CDR Salamander: Tailhook - 19 years on
The year before Tailhook ate the Navy I did my ACDUTRA at Suitland during Desert Storm. The next year I was lucky enough to pull an ACDUTRA at NAVFAC Munich. The visiting JOs, maybe three of us, were pulled into a meeting on a patio where one of the rising LTs on staff read the script on Maoist Self Criticism. He took off his rank insignia, as if that meant anything in the kabuki that followed, and recited the formula urging us to look within and confess our sins. We remained silent, being an idiot I briefly tried to respond and was quickly kicked, as we were really expected to and he harangued us to speak as he was really expected to. It reminded me of General Dreedle in Catch-22 urging the men to speak up as Yossarian's friends assure him that the General is really saying "Shut up." Then having completed his duty he let us escape. The deep sense of shame I felt at watching that performance remains with me.
Before Tailhook back in 1982 at SWOS we received a Standards of Conduct lecture that was not to be confused with the Code of Conduct lecture we got at OCS from CAPT Dick Stratton. For the Standards lecture a wise old Chief Warrant came in who had been at Pearl Harbor to run a weather eye over the new JOs. He looked at us and said "Now boys we had a saying on the farm. You don't work the breeding stock and you don't breed the working stock. Any questions?" We all said "No Sir No questions Chief Warrant Officer" after which he said "Then you all have fun out there and be careful." No more needed to be said and when you get down to it no more does any good.