WHARRGARBL. Yes, WHARRGARBL, that stupid internet meme. For those that haven't seen it, it's just a caption applied to a photo of a dog charging into a lawn sprinkler and getting nearly choked by the stream in the process. Stupid, nicht?

Well, I know exactly how that dog feels. We got back from deployment in April. We had one month of relative downtime, and then the drinking from a firehose began. We went into the shipyards, and installs of 6 systems began, rapid-fire, followed by verifications and fixes of anything missed when they were first installed. All the while, more and more people left my division without replacement, shoveling an ever-increasing workload onto an ever-dwindling workforce.

The WHARRGARBL has only intensified since then, with more and more drills, inspections and exercises, while contending with the initial bugs so common with newly installed gear. This last week, the entire crew has been kept at work until 2000 (that's 8 PM to civilians) every day, with no notice. Normally this would be only severely annoying, but early next week we're due to depart on a two-month overseas exercise, and depriving the crew of this week will severely hamper preparedness. After all, leaving home for 60+ days requires non-trivial preparation. Had we known this was going to happen, most of us would have spent last weekend preparing, but we didn't have a clue. This was all sprung on us unexpectedly. And there's no end in sight. After we get back from this, we head out on a six-month cruise, come back from that, do six months of inspections and turn around to go back out again. That'll make almost three years of continuous WHARRGARBL, and all the while our manning will continue to dwindle.

Sooner or later, something's going to give. I only hope that when it does, nobody gets hurt. I'd like to see the planners and policymakers pay for this, but I hope they pay with their jobs, not their lives, or the lives of their subordinates. I know, some of the soldiers in Iraq have it worse, and we're not getting shot at - or at least we don't expect to - but they're out there performing the mission, not being nitpicked constantly. Even when we deploy, there's no break from the nitpicking. Anyway, I'm looking to enjoy my last day off before almost 18 more months of this crap.

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