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Jeff Zahratka

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Command Master Chief Jeff Zahratka, USN (ret.) “entered the Navy in 1972.  He remained on active duty until his retirement in January of 1999.  The story is essentially an autobiography of his adventures and his personal slant on the social issues of the era. The author was initially a technical type known as an interior communications electrician, normally assigned as part of the engineering or combat systems departments on most navy ships.  He readily communicates in the language that Sailors understand and educates the curious about ships and Sailors having been a member of five different crews. The author earned the title of Command Master Chief and spent his final tour aboard the USS KAUFFMAN (FFG-59).  One of his primary duties was counseling the ship’s crew on all matters of personal and professional issues.

Once retired with experience as a counselor the author pursued and obtained a degree in psychology from St Leo University graduating Magna Cum Laude as a forty eight year old in 2002.  From there he went on to an inner city assignment as a group home counselor. Since 2003 the author has instructed young Sailors and their family members at a computer learning facilitator at the Navy’s Master Jet Base in Oceana, Virginia.  There he is able to keep his pulse on how the force is progressing and as the cliché goes, “once a master chief, always a master chief.”  His wife, known in the book as the Heroic Iris, is also a master chief.  She is a reservist who is currently assigned to Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia.  Command Master Chief Jeff Zahratka is the author of Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms: An Enlisted Man's Story.


One reader of Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms: An Enlisted Man's Story said, “This is an outstanding book highly recommended for anyone who has served on "haze gray and underway", for anyone who wants to learn what navy service is all about, and even for officers :) to gain a better insight into what makes sailors tick. Almost every anecdote brought back familiar and fond memories of my own nearly 22 years in the U.S. Navy. Having been stationed in some of the same commands and ports made "Sweepers, Sweepers Man Your Brooms" a very special read. This is not just a book about going to sea or what sailors do, rather an insight into how they think, their likes and dislikes and why they do what they do. To the author, a Hearty Bravo Zulu for a job well done.”

Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms: An Enlisted Man's Story
Jeff Zahratka  More Info

According to the book description of Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms: An Enlisted Man's Story, “The humor and innocence of the United States Navy Sailor is captured in the unique and sportive tales of a salty master chief set in the final quarter of the twentieth century.Sweepers sweepers man your brooms is a phrase readily recognized by any Sailor who ever woke up on a United States Navy ship. In his Navy memoirs Retired Navy Master Chief Jeff Zahratka, a twenty six year veteran chronicles rich adventures that carry the reader to exotic settings from Karachi Pakistan to Severmorsk Russia. Sweepers Sweepers is a colorful story with uncanny notice of the odd occurrences that take place between the life lines of Navy ships and isolated shore establishments- not a story about bombs, battles, or spectacular explosions, Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms is his story about how people of great diversity coexist in eighty-man bedrooms while living out of devices known as coffin lockers.

Consistently found in the effectuation of extraordinary events, the ubiquitous American Sailor may be found crawling through garbage in an equatorial Shellback initiation or baring their derrieres at a Soviet aircraft carrier while traversing the Cape of Good Hope. He may be discovered in hand to hand combat, not with a human enemy manned up at a fire control console on an Aegis cruiser, but with a toilet brush in a Greek hotel room, fighting to the death with a mutated species of an ancient Hellenic centipede.

The author fails miserably at camouflaging his affection for the city of Pittsburgh and his long time devotion to their high powered sports teams. He provides many insightful moments relating to being a fan from afar through some of the greatest years in Steeler and Pirate sports history. The story is a rich and historically accurate account of a caste of characters from seaman recruits with attitudes honed on tough urban streets, to brown juice spitting good ole boys that learned to love the sea. There are associations and first hand opinions on the actions of young naval officers who today are among the top ranking leaders of the force. Sweepers Sweepers Man Your Brooms is a tapestry of the social morays, historical events, and military technologies that define the character of the Navy for the last thirty years. The reader will experience sufficient history to educate, and an infusion of personal opinion which will serve as a catalyst for debate. Above all; however, the story will remind Americans why they love Sailors, and remind old Sailors of why they love the Navy.

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