Thursday, December 8, 2016

18th Anniversary of my failure to screen for command - while in command!

As a Lieutenant Commander, I assumed command of Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan (a Commander command) in January 1997 from LCDR Eric Newhouse (the interim CO). The CO previous to Eric had been relieved 6 months earlier, after failing two successive Inspector General inspections - leaving behind demoralized Sailors and a fractured command.

The "Failure to Screen for Command" letter arrived after I had been in command for 23 months and a few days before I put on Commander. Twelve years later, it still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth - as you can tell.

I was not completely surprised by the letter because a Lieutenant from BUPERS had called two weeks earlier to inform me that I had "FAILED TO SCREEN FOR COMMAND". What did surprise me was the fact that I had failed to screen for command - a job that I had held for two years, already.

Thankfully, I didn't lose my day job. I post this letter for those who have had to deal with the pain of "Failure of Selection" - whether it be for promotion, command or some other program you desperately want. It's a very painful and emotional thing. One which we try very hard to comprehend. No one ever explained how I failed to screen for a job I already had and was ranked #1 at. A year later, I "successfully screened" for the assignment that I had been doing for 35 months. 


Anonymous said...

We all know the Navy is never wrong. But in this case, it was a little thin on being right. Henry Fonda as CINCPAC

My kids' Mom said...


Bless your heart!

It never happened to us but I have lived through it with friends, thanking God ever second of the experience for sparing us that pain.

I have always had the belief that you all are a certain and rare kind of very strong, dignified and humble men and women who live that through with such grace. I am not certain I could.

Have a lovely weekend!