Saturday, March 7, 2009

Confidence in the leader

From the 1944 Naval Officer's Guide:

"Confidence in the leader promotes discipline; it is towards this end that we aspire in the American Navy. Cheerful, spontaneous cooperation and compliance to orders is the result of proper discipline under a respected leader.

The discipline of fear, "cracking the whip", and threats of punishment is not applicable to our service, nor is it desirable. The American bluejacket is a citizen, who attended the same schools as the officer, who was brought up in the same kind of home, who has lived the same life, and who expects from those placed over him by virtue of their rank and experience the fair play and cooperation that he has been taught to expect as his right."

~ Commander Arthur A. Ageton, USN

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

In respect to the content of the Watch Officers Guide that was recognized by Commander Arthur A. Ageton, USN, and his post. In the not to distant past it has very seldom been the Navy Officers attitude to have any respect for junior enlisted personnel. When I was a Seaman First Class and standing watch as the OOD’s messenger on the USS Manchester (CL 83) the OOD would never even talk to me directly, this was not just one OOD but all OOD’s. Do you really think that these Officers thought they were from the same world as I was? The answer is, no! I did not belong in the same world with them, as I was far below their station. The Watch Officers Guide of 1944 was not followed by the typical Officer, and no Officer of that time, that I was stationed with should claim that it was. In those days (early 1950’s), I did not question an Officers authority over anything that I did as an enlisted individual, and by the way I was not discontented with the way things were. I really thought that is the way things were designed to be. I never read the Watch Officers Guide, and if I had in those days that would not have changed anything. What was stated in that guide was not the practice of Officers at that time but the reasons for noncompliance with those guidelines was never questioned as far as I know.

Very Respectfully,
Navyman834

CAPT/USN/RETIRED said...

Navyman,

I agree. In 1975-1979 while I was a Whitehat, I never spoke to an officer unless spoken to. And rare was the case when I was spoken to. The top of my chain of command, as far as I was concerned, was my Chief. Later, when I was commissioned, it was not unusual for Sailors to speak with me about all manner of things - appropriate or not.

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

Thank you for your affirmation, Captain. When I first entered the navy in 1954 I was very satisfied with the way the Officer, Enlisted communications were. I did not know what the Watch Officers Guide said, it was not my place to know or question, in my opinion. Once I made Chief Petty Officer I felt it was expected that I could voice my opinion to Junior Officers in a respectful manner. By the time I had nearly 20 years in the Navy and Master Chief I felt I was expected to inject my opinion as I felt necessary, to nearly any Officer, but still with respect. After that time and as COB on a Submarine I felt, correctly or incorrectly, that the wellbeing of the Crew and even the Tecumseh was the responsibility that I shared with the Captain and Executive Officer, but I still did that with respect to all concerned.

Very Respectfully,
Navyman834