Saturday, August 25, 2012




 One of the most frequently asked questions that I get from readers is simply "who the hell are you guys anyway?" This is often followed with some specifics such as "Why are so few of your posts actually signed or attributed to someone by name?" Well the second specific is easy enough to answer, many of the posts that are attributed to someone by name are simply attributed to a pen name. So as a matter of policy we go very light with real names around here and for good reason. You see the members of the loosely associated American Admiralty Informational Services , the well spring out of which the American Admiralty Books blog grew consists of a few new recruits, and the remnant of a now defeated army of truth seekers. That remnant is hotly pursued by forces of government and industry with things to hide. Much like Confederate General Sterling Price who ended the Civil War in Texas with only 300 men left from his original army, we decided not to surrender. Price crossed into Mexico and his story became the legend behind the old John Wayne movie THE UNDEFEATED. However Price and his stalwart brothers in arms were real flesh and blood human beings. They learned the price of dying undefeated was to die in poverty. 

 Most of us have already paid a price for telling truth to power. Compared to our credentials, levels of effort, and energy expended, our Federal careers in terms of rewards don't measure up to our peers who turned a blind eye to waste fraud, inefficiency, abuse and self aggrandisement in the Sea Services and maritime bureaucracies. Indeed even when we were able to hang on to our pensions our careers  resemble train wrecks. Over time we came to understand that what we have paid so far is but a down payment. Once we existed as a corporate force in the world of the Admiralty court system. We strode into court using our real names, took oaths to the truth, and signed papers. We survived for nearly twenty years but only under constant threat of corporate and personal ruin. Ruin came about two years ago. But we decided to cross our own generational Rio Grande and enter sanctuary in cyber space. From here we are reorganizing and assembling forces to publish the truth in our field, much to the chagrin of those in government and industry with something to hide. Truthfully American Admiralty Books is just the tip of the iceberg planned. So we have a fondness for projecting an image of a blog created by "Cyber Library Elves", and writers with nicknames like "Old Guy" (OG), and SEMI OLD GUY(SOG). We hope you never learn our real names but in order for you to trust us as a news source and source of book reviews and recommendations you need to get to know us. 

 So on the "Week End Editions" I'll try to provide you with some biographical material on our little informal group, real biographical information but assigned only by nick names or pen names. Today let's start with Og, Sog, Buck, and Vic.

Og refers to me the guy writing to you now. It's pronounced like a character out of the old cartoon strip ALLEY OOP and is simply derived from the initials of what I'm called in the third person around here "Old Guy".  In fact I'm 65, more than five years younger than the oldest among us who we won't be profiling today. But compared to some of our outlaw band I know that I appear two days older than water and one day older than dirt. My maritime career started at 17 years and 12 days old when, after an early high school graduation, I entered active duty with the U.S. Navy.

As young non rated seaman I liked the Navy and it liked me. But I was curious about all things maritime and eventually crossed over to the dark side and joined the U.S. Coast Guard where actual command at sea could be obtained by non commissioned petty officers. I enjoyed my first four years there but the all volunteer service had not been invented yet, I was getting older and realized that I could never support a family on even very senior enlisted pay.

 I transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve, went to college on the GI bill plus my reserve pay and earned my first Merchant Marine Officer's license. I would earn others along the way including Unlimited Tonnage Master, First Class Pilot, Master of Sail and Chief Purser. I worked at sea, in the Jones Act trades and ashore as a steamship agent, admiralty law firm investigator, nautical arts and science instructor, marine safety manager, and eventually in the practice of maritime regulatory law and consulting within the formal organization that we will one week end profile for you whose mission it was to fight junk science in the admiralty courts. At the age of sixty I took on a job with a Federal Executive Department Agency that had serious oversight responsibility for several federal nautical agencies and programs. I left that job at 64 retiring in protest over the growing technical incompetence, literal cover ups, and blind eyes turned toward the misdeeds of those we were supposed to be superintending. It was there that I learned that not only was telling truth to power unappreciated, and often punished, but that the so called "Whistle Blower Laws" were utterly toothless.

 I saw some really good people have all sorts of unnecessary pain imposed on them for the "crime" of being competent and truthful. When it became my turn on the rack I did something that only I was able to do because of age and prior services, I simply said "no thanks", took the pension, and ran. I'm all too well aware that just because I ran doesn't mean that I'm not followed. You see like General Price I didn't run home, and go sit in the rocking chair. I crossed a deep and wide river that my generation doesn't understand well, I crossed into cyber space. So that is why my name is Og. Pleased to meet you.

Sog is the cyber brain in the group. The name is pronounced just like the root in the word "soggy" and is derived from the initials that stand  for "Semi old guy'. Sog is about 39 and far from being even in the mid range of the group's average age. But Sog is the nominal informal second in command so I suppose that is how he got dubbed "Semi Old Guy".

Sog didn't originate the idea of the blog. He just started it and handed it to OG and said "see it can be done ". When Og said "easy for you to say, but I don't know the key strokes", Sog said "stop complaining and I'll show you". Sog often appears to lack a certain amount of respect for his elders like Og but then back at the bad old agency Sog was briefly Og's supervisor. Og quickly noticed that he was not the usual flash bang yuppie scum turned bureaucrat. In fact Sog beat Og out of the agency.
Sog is a graduate of one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the nation and is responsible for the "Maritime Literature" section (special page). Sog's maritime background was limited to leading the occasional audit into some government maritime activity, usually with no previous back ground. But unlike other government yuppies in similar situations Sog appeared to understand where experts were needed and sought them out. Sog is the go to guy in the group for correction of all "fat fingered errors"on the computer. For  a group of old guys lost in cyber space, Sog is the point man and guide. 
Sog has the longest potential for a resumed career in federal service and is under the deepest cover of anyone in the group. Sog is presently hiding out in Central America.

Buck is the son of Sog and is also presently hiding out in Central America. Buck is the youngest member of the team at three years of age.. No that's not a misprint. Buck is only three and he is a full fledged member of the team not a mascot .  Buck functions as attitude coach for all of us. As attitude coach Buck teaches through example the difference between courage and utter fearlessness.

The older military veterans among us have had to produce both physical and moral courage on occasion. We understand courage as being able to act despite being afraid. Courage is not the absence of fear. Frankly fear sucks. The better attitude is that of utter fearlessness physical and moral. Buck displays both kinds at all times. He jumps fearlessly from ill advised heights thinking if necessary, if he thinks at all at such times, that he can always fly. Buck jumps into piles of things without ever thinking that pointy sharp objects may lay within.

  Buck has no fear of social convention or other peoples' opinions. Buck is the only one among us with the nerve to walk into a group of women, nonchalantly remove his pants and skivvies and not streak, but stroll through the room. Challenged about his lack of pants does Buck hem and haw about, studder, and make excuses, NO! Buck smiles and simply replies "need air"'. That's utter fearlessness gentlemen! That's the attitude we all need to make a new career telling truth to power! But we settle for courage, we manage our risk, we hide behind pen names! But we always have before us the incredible image of utter fearlessness and the joy in life it brings when you really live without fear in Buck. Buck is an example to us all! And that's why at 3 years of age we honor him with the title "coach". Buck leads and teaches by example!

VIC is the author of the posting that follows this one. Vic is not an acronym for anything it's a first name. The name is Vic Socotra. But as you've probably guessed it's not his real name. In fact I'm not even sure that I know his real name.  We do know that in the real world Vic was a a naval "spook", a senior intelligence officer who retired as a full captain after decades of active naval service. Vic writes a lot but sometimes we are never quite certain when in fact we are reading actual "Vic"stuff because he uses more than one "pen name". He does have a blog   it's extremely entertaining , I read it daily. He even has pictures of himself posted there, but they are at least twenty years old. But hey, they are actual photographs that's as close to real identity as you'll ever get with this group. 

 Vic has traveled the world and spent more time inside the Washington DC "Beltway" than all the rest of us combined. Anyone who ever speaks with "Vic" can tell that he is educated up the wazoo but nobody knows where. It's probably one of the many things about Vic that he "could tell ya but then he'd have to kill ya".  When I was inside the belt way several of the young people in my cube farm joined the Naval Intelligence Professionals, an organization that Vic writes for frequently. As truth telling became more common place but unpopular in my agency my young co-workers became known as the "Outlaw Band". One of my greatest regrets about leaving when I did is that the outlaw band always wanted to meet "VIC"but never did. It was felt that "Vic" combined spook trade craft , with a knowledge of intellectual property law, and insider bureaucratic culture to get said what was needed to be said and avoid brass rage. He was perceived as doing this  with skill and aplomb, that even while protecting himself he almost appeared to reach the Buck level of fearlessness. Its kind of like Buck and his belief that he can fly. I think the outlaw band felt that if they could meet the Vic standard of trade craft in protecting themselves they would have the confidence that Buck has in his ability to fly. Fearlessness bred from a belief in invulnerability.

 We rely on Vic for historical backgrounds, and regional insights, and once in while for a bit of wimsy that can turn to wisdom like the Great NAMAZU story that morphed into the Namazu School of Climatology. If you weren't here in the beginning of the blog over half a year ago we'll introduce you to Namazu in one of our future week end editions. Vic moves in crowds that read Iranian news papers in Farsi, or whatever lingo they are flapping their gums in these days. He has friends who have spent time in Russian jails. He is a personal friend of ''Admiral Mac", but if you want to know who "Admiral Mac" is you'll have to read your "Daily Socotra" We often get our inside track on maritime events through his insights gained from his contacts. You may never find the rest of us as individuals on Face Book but you can get to know "Vic" by clicking on

 So that's the crew for this WEEK END EDITION. Next Week end we'll continue with "VJ", "Capn Ben" and the "YODA". We're a motley but truth telling and insightful crew. We appreciate your visits. Every time you click on us you give us a new lease on life. Rest assured that when you need maritime information we'll be here ,unless they catch us.

Portrait of Major General Sterling Price, C.S.A.
CSA Major General Sterling Price, Buck in another life?

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