a law. You simply must learn to pick crab or lobster while drinking local beer and listening to Buffett. Porpoises and dolphins are such an every day thing that you don’t even bother to look up when they flash by. Once in a while you get a weirdo billet (NAS Fallon we’re talkin’ to you) where you can’t even remember what the ocean looks like, but most of the time you get to live near the sea.
2. White uniforms. Not only do our own sailors develop miraculously good superstar looks when they don the spanky white version of their uniforms, this trick works for actors, too. Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Richard Gere in Officer and a Gentleman. Cuba Gooding Jr. looking his cutie best in Men of Honor. John Wayne and Cary Grant also quite delightful in Navy garb. Makes you wanna wake up and smell the polyester!
Please note: Putting on the “blueberry” uniform does not work the same way, Liam Neeson.
3. New Chief season. The Navy is a service surrounded by history and traditions and customs. One of our favorites happens in August when they do the CPO induction and you see all these ridiculously cheerful people out doing car washes to raise money. We like when good things happen to good people. Now get out there and be the backbone of the Navy.
4. The Big Turnaround. All the services do this in one way or another, but we love when kids join the Navy out of high school. Then they kind of look around and figure out who they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing. My own nephew enlisted in the Navy (and recently reenlisted) and found a place in the world to do good work. Gotta love it.
5. Huge support group. In Navy towns like Norfolk, San Diego, Jacksonville, and Bremerton you can’t walk a block without running into someone with connections to the Navy. Not only have these neighbors walked the walk, but they have really good advice about getting up to speed on all you need to do…along with a nice plate of brownies.
6. Never say goodbye. In Navy life, the limited number of bases means that you never really say goodbye to the people you meet. Instead we say, “Fair winds and following seas.” Translated I think this means, “Bye for now and we’ll catch up at the commissary two duty stations from now.” Or it could also be like that Far Side comic where the sea captain is trailed into a dark alley by a following sea ... one of the two.
7. Ships slipping over the horizon. One of the most beautiful moments of a Navy homecoming is that instant when the ship slips over the horizon and into view. One minute there is nothing but some ugly oiler jacking up the horizon. The next moment there is this huge, grey vessel slipping across the ocean like a mist. The whole thing makes you choke up with the joy of it. Really.
8. Homecoming on a pier -- not in a gym. For the majesty of the event, nothing beats a Navy homecoming where the sailors line the rails of the ship and then descend onto the pier into the arms of their loved ones. This is a little less picturesque in the rain. Or the snow. Or that unfortunate sleet storm that pummeled all the balloons. But it is really, really pretty most of the time.
9. Land, sea and air -- we fight everywhere. Unlike the other services, the Navy is equipment driven. We may rib each other about whether surface, air, subs, SEALs, supply, etc. are the best part of the Navy, but in the moment of crisis we got it all.
10. Sailors have more fun. Trust us. They just do.