People Will Talk

I’ve seen over the past few years that some of my friends on Facebook vent.  I can’t say how long the rant was pent up, so I don’t know how long their fuse is.  Personally, I don’t vent or rant until it comes to an extreme.

Okay.  Here it is.  For over a year I have been retired.  I worked 30 years in the military and civil service.  Folks, this is not brag. It’s fact and I can show you my DD214.  I served only 19 months active duty and the balance of six more years and five months in reserves.  In that 19 months active duty I went from an E1 to E4 in 9 months and was before the E5 board in my 15th month.  I didn’t get E5 because of the early out, but a recruiting was made by an officer for me to take on Warrant Officer’s Flight School and become a helicopter pilot.  During the end of the Vietnam War, if I’d been more perceptive to the coming end of it, I should have taken that on.  I didn’t because I understood it would have meant a stint in VC territory.  VC loved to kill pilots.  So, I went on back home and became and field engineer in heavy construction where I left off when I got drafted.

I will toot my horn, if I may.  I won’t go into everything I’ve done.  (Some wasn’t so good.)  If you want to know I have no problem telling you personally if you ask.  I left the outdoor work for indoor work as an insurance salesman.  Well, okay, this was seemly a failure on my part.  I was no good at it, but still made salesman of the month one of the 12 months I was there and made more money than my boss, which wasn’t anything to brag about.  Then one day a fellow worker and I struck out across the Cape Fear River to the DuPont plant and ended up as spinning operators over there.  To make this short, in the 8 years I was there I was groomed for supervision, but God had other plans and I turned it down and cross-trained in the staple side as a cutter/bailer operator.

After a failed business of my own I went to work as a store manager for the Bike n Surf Center in Jacksonville.  Over five years I increased the sales of bicycles from 359 some units a year to almost 800 units per year.  The owner was about the most impossible one human ever to work for or so I thought.  God saw that I got a good education in how to deal with difficult people in just that one person.  My customers were great.

Anyway, I’m skipping a lot here, but I eventually parlayed my military advantage as a Veteran of the Vietnam Era.  I was hired on at the Naval Hospital aboard Camp Lejeune.  I spent 28 years plus there and retired.

Starting as a Medical Records Technician (Clerk, then).  Then on to Department Head Secretary.  Then the job was abolished during a consolidation and I was moved to a position as an Office Automations Clerk.  My fledgling computer knowledge got me this position.  From there I became a Health Benefits Advisor in the defunct CHAMPUS office.  Shortly afterward that job as an insurance agent paid off because the hospital was hiring people to do insurance billing for supplemental policies of military folks.  I spent seven of the nine years in that office dealing with attorneys and insurance companies with and without assistance from the Naval Legal Service Office.

Then came the hard job.  Never having been formally trained in computer technology, I landed a job in IT as a Network Computer Security Manager.  I didn’t even know what an IP address was when I started in that department.  Inside of a year I had learned to set up and program a network on my own for the church I attended.  Seven years was spent in this department.  This is when I learned how to not like computer so much.  I did get certified in Security +.

Right after my separation from my wife I was offered the position as the hospital’s Command Personnel Security Manager.  I spent seven years there until I retired the end of December 2016 after seeing to the approval of almost two thousand individuals.  This brings me to the crux of my rant.

After I retired I heard the new person taking my position was bad-mouthing my work.  Two or more employees that know me defended my work and character, but I still hear he hasn’t decided to give me any slack.

I know who he is and I know he’s a retired officer from the Marine Corps.  He’s a buddy to the guy I worked under.  The guy I worked under is a retired Marine Warrant Officer and the Security Department Head is a retired Chief.  I give them all credit for reaching goals much further than I reached, but they got their jobs through the “buddy system” that works on the base without any consideration there are actually people outside their realm that know how to do what they do and some are likely better at it.  I worked my career in the hospital over a 28 year period, which to me qualifies me some respect.  Since leaving the “new guy” has done nothing but cut me down.  It’s been over a year and I still hear that his talk has not ceased to blame me for one thing or another.

I don’t dislike the guy.  Why should I?  He had his job handed to him in a relatively easy condition.  I had over 400-500 active duty to get clearances for so they would qualify for deployment.  Upper command would get very upset when an AD member had no clearance for overseas duty.  Most of my thrust was to get this done.  In the first couple of years I had conquered this task by in large, while handling a large number of new contract employees and civil service.  Civil Service came second to the three groups of people, and contractors last.  Contract employees came last in the line because of the volatility of the nature of contracts.  People in this arena came and went like water in a leaky bucket.  Many were gone before an investigation could even be completed.  I even did a background investigation of a former Miss America.  I had all types of people.

When I took the job it was a collateral duty.  The person handling the job also was a security patrolman and was in charge of random urinalysis testing for drugs.  The position was in very poor care.  This collateral duty went from person to person about every six months, so there was not any continuity under the watchful eye of someone to see a clearance process to an end.  I had my Secret clearance done during that time and it took three years to complete because my paperwork kept getting lost between people.  It wasn’t their fault.  They knew they wouldn’t be there that long so no one took ownership of the function.  Not even the Commanding Officer or staff up that high cared.

I took ownership of the position knowing full well the importance of it.  Still no interest was taken by senior leadership except for on officer who I’d known from the time he was an Ensign until he was a Captain.  He and I worked well together.  At the end we got a person in his place who questioned every thing done only because she had no idea of what I did nor did she really care.  I was left to make decisions above my pay grade.  At some point that became an issue when an employee was relieved of her duties for having several areas of shortcomings like lying about an illegal parent in-country.  She was mentally unstable, yet very smart.  She stated that she would leave work daily and go home and drink to excess and talked her problems with fellow employees who passed their concerns on to me along with her supervisor and department head, who I left the decision with to move her out of her position until an evaluation could be determined.  The chain of command finally took interest in what I was doing.

I have ought with the chain of command not doing their job properly by essentially paying her off to settle a lawsuit she eventually brought against the hospital.  I caught flack about it, but I didn’t make the decision.  I made the recommendation for her clearance to be put on hold.  Doing so prohibited her from doing her job.  Her department head had to make the decision on what to do with her over all.

That being a rabbit trail, I must get back on subject.  These are things I had to deal with.  But I did them with care and by the instructions allowing for me to do what I did.  I never wavered from doing what was right.

There were many areas to judge a person’s ability to pass or fail a security investigation.  No one area was or should have been a deciding factor in their staying or dismissal.

One of the biggest issues I faced numerous times was people in financial trouble by one or more reasons.  Most of the issues involved divorce, medical problems, unemployment or other unforeseen issues that did not mean I would cut them loose from employment.  Most of the time the worst cases were relegated to conditional clearances where I would sit and counsel with the individuals about their situation and how to plan out a method of getting through the problems to a more secure financial life.  Two negatives I must say here that would eliminate a person was lying that they had any debt and had habitual criminal offenses involving money.  Irresponsibility to debt is something I could not tolerate.  This lot of people was small.  Even then, if a person appeared to misrepresent their debt I would interview them about the debt to find out if they were doing so because of embarrassment or to hide some sort of criminality behind it.  If I find the embarrassment of debt was the major cause for misleading me, I would overlook that and go to conditional approval.  If they failed to follow the conditions then dismissal was recommended.

The new guy who took over after I left doesn’t consider the individuality of the investigation process.  He’s too cut and dry.

The following is why I did what I did.  Being a follower of God, the Bible and its principle’s I compare the Old Testament to the cut and dry side of the law of sin and death.  The Old Testament says if you did something wrong you were liable to die for it without proper sacrifice.  But, under the New Testament the Law of Grace was given where unto Jesus died on the cross to reconcile the believer to the Father.  Even when the harlot was brought to Jesus and asked for her stoning, He only stooped at put his finger into the dirt and began to write.  Some have ventured to say those present demanding her stoning were having their names written in the earth who had committed sin with the harlot.  I tend to think so, because when Jesus asked who among you is without sin, cast the first stone.  All of them walked away.  Then Jesus didn’t condemn the harlot for her sin.  He said to her to go and sin no more.  There is therefore no condemnation to them who believe.  I think she became a believer at that very moment.

That, my friend is how I judged people under investigation for work at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune.  I’ve done no wrong.  I think I afforded each individual the opportunity to come clean with me and I would go to great length to see to it they were properly functioning employees in the command.

If the new guy doesn’t like the way I did things, he’s free to come to me and talk it out.  I hope he can find it in his heart to learn more about human nature from God’s view.

This has followed me even into my bus driving.  Kids on my bus get a fair shake.  Not to say I don’t get loud when one hangs their head or arms out the window.  Before I let them off the bus I explain to them why I don’t want them to do that.  I’ve had two friends get very serious injury from passing vehicles.  One was inside the vehicle.  The other was standing beside his vehicle on the side of the road.  Both, by all rights, should have died.  I don’t want my kids on the bus to get injured in such a fashion by a passing vehicle.

I’m not a mean, inept person.  I don’t hate people.  Some times I say things I probably shouldn’t, but give me time and I’ll make that right.

Sean Covey

“Isn’t it kind of silly to think that tearing someone else down builds you up?”
Sean Covey
















About Jim

I'm a 72 yr old guy, who had worked in Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune for 28 yrs and now retired as of 31 Dec 16. I've worked in medical records, Health Benefits Department, Billing, the IT department and retired as the Personnel Security Manager for the hospital. I'm a musician and Corvette enthusiast. Yes, I have had two. I traded my second Corvette for a Harley Davidson Fat Boy mid-summer 2019. I've already ridden about seven thousand miles. I'm also searching for a fresh new outlook on life with new spiritual insight among other things. I was ordained a minister on 20190202. I've become certified with the American Chaplaincy Association through Aidan University in June '21. I've found that with the unconditional love of my companion, Libby Rowe life is complete through God. She's a beautiful, vibrant, giving woman who gives her all in everything she puts her mind to do. She and I married on 24 July 2015. She was ordained in February 2022. She has a blog too called Under a Carolina Moon. Give it a visit.
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