An army veteran pointed at my tee shirt today and asked, “What does that say?”
I said, “Navy”, then told him it must have confused him because it was a two syllable word.
He had no response. Easy kill. Like shooting fish in a barrel.
Soldiers don’t like to be called dumb.
Every service has its own insecurity. My job as a cartoonist is to exploit them. Within the Navy, inside the lifelines, the trick is to point out the things that different Navy communities see as vulnerabilities. For example, Supply guys don’t like to be thought of as bureaucrats or slackers.
But outside of the Navy, we concentrate on stereotypes that each respective service dislikes the most. Air Force people believe that everyone else thinks of them as living the cushy, country club life.
The Coast Guard does not like to be in the Navy’s shadow one bit. They especially resent being called the shallow water Navy, as illustrated in this week’s Broadside cartoon.
Since the Marines are in the Department of the Navy, it is pretty obvious what they are sensitive about.
But the most sensitive of all isn’t a military service at all, although its members wear uniforms. They are the uniformed personnel within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, also known as the NOAA Corps. Since their uniforms are almost identical to the Navy’s, they often find themselves explaining to others who they are and what they do, and that tends to make them defensive.
It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.