NORFOLK, Va. — The deck department of USS San Antonio listened to Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Raymond Bernard give another 45 minute speech about how they shouldn’t waste time this morning, sources tell Duffel Blog.
“All right, listen up,” Bernard said at morning quarters, the cue for the designated timekeeper to start the stopwatch. The sources say each week a timekeeper is assigned to track the NCO's speeches.
“I know you guys could be working harder,” Bernard said. “Remember when there was a real man overboard and you had the rescue boat ready in four minutes? I expect that level of effort from you all the time,” he said.
One anonymous sailor told Duffel Blog, "He seems to think that's a reasonable expectation. He won't bother to tell you that he spends most of his day checking email, screwing around, and sitting in the berthing watching soccer games."
Occasionally, others say, he screws up a subordinate's work so he could yell at someone for doing it wrong.
Bernard's commendations have called him "the epitome of Naval leadership."
A few seamen in the back of the formation had pulled out their bingo cards to check whatever boxes he would hit. Seaman Trip Johnson needed “If you have a problem I’ll settle it with my fists,” and “A Chief from another department walked by shaking his head” for a bingo. “Bernard getting away with disobeying a direct order,” and “Speech went so long the galley closed" were considered free spaces.
“Smoking is a privilege,” Bernard reportedly said. “I don’t mind if you go topside and smoke but when you’re done, you don’t know what’s going on and have to find a supervisor. You’re wandering around for two minutes, and that’s TWO MINUTES," he is alleged to have shouted, “you could’ve been working. If something is wrong you have to tell us. You can’t pretend everything’s fine. You have to tell us something’s wrong,” Bernard repeated himself several times, getting angrier as he did so.
“Because,” Bernard concluded, “People who stay military for twenty years don’t live as long. Studies show they die younger. It’s a hard life, but someone has to do it. All right, get to work.” The seamen went to work, many saying they felt "motivated by the knowledge that their job was actively killing them."
Johnson won the "How long will the speech last" pool, coming closest at 42 minutes. Other sailors say Johnson later went double or nothing on Bernard giving the same speech before knockoff.