Monday, June 7, 2010

Finding truth (and oneself) in the closet - give all you've got

"If you give less than you're able to, you'll let everyone down—me, your ship, your Navy, and your country. I can't use people like that. I can only use people who have the courage and discipline to give all they've got."

Admiral Rickover to Midshipman William Toti

Captain Toti never gave less than he was able to. His story "The Wrath of Rickover" is over at USNI PROCEEDINGS in the June 2010 issue.


General Quarters said...

Should Rickover get a free-pass for his humiliating leadership style because he was a genius? Stated another way, is what you can get away with in direct proportion to your competence and status?

Anonymous said...

No, but you can easily add Rickover to the long list of "great" leaders in the Navy of the past that would never have survived the Navy of the present.

Captain - Special Duty Cryptology said...


We have some fairly ignorant folks get away with more than Rickover did with considerable negative impact on the Navy. I give him lots of credit. Most of what he did was without any self interest at all. He wanted a more capable Navy.


Anonymous said...


Any chance you could post the a fore mentioned USNI PROCEEDINGS article here? It sounds like it makes a fairly entertaining read.

Just another anonimouse

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

Many Navy Veterans are unaware of the actual achievements, work ethic, and drive to achieve the objectives that ADM Rickover had and used during his career in the Navy. They have only heard the story's, many of which were basically true to begin with, but are no doubt much exaggerated by now. I was never a nuc, but I had to use my influence as COB to moderate his influence and attitude so that all Sailors on the Boat were not looked at as nucs, for those of you that have never served on a nuclear powered Submarine, here are some things that you would have to face. The CO, the XO and the third in succession of command, the Navigator were required to be nuclear trained engineers. When our Submarine went on patrol the main concern of the full administrative complement of our Officers was the engineering plant (the reactor). And, on one occasion, when our CO gave his pre-patrol briefing and stated that the primary mission of this patrol was to observe reactor safety I felt that the weapons dept and all other individuals on the forward end of the Boat had been slighted, I waited until the CO had finished his presentation and then inserted my own input when he asked if there was any questions. I said “Excuse me Captain, it is my understanding that the primary mission of the SSBN is to provide nuclear deterrent capability and that objective is to prevent nuclear warfare. I know how important the reactor is for propulsion but our job is to be in position to launch missiles, keep those missiles ready to launch, and stay within range of our designated targets. The Captain was surprised at my input, but when I concluded he said “COB you are correct and all personnel onboard should note your input.”

I was fortunate to have met and heard ADM Rickover on a few occasions and he was indeed an abrasive individual toward those whom he controlled directly and always emphasized maximum accountability when you were doing a job where he was in control. In my opinion he was the man most responsible for the Soviets quitting the cold war, to make a long story short, they knew they could not beat his product!

There has been numerous posts by Captain Lambert on the subject of ADM Rickover. If you will type in Rickover on your search line you might even learn something. The Navy has not always been these yes men that we see today.

Very Respectfully,