Showing posts with label shipmates. Show all posts
Showing posts with label shipmates. Show all posts

Saturday, September 09, 2023

Remembering Ben Akers, BTC - A Few Words From A Shipmate

 Robert H. "Bobby" Akers Jr.
December 19, 1968 - November 28, 2018

He was "Ben" to his shipmates. We served together in "B" Division onboard The USS Dubuque between 1987 and 1989, stationed at Sasebo, Japan. Ben was ten years my younger and ten times the BT.

The self is not something that one finds. It is something one creates.
—Thomas Szasz

It's normal for us not to be able to remember everyone we ever served with, when and where. For me, Ben Akers was easy to remember because he was hands down the hardest working Hole Snipe I ever knew. He was strong, tireless, resourceful, and not afraid to get dirty. He had a kind of quick, dry wit about him, as I recall. Even tempered, he spoke with a Western Pennsylvania dialect. Akers was the last person I ever heard use "yinz" in a sentence. He was a 4.0 Sailor. Squared away. His "gig line" was straight. Pick your metaphor, but Ben Akers was born to be a BT in The US Navy. I was honored to serve with him.

So, since the last time I saw Ben Akers, a lot has changed. The introduction of the World Wide Web was a biggie. I tried to search him out many years ago, but nothing came back. I remembered him again just yesterday, so I sent out another search. This time I got the sad news of his sudden passing back in 2018. Condolences to his widow, and his family. Jimmy Buffett wrote;

He's somewhere on the ocean now A place he oughta be With one hand on the starboard rail He's wavin' back at me

Fair Winds and Following Seas, Shipmate.
―Strasser, BT2

The Penalty of Leadership

In every field of human endeavor, he that is first must perpetually live in the white light of publicity. Whether the leadership be vested in a man or in a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be mediocre, he will be left severely alone – if he achieve a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a -wagging. Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a commonplace painting. Whatsoever you write, or paint, or play, or sing, or build, no one will strive to surpass or to slander you unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious, continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a mountebank, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius. Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while the little group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river banks to see his boat steam by. The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and to destroy – but only confirms once more the superiority of that which he strives to supplant. There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the world and as old as human passions – envy, fear, greed, ambition, and the desire to surpass. And it all avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains – the leader. Master-poet, master-painter, master-workman, each in his turn is assailed, and each holds his laurels through the ages. That which is good or great makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamor of denial. That which deserves to live — lives.
written by Theodore F. MacManus

A deadly viper once bit a hole snipe's hide; But 'twas the viper, not the snipe, that died.

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El Paso, Texas, United States
Native Texan · Navy Veteran · Various Scars and Tattoos · No Talent yet a Character

One From the Archives

Post #317

People ought to be one of two things, young or old. No; what's the use of fooling? People ought to be one of two things, young or dead. ...



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