Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Source of learning

Unhappy Sailors can be the Navy's greatest source of learning.  What are your unhappy Sailors telling you?  Are you listening?

Monday, January 28, 2019

The timeless wisdom of Joe Byerly


Many professionals do not want to write because they feel by doing so they are telling people how to think or that no one will even care what the author, regardless of rank, thinks about a subject. What I have learned over the years is that published ideas, both good and bad, serve as a fuel for workplace conversations. And these conversations, which are a form of professional development, can have positive second and third order effects that the author never intended. 

For example, an article about improving performance counseling could lead to leaders reassessing and eventually changing their counseling programs in a unit on the other side of the globe. The changes may not be exactly in line with the article, but it was the article that got that commander or first sergeant thinking and talking about counseling in the first place.

Much more is available HERE.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Letter writing etiquette


For some of my naval officer contemporaries.  I don't know why you didn't learn this at the USNA, in your NROTC program or at officer candidate school.


As a rule, every letter, unless insulting in its character, requires an answer. To neglect to answer a letter, when written to, is as uncivil as to neglect to reply when spoken to. In the reply, acknowledge first the receipt of the letter, mentioning its date, and afterwards consider all the points requiring attention. From @artofmanliness

Monday, January 21, 2019

Bad Detailing Assignments

I loved hearing this from a detailer buddy of mine recently :

"There really isn't any such thing as a bad Information Warfare/Cryptology assignment.  There are only different kinds of good assignments."

I'm not going to argue with that.  Sign me up for another tour.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

"Command" is a marvelous instrument


"Command" is a marvelous instrument. Commanding Officers who fail to make the most of it to maximize mission accomplishment and Sailor development are cowards.

Captain John Mitchell
United States Navy

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Remembering my friend, mentor and lunch partner


http://www.robcannonphoto.com
Back in 1981, the Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Admiral Lando W. Zech Jr. made a very wise detailing decision.  He sent CWO3 Wallace Louis Exum to teach celestial navigation at Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.  I was one of hundreds of his students at OCS.  Both men influenced my Navy career greatly.  VADM Zech signed off on my first set of orders in June of 1982, sending me to Atsugi, Japan to fly with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1).  Thirty years later, both men were still in touch with me and we developed into great friends.

Sadly, Vice Admiral Zech passed away eight years ago this month and is no longer with us, except in spirit.  The last time I saw him, he was in good spirits. He was ill and weakened from his lengthy hospital stay - but his spirits were high. We talked a little bit about the USNA honoring him and a few of the other guys recently for being Captains of their varsity baseball teams over the years.  He was very proud of his years at the United States Naval Academy.

Besides being an athlete, he was very much an old school nuclear submariner and later a surface warfare officer. My goodness, how he loved the Navy and his family.  After his retirement from the Navy, he was Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  He left behind a wonderful widow - Jo, 5 beautiful daughters and many grand children.  And a very sad Shipmate who still grieves deeply and tries to keep his memory alive in all ways that he can.  Farewell Admiral Zech.  Those who knew you - loved and respected you greatly.  Those who didn't - missed out on a great experience.  I said my good-byes at Arlington National Cemetery but they were in no way - final good-byes.  You will remain fresh in my memory.

His obituary:

ZECH LANDO W. ZECH. JR Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Former NRC Chairman Lando W. Zech, Jr., age 87, a retired Navy Vice Admiral who later served as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission died on Sunday, January 9, 2011. Admiral Zech, a resident of Falls Church, VA was born in Astoria, Oregon and spent his youth in Seattle, Washington, where he attended Roosevelt and Lakeside high schools. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1941. At Annapolis, he played varsity baseball and basketball. In his senior year, he captained the baseball team. Admiral Zech served 39 years in the Navy after his graduation from the Naval Academy in 1944 with the World War II Class of 1945. His first assignment was to the destroyer USS JOHN D. HENLEY (DD 553) in the western Pacific where he participated in the second battle for the Philippines, the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns and on picket station duty off the coast of Japan during the last days of the war. After the war and a second destroyer tour on the USS HENRY W. TUCKER (DD 875), Admiral Zech volunteered for submarine duty and subsequently commanded four submarines, USS SEA ROBIN (SS 407), USS ALBACORE (AGSS 569), and after nuclear power training, USS NAUTILUS (SSN 571) and USS JOHN ADAMS (SSBN 620). He later commanded the guided missile cruiser USS SPRINGFIELD (CLG 7). Upon his selection to flag rank, he served as Commandant of the Thirteenth Naval District in Seattle, WA, the Chief of Naval Technical Training in Memphis, TN and as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Japan in Yokosuka. After his selection to Vice Admiral he served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel and Training and Chief of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. He retired from the Navy in 1983. Admiral Zech graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College, the National War College and received a Masters Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. In addition to campaign and foreign service medals he was awarded two Distinguished Service Medals, two Legions of Merit and the Navy Commendation Medal. On retiring from the Navy he was appointed a Commissioner and later Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by President Ronald Reagan. During this 5 year appointment he visited all 110 nuclear powered plants in the United States and many plants overseas including Chernobyl after the accident in the then Soviet Union. After retiring from the NRC, he served on the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Edison Company (now Exelon) for another 5 years and later as a Nuclear Safety consultant. Admiral Zech had been a resident of Falls Church since 1983. He was a parishioner of the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington, VA, a supporter of the U.S. Naval Academy, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S.A., the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and a member of the Army Navy Country Club. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Josephine K. Zech; five daughters: Janet Z. Cocke (James) of Richmond, VA, Joanne Z. Lyons (Coleman) of Atlanta, GA, Nancy Z. Cunnane (Robert) of Coto de Caza, CA, Carol M. Zech of Arlington, VA and Patricia Z. Nelson (Kirk) of Sammamish, WA.; his 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Also surviving are his brothers, Dr. Robert J. Zech and Dr. Jerome M. Zech, both of Seattle. He was preceded in death by his brother John R. Zech. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Criticism as praise

My old boss, SECDEF Rumsfeld was fond of saying, "If you're not being criticized, you may not be doing much." If you are a man of action (MOA), you are bound to upset some folks. Providing constructive criticism is an art form in and of itself. How do you practice the art?

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Annual award rant

In my mind, having your boss ask you to write your own personal award and FITNESS Report is akin to her telling you to write yourself your own 'thank you' note for your good deed or after your two/three year assignment.  It makes no sense at all to me; don't do it.  If you are a leader and you can't write your immediate subordinate's award/fitness report, shame on you.

 This is something that is getting some attention in Congressional sub-committees of the Senate/House Armed Services Committees (SASC/HASC).  With the attention given to the Stolen Valor Act and similar issues - the Congress is paying much more attention to military awards - who gets them, how they get them, why they get them and how many get them.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Great American turns 81




Captain Clyde C. Lopez, United States Navy - retired, celebrates his 81st birthday today.  This great American enlisted in the Navy in October 1955 and served for 40 years, retiring in 1995.

His illustrious Navy career would fill volumes.  It is sufficient to say that he was a Sailor worthy of being called a Shipmate by all who know him.

He was born on this day in 1937 in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Sir, Happy Birthday SHIPMATE !!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Certain Aspects of Our Profession Are Fundamental - They Should Never Change

Rear Admiral James S. McFarland and I carried on a regular correspondence for almost 20 years. He was a great mentor and a conscientious note/letter writer. This last response was just before his death in February 2003. We had been exchanging ideas about the future of cryptology in our Naval profession. He was committed to the idea that some aspects of our profession were fundamental and should never change.


He was deeply proud of the 10,000 or so Sailors that comprised the Cryptologic Community. He, more than most, understood the value of those Sailors to the Navy and its mission. He believed in taking care of those Sailors and his Sailors knew it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Recall to active duty

Click on photo for bio

Shipmates,

I am hearing that RADM Sean R. Filipowski has been recalled to active duty.  This is unusual.  I have not heard from him since he retired.  Seems to have gone off the grid.  My letters to him at his farm in NY have gone unanswered. 

Any info?

Thanks
Mike

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Slackness in command




https://www.azquotes.com/quote/41598

The atmosphere of a Navy or a ship is created by the attitude of the officers. Officers are obligated to insure that each of their subordinates knows that the senior officers, and the Navy, do care about men as individuals. Each person in the Navy must have assurance that his progress, his training, his career, and his performance of duty are of concern to the Navy.

Slackness in Command. All major catastrophes in the loss of discipline in all organizations have been preceded by a general slackness in the command. The old saying that a taut ship is a happy ship is still true. The reason is that on a taut ship the officers and the men know where they stand and what is expected of them. There can be complete dependence on one's associates, for lack of reliability will be brought up with a round turn. On such ships, all men do a day's work, not just the conscientious ones. There are no soft billets in a taut outfit. The officers and the men are on the job and require others to be on the job. Chiselers and transgressors are promptly punished while their offenses are still minor.

From:  General Discipline in the Navy, ADM A.A. Burke

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Feedback to my CO in 2003.

Ensigns, don't try this at your command

This is a summary of my 360 degree feedback to a former commanding officer. Skipper, there's no doubt you're going to be a leader in the community; these things may help you.
  • You are a great speaker. Be careful not to lose the feeling behind the words. Words have meaning; actions have con­sequences. Ensure your actions match your words. Some Sailors actually listen to every word. They can sense any hint of insincerity. 
  • Your command philosophy should be written down and distributed widely in the command. This is a huge reason for the CNO's success in the Navy. We all know where he's going and we talk about it. The command wants to follow you. Tell us where you want to go. 
  • Respect our time. Typically, ten or more people are always awaiting your late arrival at some function (staff meeting, wardroom meetings, dinners, graduations, etc). If people believe that you are willing to consistently waste their time, they will stop feeling guilty about wasting yours. 
  • Be consistent with your administration of military justice. It's easy to punish junior members in the command for trivial violations. Applying the same standards across the board does not always work. In fact, the more senior the individual is, the more accountable they should be held for their action or inaction. Everyone is watching and judging. 
  • When senior officers visit the command, maximize their exposure to the junior Sailors of the command. They will benefit the most. 
  • Take your junior officers, Chiefs, and Sailors to lunch or simply go have lunch with them in their mess. Everyone will learn a lot, especially you. 
  • Invite your key command leaders to your home for a social event so they can see how it's done. Juniors need to see how their seniors do this. It's part of the learning process. 
  • Share information with your department heads. It is astounding how much information a commanding officer is exposed to and that is not shared with the department heads. Distributed information is enormously powerful. Your department heads can keep a secret if there is a requirement for secrecy. Trust them. 
  • Don't play favorites with members of the wardroom. It hurts the wardroom and it hurts you. 
  • Focus your calendar on the command 's mission. Ceremonial events and public relations are important, but your time should be spent on those areas the commanding officer can directly influence for the greatest benefit to the command's mission. 
From my January 2007 PROCEEDINGS magazine article "360-Degree Feedback: Can We Handle the Truth?"  You can subscribe to PROCEEDINGS (the professional journal of the U.S. Navy) HERE.


Stay tuned to this blog for the 360-degree feedback I received from everyone following my command tour. It's a very interesting and eye opening experience.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Genius

“Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.” 

— R. Buckminster Fuller


For my Shipmate Sean - don't let them de-genius you in your new role.