Monday, October 4, 2010


Command is the loneliest island –
A tor never scaled without pain;
The power implicit in leading
Sits hard on the weak and the vain.

Each hour in command is a lifetime.
From “welcome aboard” to depart,
The captain may never stand easy,
For the job owns two-thirds of the heart.

If married, the Skipper has a Second,
Whose demands make a spouse take a breath –
Where the uxor expects love and fealty,
Your word leads the Crew unto death.

A judge without robes, you discover
A sword of decision and dread,
Lies heavy to hand, but – a moment!
If you err, it is meant for your head!

Your sway will extend far and near,
The Crew seeks the “Skipper’s” direction,
Be careful you say what it hears!

Captain Steve Myers

Keep an eye out for the Captain's new book "Ice Road to Hell: War At Sea on the Murmansk Run" which has been submitted for publication.  Hopefully, it will hit the street within several months. 

You wanted a challenge ? You have it!


Anonymous said...

I loved my command tour, granted there were times when you certainly realized that you had your own back, but it was undoubtedly the most rewarding tour I have had to date. Command at Sea was the most exhilerating experience of my life. The authors tome makes it seem like a dank anf dreadful place. It is not

TugboatPhil said...

From 1991 to 95 I was Officer in Charge of a Land Craft Utility (LCU), with NEC 0171. I had a 10 man crew, berthing, messing, armory, magazine, supply room, paint locker, two main engine rooms and an anchor engine room. Other than making fresh water we were an independently operating unit within a deployed Amphibious Ready Group. We embarked into well deck capable ships for use in theater as needed. Our main mission was putting Marines ashore, but were also used as a support platform for SEAL, EOD and Diving units.

I was a newly pinned Bos'n Mate Chief with no prior Amphib experience. I had to learn the mission, plus the rated people working for me that were not Deck types. I had EN, EM, SM, and MS Petty Officers and Non Rates. I didn't fully grasp what I had gotten into until I got my first evaluation. The beginning line in my Duties & Responsibilities read: He is INESCAPABLY responsible for the 200 ton,.....

We often anchored away from the "mother ship" while deployed. I had to run my own liberty policy inport if we were tied up pierside. I was never able to fully sleep during that tour just because of the "what if" factor.

I learned early that if I deviated from my normal policy with one crewmember, that I had actually just changed my policy. It was always a juggling act with chainsaws. What made things easier was that the crew more readily accepted my non-UCMJ justice, rather than the real thing which would stay with their service record.

But for all the downsides it was a great experience. It was as close as an enlisted man can come to being a CO. When I attended a pre-assault brief or planning sessions prior to deployment I was treated the same as all the other embarked CO/OICs. There was no better feeling than being called upon to perform a tasking that we'd never done before. I'd be asked if I thought we could do it, and my decision would be given full consideration up through Phib Group level.

Only after I left there and had time to ponder all that I'd done, did I fully appreciate what all my past COs had to deal with. I also understood why they made many of the decisions, that at the time, I thought were the wrong ones.

Thanks for your service to our country!

Steve said...

Thanks for the outstanding point-counterpoint responses. You are right, as I believe I am, too. Our differneces lie in margins of command experience, and in poetic license used to express one's awed view of the balance between Authority and Accountability. A wise mentor once remarked that a commander's authority balances on the razor edge of Power and Accountability. Command is legallly-sanctioned power balanced by legitimate responsibility - and that the "power" component ALWAYS faces a "liability" Janus face for failure. My command tour (ashore) was a singular experience and I tried my best to fulfill suoperiors' expectations and all the while to be a role-model for subordinates - from E1 to O4. "Dark and dreadful" possibilities - that other Janus face - kept me trying hard not to fail the Crew or my own sense of exemplifying JP Jones's definition of a Naval Officer.

MustangCryppie said...

"A wise mentor once remarked that a commander's authority balances on the razor edge of Power and Accountability."

Or as a BUPERS bureaucrat once said to me a little less eloquently when I called to get a policy read, "Sir, you can do anything you want, as long as you can justify it."