After eight years of writing and research, Nicole Waybright finished her memoir, Long Way Out that tells the story of her coming-of-age struggles while deployed as an officer on a U.S. Navy destroyer. Waybright reports the psychological critical moments that she experienced when she discovered she was not cut out for a naval career during her five-year military commitment. Her book sets forth the factual detail based on her service as an officer in the Surface Warfare (SWO) Navy when the initial group of women was stationed aboard naval ships. This intense offering gives the reader a view into a deplorable and tragic account of an egregious executive officer criticized by her seniors when removed from command for "cruelty and maltreatment" of her crew. Nevertheless, she was the first such United States female to command an Aegis destroyer and was infamously known as the female “Captain Bligh.”
(Female Naval Officer saluting an Admiral in the Surface Warfare Group)
The author of this "fictionalized" story while true, uses the name “Brenda” regarding her 18 months aboard Navy destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54) in 1997-1998. She reports the incredibly stressful Navy life during five years of service before her honorable discharge. Her nightmare removed the adventure, romance, and excitement her parents and others, including herself, thought would await her in a world of opportunity for a woman so few had previously had the opportunity she earned. This intense ordeal forced her to find her authentic self after studying the military for her career. That catalyzed her discovery when she submerged into an intense study of self-realization and Jungian psychology.
(Surface Warfare Ships cruising on a mission at sea)
At Boston University on a Naval ROTC scholarship, she graduated with an M.S. cum laude in Mechanical Engineering. Later as a summer intern with the CIA, she had sea duty on a summer cruise aboard the destroyer USS Spruance (DD-963). After college graduation and then six months of Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, RI, "Brenda" flew to Sydney, Australia to rendezvous with her first ship, whose home port is the U.S. Naval Base at Yokosuka, Japan.
(Surface Warfare Destroyer launching a missile)
A determined daughter of conventional patriotic parents, "Brenda" absorbed their goals and planned a practical career in the US Navy. She even dreamed she might attend Naval Nuclear Power School and hoped to serve on one of 10 U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carriers since women were banned from serving on the 70-plus nuclear submarines. To qualify for nuke school, she had to earn the essential Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) pin. However, she experienced chronic sleep deprivation, difficult technical duties, sea-sickness, and discovered her past academic success was insufficient for complex shipboard problems. Then she had to deal with a new Lieutenant Commander XO who made her life miserable.
(SWO pin ceremony for a naval officer who has earned the revered pin!)
Midway through her memoir, she meets the new Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Heather Gates: A woman's blue eyes piercing her "like daggers." The XO's routine of profanity and screaming at subordinates destroyed morale and endangered the ship. The Captain ignored her outrageous conduct since the Navy hierarchy wanted the XO to help recruitment of the new women naval officers.
(Task Force of Navy Jet Aircraft with the Surface Warfare Ships)
Not surprisingly instead, after twelve years Gates was relieved of command and discharged from the Navy for cruelty toward her crews and conduct unbecoming an officer. Yet her record appeared unsullied until her discharge when enough was known to end her disgraceful naval career. At the end of her story, Waybright became a full-time writer, featured speaker, and resided in New England. She found her radicalized self as she explored building a culture of peace. This was truly an inspirational journey of determined woman to find herself under the most excruciating circumstances and achieve what in the past was only for hearty male Naval officers!
(Surface Warfare Navigation room with navigator and female naval officer working to earn her pin!)
Published by SpeakPeace Press Copyright 2016 ISBN: 978-0-9972161-0-3 the first edition of Long Way Out was printed in the United States Softcover / 552 pages
(Nicole Waybright author of Long Way Out)
BIO: Daniel C. Lavery graduated Annapolis, navigated a Navy jet, and then a ship to Vietnam. He resigned, turned peace activist and became a civil rights attorney for Cesar Chavez's UFW and the ACLU. His memoir, All the Difference, describes his change from a pawn to an advocate crusading for justice. HTTP://www.danielclavery.com(Author website)