Wednesday, January 27, 2021

From 9 years ago - our new Secretary of Defense

 General Lloyd J. Austin III - Selfless Warrior

Lloyd J. Austin III of Mobile, Alabama can best be described as the Soldiers' General.  And some in the Navy are ready to call him the Sailors' General, as well.  He wasn't in charge long before he made it known that he was a team leader, ready to listen to all the Services with no parochial Army interests in mind.  In an age of extreme criticism of our general and flag officers, here's a guy who is so much less about being a GO (General Officer) and so much more about those he leads.  Talk to his 'troopers'.  He is a Troopers' General and those troopers are America's finest young men and women - men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Professionalism of our cryptologic force

The professionalism of our force is built upon mastery of a core set of skills that every cryptologic professional must possess. It all starts with a deep understanding of the fundamentals of cryptology, and a requirement that our professionals think clearly, and convey their analysis and assessments just as clearly to our Navy and our nation's decision-makers.

Here I am sitting at a position at NSGA Misawa, Japan more than 40 years ago.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

A note to my Sailors from 21 years ago

The things that I discuss with each Sailor who reports aboard the command are very straight-forward.  We've done all we can to eliminate guessing from the success equation.  The leaders in this command are here to direct the accomplishment of the command's mission. People (our Sailors and their families) are a priority - that hasn't changed; but we have to accomplish the mission.  We will do all we can as leaders of this activity to ensure that every Sailor has an equal opportunity to succeed in his/her naval career.  We recognize that, for some, a career will only be a single enlistment and for others 20-30 years.  In either case, you've got to make the most of it.  Come to work on time, do your job correctly, do an honest day's work, treat your Shipmates with dignity and respect, add value to the things you do, pay your bills on time, be faithful to your spouse and family, and live the Navy's Core Values of Honor, Courage and Commitment.  Do all that and I can virtually guarantee you will be a success - in the Navy and in life.  Anything less is unacceptable.  R/CO

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

One of the 5 characteristics of a leader


Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale - One of the five characteristics of a leader

Must Be a Moralist

First, in order to lead under duress, one must be a moralist. By that, I don’t mean being a poseur, one who sententiously exhorts his comrades to be good. I mean he must be a thinker. He must have the wisdom, the courage, indeed the audacity to make clear just what, under the circumstances, the good is. This requires a clear perception of right and wrong and the integrity to stand behind one’s assessment. The surest way for a leader to wind up in the ash can of history is to have a reputation for indirectness or deceit. A disciplined life will encourage commitment to a personal code of conduct.

My short brochure about the VADM Stockdale Inspirational Leadership Award is here.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Three years ago today, we lost an amazing Shipmate - CTICS Shannon Mary Kent. We have a duty to remember her.


Who was Shannon Mary (Smith) Kent and why should you care? There are billions of incredible people in this world. They are waiting patiently to have their stories told.You may even be one of them.In this big big world, we can’t know them all but it would be good to know a few. In that incredibly crowded space, I’d like for you to know about Shannon Mary Kent.

If you don’t know her already, it’s too late. She’s gone. But, it’s not too late to know about her. So, I’d like to help tell part of the story of this amazingly brave, sweet girl. She NEVER cowered – ever. I’d like for you to know enough about this brave, sweet girl to care about her, to care about her family (a husband (Joe) and two sons (Josh and Colt); sister (Mariah); Mom (Mary) and Dad (Steven) she left behind and perhaps to care enough about her legacy and memory to write a personal letter to the Acting Secretary of the Navy asking him to name a Navy destroyer after her – USS SHANNON MARY KENT.  (How was that for a run-on sentence?)

She never once worried about recognition, but she is certainly worthy of it. 16 January 2019 marked the end of her young, vibrant, meaningful, and significant 35 years of life. She spent nearly half of her life in the Navy.  She spent her professional career in the top secret world of the Navy Information Warfare Corps.  She was practically unknown to the rest of the world. That is, until she was murdered by a terrorist who detonated an improvised explosive device in Manbij, Syria. 16 January 2019 marks the day that her existence and murder were made known to the entire world.

As a 19 year old, she joined the Navy in 2003 and attended foreign language school at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California.  In seven short years she was able to distinguish herself as the top linguist in the Department of Defense while serving with the Naval Special Warfare Support Activity TWO in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She spoke Afghan-Dari, Arabic-Algerian, Arabic-Egyptian, Arabic-Gulf (Iraqi), Arabic-Levantine, Arabic-Standard, French, Portuguese-European, and Spanish.

 Prior to her assignment in Syria, Shannon had previously deployed four times for combat operations on Navy Special Forces actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. She deployed twice with SEAL Team 10 and twice with SEAL Team 4. Syria was her fifth combat deployment in 15 years – and her ninth deployment overall. Where do we find such brave women?  They come from all over America. SMK answered her Navy’s call to action nine separate times.

She spent much of her career in harm’s way.  According to the Center for Military Readiness - “Since the attack on America on September 11, 2001, a total of 149 women deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait, and Syria have lost their lives in service to America.  Most Americans, and even members of the media, are not aware that 149 brave servicewomen have died in the War on Terrorism. With few exceptions, news stories about their tragic deaths usually appeared only in the military press, or in small hometown newspaper stories and television accounts that rarely capture national attention.” Six of those 149 women were serving in the Navy.  Only one of those women took the fight to ISIS in Syria as part of Operation Inherent Resolve – Shannon Mary Kent.

She is the only enlisted woman ever to be honored with a memorial service in the USNA chapel. During that service she was awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and a Combat Action Ribbon. About a month later, on 28 February 2019, General Nakasone, Director of the National Security Agency presided over a ceremony to add Senior Chief Petty Officer Shannon Kent’s name to the NSA/CSS Cryptologic Memorial Wall in a solemn ceremony.

Her Cryptologic Warfare Activity SIXTY SIX Shipmates say that CTICS (IW/EXW) Shannon Mary Kent exemplified the Navy’s core values of HONOR, COURAGE and COMMITMENT every moment of every day of her life. Her murder stunned her teammates. Many still have not recovered from the agony of her passing.  She meant so much too so many.

Don’t allow the memory of Shannon Mary Kent’s extraordinarily significant life to disappear as we live our lives. She deserves to be remembered. Shannon’s death is a reminder that, as Katherine Center says, “We are writing the story of our only life every single minute of every day.”

Shannon Mary Kent’s story ended much too early. She wasn’t ready to stop writing her story.  We owe it to her to keep writing it for her. So I ask you to please sit down and write a letter. She fought for you, won’t you join the fight for her?

Won’t you help keep the story of Shannon Mary Kent alive? Please send your letter to: 

Secretary of the Navy 
1000 Navy Pentagon, Room 4D652 
Washington, DC 20350

Short bio:

Captain Reiner W. “Mike” Lambert is a retired naval officer.  He started his career as a Cryptologic Technician Interpretive Seaman (CTISN - Russian linguist) and attended the Defense Language School in 1975-1976.  He was commissioned in 1982, commanded U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan, and served as Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s Staff Director for the Detainee Task Force examining detainee abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay Cuba.  He retired in 2006 following that assignment.  Today he runs The FARM at DEER HOLLOW with his wife Lynn.  He is also a Principal with Top Corner Consulting.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

10 Reasons I'm Bringing My Blog Back to Life in 2021

In the past, my blog allowed me to:

1.  Engage with a wonderful author (Liz Wiseman) and to write the Chapter 1 opening vignette for a Wall Street Journal/Amazon best-selling business book.  Dr. Stephen Covey and Bono 'opened' for me.
2.  Help a Pulitzer prize winning author with research for his story on The SeaWitch in TIME magazine.
3.  Remain connected to the Navy's cryptologic community, which I love.
4.  Be invited to speak at a Women In Defense forum and to contribute ideas to numerous professional publications.
5.  Give others the freedom to freely express their frustrations on a variety of topics important to them. 
6.  Expand the network of Sailors of all paygrades that I mentor and with whom I share lessons learned.
7.  Collaborate with the former CNO on avenues to gain recognition of the Navy as a TOP 50 Employer in the United States.
8.  Keep alive the memory of some stellar Sailors.
9.  Write everyday, which I love.
10.  Stay connected to some great Navy veterans and many others who proudly serve today.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Obstacle Illusion

One of the young people I mentor opened my eyes to the fact that something which I was having a very difficult time overcoming was not nearly as challenging as I was making it out to be.  In the process of solving this complex (in my mind) problem, we came up with a new (in my mind) term for my inability to see past my own perceived limitations.  I was suffering from what we call an "OBSTACLE ILLUSION".  The obstacle was not real but I had created it in my mind and the illusion of a non-existent challenge prevented me from solving the problem.

My advice to you - don't let "OBSTACLE ILLUSIONS" prevent you from reaching your goals.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Give Your Officers A Little More Praise


"Hereafter, if you should observe an occasion to give your officers and friends a little more praise than is their due, and confess more fault than you can justly be charged with, you will only become the sooner for it, a great captain. Criticizing and censuring almost everyone you have to do with will diminish friends, increase enemies, and thereby hurt your affairs."

Benjamin Franklin in a note to Captain John Paul Jones

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Two notable Marines: Top Rogers and PVT Roznowski - generations apart (This was written in 2002)

First, let me tell you that it is a true honor and privilege to be a part of this ceremony today.  I love the United States Marine Corps.  I love the Marines.  In fact, I am a proud member of the Marine Corps family.  For you to fully understand how I feel about TOP ROGERS, I have to tell you about another Marine.  50 years ago this month, my wife's Uncle Richard Roznowski shipped out from San Diego to Korea.  He was a private fresh from Recruit Training at Parris Island in South Carolina.  He was trained as a machine gunner.  In high school, he was a boxer and football player at St. Joseph's Catholic school in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  50 years ago during the Korean War, I think that it was every Catholic mother's secret wish that one of her sons would become a priest to ensure his ascent into heaven.  I'll tell you that at that time in our country’s history it was every father's wish that his son would become a Marine and raise some hell.  And that was no secret.

Richard spent less than one month in Korea.  In September of 1951, a Navy Chaplain and a Marine Corps Reserve Officer visited 1304 Guns Road in Bellevue, Wisconsin and delivered an American flag, a prayer book for Catholic servicemen, 3 medals including this Purple Heart and a letter from his Commanding Officer.  Richard was dead.  I cannot recount the grief of his mother Elouise, his father Bernard or his brother Jerry.  But, I don't doubt that Richard fulfilled both his parents' wishes - He certainly made it into heaven and he even raised some hell.

So, I ask each of you today to consider that words have meaning and actions have consequences.  Why do I tell you this?  Because you need to know that I am going to use some words to describe Top Rogers that have lost their meaning through overuse in our every day language.

I met Top Rogers nearly 10 years ago and I've followed his career with keen interest ever since.  He is the finest Marine I have ever been associated with in my 26 years of Naval service.  I have not said before this of any other Marine.  I will never say it again.  I do not mean to even remotely suggest to you that Top Rogers is a politically correct Marine.  He is not, was not, and never will be.  He speaks his mind freely to all who will listen, kind of like our Master Chief John Vincent. So, don't ask him what he thinks unless you really want to know.  Because, he will tell you.  And you, in all probability, will not like it.  

He will tell you that his Marine Corps is not the place for social experiments.  You don't need to talk to Top about equal opportunity because he doesn't believe in hyphenated Marines.  There are no Black Marines, White Marines, Hispanic Marines, Asian Marines or even Catholic or Jewish Marines.  These men and women are United States Marines, straight up, tried and true.  They truly are THE FEW - THE PROUD.  They are his Marines and this has been his Marine Corps - America's most valued institution -- fundamentally unchanged in over 225 years.  I don' think we would want it any other way.  I don't think America could afford to have it any other way.

2 years ago, Marine Corps Commandant General Jones was satisfied that the Marine Corps was on the right track when he assumed command.  His first order to the Marines was "continue to march."  

Top Rogers, as you conclude your career I say, "continue to march."  

And I hope you make it into heaven because God knows you have raised enough hell.

Friday, January 1, 2021

A Simple Gesture to Start the New Year

By every measure, 2020 has been an incredible year - one filled with countless challenges. Everyone in the Navy certainly feels the added pressure of the steady demand signal for improvements in readiness and performance - even during the COVID pandemic. 

As we conclude the year, nearly every Sailor, Chief and officer may feel somewhat overworked, tired, and even taken a little for granted. Some of our senior leaders may feel tense or irritable themselves. What better time to lift everyone's spirits? 

The solution may be better than a Navy medal and it is simple and free. It's far more personal. And it works. 

What is it? A personal note. 

Send personal notes of thanks to the people on your team telling them specifically what you value about each of them as Shipmates. Tell them about something they've done that they might not know that you even notice. Don't have your staff prepare form letters. 

Take the time to send a hand-written note. An e-mail won't do in this case. 

If you're a Flag Staff Action Officer, you could ask the Chief of Staff to send a letter to your team acknowledging their contributions. Many of our best Flag Officers are well-known for their hand-written notes. 

You can be absolutely certain the recipients will treasure the notes because they are completely unexpected. End the year on a positive note (or many of them). 

Tell your team "THANK YOU" with a personal note. (NO e-mails, please!!) 

They'll feel better. And, so will you.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Great American turns 83


Captain Clyde C. Lopez, United States Navy - retired, celebrates his 83rd birthday today.  This great American enlisted in the Navy in October 1955 and served for 40 years, retiring in 1995.

His illustrious Navy career would fill volumes.  It is sufficient to say that he was a Sailor worthy of being called a Shipmate by all who know him.

He was born on this day in 1937 in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

Sir, Happy Birthday SHIPMATE !!

Friday, October 23, 2020

Henry Jefferson Davis, Jr., Rear Admiral, USN (ret.) passed away on 12 October 2020


Henry Jefferson Davis, Jr., Rear Admiral, USN (ret.) 

Quincy/Tallahassee - Henry Jefferson Davis, Jr., Rear Admiral, USN (ret.), died October 12, 2020. A fifth generation Gadsden Countian, he resided in Westminster Oaks, Tallahassee. 

The son of H.J. Davis and Sara Jewell Davis of Quincy, Jeff and his predeceased wife, Emily Ernestine Hunt (Tully) of Okeechobee, FL, were parents of four adoring children: Frances Cornelia Wallington of Greer, SC, Jessica Leigh Coughlin, Derwood, MD, H. Jefferson Davis V, Quincy, and George Walton Davis II, Sacramento, CA. He was brother of Mary Wood (Woodie) Dyer, Young Harris, GA and the late Sara Margaret Martin, Quincy. He was grandfather of eight grandchildren, and also had seven great-grandchildren. 

Jeff was a graduate of Gadsden Co. High School, Quincy. He attended the University of Florida, Florida State University, the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD, and the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA. He held a B.S. degree in Mathematics and an M.S. degree in Electronics Engineering. 

Following early sea service, the Navy assigned him to duties in the field of cryptology - communications security and signals intelligence (today's cyber warfare). This subsequently became his specialty. Aside from the Naval Security Station and the Pentagon in the Washington DC area, most of his work was in the Pacific. 

During the Korean, Viet Nam, and cold wars, his assignments included Wahiawa (Oahu), Hawaii; Kamiseya, Japan; and San Miguel, Philippines. On the Atlantic, he was Commanding Officer of the US Naval Security Group Activity, Winter Harbor, ME. 

For 4 years, he was Director, Naval Security Group Pacific and Assistant Chief of Staff (Cryptology) to the Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet. He was also Officer in Charge, Naval Security Group Detachment, Pearl Harbor, for cryptologic manning and equipping deployments. 

At the Naval Security Group headquarters, Washington DC, he was Director of Cryptographic Equipment for the Navy and Marine Corps. 

Moving from naval to joint military and national cryptography, he was Cryptologic Advisor to the Commander in Chief US Pacific forces and was Director, National Security Agency (NSA) Pacific. He also served as staff assistant for cryptology in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. 

At NSA headquarters, Ft. Meade, MD, he was Assistant Director NSA for cryptologic plans and resources, developing the national cryptologic budget. In that role, he was senior US representative to NATO, coordinating allied cryptologic activities and systems development. 

RADM Davis completed active duty with three years of service as Deputy Director (Operations) National Security Agency. 

Upon retirement, Jeff provided communication security consultation for industry and government. With the Florida Information Resource Commission, he developed policy and standards for the state's communication and data security, which were approved by the Governor and cabinet and reside in FL statutes. 

He served 10 years as member of the Gadsden County School Board and was one of the founders and trustees of both the Quincy Music Theater and the Gadsden Arts Center. He was trustee of the Baptist College of Florida and a member of the Quincy-Gadsden Airport Authority. 

Before and following thirteen church memberships in conjunction with naval assignments and local communities, his principal church is First Baptist Quincy, where he has served many years as deacon and Sunday school teacher. 

Funeral service will be held Monday, October 19, 2020 at 11:00 AM at First Baptist Church, 210 W. Washington St., Quincy, Florida, 32351. 

A private military interment will be held following the service. 

Memorial donations may be made to Samaritan's Purse: 

By Mail. Samaritan's Purse, PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607 Check: On memo line, please write: in memory of H J Davis, Jr, "OHOP" By Phone. #800-528-1980 Credit or Debit Card, in memory of H J Davis, Jr, "OHOP " 

"OHOP" stands for "Operation Heal Our Patriots." 

Charles McClellan Funeral Home, Quincy, FL., (850) 627-7677, is in charge of arrangements.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

KAL 007 shot down 37 years ago today

 On September 1, 1983, the South Korean airliner servicing the flight was shot down by a Soviet Su-15 interceptor. The Boeing 747 airliner was en route from Anchorage to Seoul, but due to a navigational mistake made by the KAL crew the airliner deviated from its original planned route and flew through Soviet prohibited airspace about the time of a U.S. aerial reconnaissance mission. The Soviet Air Forces treated the unidentified aircraft as an intruding U.S. spy plane and destroyed it with air-to-air missiles, after firing warning shots which were likely not seen by the KAL pilots.

From Wikipedia

Thursday, August 27, 2020

CTMCM(SW) Ronald N. Schwartz - Cryptologic Icon

 Master Chief Petty Officer Ronald N. Schwartz passed away on 27 August 2007 following a fatal tractor accident near his home in Indiana. He had a distinguished career as a Cryptologic Maintenance Technician in the Naval Security Group. He served in USS BIDDLE, in The White House Communication Office, at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, on the Staff of the Chief of Naval Education and Training, as an instructor at Naval Technical Training Center - Corry Station - Pensacola, Florida and as Command Master Chief for U.S. Naval Security Group Activity - Yokosuka, Japan.  One of the young men he influenced there (now CTRCM Cedric Rawlinson) took his place as the Command Master Chief twelve years later.

On the thirteenth  anniversary of his passing, I suspect he continues to smile upon us knowing that, Naval Network Warfare Command reversed their decision to disestablish the Cryptologic Technician Maintenance rating in the Navy.  The CTM rating is stronger than ever.  He was foremost a career-long advocate for Sailors and, in particular, the Cryptologic Maintenance Technicians afloat and serving in the Fleet Electronic Support shops around the world. 

THE MESSAGE: Never doubt the value of our Cryptologic Technicians; for the most part, theirs is a unique contribution to the Navy's warfighting ability. That capability must be preserved for the good of the nation.

His son, Ronnie, proudly served our country in the United States Marine Corps.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Letter to my Junior Officers from 20 years ago

In August of 1982, after Officer Candidate School and SERE/DWEST school and some leave, I reported to NSGD Atsugi to face my first division in the Navy and the Naval Security Group as a brand new Ensign. Damn, I was excited and nervous, eager and unsure. Looking back on those early days of my Navy life as a commissioned officer, I have asked myself, from my perspective as your outgoing Commanding Officer, what might be of interest to each of you – my first junior officers.

The word “purposeful” kept coming back to me, and it occurred to me that you, as naval officers (first, and cryptologists second) for the next generation, are more important now than perhaps at any other time in our brief Naval Security Group history. The United States Navy is the only true over-the-horizon worldwide deployable force in the world, and RADM Whiton has re-invented cryptology for a Navy-Marine Corps Team which has the most visible forward presence on the world stage and certainly here in Yokosuka, Japan - forward deployed with the Navy's SEVENTH Fleet.

My friend and former boss, CDR Jack Dempsey used to keep a flight journal back in the 80’s while we were flying with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1) in which he started each page with a borrowed quote from Charles Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES. Each page started with - “These are the best of times, these are the worst of times…” Can we have it both ways? You are fortunate at the command to have some of the very best and brightest Sailors in the Naval Security Group. You have a chance to lead the entire claimancy in all areas of cryptology if you choose to do it. It won’t happen by accident. You have to make it happen. That’s your job.

You guys (and gals – with LTjg Kim and ENS Sabedra here) will lead our Sailors at this turning point in our claimancy’s history. And so I want to you to know just how “purposeful” and important I believe you are, and second, what I believe each of you has got to do at a very personal level to seize what could be the best of times in our community’s history and then you can start your own journal with…”these are the best of times….”

From day one, you are not only division officers and sometimes Department Heads, but you are ambassadors for the Navy’s Core Values, the CNO’s 4 Stars of Equal Magnitude and the cryptologic community’s Strategic Plan (Maritime Cryptologic Architecture, the Maritime Concept, etc). PASS THE WORD. I genuinely believe your involvement is critical to RADM H. Winsor Whiton’s and RADM Joseph D. Burns’ plans that will carry the community through most of your careers (if you choose to have one in the Navy). The Sailors and Chiefs you will help lead will be more “purposeful” - and far more challenged - than ever before. As a result, your genuine leadership will be more “purposeful” and more valuable than ever before. You are the ones who will have to deliver U.S. Naval Security Group Yokosuka’s promise of “Quality Cryptologic Integration For The Fleet” on a daily basis.

If you do not think you are more “purposeful” and important than at any other time in our community’s history… think again. SECGRU’s vital leadership today is reflected by the leadership positions cryptologists hold throughout the Department of Defense – Captain Rich Wilhelm (a former 1610) served in the Vice President’s office as recently as 5 years ago, many are serving on the Staff of the Secretary of Defense and on the Joint Staff in key positions while others are serving the SECNAV directly. We live in a world of global communications, connected economies, and instantaneous video coverage of world and local events. The result often means that a decision made by you - while running a SSES on BLUE RIDGE, leading a team on JOHN S. MCCAIN or CURTIS WILBUR , or simply running your division here at the command - could have immediate and substantial impact on the Sailors under your charge and …perhaps…even world events. Your leadership must be “purposeful”, and you bear a tremendous responsibility. You have to CHOOSE to make a difference. It is a choice. It is your choice. Do something or do nothing – you decide. Don’t let things happen by accident – MAKE THINGS HAPPEN.

A famous Admiral whose name escapes me at the moment said “there is… no career in the world that encompasses the daily physical and mental demands of that of one in a nation’s Navy.” I would argue further that only unrelenting loyalty, as demonstrated by many in the Navy provides the necessary foundation to lead effectively. There are some officers, Chiefs and Sailors that would have us believe the opposite… that loyalty is a dying characteristic in this Navy. I say that the loyalty we value so much is more “purposeful” than ever, as an asset for and example to the American public we are sworn to protect.

As the value of your loyalty and leadership is being debated around you, I urge you to pay attention to and join in the debate. Retired CDR Mike Loescher wrote in a USNI PROCEEDINGS magazine article that the Naval Security Group was broken. RADM H. Winsor Whiton responded that, “ NSG isn’t broken and that this an exciting time to be a cryptologist”. I share the Admiral’s view. I’m excited. Certainly, we all have to guard against mediocrity and against attacks on our time-tested core values and against other charges that diminish our effectiveness. I sought to bring positive changes for this command. You’ve all been helpful in that respect. I thank you for that. Our team effort earned the command recognition through the award of a meritorious unit commendation. That doesn’t happen every day.

As I emphasize that your leadership is more “purposeful” than ever. Let me turn now to what I believe you must do, individually, to bring effectiveness to your leadership skills, as you chart a new course for the command with CDR Sean Filipowski in the new millennium and one of the few great turning points in our claimancy’s history. Because you will be so “purposeful” to our community’s future, I believe you must go beyond the bedrock fundamentals of leadership.

Some of you have heard me drone on and on about Traits of Leadership which date back two thousand years… ((They are in every book on Naval Leadership – this is not new stuff.))  I’ve given each of you the basic library of Naval leadership books. Take the time to read them. There’s good stuff in there.

A leader is trusted, a leader takes the initiative, a leader uses good judgment, a leader speaks with authority, a leader strengthens others, is optimistic and enthusiastic, never compromises absolutes, and leads by example. Lots of great Covey “Seven Habits” in there. We’ve covered all that before, haven’t we? You HAVE to take that stuff onboard and make it a part of your daily life.

I believe you should adhere to these timeless traits of leadership. But today, I believe you must also apply something more… you must apply adapted traits of leadership… that is, techniques appropriate to your particular style and situation. You can achieve it only one way… by staying connected to the Sailors and Chiefs you are entrusted to lead.

It is time for each of you to do a tactical and strategic level re-focus to adapt and apply your own leadership styles appropriate to the times. In short, you will have to build upon the bedrock fundamentals of leadership. You must have a solid foundation if you plan to put anything on top of it. I tried to give you the tools to establish a solid foundation.

The best leaders in our Navy have always found ways to build upon the basic foundations of their leadership skills. Because each of you is so important to the future of our community, I also urge you to invest some time and effort in looking for answers within yourselves, to a question that is being asked more frequently today. “Are we losing the Navy spirit?” Some believe that because our Sailors so rarely actually go into harm’s way… that because technology is removing them from the actual battlefield, on a physical level we will lose the guts to fight effectively when the time comes. Some have suggested that we don’t even have the strength of character we once had. I don’t believe that.

The Navy spirit is not only physical courage at sea…courage that must be present in the face of physical danger. That is important, and that deserves our full attention. But the Navy spirit is also the ability to cope with the stresses involved with day-to-day leadership of our Sailors and Chiefs.

Hardship, stress and fear…exist for a Sailor whose ship, while far at sea on seemingly calm waters, can face an incoming missile attack during a long-range engagement. Technology will not change that fact much. We must address how we can develop the Navy spirit within our Sailors in all scenarios.

When I worked for Admiral Whiton in the Comptroller’s office (he was a Captain then), he kept a placard on his wall with the mission of the Navy as defined in Navy Regulations, Chapter Two. It said simply: “The Navy… shall be organized, trained and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea.” Every one of us needs to understand the mission of the Navy in its most basic form.

How can you instill the Navy spirit and genuine understanding of the Navy’s mission in the Sailors and Chiefs you are charged to lead? The Navy has invested a great deal of time and money preparing you. They will invest a great deal more. It is time to do your part, for it is how you return the Navy’s investment that will bring it value; that value is limitless, but it depends on you.  GET BUSY!

I challenge each of you to search within yourselves for ways now, to build upon the framework of leadership you are learning … and develop a strong support structure that will serve you and those you lead when you are asked to go do the Navy’s business – however mundane it might seem at any given moment. I am talking about a very personal structure of character that is most appropriately developed through experience. 25 years of experience takes nearly 25 years to get - there are no F*ing shortcuts. Make the most of every experience you have.  When character is involved – promise me this – you will always go the long way and never take shortcuts. There aren’t any. Trust me, I would have found them in my exhausting search for them over the past 25 years. Where character is concerned, I have always tried to go the long way. It’s a much better trip. Take my word for it.

The real challenge for each of you, however, is that the Navy may not give you the luxury of time and experience to build your foundation. When you walk across your own ship’s brow PCS for the first time (Paul Lashmet on ESSEX; Andy Reeves on FIFE so far), you may be called upon to lead decisively that very day. Your skills as a Naval officer will be put to the test from the very start – your skills as a cryptologist on that ship may never be tested. BE A NAVAL OFFICER FIRST AND FOREMOST – that’s what you are! The cryptologic stuff is secondary and it will remain so. Remember Admiral Whiton’s brief – "we do cryptology because we have a Navy – not we have a Navy to do cryptology.”

Truly great leaders in history did not sit idly by and wait for experience to find them. They aggressively sought to build their own personal foundations of character, on a daily basis. Colonel Teddy Roosevelt , General Colin Powell and LT John F. Kennedy knew that their chosen military and political lives would present them with immediate and unrelenting challenges – all certainly more daunting than anything we have yet faced. They knew their “crowded hour,” could arrive at any moment. That is one reason they all worked to build their physical abilities to match their intellectual capabilities. Somehow, I knew that the Navy’s PRT program had some relevance in here somewhere. Physical fitness is important also. But it’s only part of the overall picture of a Naval Officer.

The leadership, the spirit and the strength of character displayed by Colonel Roosevelt, General Powell and President Kennedy were more products of their own pursuits, above and beyond the framework they had been given. As a result, they were “purposeful” to their time and are revered in history. Who can say today what your legacy will be? I will just tell you that you are working on it now. DON’T MESS IT UP.

All of them led their Sailors and soldiers from the heart, and had something more, crafted from the environment around them… the character of a man like Admiral Arleigh Albert Burke… the strategic vision of Admiral Chester Nimitz in the heat of a tactical nightmare… the innovation of Admiral Elmo Zumwalt with his phenomenal understanding of race relations and Admiral Hyman Rickover’s creation of the submarine force… the dynamic leadership of great Marines like General Lejeune and more recently General Krulak and a personal hero of mine from USS Blue Ridge – Colonel Bill Wesley. What will you do, not just to be “purposeful”, but to be enthusiastically followed during the personal challenges that will surely come for each of you, in these, the best of times in the history of our claimancy?

When I faced my first division at NSGD Atsugi in 1982 and in every assignment since including U.S. NSGA Yokosuka, I found, as you will, the Sailors and Chiefs returned the same level of loyalty and dedication to me that I devoted to them. More important, it is abundantly clear and readily apparent to the most casual observer that Sailors and Chiefs will quickly look past the veneer of your lineage (some of them went to better colleges than we all did and all of you went to a better college than I did) and the gold or silver (and blue) bars (and oak leafs) on your collar. Our Sailors and Chiefs have a unique ability to see past all that, and perceive the foundation you are building. They will know when you are on rocky ground.   They will sense the weakness in you. They will perceive your character and all its inherent defects. Some great man once said, “The true character of a Naval officer cannot be hidden from his/her Sailors.”  There is no place to hide. Lead, follow or GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY. Again – you get to decide.

If they find your character to be strong and true, they will go the extra mile for you. If they find you to be weak, prepare for the worst – it is bound to come. We’ve all seen it in its ugliest forms. At this period in our claimancy’s history, when our Sailors and Chiefs are so essential to our mission, there is no greater test of your mettle as a Naval officer, than leading Sailors and Chiefs who can count on your loyalty and your character. Be true to them. They will be true to you.

I am confident you will seize these days, whether or not they personally are for you …”the best of times or the worst of times”, to carry-on what we have started together at U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka and develop your own personal foundations of character that will serve you well during the challenges each of you can surely expect in your own future.

Thanks for helping me get the command to where it is today. You all played a big part in that. You have been part of something very important and special to our community. You built a command from the ground up. That’s something you can really be proud of. I certainly am.