In the midst of the holidays, it’s easy to get wrapped up in our own doings and forget about those who are serving our country, protecting our freedom to celebrate Christmas and enjoy time with our families. Their jobs don’t go on hold just because of calendar dates, and they don’t get to take time off to be with loved ones whenever they would like.
And military life is difficult in itself. Every little aspect is pretty much designated, mandated, and ordained, usually in triplicate. My friend, David Bynum, is a U.S. Navy Commander and a Chaplain, and he sent me the following recent USN base memo, which I think gives us an idea of the type of detail that governs the lives of those in the service of the U.S. military.
Subj/Coordinating instructions for Adm Claus visit//policies and procedures governing official visits by Saint Nick//
Gentext remarks/1.An official visit by VAdm Claus, Santa is expected at this headquarters O/A (on or about) 25 December 2010. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the activities of all personnel during this period.
A. Not a creature will stir without authorization. This includes indigenous mice and transient personnel. Special stirring permits for necessary administrative actions may be obtained from base protocol. Mice stirring permits will be obtained through the office of the Surgeon General, Veterinary Services.
B. All personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 local, 24 December 2010. Uniform for the nap will consist of:
-Pajamas, navy combat desert camouflage utility uniform, general purpose, drowsing w/kerchief.
-Cap, desert camouflage w/ear flaps. Equipment will be drawn from supply prior to 1900, 24 December 2010.
C. Personnel will utilize standard field ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their brain housing groups. Artificially sweetened plums are authorized for personnel assigned to BCMAP (body composition and military appearance program). Specifications for this item will be provided by the servicing military dining facility.
D. Commanders will ensure no less than one (1) stocking, wool, cushion sole, is secured to each chimney with care. Authorized colors are white or Mojave brown. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fire hazards caused by carelessly hung stockings. Unit safety officers will submit stocking hanging plans and associated ORM (operational risk management) assessments to this headquarters NLT (no later than) 0800, 24 December 2010, Attn: Command Master Chief N. Pole, for approval.
E. Upon the first sign of clatter IVO (in the vicinity of) base housing/barracks, all sailors will spring from their racks to evaluate cause for noise and to determine direction and distance. Immediate action will be taken to tear open shutters and throw open window sashes. See Ref (A) for instructions on proper shutter tearing and sash throwing. Commanders will ensure all personnel are familiar with the procedures provided in Ref (A) and will prohibit the early tearing of shutters or throwing of window sashes prior to commencement of official clatter. An interactive, web-based course relating to the procedures for shutter tearing and window sash throwing is currently under development by Naval Education and Training Command. Release of this course on NKO (navy knowledge online) will be promulgated under SEPCOR (separate correspondence).
F. Prior to 0001, 25 December 2010, personnel will be assigned to "Wondering Eye" OPs (observation posts). After shutters are torn open and sashes are thrown, these stations will be manned to provide continuous observation and reporting to HHQ (higher headquarters).
G. 1. Base supply will assign one (1) sleigh, miniature, M-66, and eight (8) deer, rein, tiny, for use of Adm Claus’ driver. Base Motor Transportation will ensure Adm Claus’ driver possesses a current SF-246, US Government Motor Vehicle Operator’s Identification Card with M-66 Sleigh annotated in the "Authorized to operate" column. Said named driver must have conducted no less than five (5) day and ten (10) night rooftop landing qualifications within the past thirty (30) days and be able to shout "On Dasher, on Dancer, On Prancer and Vixen, up Comet, up Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen."
2. Adm Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw chimney simulator, M-6, for use during ceremonies. Chimney simulators are available through Base Supply, NSN: 3422567. Chimney simulator units will be requested prior to 19 December 2010. Base Supply will utilize standard NAVMC 10359 (Equip. custody receipt) forms for distribution of chimney simulators to tenant commands.
3. Units will conduct mission rehearsals for shouting "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night" NLT 22 December 2010. This shout will be sounded upon termination of Adm Claus’ visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of unit commanders.
4. Release authorized by Capt. Christopher K. Ringle, Director of Protocol.//BT
The bottom of the memo contained dire consequences for anyone who misused it, or distributed it in an unauthorized manner, so I’d appreciate it if you didn’t tell the navy I showed you this.
I sincerely hope Admiral Claus managed to visit all the personnel in our military, and delivered abundant gifts down their real or simulated chimneys. If anyone deserves a Merry Christmas, it’s the people who make sure the rest of us have one every year . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who would like to wish the U.S. military A. One (1) each, New Year, Happy, w/many thanks. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org