Special issue: DEFCON 1 Newsletter for 11 September 2008

Special issue: Defense Career Opportunities Newsletter – DEFCON 1 Newsletter for 11 September 2008



This is a special issue

Today is a day that all Americans should reflect upon and remember. We were all affected by the events of 9/11. And we should never forget how we felt on that day, and the days immediately after the attack.

This is what I remember, and what I choose to reflect upon every year on this day. You will indulge me, I hope, because it is necessary for me to share this with others, and share it every year on this day for as long as I can do so.

*** Linseed oil:

Some things have an evocative smell.

A few years ago, the executive officer of a frigate based at Pearl

Harbor called my staff at the Naval Media Center. They had a Sailor

aboard the ship who wanted to be a draftsman.

The “undesignated seamen” or SN on a ship usually work in the deck

force, chipping paint and handling lines. As they see what's

professional opportunities are available on board, they can “strike” for

a rating, like Radioman or Quartermaster. A “Striker Board” will

convene and review the needs of the ship, and the desires of the

individual. If the Sailor is squared away, has done a good job with the

deck force and the ship needs a Quartermaster (QM), for example, he or

she can strike for that rating, and becomes a QMSN.

SN Michael Noeth wanted to be a Draftsman. The DM rating was and is one

of the smallest ratings in the Navy. There are very few of them

compared to Gunner’s Mates or Machinist’s Mate, and certainly none

aboard a frigate. In this case, the executive officer wanted to do

something good for his Sailor. In spite of the fact that the ship was

about to deploy for six months, the XO called us and asked if his Sailor

could come and work with us to learn the DM rating and be able to take

the DM test for Third Class Petty Officer. If he passed, he could

become a DM3. If not, he could return to the ship and eventually strike

for another rating. For our part of the deal, we had to cover his

travel expenses.

So, SN Michael Noeth came to work for us. He was placed under the

expert tutelage of our First Class Draftsman, DM1 Rhea Mackenzie.

Seaman Noeth quickly made himself at home in a back corner of the All

Hand magazine spaces. And it was here he set up his easels, canvasses

and paints. When I would come by, which was often, I could smell the

linseed oil he used for his brushes long before I reached his work area.

He would have various canvasses and illustrations that he was working

on posted around his desk, as well as

examples of artwork he wanted to emulate.

He learned his trade from an experience draftsman, created artistic

content for the magazine, and became a well-like and contributing member

of the command. At our Halloween party, he came in second place in our

costume contest. He was a dead ringer “Alex” from Clockwork Orange, and

was topped only by an even more convincing Cruella Deville from 101


Whenever I got near his work area I would be greeted by the smell of his

linseed oil, and I knew I would be in for some kind of surprise. Seaman

Noeth painted the cover for several All Hands magazines. Top see him

tackle these assignments was a joy, probably because he was enjoying his

work, and appreciative of the opportunity. On my visits, I would see

the many versions and sketches he was working on, and I could see it all

come together with the finished product.

He took the advancement exam and passed it. As his six-month temporary

assignment came to an end, his command allowed him to transfer to my

command on a permanent basis as they did not have any billets for a

draftsman, and we did. Soon, he moved on to other Navy assignments as a

Draftsman, all because his ship wanted to give him a chance to realize

his dream, and my command wanted to help him get there. But most of

all, because he deserved it.

He did, indeed, become a talented Navy illustrator and draftsman. He

was assigned to the Navy Command Center where he skillfully created

briefings and presentations for Navy leadership. He was doing just that

on September 11, 2001, when terrorists forced an airliner to crash into

that building.

I will remember a bright, ambitious, creative young striker whenever I

smell linseed oil.

(To see a list of the navy men and women lost in the September 11th

attack, visit www.navy.mil.)

Defense Career Opportunities Newsletter is part of the “Job of the Week” network – A world in communication.



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© Copyright 2008 Job of the Week Network, LLC


“You can't appreciate home till you've left it, money till it's spent, your wife till she's joined a woman's club, nor Old Glory till you see it hanging on a broomstick on the shanty of a consul in a foreign town.”

– O. Henry (William Sydney Porter)

(The Fourth in Salvador)

1 Comment to "Special issue: DEFCON 1 Newsletter for 11 September 2008"

  1. Anonymous's Gravatar Anonymous
    September 11, 2008 - 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Thank you, Ned, for a touching and heartfelt memoriam to Michael Noeth.
    I'm certain I speak for many others who wish to say to you and to all the men and women in our Armed Forces who have served and especially those now serving:
    Thank you for your service to our country!

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