Monday, June 2, 2014
CNO's Advice for Newly Commissioned Officers
You will be looked at for leadership among the people that you lead -- your division, your platoon, your squadron. They don’t want to really be your friend, but it would be nice if you were friendly.
They expect a human being, not a machine. But they also expect a leader. They want somebody to stand up and show them the way. That’s what we’ve trained you to do. You need to reach within.
You need to guard your integrity. No one can take your integrity from you. People can take a lot of things from you, but nobody can take your integrity away. That is uniquely yours. Only you maintain and guard that. I assure you that will be challenged. But I also assure you that your integrity, the ability to always tell and insist on [the truth, to always come forward and deal with the facts, is the foundation of what we do out there. We must believe what everybody tells us. Our lives depend on it.
Your allegiance, when you take the oath momentarily, your allegiance is to the institution. It’s not to your buddy, it’s not necessarily to your shipmate or your wingman. That’s all very important. But the absolute allegiance of what you’re about is to the institution. Remember that when you take your oath
Be kind to everybody. Treat everyone with dignity and respect, because no one in this institution you are about to join is unimportant. We can’t afford to have folks who are unimportant. If you go to sea, if you fly in a jet, a helo, if you’re out among SEALs, if you’re with an explosive ordnance detachment, each member of the team has a critical part. We need to treat everybody with that dignity and respect and that understanding that your life -- your life -- depends on it, and their lives depend on you.
With that, you have to learn to trust shipmates. I will tell you that will be unique. You have never had to trust anybody as much as you’re going to have to trust people out there that you’re working with. Your life will depend on it. That’s one of the unique parts of our business.
Learn your Navy heritage. Everything that you have on today, your hat, your shoes, the rank that you have on the insignia, is all built on a heritage and a legacy and it has a reason, believe it or not. But it’s true. Learn it and you’ll understand it. It defines who you are and who you will be.
You need to wear sunscreen, it will take 20 years for sun cancer to emerge, but it will emerge. If you are on the bridge or on the flight deck, If you go out and about in the sun, it’s probably the thing that will be the biggest threat throughout your life; more than anything else. Wear sunscreen.
Lastly, this is the only directive I’m going to give to you. You’ll get enough direction out there, but this is from me. I want you to call or write your mother once a week. No one has the unconditional love for you than that person and that’s why you’re here today, because of that.