Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MCPON Thomas Crow

Last Friday I had the opportunity to have lunch with the former Chief of Naval Personnel, VADM Lando W. Zech Jr. Our lunch discussions always make their way toward fine leaders in the Navy and he reminded me of his association and friendship with MCPON Thomas Crow and his wife Carol. VADM Zech told me about how he, CNO ADM Hayward and MCPON Crow established the Navy's Senior Enlisted Academy in Newport, Rhode Island in 1981. It was MCPON Crow's vision of the SEA that made it a reality. MCPON Crow passed away 30 November 2008. His passing affected VADM Zech deeply. MCPON Crow was my second MCPON. This is what VADM Zech had to say about MCPON Crow:
"I will always remember Tom Crow for his great support and his many accomplishments but I will remember him especially: First, for his lovely wife, Carol. Admiral Hayward recognized the importance of family to the sailor and authorized Carol to travel with Tom. This proved to be great initiative. Carol was a wonderful representative, an excellent listener, a very fine speaker, a valuable source of information and a great credit to the Navy. Second, the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy.... Tom Crow believed that having an Academy dedicated to our Senior Enlisted personnel and located in the vicinity of our Naval War College would enhance "Pride and Professionalism" and would be a real boon to senior enlisted leadership. He felt very strongly that the Navy should have its own Academy. Mainly through Tom's personal and forceful drive, the Navy did in 1981 establish its own Senior Enlisted Academy. I was very proud to be there with him to cut the ribbon. Lastly, I will always remember Tom Crow as someone who consistently showed superb leadership by example on a daily basis. He was a strong spokesman for entire enlisted community and he never forgot that he was a Sailor from the fleet and that readiness and fleet are what it's all about. He was one great Shipmate!"

Vice Admiral Lando W. Zech Jr., USN (Retired)
Former CNP


CAPT John G. McCandless, USNR (Ret.) said...


Thanks for your comment on my blog.

Give me a call if you would. I'm in my Toyota office today. 313-259-2004

Capt John McCandless, USNR (Ret)

Capt John McCandless, USNR (Ret) said...

Great article

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

When I was being considered for COB on the USS Tecumseh (SSBN 628), one of the first things the Executive Officer asked my was, if my wife would be a good COB’s wife so she would help take control of events that the wives of Tecumseh personnel would go through when we Sailors were at sea. I had to tell him that I really had no control over what she might do at such events, and that she was not even in favor of me being in the Navy, but I was a Sailor when we got married and I felt she should live up to what she signed up for. She never really understood that philosophy.

The job that I did on the Tecumseh or anyplace else that I served in the Navy had very little to do with my wife. And when I see the many honors and flourishes rendered to individuals and these honors point out the lovely and dedicated wife of the recipient of that award it makes me a little uncomfortable, because I am aware in many cases that the wife was not really appreciative of what her Sailor husband did for a living. What she understood was that this Sailor was gone much of the time and he certainly did not help her very much to raise the children, keep the car repaired, the washing machine working and even the lawn mowed.

In the final analysis, as far as I am concerned, the typical wife of a military person has little or nothing to do in enhancing the career of that military individual and should not expect to be granted laurels due to anything this military individual may achieve.

Very Respectfully,

11 Steps to LCDR said...

COB Hueghes,

In my experience I can completely agree with you and at the same time debunk your comments.

It is true that we live in a different place and time then our predecessors whose wives were truly an integral part of their service and success. I’ve been married three times, and not one of them felt the same about the Navy or my career, if there is way to have three extremes, then I married them. Lucky for me that my present mate is supportive of my career.

Life on boats is not easy for the sailor, and it is likely doubly difficult for those we leave behind. While we go out the business of our daily routine at sea, placing our lives at home on hold, our lives at home is anything but on hold. Thus, I agree with feelings of being torn when heading to sea, leaving all the chores that “only we can do” to the women who “can do anything.” She takes this all on not out of desire but out of necessity. The woman with Grace does this without complaining for she knows that your duty and service is her duty and service as well.

I have had the pleasure of knowing some superb example of military families. A good friend of mine, Col Wes Tillis lost his wife of 30+ years several years ago, he himself passed away this winter. His active duty service ended about the time I was born, and when I met him he was beginning his second or three retirements. Whenever he spoke to me about his years in the Air Force, it ALWAYS began with, “Bev and I…..”

If you are still married to same woman, I hope that you are happy. But imagine what it would have been like to have been married to woman who saw herself as a Navy Wife. These women rarely get the recognition they deserve, and when they do it is usually for our retirements or funerals.


Anonymous said...

11 Steps to LCDR,

Not to be combative but your married life, or lives, supports my standing fairly well. There are women in this world that fully support a man going to sea or war for extended periods of time and doing the things required to hold a family together for those long periods of time, and their struggles are notable.

I was only married to one woman while in the Navy and I got fairly agitated numerous times over her lack of support for what I had to do to serve my country. I will not attempt to go into any of those things and I am no longer married to that woman. And, of course, she felt she was entitled to half my Navy retainer pay and she did get a portion of it. She passed away some 25 years ago. My present wife gives me full support for anything I am involved in. I was retired from the Navy before we were married, so she did not have to endure being a Navy wife.

It was never my intent to say all Navy (military) marriages consist of a service member and a non-supportive wife but in too many cases unfortunately that is true. The old Navy saying of “ If the Navy wanted you to have a wife it would have issued one with your seabag” is more appropriate than one ever thought.

You gave a good example of a couple who were very supportive of each other. And that is great but let me give you a couple of examples that are just the opposite of that example. On the SSBN Tecumseh I had two Sailors in one tender upkeep period go to the Chaplain on the Submarine Tender and claim they no longer supported the present nuclear weapons philosophy that FBM Submarines operated under. These Sailors were weapons trained individuals, petty officers, and Qualified Launcher Supervisors. They made their complaints just a day prior to getting underway for patrol. I went to the Executive Officer as soon as I found what was happening and told him that we should retain these Sailors on board and that I would personally be responsible for them during the upcoming deterrent patrol. I told the Executive Officer that I would make one the laundry queen and assign the other to be TDU operator during the upcoming patrol. This set the Executive Officer back a bit, but it also solved the problem of ships manning and how we would manage to meet our patrol commitments. As it turns out these Sailors had been convinced by their wives that they were tired of them making submarine patrols, but I felt that the commitment they had obligated themselves to should be fulfilled. We never had a Sailor try to pull that stuff again on any subsequent patrol, which only made their Shipmates suffer by having to stand extra watches to compensate for the lack of qualified watch standers. I still put the blame on the wives of these Sailors and I do not know what the end result of this episode was for these Sailors, but the welfare of our country was at stake because we were expected to complete our deterrent patrols regardless of the circumstances.

Very Respectfully,

E. A. Hughes, FTCM (SS)
US Navy (Retired)

11 Steps to LCDR said...

I am with you Master Chief,

We have all to many times seen a sailor re-enlisting and his not so pleased spouse receives a letter of appreciation from the CO "For her dedication to his carerr..." But what's a CO to do? Commands can't ask the sailor if he is happily married before given a his wife an obligitory nod.

Reading back over the Good Captian's original post, and I find nothing there that assumes that all wives, regardless of their support or infidelities, deserve a pat on the back. The Admiral was commenting on a specific person who, in his opinion, was a great woman.

I struggle everyday with being angry and shacking my fist at someone's awful behavior and taking a deep breath and noticing the smile of child riding the Metro for the first time. Happiness truly is a matter of choice.


Anonymous said...


No one appreciates women more than I do, even old Chiefs have Mothers. I do not know why a CO can not ask a Sailor how his wife feels about the Navy. Maybe I am not privy to that particular thing. When my wife received kudos from my CO when I retired she found the nearest trash receptacle after we left the building to deposit that certificate. But it is not my intention to rile you, and you are correct in what you said about Navy wives, and what Captain Lambert had to say about only the wife of MCPON Crow.

I have a general disagreement with the concept of the MCPON, because he acts as nothing more than a Junior Officer that does the biding of and promulgates the feelings and orders of his superiors. The present Chairman of the Joint Chiefs chose not to have his own MCPO of the World or whatever his title would have been. I expect he had enough yes men around him to suit his purposes.

MCPON Crow established the Navy Senior Enlisted Academy after my time in the Navy, and before that time the CPO Mess was the guidance the Chief needed. The Navy did have Race Relations Training, which only tended to make some Sailors think they could get by with infractions of Regulations and the UCMJ in many cases because of their ethnicity. All hands were required to attend but my superiors felt I never had the time to attend. We also had Navy Leadership courses which were required when one was assigned instructor duty but I had two tours of instructor duty during my career and the commands that I was FFT to canceled those orders, they needed the bodies it seems, rather than the qualifications these Sailors might have.

The CPO’s of the Navy many years ago had to prove they were competent and had done so for the prior 75 years or thereabouts. I have disagreed with the Anchor Up philosophy of Captain Lambert, and he may be right today. But when I would enter the Captains Cabin or the Executive Officers Stateroom and shut the door behind me, I, in most cases left there with some satisfaction. They were not God, as some thought, they were only in charge and not totally infallible.

I do not disagree with happiness as a matter of choice, but in a military organization it is more of a matter of adaptability than of choice. I was a happy Sailor and would have stayed forever but became physically unfit.

Very Respectfully,