Monday, May 31, 2010

"Requiem for a Sailor"

I know not what lies beyond or in who's care I'll be-
But it must end as it began-
My dust will mingle with each curling wave and perhaps I'll a merman be-
And there will be singing and dancing sea horses prancing, and a harem of mermaids all trembling for me-
When I am called to my home in the sea.
God Bless our Sailors who have rested their oars for the last time.

Have a blessed Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Come sail with me

"Sign on, young man, and sail with me. The stature of our homeland is no more than the measure of ourselves. Our job is to keep her free. Our will is to keep the torch of freedom burning for all. To this solemn purpose we call on the young, the brave, the strong, and the free. Heed my call, Come to the sea. Come Sail with me."

Captain John Paul Jones

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shaping the truth

Military Academies: A National Treasure
May 27, 2010
By Vice Admiral Jeffrey L. Fowler,
U.S. Navy,
Superintendent, U.S. Naval Academy

Developing our nation's future military officers is an important national priority. Professional military officers, and the training and education systems that prepare these leaders, significantly contribute to the armed forces' ability to promote peace and prevail in war. A May 21st opinion piece in the New York Times, The Academies' March Toward Mediocrity, casts doubt on the effectiveness of our military academies in producing the qualified leaders needed to serve in our armed services. The author of the op-ed specifically states that "mediocrity is the norm" at our academies. I strongly disagree with the author's assertions and conclusions. My perspective on the value of our military academies emerges from 32 years of naval service to include five command tours of duty, operating with our nation's other military branches and allied nations, and encountering the full spectrum of military operations. I have observed countless military academy graduates over my career and can say without the slightest hesitation that these graduates make significant contributions to the well-being of our forces and demonstrate their value to our national defense on a daily basis. As the superintendent of the Naval Academy for the past three years, I have been honored to guide the development process of thousands of midshipmen and can state with confidence that we provide the Navy and Marine Corps with superb young officers who prove their mettle every day in the mountains and villages of Afghanistan, and on, above and below the world's sea lanes. The op-ed author seems to base his opposition to the academies on three tenets. The first is academy graduates cost more than Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) graduates and this additional cost is not providing the taxpayer with a superior product. The second is that a focus on intercollegiate athletics has had a detrimental impact on the academies' "pursuit of excellence." And the third is that there is "an unofficial affirmative- action preference in [academy] admissions." I will address each of these arguments in turn. The military academies are of course not the sole source of our nation's officers. For more than a half-century, our officer commissioning sources have included academies, university ROTC programs and officer candidate schools (OCS). Periodic discussions that frame the commissioning source debate as simply a one-or-the-other option dismiss the fact that our military benefits from the distinctive qualities offered by each commissioning source. The military academies have the unique role of providing officers who are immersed in the traditions and values of their respective services and motivated to share and sustain those traditions and values throughout our armed forces. Those who enter the military via ROTC or OCS bring their own unique perspectives and experiences, but have not had the same intense exposure to the daily routine of military life. The cost associated with educating a Naval Academy midshipman is also far less than stated in the May 21st op-ed. When a midshipman fails to complete the academy program and is charged for their four-year education, that bill comes to $170,000, a figure established by the Department of the Navy. The costs associated with educating an academy student are in fact comparable to or less than the total realized costs of educating an ROTC student at select private or other state-funded universities. At the Naval Academy we take seriously our obligation to the American taxpayers to achieve the maximum return on their investment. Service academies, as compared to other commissioning sources, also have the ability to quickly adapt academic, leadership and professional curricula to emerging threats and changing world conditions. Simply stated, Naval Academy programs reflect the needs of the customer - the active duty Navy and Marine Corps. Since we control what is taught in academic and professional courses, the Naval Academy has, for example, over the past three years been able to quickly increase foreign language and cultural exposure, initiate cyber warfare studies, adjust engineering and science courses, and tailor ethical decision making case studies to the reality of today's warfare - all to better prepare our graduates to serve in an increasingly interdependent and dynamic world. In response to the op-ed author's concern about athletic excellence, I must stress that the academies graduate physically fit leaders, not merely scholars. All academy students are student-athletes who strive for physical development via daily fitness routines and either mandatory intramurals, club sports or varsity athletics. While it may be popular to diminish the value of athletic competition at the intercollegiate level, the military academies represent some of the best examples of student-athletes who compete at the highest levels. This commitment to excellence on the field complements the classroom, where the Naval Academy continually ranks number one or two in the nation for student-athlete graduation rates. Our commitment to athletics also contributes to our midshipmen learning about teamwork, esprit de corps and overcoming adversity. Naval Academy student-athlete graduates are serving faithfully at all levels of the Navy and Marine Corps, from the most junior officers to 4-star admirals, including two former Naval Academy varsity athletes who between them lead U.S. military operations spanning two-thirds of the globe. Finally, I will address our admissions process. The service academies are national institutions due to our mission to produce leaders for our nation and because our student bodies are comprised of the talent from every corner of America. We search diligently in every congressional district for candidates who are well-rounded morally, mentally and physically, and offer the experience and perspectives that enrich the life of the academy and our military. The backgrounds of these potential candidates cross all racial, gender, ethnic, socio-economic, religious and geographic lines. I must emphasize that we admit only highly motivated, well-rounded individuals based upon their combined excellence in academics, athletics, leadership potential and community service. Applicants compete in a single, fair, structured and highly selective process. Simply stated, the Naval Academy's admissions processes are in accordance with applicable federal laws and based on an individual's performance and potential for future success as a naval officer. Not surprisingly, the competition to receive appointments to the academies is intense. Every academy has encountered an increase in the numbers of applicants over the last few years. This increase in applicants goes far beyond economic reasons and reflects the fact that young Americans want to tackle the challenge of an academy, gain useful real-world leadership experiences and be part of something bigger than themselves. Witnessing the commitment to service prevalent across the nation, this generation is running toward the fire, not away from it. We believe the Naval Academy's reputation for excellence - both past and present - is enduring. We seek young men and women who will be able to balance a demanding academic, physical and leadership development curriculum. As a result, the military academies have been and continue to be ranked among the nation's very top colleges. Many educators, guidance counselors, professional associations and the media recognize the academies for their challenging, progressive and effectual educational programs. Important indicators at the Naval Academy point to a program that demonstrates excellence, not "mediocrity. " A 10-year analysis of semester GPA's shows an upward trend in spite of an increasingly demanding curriculum and an unwavering commitment to maintain the highest of standards in the classroom. During this same timeframe, we note similar progress in our cumulative multiple that measures a student's combined academic, physical and military performance. The number of midshipmen achieving recognition on the academy's very competitive merit lists has increased, including a doubling of the minority students achieving this distinction over the past 10 years. Nearly 84% of the Naval Academy Class of 2010, all completing a demanding technical course load, will graduate in four years. This achievement very favorably compares to the national average that approaches 30% and 55% for the four- and six-year graduation rates, respectively. The ultimate measure of the academies' value, however, is the performance of our graduates. Across the board, the feedback we receive is that recent academy graduates are performing superbly, and our Navy and Marine Corps are well served by these leaders. The senior enlisted and officer leaders of our Navy and Marine Corps are telling us that when our graduates report to their units, these young men and women are ready. And those units and our graduates in recent months have been called upon to provide disaster assistance in Haiti, conduct anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa and engage in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. There is no room for mediocrity in these operational theaters and our graduates are proving they are up for the challenge. A recent decision by the Navy SEALS, arguably one of the most selective and demanding training programs in our military, again points to the quality of Naval Academy graduates. To head off undesirable attrition rates in training, the SEALs increased the dispersal of Naval Academy graduates undergoing SEAL training with officers from other commissioning sources. The Naval Academy graduates' high performance and example of teamwork and drive helped to influence their peers and achieve a noticeable decrease in overall attrition within the SEAL training pipeline. We receive additional feedback from our congressionally mandated board of visitors-comprised of elected officials, business executives and educators who are appointed by either Congress or the President. These very experienced and accomplished leaders continue to applaud the academies' accomplishments, contributions and direction. Lastly, the military academies continue to do more than simply graduate officers. As "leadership laboratories" for our students, the mission of the military academies has and continues to include an obligation to graduate leaders to serve the nation. Academy graduates have and will continue to contribute to the military and nation in many ways. Whether our graduates serve a career in the military, or assume positions in government, business and education, academy graduates are highly sought out for their leadership skills and propensity to succeed. The one point upon which I do agree with the op-ed author is that the academies must always remain vigilant to maintain the level of excellence demanded by our citizens and continually assess and monitor our progress. I believe we are maintaining the highest standards, preparing our young men and women for the complex and volatile world they will face and graduating extraordinary leaders to serve our Navy, Marine Corps and nation. As we march forward, we march only in one direction and that is the direction of selfless service and professional excellence.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Speak Hard Truths

"What must be unchanging, what must be enduring, is the quality of the sailors and Marines on board these ships and serving ashore. They must have moral as well as physical courage; they must have integrity; they must think creatively and boldly. They must have the vision and insight to see that the world and technology are constantly changing and that the Navy and Marine Corps must therefore change with the times – ever flexible and ever adaptable. They must be willing to speak hard truths, including to superiors – as did their legendary forebears."
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Over at the United States Naval Academy

"The Firsties have never known a Honor system that didn't favor an athlete, a minority or a privileged child. The Firsties have never even known conduct or separation policies that didn't do the same. They have spent four years watching good men and women, whom honorably faulted in grades and conduct be separated. For four years they understood that that decision was not their's to make or even scrutinize, because of the nature of their future duties as officers. Then, with frighteningly increasing frequency they have watched the un-honorable, unqualified and un-dedicated be retained for reasons of athletic and statistical contribution."

From a member of the USNA Class of 2010.

Cross posted excerpt from CDR Salamander.

NOTE: I did not have the great honor of attending USNA, but I value it as a National and Navy treasure.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Naval Operations Concept 2010

The pathway of man’s journey through the ages is littered with the wreckage of nations, which, in their hour of glory, forgot their dependence on the seas.
Brigadier General James D. Hittle,
USMC (Retired), 1961
Military Historian and Theorist


Give it a read.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The new Information Warfare Officer - FY2011 Commander Selectees



And, my man, Paul Wilkes (LDO) at SOCOM (former Commander, Naval Security Group Command SAILOR OF THE YEAR !!)

2010 IWOL Listing

Many search hits on this blog for the Information Warfare Officer Listing (IWOL).

It can be found at the URL below. A CAC is required.

Senator Sestak ??

Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (DCNO) Vice Adm. Joseph Sestak was “administratively reassigned” July 25 by new Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen, according to Rear Adm. T. McCreary, chief of naval information.

“Rear Adm. Mark Edwards, currently serving as director of the Surface Warfare Division, will serve as the acting DCNO until such time as a relief can be identified, nominated and confirmed,” McCreary said.

A source within the Navy Department said there were no allegations of misconduct on the part of Sestak. Rather, he said, the move is being made because of poor command climate.

Sestak was forced to retire as a Rear Admiral.

Rep. Joe Sestak says he is not going to turn over Navy personnel records that might rebut the stories he was let go from a top Pentagon job for creating a "poor command climate" among subordinates.

In fairness to Rep. Sestak, the Navy should release an official statement on the reasons behind VADM Sestak's 'administrative reassignment'.

As for the decision by Admiral Mullen, who is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Rep. Sestak said: “He wanted things a certain way. He wanted a different team, and he had the right to that, and I have the greatest respect for him.”


Monday, May 24, 2010

Shame, shame, shame - on us

Marine veteran Nyles Reed, 75, opened an envelope to learn a Purple Heart had been approved for injuries he sustained in the Korean War on June 22, 1952.

But there was no medal. Just a certificate and a form stating that the medal was "out of stock." The form letter from the Navy Personnel Command told Reed he could wait 90 days and resubmit an application, or he could purchase his own medal.

"I can imagine, of course, with what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, there's a big shortage," Reed said. "At least, I would imagine so."

After waiting 55 years, however, Reed decided to pay $42 for his own Purple Heart and accompanying ribbon — plus state sales taxes — at a military surplus store...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Truth to power

A man who is unwilling to speak "truth to power" has no advantage over the mute who cannot speak.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cryptologic ROCK STAR !!

CTT1(SW/AW) Cassandra L. Foote, from the Center for Information Dominance (CID) Pensacola, Florida (commanded by Captain Gary Edwards) had already been selected as the Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education Sailor of the Year. Yesterday, she was selected as the Chief of Naval Operations Shore Activities Sailor of the Year! She joined the Navy in 2001 and has served onboard USS WINSTON CHURCHILL, USS DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, and CID Pensacola. She completed an IA in 2008. PO1 Foote will be meritoriously promoted to Chief Petty Officer this Summer.

BRAVO ZULU Shipmate!! It doesn't get much better than that !

More on CTT1(SW/AW) Foote:

Foote is the leading petty officer for CID's Navy Military Training battalion, overseeing instruction for new Sailors in general military knowledge, physical fitness, personal financial planning, and military bearing. As the command's assistant coordinator for the Master Training Specialist program, she developed written tests and oral examination boards to enhance the training of instructors, resulting in a 10 percent higher qualification rate for personnel.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Our Shipmate -- Mr. Frank McInturff III - USS LIBERTY SURVIVOR retires today

Our Shipmate Frank McInturff III is retiring today, 21 May 2010 after 44 years of selfless service to the United States Navy in a variety of roles as a Sailor and civil servant.

He won the Bronze Star for his service aboard USS LIBERTY when she was attacked by the Israelis on June 8, 1967. He was a seaman at the time and tended to many of the LIBERTY's wounded and dying.

Frank McInturff III concludes his service to the U.S. Navy at the Navy Information Operations Command Pensacola, Florida.

During my time as Director of Training at the Center for Naval Cryptology, Corry Station, Florida, Frank was responsible for introducing and implementing the courses which have become the core of current Cryptologic Technician Networks (CTN) "A" and "C" school training.

Sir, we wish you "fair winds and following seas" in your new adventures - post Navy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Information Warfare Officer Community Manager (IWOCM)

Commander Andy Newsome is on his way to Millington, Tennessee to assume duties as the Information Warfare Officer Community Manager (IWOCM) previously held by Commander Sean R. Heritage (who is at Command Leadership School) now enroute Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Pensacola, Florida as its new Commanding Officer.

Commander Newsome has completed a very successful tour as Commander Carrier Strike Group (CCSG) - 10 Cryptologic Resource Coordinator (CRC) embarked in CVN-75 USS HARRY S TRUMAN. Commander Newsome has been relieved by LCDR Chad Smith.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


The number of women selected to participate in the Navy's nuclear submarine training program.

Lisa Brodsky, a recent Hampton University (a historically and predominantly Black college & university) graduate and Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) midshipman, is one of the first 19 females in the nation selected to train for service aboard a U.S. Navy submarine.

Bravo Zulu !! Pictured below are some of the other female NROTC midshipmen chosen for the program.

Number Eight

Commander Neil Funtanilla, commanding officer of the destroyer USS The Sullivans, was relieved by Rear Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of Combined Task Force 50, after Davidson ruled in an admiral’s mast he had lost confidence in Funtanilla’s ability to command. Funtanilla had been in command since August 2009.

USS The Sullivans was on its way into the port of Manama when it stuck a buoy in March 2010.

So far,

1. Captain John Titus - Navy Supply Corps School Athens, Georgia (JUDGMENT-Morality/Failed to adequately punish offenders)
2. Captain Holly Graf - USS Cowpens (PROFESSIONALISM-Abuse of crew)
3. Captain Glen Little - Charleston, South Carolina Naval Weapons Center (JUDGMENT- Morality)
4. Commander Scott Merritt - NSA North Potomac (JUDGMENT-Morality)
5. Commander Tim Weber, USS Truxtun (JUDGMENT-Morality/improper relationship with subordinate)
6. Captain Bill Reavey, NAS Pensacola (JUDGMENT-Morality)
7. Commander Jeff Cima, USS Chicago (JUDGMENT-Alcohol induced comments)
8. Commander Neil Funtanilla, USS The Sullivans (PROFESSIONALISM-Buoy scrape)
Number 9 ? Number 9?

Some are wondering if the Navy would like to take this one back. By all accounts Commander Funtanilla was an extraordinary Commanding Officer. Will someone reach out to save his career?

Type Commander for Cryptology

CYBERFOR is the type commander for cryptology, signals intelligence, cyber, electronic warfare, information operations, intelligence, networks and space disciplines. CYBERFOR will report to Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces.

As the TYCOM, CYBERFOR will be responsible for organizing and prioritizing manpower, training, modernization and maintenance requirements, as well as coordinating capabilities of command and control architecture and networks; cryptologic and space-related systems; and intelligence and information operations activities. CYBERFOR will be headquartered at Joint Expeditionary Base, Little Creek-Fort Story.

RADM Tom Meek assumed command of Navy Cyber Forces on Friday, 14 May 2010.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Today is only today for us

"You maintain a vigilant watch in the newest warfighting domain targeting against those who are intent on denying the very way of life which we hold so dear," Deets said. "We now have the opportunity to write a new chapter. We must be able to fight and win in the digital domain, ensuring our unfettered ability to maneuver in the new cyber sea lanes of the world."

"Remember today is only today for us. Shortly, it will be history for those who will stand in your ranks tomorrow," Deets said. "Write this important chapter so that admirals who follow us will tell young Sailors of your heroic deeds. Go make history, and thank you for the opportunity for me to help take you there."

Rear Admiral Ned Deets
on assumption of command of Naval Network Warfare Command (NNWC)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gratitude and Appreciation

Gratitude and appreciation are virtues every Naval officer should cultivate. Yet gratitude and appreciation mean nothing if you haven’t mastered the art of expressing it. An officer should use every opportunity to express to those around him how much he appreciates their work, support, and generosity.

One of the key ways of expressing gratitude and appreciation is the hand-written note. Unfortunately, many officers today completely overlook this aspect of etiquette. Every officer should be knowledgeable of the when’s and how’s of hand writing. Being a frequent and skillful writer of them will set you apart from your uncouth peers.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Who we were. . .

A few fir-built frigates manned by a handful of bastards and outlaws.
—The London Times, 1812 (of the U.S. Navy)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Reminder for our SECDEF on Armed Forces Day

Amphibious flexibility is the greatest strategic asset that a sea-based power possesses.
—B.H. Liddell Hart, 1960

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Man's Judgment is best

A man's judgment is best when he can forget himself and any reputation he may have acquired and can concentrate wholly on making the right decisions.
—Admiral Raymond Spruance

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Serve the large purposes of free men

There is a tradition in the sea-going profession, a tradition of the sea that is older than the traditions of our great country. . . . This is the philosophy of the Navy. It is the time-honored tradition of men who must meet the challenge of the sea. It is the philosophy inherited by the United States from those who have braved the seas to find freedom and fulfillment, and it must be your philosophy as Americans if you are to serve the large purposes of free men on earth.
—Admiral Arleigh A. Burke, U.S. Navy, Chief of Naval Operations, 1959

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Navy's Newest Golden Thirteen - a few generations removed

The first 13 women chosen to join the U.S. Navy's submarine force include 11 Naval Academy midshipmen:

• Tabitha Gant, Bowie, Md.

• Abigail Gesecki, Luzerne, Colo.

• Elizabeth Hudson, Plymouth, Mass.

• Peggy LeGrand, Amarillo, Texas

• Rachel Lessard, Newburyport, Mass.

• Kristin Lyles, Fairfax Station, Va.

• Laura Martindale, Roselle, Ill.

• Marquette Ried, Fort Collins, Colo.

• Kayla Sax, Richland, Wash.

• Misty Webster, Wesley Chapel, Fla.

• Jessica Wilcox, Honesdale, Pa.

Two NROTC midshipmen at North Carolina State University also have been picked:

• Megan Bittner, Chesapeake, Va.

• Karen Achtyl, Rochester, N.Y.

The original Golden 13 can be found HERE.

Hostile Intent

The determination of hostile intent is the single most difficult decision that a commander has to make in peacetime.

—Admiral Frank Kelso

For more than 75 years, cryptologists and cryptologic technicians have been the single greatest Navy contributors to the commander's understanding of our adversary's intent.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Controlled burn....

ADM J. C. Harvey, Jr USN said...

we will be doing a "controlled burn" of staffs, programs and processes to get rid of those entities, policies and processes that simply do not add real value to our ability to deploy ready forces - should be a very interesting next couple of years. Stay tuned! All the best, JCHjr

Do not refer to him by name

Do not refer to the captain by name. He is The Captain.
—Recruit‘s Handbook, U.S.S. West Virginia (1935)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Navigating Life - Steering One's True Course

Happy 83rd Birthday
CWO4 Exum !!

Today, at 83 years young, Wallace Louis Exum remains the embodiment of true Navy leadership.
He is a man who lives his life richly in our Navy’s history, has performed bravely in battle, written lovingly about our Navy’s past and has prepared so many young men and women to lead our Navy’s future.

The Navy brought onto its rolls an improbable leader and a truly remarkable individual in an underaged 16 year old Seaman Recruit named Wallace Louis Exum in September 1943. Born in Akron, Ohio and raised mostly in the Los Angeles, California area by his two very loving parents, “Wally” Exum knew he had to perform his patriotic duty and join his young friends fighting the war in the Pacific.

Seaman Exum had not been in the Navy long before he strayed from his true course. More than once, he ran afoul of the Navy’s rules and regulations. Somewhere early-on he earned the nickname “Bigtime” for his easy-going manner, his extra thick Navy mattress and his home-of-record -- Los Angeles. More than once he had some difficulty in finding his way back to his ship on time. But, he never did anything seriously wrong and NEVER ONCE did he ever do anything with malice against anyone.

17 February 1945 marked one of the many milestones in his life when he was wounded in battle as his Landing Craft Infantry (LCI-457) came under fire during the battle for Iwo Jima. On 17 February 1945, Landing Craft Infantry vessels supported underwater demolition teams (UDT), which conducted beach and surf condition surveillance and neutralized underwater obstacles. Japanese coastal batteries heavily damaged 12 of the vessels, resulting in 38 killed and 132 wounded. At 18 years old, Wally was among those many young men wounded who earned the Purple Heart Medal. The skipper of his LCI, a LT, won the Navy Cross.

Having won the war on both sides of the world, the military released many young men from the service. Wally Exum was among those men. But, somehow, he always found his way back to the Navy. He served in the Navy during the Korean War and Vietnam.

Over his career he found himself at sea for 18 years and gave the Navy and the nation 42 years of selfless service. His service took him around the world. He continues to serve the Navy in retirement today as a “Goodwill Ambassador”; his wonderful books tell the Navy’s story – and a wonderful story it is.

In 1981 at 55 years old, he was the first (and only) Chief Warrant Officer assigned as an instructor to the Navy’s Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island. Somehow, the Chief of Naval Personnel, VADM Lando Zech had a personal hand in assigning CWO3 Exum to OCS. As a Celestial Navigation instructor, he would prepare hundreds of young men and women for successful careers as Naval officers – showing them all how to “navigate life – steering one’s true course”.

VADM Zech was certain that CWO3 Exum was the right man to develop these young men and women into professional Naval officers. VADM Zech sent exactly the right man. By all reports CWO3 Exum was an excellent navigation instructor.

With few (if any) exceptions, the officer candidates loved their instructor. Frequently he would spend many extra hours in the evenings with the officer candidates, teaching them the finer points of using a sextant to “shoot the stars” – absolutely essential to celestial navigation.

His evening lectures always ended with the same admonition to the young people trusted to his care. “Remember, ladies and gentlemen”, he would always say, “you can shoot the stars but we never shoot the moon.” The groans from the officer candidates would follow him all the way back to the parking lot where he parked a beautiful convertible Cadillac that his “even more beautiful” Joyce (one of the two loves in his life – the other being his daughter Marilyn) had given to him.

Without their realizing it at the time, Warrant Officer Exum was teaching these young people how to navigate their lives – not just celestial navigation. He taught them good manners, courtesy, honesty, patience, teamwork, integrity and so much more. He taught hundreds of young men and women to be good Naval officers. Those officers went on to lead thousands of Chief Petty Officers and Sailors in our great Navy. It is reasonable to say that CWO Exum impacted the lives of tens of thousands of Sailors through his good work and leadership in Newport, Rhode Island. He helped produce countless Navy Captains and certainly a few Admirals for the Navy. Not too bad for a 55 year old Chief Warrant Officer who was originally uncertain about his ability to get the job done for his friend and mentor Vice Admiral Zech.

Following duty as an instructor and Company Officer at Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, CWO4 Exum was assigned as the Security Officer at the Fleet Activity Sasebo, Japan. Once again, he was challenged to put Sailors on their true course. He had no idea that he would be providing course corrections for his Commanding Officer. But, it didn’t matter. The CO was off course and it was CWO4 Exum’s duty to bring him back to the right course. Turns out the CO was violating Navy Regulations by allowing bulk sales of alcohol to Sailors during all hours of the day and was not attentive to many security issues confronting Fleet Activities Sasebo. Besides being against Navy Regulations, these bulk alcohol sales were creating all kinds of discipline problems among the Sailors in Sasebo – a lot of Sailors and a lot of alcohol are not a good mix. CWO4 Exum tactfully and discretely let the CO know that the bulk alcohol sales were prohibited by Navy Regs and were causing some discipline problems among the Sailors, as well as some black- market issues with the Japanese. CWO4 Exum also informed the CO about a number of security issues the base faced. The CO wouldn’t hear any of it. CWO4 Exum knew he had to get the CO on course to protect the CO from himself and to protect the Sailors. He told the CO he would take it up the chain of command. Anyone who knows anything about the Navy understands this put CWO4 Exum in a really tough spot. No one enjoys telling their CO that he’s wrong. And the CO sure doesn’t enjoying hearing it. But CWO4 Exum had long ago committed himself to “steering a true course”. CWO4 Exum filed his report and the CO promptly sent the Chief Warrant Officer to the psychiatric ward at the Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan. It was readily apparent to the doctors examining CWO4 Exum exactly what the CO had in mind. They kept CWO4 Exum aboard for a short period and released him back to Sasebo “fit for full duty.” Somehow the bulk alcohol sales ended soon thereafter and CWO4 Exum got the attention of the right people in the chain of command the correct the many security deficiencies aboard Sasebo. Once again, this part of the Navy was back on its “one true course.”

And that is what his life is all about. You’ll find him teaching celestial navigation in the middle and high schools in Washington State from time to time. I am sure those students haven’t figured it out yet but ‘ol mister Exum is teaching them how to navigate life. Those kids are still getting lessons in courtesy, teamwork, honesty and so much more. Count on CWO4 Exum to make sure all the charts are current, we’re steering by the stars, we’re taking the whole crew and everyone is steering “one true course”.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a lesson in manliness.

This short piece won the 2010 LESSONS IN MANLINESS contest sponsored by THE ART OF MANLINESS blog.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Rear Admiral (Select) Willie Metts

Division Director, Information Dominance Corps and Foreign Area Officer Assignments (PERS-47)

Navy Personnel Command

Rear Admiral (Select) Metts is a native of Danville, Ga. He graduated from Savannah State University in 1985, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering Technology and was commissioned via the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. Following commissioning, he performed initial sea duty on USS Thomas C. Hart (FF 1092) and USS Thomas S. Gates (CG-51), completing 3 deployments to the Mediterranean and Red Seas with sustained combat operations during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Following initial sea duty assignments, Metts transferred to the Naval Postgraduate School from 1991 – 1993 earning a Master of Science degree in Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4I).

Selected as a naval cryptologist (now Information Warfare) in 1993, Metts transferred to Naval Security Group Command Detachment Potomac, in Washington D.C. and served as program operations director. In 1997, he reported for duty as Naval Security Group department head at Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station, Guam and subsequently fleeted up to executive officer. In 1999, he was assigned to the staff of Commander, Carrier Group 2 embarked in USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) in Norfolk, Va., as cryptologic resource coordinator. During this assignment, he completed the maiden deployment of Truman to the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Gulf.

In 2001, Metts transferred to the Naval War College, earning a Master of Arts degree in National Security Studies and Strategic Planning. After graduation, he reported to the staff of commander, United States Pacific Command in Hawaii, where he served as deputy director, Collections and Information Acquisitions Division and completed the Harvard University Senior Executive Fellows Program in Nov 2004.

In 2005, Metts was selected as special assistant to commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet and in July 2006, reported for duty as commanding officer, Navy Information Operations Command, Hawaii. Following command, he reported in August 2008 to Navy Personnel Command, as division director for Information Dominance Corps and Foreign Area Officer Assignments.

He was selected for promotion to rear admiral in April 2010.

His personal awards include the Legion of Merit (2 awards), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2 awards), the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and various service and joint expeditionary medals and ribbons.

Rear Admiral Sean R. Filipowski

A couple of weeks ago, our Shipmate Sean R. Filipowski put on his first star. The broad stripe looks good. The Navy website has been updated with his new biography and photo.

Director for Cyber, Sensors, and Electronic Warfare on the OPNAV Information Dominance Staff

Rear Admiral Sean R. Filipowski

Rear Adm. Filipowski, a native of New Jersey, graduated and was commissioned in 1982 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He subsequently graduated from the Naval War College in 1994.

Originally a Submarine Strategic Weapons System officer, he served his initial assignment in USS Nathanael Greene followed by duty at commander Submarine Squadron 18. In 1987 he was redesignated as a special duty officer (Cryptology), now information warfare officer.

Shore assignments have included U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Misawa, Japan as a division officer, assistant department head, and as the executive officer; the National Security Agency; and the Naval Network Warfare Command.

Operational assignments have included commander in chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet Staff; commander Carrier Group 7 staff, embarked in USS Nimitz, which deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operations Southern Watch and Vigilant Sentinel; the Joint Special Operations Command where he deployed to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Aviano, Italy in support of Operation Joint Guard; and commander 7th Fleet Staff, embarked in USS Blue Ridge, which deployed throughout the Western Pacific.

He commanded both U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan and Navy Information Operations Command Georgia.

He is currently serving as the director for Cyber, Sensors, and Electronic Warfare on the OPNAV Information Dominance Staff.

He holds various decorations and awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, two awards of the Legion of Merit, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

Think without writing; write without thinking

Although one can think without writing (and) one can write without thinking, these are not, ultimately, separate activities. I am not much impressed when a student tells me that he has thought A+ thoughts but has written them in C- language. We do not think wordlessly and later put our thoughts into words. Language is a medium of thought as well as of expression; we think in and with words, just as we speak and write with words. In short, I believe that muddy writing is, more often than not, a symptom of muddy thinking. If I cannot say clearly what I want to say, I probably haven‘t thought it out clearly. Taking the time to think can do wonders for our writing.

—Inis L. Claude, Jr.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Warriors versus Scholars

“The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.”


House Armed Services Committee Report on Professional Military Education is HERE.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Women on subs

Midshipman Jessica Wilcox (second from the left), of Honesdale, Pa., said she has wanted to be an officer on a submarine since her first year at the (United States Naval) academy. Wilcox said she was drawn by the highly technical and skilled professionalism she saw in both the officer and enlisted ranks during a 24-hour submarine tour.

"For me, the best part of it was definitely the interaction between the officer and the enlisted crew," Wilcox said.

NOTE: I recall great resistance to our first female Naval Aircrewman (CTI2 Nancy A. Johnson) flying aboard the EP-3E airborne reconnaissance aircraft in the early 1980s. She was as good as any of our male aircrewman and better than many. She did not require any special treatment and she didn't get any.

Irritable Patriotism

Nothing is more annoying in the ordinary intercourse of life than this irritable patriotism of the Americans.
—Alexis de Tocqueville
Democracy in America

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shame is a powerful tool

We made it through the month of April without a single report of a Navy Commanding Officer or senior leader being fired. In discussing this with other interested parties, we decided that SHAME works. It's not my tool of choice, but sometimes one doesn't have a choice.

Did the highly publicized and WIDELY reported firing of the CO of USS COWPENS play a role? It may have.

For my part, whatever works is fine by me. I'd like to see ZERO firings for the rest of the year. I think the CNO would like to see the same.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Laws of the Navy

Now these are Laws of the Navy,
Unwritten and varied they be;
And he that is wise will observe them,
Going down in his ship to the sea;

As naught may outrun the destroyer,
Even so with the law and its grip,
For the strength of the ship is the Service,
And the strength of the Service, the ship.

Take heed what ye say of your Rulers,
Be your words spoken softly or plain,
Lest a bird of the air tell the matter,
And so ye shall hear it again.

If ye labor from morn until even,
And meet with reproof for your toil,
It is well – that the gun may be humbled,
The compressor must check the recoil.

On the strength of one link in the cable
Dependeth the might of the chain;
Who knows when thou mayest be tested?
So live that thou bearest the strain!

When the ship that is tired returneth,
With the signs of the sea showing plain,
Men place her in dock for a season,
And her speed she reneweth again.

So shall thou, lest, perchance, thou grow weary
In the uttermost parts of the sea,
Pray for leave, for the good of the Service
As much and as oft as may be.

Count not upon certain promotion,
But rather to gain it aspire;
Though the sight-line shall end on the target,
There cometh, perchance, a miss-fire.

Can'st follow the track of the dolphin
Or tell where the sea swallows roam?
Where Leviathan taketh his pastime?
What ocean he calleth his home?

Even so with the words of thy Rulers,
And the orders those words shall convey.
Every law is as naught beside this one—
"Thou shalt not criticise, but obey!"

Saith the wise, "How may I know their purpose?"
Then acts without wherefore or why.
Stays the fool but one moment to question,
And the chance of his life passeth by.

If ye win through an African jungle,
Unmentioned at home in the Press,
Heed it not; no man seeth the piston,
But it driveth the ship none the less.

Do they growl? It is well: be thou silent,
So that work goeth forward amain;
Lo, the gun throw her shot to a hair's breath
And shouteth, yet none shall complain.

Do they growl and the work be retarded?
It is ill, speak, whatever their rank;
The half-loaded gun also shouteth,
But can she pierce armor with blanks?
Doth the paintwork make war with the funnels?
Do the decks to the cannon complain?
Nay, they know that some soap or a scraper
Unites them as brothers again.

So ye, being Heads of Departments,
Do your growl with a smile on your lips,
Lest ye strive and in anger be parted,
And lessen the might of your ships.

Dost deem that thy vessel needs gilding,
And the dockyard forbear to supply?
Place thy hand in thy pocket and gild her;
There be those who have risen thereby.

Dost think, in a moment of anger,
'Tis well with thy seniors to fight?
They prosper, who burn in the morning,
The letters they wrote overnight;

For some there be, shelved and forgotten,
With nothing to thank for their fate,
Save "That" (on a half-sheet of foolscap),
Which a fool "had the honour to state—."

If the fairway be crowded with shipping,
Beating homeward the harbour to win,
It is meet that, lest any should suffer,
The steamers pass cautiously in;

So thou, when thou nearest promotion,
And the peak that is gilded is nigh,
Give heed to thy words and thine actions,
Lest others be wearied thereby.

It is ill for the winners to worry,
Take thy fate as it comes with a smile,
And when thou art safe in the harbour
They will envy, but may not revile.

Uncharted the rocks that surround thee,
Take heed that the channels thou learn,
Lest thy name serve to buoy for another
That shoal, the Court-Martial Return.

Though Armour the belt that protects her,
The ship bears the scar on her side;
It is well if the Court shall acquit thee;
It were best hadst thou never been tried.


As the wave rises clear to the hawse pipe,
Washes aft, and is lost in the wake,
So shall ye drop astern all unheeded,
Such time as the law ye forsake.

Take heed in your manner of speaking
That the language ye use may be sound,
In the list of the words of your choosing
"Impossible" may not be found.

Now these are the Laws of the Navy
And many and mighty are they,
But the hull and the deck and keel
And the truck of the law is - OBEY!

Ronald Hopwood
Rear Admiral
Poet Laureate of the Royal Navy

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Shoulders to the wheel

God alone decides the contest; but we must put our shoulders to the wheel.

Admiral D. G. Farragut

Monday, May 3, 2010

Once genius is submerged

"I don't mean to suggest... that he is a man who is without controversy. He speaks his mind.

Sometimes he has rivals who disagree with him; sometimes they are right, and he is the first to admit that sometimes he might be wrong.

But the greatness of the American military service, and particularly the greatness of the Navy, is symbolized in this ceremony today, because this man, who is controversial, this man, who comes up with unorthodox ideas, did not become submerged by the bureaucracy, because once genius is submerged by bureaucracy, a nation is doomed to mediocrity. "

President Nixon on awarding Admiral Rickover his 4th star

Sunday, May 2, 2010

How to Be a Changemaker

The leadership skills that worked in the past are quickly becoming irrelevant in today's fast-paced, change-is-the-name-of-the-game world. To be effective, you need to know how to adapt to and drive change. Here are the six core skills that can turn you into a changemaker:

* Bring people together who aren't connected.
* Design new business models by combining players and resources in new ways.
* Persevere with an idea until you see success.
* Don't rely on credentials, but on the power of your ideas.
* Persuade others to see the possibility of your ideas and join you in the pursuit.
* Empower others to also make change.

From: Harvard Business Publishing
Mar 25, 2010

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What admiral has the courage?

In recent years, many whose duty it was to defend the hallowed traditions and the unique culture of their profession declined to do so when their voices were most urgently needed. Some are guilty of the ultimate disloyalty: To save or advance their careers, they abandoned the very ideals of their profession in order to curry favor with politicians…. What admiral has had the courage to risk his own career by putting his stars on the table, and defending the integrity of the process and of his people?

If the Navy is to regain its soul and its respect, the answer lies in the right kind of leaders. Leaders who understand that the seemingly arcane concepts of tradition, loyalty, discipline, and moral courage have carried the Navy through cyclical turbulence in peace and war.... It is time to give the Navy back to such leaders.

Where are the senior officers who are supposed to step forward and defend their institution when it’s being torn apart? The number-one tradition in the military is loyalty from the top down: Take care of your people.

—From a James Webb speech to the Naval Institute, April 1996
Former Secretary of the Navy
Current Senator from Virginia