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Thursday, August 04, 2005

RB-S #1

RB-S 255015

God I hate it when that happens.

A topic comes up about which I actually know bugger all, but the Review's correspondence columns are buzzing on the subject and I have all these hot pseudo-cluedo'd terms and posh phrasings behind which to hide and generally puff hot air.

I dash off a lofty letter and sit back ready to preen at the applause.

Then shiver my timbers if some spoil-sport expert doesn't write in and spoil it all.

Exactly what happened to Ken Preston over those frisky coast guard boats that bounce alongside the ferry.

He sends in some complete tosh about it all being for "dramatic effect", not realising a real McCoy Coast Guard is *also* writing in - a jack tar expert with scrambled egg on his epaulettes and 'Captain' *and* 'Commander' to his name - who simply scuppers him broadside.

Plus, the Editor runs his letter second, thus leaving him looking even more of a landlubber prat.

RBC #3Captain S.P. Metruck of the U.S. Coast Guard and Commander of the Seattle Sector Coast Guard answers Alan Schuh's queries about RB-S255015's aquabatics with a measured and detailed explanation:

The commanding Officer of Station Seattle, the unit to which the boat was assigned, was aboard the second boat with a reporter and film crew recording a documentary.

The maneuvers that struck Schuh as so extreme are in fact outlined and approved in the Coast Guard's Boat Forces Training Manual.

Conduct OK. End of subject, methinks.

RB-S #2Ken Preston (rank and qualifications unknown) offers a "different view" that not only dismisses these precise and trained maneuvers as "entirely wrong in concept and execution" but has the gall to patronize the seamen by twice referring to them as "youngsters", as in "The youngsters and their little boats are doing the best they can with a bad situation."

A 'bad situation' not helped by mean-spirited mouthing such as this - doubly humiliating for the author for being exposed by the good Commander as mere ignorant guesswork.

Preston's pontificating on seaborne marksmanship and the purpose and rôle of these escort boats rings of utter twaddle, as does his smug and breathtakingly ignorant assurance that, "the purpose was for visual and dramatic effect on our own people, not the enemy, whoever or wherever he is ." (My italics)

My advice to Preston for future crossings is to make himself exceedingly small and inconspicuous as the security detail checks him through.

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