Saturday, March 5, 2011

Captain O. P. Honors - Going Low Early

“Any leader … you reach for the best in your people,” Admiral John Harvey (Commander, Fleet Forces Command) said. “Not for the lowest common denominator of what’s acceptable. That’s the essential issue here, the approach that Captain Honors took. He went low early, when he needed to stay high, all the time. It is what we are about. Setting the standard. Not seeing how low you can go before you cross the line of acceptability. That was a fundamentally flawed approach for reaching our Sailors, and one that has never … worked over the long haul in the past.

“A leader simply diminishes himself or herself when she goes in a race to the bottom, and not focusing our Sailors on where we should be, and helping them to stay there, so they can be the leaders in turn.”


Rubber Ducky said...

Corrected version:

My cross-post from Harvey's blog: "A wise old lieutenant commander helped this young ensign understand the job: 'Ducky, the naval officer's job is to establish standards.' Good to see that hasn't changed."

Here's the investigation report, video of Harvey announcing it, and all ENT videos. I'm told the opinions section of the investigation is really solid - not had time to crawl through it.

Harvey's Navy is the one we signed up for. Honors' looks more like the BOQ bar at North Island on a Sunday afternoon or a bunch of F-14 jockeys playing Dead Ants at the Miramar O'Club.

Anonymous said...

did you look at the leadership metrics attributed generally to good leadership. Something about Battle E, Battenberg Cup, Meritorious Unit Commendation. Passed ORSE and did extremely well at INSURV.

Mostly leadership is measured by results. What would you use?

Anonymous said...

Rubber Ducky.

I have loved and respected true warriors and leaders all my life and I tried to emulate them as best I could during my years of service. As I have said before I typically thought the Captain of my ship was God and the Executive Officer was a Saint working his way up to that esteemed position. When I viewed some of the demeaning video produced by Captain Honors I felt ashamed that one of my heroes of the past had lowered himself to that extent. One of the questions that I have is why did it take so long for this reprehensible material to see the light of day.

Very Respectfully,


Rubber Ducky said...

March 6, 2011 3:25 AM: "Mostly leadership is measured by results. What would you use?"

Agree. The carnage Honors caused to himself and a bunch of really good guys around him and the public shame to my Navy are the direct results of this bozo's immaturity.

You want to judge by results? Those are real - judge away.

General Quarters said...

May I suggest the Clown Circus Inequality (One Awshit > 1,000 Attaboys)?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the "standard" is a moving bar based on CYOA or political expediency?

To further the point, in this day and age, how many young Naval officers would "survive" a court martial conviction, remain in the service and rise to become the CNO? (Nimitz did)

Or, in the case of Patton would he have received a 4th star after his Italy stunt.

A politically correct military has and will cost the lives of many a good Americans! But we should feel good about it..I am sure the letters to the parents of the Airmen killed in Frankfurt were easy to write because the "standard" is such that our soldiers don't need to be armed unless they are in the combat zone. It would not be "politically correct" to not trust the Germans with the safety and security of our military members. Wake up leadership! Remember what your roll is. Send your subordinates home alive after rapidly and efficiently killing the enemy! If it involves using the naked brutal realities of life to get their attention, to learn their jobs then so be it! I know very little of the Honors case but I know reality from the field or deck plates in naval lingo, the examples of senior military leadership with respect to political correctness and CYOA sucks! By their actions, senior leadership is developing a group of leaders who will not risk when it is time to risk for fear of being burned at the stake for making a "politically" poor decision. I guess the former CO of the Cole would be one of the few who would agree with me or maybe the senior rater for Major Hasan...

Say good by to focsil follies, shellback shenanigans and be real careful what movies are on CCTV. Brokeback Mountain or Blazing Saddles might get you relieved.

I would leave my name however I am fearful of the repercussions of speaking freely. Where were the smokes in the C-rations again that's right next to the torpedos...NOT!

Ken Price said...

There was a time and place for the culture of the Navy that existed 40-60 years ago. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that we as leaders (Officers and Senior Enlisted) are under the microscope every single day. Every act of misconduct (no matter how seemingly trivial) chips away at our authority and credibility. I don't believe in the CYOA concept.

"Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.”--- W. Clement Stone

General Quarters said...

Perhaps we should not get too nostalgic for the old days. That clownish behavior was once widespread, does not mean that it was ever proper naval officer comportment. My guess is that the Golden Age of Grab Ass was an historical anomaly. I cannot imagine senior officers from the era of Jones or Mahon conducting themselves in O.P. Honors fashion. I also agree that the strict PC environment is overcorrecting the problem, but I cannot fault Admiral Harvey's handling of the situation.

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

I only go back as a Sailor for some 57 years and I never served at a command that the Commanding Officer was relieved or was I even aware of such an event in the ships squadrons that I served in, be it Destroyer, Cruiser, Auxiliary or Submarine Squadron. I did hear that the Commanding Officer of the USS Missouri was relieved in 1950 because he grounded the ship in the Chesapeake Bay, but we in the Navy during my short tenure had few Commanding Officers relieved for cause, or as it is said today; for loss of confidence in the ability to command. Back in the days I served we had many ships in the Navy, and now there are a considerable number less but these few ships appear to have trouble with navigation and control of discipline of Commanding Officers, Officers and Senior Enlisted. It is basically understood that there is zero tolerance when one is in command, unlike the good General Clark (post of March 8, 2011) who states; That their honest errors be pointed out but can be underwritten at least once in the interests of developing initiative and leadership. That may be good leadership in the Army but I do not think that model ever fit the Navy.

Very Respectfully,