As Captain Ahab would be all too happy to inform you, the greatest foe to your quest for naval superiority could very likely be an overbearingly dumpy bulge of lard breathing down your salt-crusted back. That or totally spacing and leaving your good harpoon back at the dock.
Because while being large and in charge is a God-given right with tons of perks, like looking killer in a muumuu, it definitely isn't a desired attribute when protecting the lives of others.
Well, it turns out that the US Navy has banned fried food from its dining halls. Yes, we're talking the largest and most powerful navy in the world, with over 300,000 active personnel and over 100,000 on reserve—the seaborne leaders of the free world.
Naval personnel can no longer eat fried food because, the Navy says, it's not good for you. And they are not happy about it. The whole need-to-wear-stripes thing totally makes sense now.
As part of its "Go For Green" campaign, the Navy will be baking its chicken and French fries henceforth. They will also be serving all personnel skim and soy milk, not whole.
In May, Ray Mabus, the Navy Secretary, announced the new program, which is part of an effort to improve training, fitness, and field performance. Even uniforms are getting a revamp. Is it just me, or does this sound like the start of one great TLC show?
Anyways, some naval personnel are reporting good results from the new campaign against fatty foods. For example, Roberto Rodriguez, Electrician's Mate 1st Class, told Navy Times that since the program was put in place, he's lost 10 pounds. He reports that he now feels "a whole lot better."
But many others affected by the change are not being quite so positive.
On Navy Times' Facebook page, Matt Phillips wrote, "Welcome to the Tofu Navy."
Jeff King was even more eloquent: "Pussies. This isn't a Weight Watchers cruise. It's the goddann [sic] Navy!"
On a more serious note, the appropriately named Michael J. Waters wrote: "I served on an aircraft carrier for four years—the beurocrats [sic] who made this decision probably have never been to sea. Good food is a comfort to those at sea for months at a time with long hours in a boiler room or flight deck. A cruise line would never do this. So why should the Navy Department? This is an outrage!"
This being America in 2015, many are playing the partisan politics game and blaming Michelle Obama for the program. G. Alexander Cook piped up: "Maybe it's time for Michelle to enlist so she knows what the hell she is talking about." In fact, however, Mrs. Obama is not know to set nutritional policy for the armed forces.
The fried food ban is not the only change the Navy is making in the effort to make its recruits leaner and meaner. Navy Times reports that calorie counts are posted on chow lines. Serving utensils indicate portion sizes. Color coding indicates the health value of various food selections. And in the salad bar, pepperoni and creamy dressings are out while sunflower seeds and cranberries are in.
This new program is likely a reaction to the problem of obesity in recruits that is plaguing all branches of the military. According to recent reports, "A shocking 20 percent of all male recruits and 40 percent of female recruits are too heavy to enter into the military ranks." They can barely pass physical fitness tests.
So, it's a new day in the Navy. Maybe they'll even get around to replacing all that pesky artillery with a big shuffleboard court.
But don't think things are that radically different. You can still get a foot-long chili cheese dog—this isn't the French Navy, for God's sake.