Telling the Truth

On my first ship, USS FORRESTAL (CV-59), I worked in Weapons Department. Being a Seaman Recruit, your duty watch is less than glamorous. For a year I got to climb down vertical ladders and check the security of the Weapons Magazines (places where we keep the ordnance). This is very important because if somebody did gain access they could do some serious damage to the ship if not sink it. You would complete your rounds and then report back to Aviation Ordnance Control Station (AOCS) to report your findings. “All Secure” was the response 99.9% of the time.

One time the AOCS First Class sent a guy down to one of the magazines to put a note on it that just said, “Roving Security – Bring this note back to AOCS.” I wasn’t on watch when this happened but working for the Gun Boss, I heard about it the next day. The sailor came back and reported “All Secure.” When asked if he was sure that he checked all the magazines, the sailor said, “Of course Petty Officer Ratliff.” At that time the AO1 took the sailor to the access trunk and they both climbed down two decks (see the picture) and looked at the note posted on the WTD (water tight door). Needless to say that sailor was in BIG trouble.

USS Forrestal Navy Ship

If this sailor had the COURAGE to tell the truth, he probably wouldn’t have gotten into so much trouble. He learned a valuable lesson that day….and so did I. Sometimes life throws you these circumstances to see if you will use your INTEGRITY to tell the truth. This says a lot about your character and HONOR, which is doing the right thing all the time, even when no one is watching.

I sometimes do this while in class. I know that someone is talking and then I ask the question, “Jeremy, were you talking?” and wait for the response. If they say, “Yes, sir,” then I just ask them to be quiet or have them do five pushups. If they say, “No, sir.” Of course I have to ask again and if the response is the same then I make an example out of them by calling them out.

It is a little embarrassing for the student to be caught in a lie in front of their fellow students, but it serves as a warning to have COURAGE and tell the truth, even when you know you might get in trouble. This student is less likely to lie to me in the future, and he has shown other students what not to do. Wise is the man who learns from his mistakes. Wisest is the man who learns from other’s mistakes.

At Virginia TaeKwonDo, we try to teach more than just martial arts. We also want to teach children (and adults) to be truthful people, full of integrity and honor. If you are interested in the classes we offer, please give us a call at 757-558-9869 or contact us.

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