This is so incredibly refreshing that I can barely contain my enthusiasm. I grew up in the 1970s Navy when recruiting ads beckoned with pictures of Sailors walking with pretty girls on the sands of Waikiki, or with photos of actors in officer uniforms (needing haircuts) sitting in a wood-paneled room and a caption that said "Be a member of the board." Little wonder that some of those who responded were just a tad disappointed when they found themselves turning valves in a torrid boiler room or directing an underway replenishment station in the freezing rain at zero-dark-thirty! While the Navy was cajoling with beach strolling and board rooms, the Marine Corps was warning that they would only take a "few good men." Even in those dark days of Vietnam, the Marines remained true to themselves and to those who took up the challenge.
The Navy is doing much better with its message today, but Carrier serves as a call for even more honesty in what we are offering. The sands of Waikiki are there for some (and maybe even the pretty girl), and those images of sunlight dancing off a seemingly limitless ocean are a routine sight for those who go down to the sea in ships. But the Navy is also a tough way of life. It is chockablock with challenges and deprivations, and it takes motivated individuals to survive and thrive in such an environment. Whether that motivation comes from wanting to serve, to escape something, to see the world, or to pay for school does not matter. They will come. But we owe it to them (and to our own pride) to tell it like it is, to throw down the gauntlet and ask "are you good enough?" Challenges pay dividends in pride and maturity when they are met.
I commend the Navy for its willingness to support this unusual series. I only hope that this is not an aberration but is instead a sea change in the way we do business. I hope we will continue to challenge rather than pander, that we will unabashedly declare who and what we are, so that those with the requisite resolve to succeed in a demanding but rewarding environment will come. And serve well. And perhaps stay for a very long time.