How changes in the Navy will impact folks at home

  • The Navy's newest submarine, the USS Illinois, will be commissioned Oct. 29 in Connecticut, and Naperville's Terry Jelinek will be there.

    The Navy's newest submarine, the USS Illinois, will be commissioned Oct. 29 in Connecticut, and Naperville's Terry Jelinek will be there. Associated Press file photo

 
Posted10/19/2016 1:00 AM

My 93-year-old dad served as a U.S. Navy Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II. My 65-year-old brother served as a yeoman on a Navy ship in the Bay of Tonkin during Vietnam.

The other day my ears perked up as I listened to a news report that said the Navy has moved away from traditional ratings to an alphanumeric system of Navy Occupational Specialty (NOS) codes.

 

The reporter used "yeoman" as his example.

When I checked further, I learned that on Sept. 29, the Navy announced a major change to how an individual's job will be classified in an attempt to follow more gender-neutral ratings used in other branches of military service.

From now on, a "yeoman" will be referred to as B750, though the reporter also said "chief" might be used.

For a little history available on "Navy Cyber Space," in 1835, the Navy established the Yeoman rating, one of its original "chief petty officer ratings" for a job that included secretarial, administrative and clerical work. The title was changed to "Ship's Yeoman" in 1884 only to have it changed back to "Yeoman" within a decade.

My brother, who was an excellent typist when he enlisted in the Navy, also is extremely faithful, loyal and humble. He'd shy away from being called chief for the yeoman duties he performed. It's certainly not my job to get up in arms over the new distinction, but B750 says nothing to the layman about the specialty.

In a related note, 241 years ago on Oct. 13, the U.S. Navy was established. And this year, Oct. 13, 1775, remains the U.S. Navy's official birthday.

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On a different note, in mid-September the third annual 0.1K Judd-A-Thon was held in the parking area near the Riverwalk Grand Pavilion behind Judd Kendall VFW Post 3873. The short run makes a big difference to the VFW National Children's Home in Michigan. This year the event garnered more than $20,000 to benefit military families.

Stationed among hundreds of runners, walkers, strollers and spectators, some standing out in hilarious costumes, I was filled with gratitude thinking how very blessed we are in Naperville to celebrate freedom, generosity and patriotism in ways never imagined by our founders.

Then overhead two bright yellow planes from the Lima Lima team attracted everyone's eyes to the sky. I photographed LL50 with Navy on its side.

VFW Post 3873 Senior Vice Cmdr. Pablo Araya, who served as chairman of the Judd-A-Thon, thanked supporters and participants representing all branches of the military with an enthusiastic, "Fly Navy!"

After the event, Past Cmdr. Terry Jelinek reminded me that the newest submarine in the U.S. Navy, the USS Illinois, will be commissioned Oct. 29. During a special ceremony open to the public in Groton, Connecticut, "the order will be given for the crew to come aboard to make the ship come alive."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Terry and his wife, Sue, have been serving on the Commissioning Committee, established to raise funds and awareness to celebrate the day the USS Illinois becomes a part of the Naval fleet. They'll be attending the ceremony.

The last battleship to be commissioned with the name USS Illinois was in 1897. By contrast, the USS Illinois is an advanced stealth multi-mission nuclear-powered submarine. The hull size is 377 feet in length with an interior width of 34 feet for a crew of 140.

This Virginia-class, fast-attack submarine contains many new advanced technological systems, said Terry, whose 10 years in the Navy included serving as a radio man aboard the USS Oklahoma City from 1969 to 1971 during the Vietnam War.

"The USS Illinois is one of the most advanced multi-mission nuclear submarines of our times," Terry explained, noting the periscope has been replaced by masts, minimizing water displacement and thus enhancing its stealth capabilities to gather intelligence and more.

"Tours of the boat will be available with a party on the pier," said Terry. And if you can't attend, the celebration will be streaming live online.

For everything you need to know about the celebration and the submarine, visit www.USSILLINOIS.org.

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