There are lots of jobs in the military that require a thick skin if you’re going to survive. Executive Officers, for example, have to have thick skins – they get the bulk of the complaints up and down the chain of command and are often the focal point for all the things that can go wrong. Supply guys can’t catch a break either.
And the detailers. I’ll go on record right now and apologize to those poor souls for my years of whining. Corpsmen, Masters at Arms, Culinary Specialists…they all get their share of heat, and there are plenty of others.
But I think weather guys take the cake. When the Captain takes a weather brief, there is only one forecast he or she wants to hear from the Aerographer’s Mate: blue skies, light wind, calm seas. Anything else will bring the wrath of Khan. If a briefer looks out the window in the weather shop and seas rain or rough seas, he is doomed before he heads for the brief. He’s a dead man walking, knowing that each step brings him closer to his executioner.
The temptation, of course, is to make the forecast fit the expectation and hope for a miracle. “The models all say it’s going to pour buckets tomorrow, Captain, but I’m forecasting sunny skies great weather!” This method, although not recommended, at least delays the pain for a day.
The real pros tell it like it is. They stand by their predictions knowing they’ll be blistered by a disappointed audience.
“Thunderstorms and heavy seas.”
“The weather can’t be bad tomorrow. The Admiral is visiting.”
“That’s my forecast, Captain. Thunderstorms and heavy seas.”
Ironically, if the weather is good the next day, all will be forgiven and forgotten. But if it’s bad…
One of the first things forecasters learn in ‘C’ School is that if the weather is nasty, they’re going to get blamed for it. If it’s good, the Chaplain gets the credit.
An Intelligence Officer once told me he liked going second in the briefs, because the weather was always first. He considered it job security.
So you might as well call it like you see it, weather guys. At least, while you’re getting flame sprayed for a cancelled operation, you can take solace in knowing you got it right.
And it never hurts to get friendly with the Chaplain.