Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Go after it with a passion

"The Navy affords limitless opportunities to our people, whether it’s an education or in experiences or an assignment. Go after every one, go after it with a passion. And most importantly, reach down and share your experiences and your mentorship with those that are coming behind. That’s the most important thing that we can do."

Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Information Warfare is about warfighting

"Information warfare is about warfighting -- making sure that people who go fight have the very best chance to get their mission done, win that fight, and come home safely. Today information warfare is assuming a very important role in warfighting. As we rely, more and more, on detailed information, we need to protect it. As the enemy relies more and more on detailed information -- available to him in many more ways than ever before -- we have opportunities to make his life miserable.

There is now more information out there to be skewed, manipulated and changed. We can now confuse an enemy more than we could before because he increasingly relies upon electronic information. The opportunity for this command (Navy Information Warfare Activity) to make a difference in the outcome of the battle is greater than ever before."

24 October 1995, comments by Admiral Mike Boorda, former Chief of Naval Operations

Monday, April 28, 2008


"If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much."

Donald Rumsfeld

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Patriotism is devotion to an ideal

"Patriotism is not something you put on each morning like a clean shirt. Patriotism is not something you can buy at the super market. Patriotism is not something you can get in return for a monthly paycheck to a man in uniform. It is devotion to an ideal—a principle; a burning desire that the things that people think are best for their country and its people are protected from erosion—protected from any and everything which would tend to lessen in the mind of the individual the image he has of how things should be in his ideal country."

— General David M. Shoup, former Commandant of the Marine Corps

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Your job is to lead the way for our Navy

"Today, these adversaries (terrorists) are operating in ways that challenge our most sophisticated technology and thinking. They have become masters of the information battle space, leveraging this new realm to recruit train, fund, operate and attack. They are not constrained by well established paradigms and thus they have learned to rapidly adapt and respond. We must dominate this new domain and, as Information Warfare Officers, your job is to lead the way for our Navy."

RADM E. H. Deets III, Vice Commander, Naval Network Warfare Command, in his 25 March 2008 letter to Information Warfare Officers

Friday, April 25, 2008

What will you do? What will you do?

"At every university and company in America, there is a focus on teamwork, consensus building, and collaboration. Yet, make no mistake, the time will come when you must stand alone in making a difficult, unpopular decision. Or when you must challenge the opinion of superiors or tell them you can’t get the job done with the time and resources available – a difficult charge in an organization built upon a “can do” ethos. Or a time when you know what superiors are telling the press, or the Congress, or the American people is inaccurate. There will be moments when your entire career is at risk. What will you do? What will you do?"

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Good leadership

"Good leadership has sustained me my entire life. In the toughest of times, I've watched great leaders emerge ­sometimes surprisingly so and sometimes with great expectation. "

Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sign of institutional strength and vitality

"And speaking of lessons learned, I should note that during my time as Secretary I have been impressed by the way the Army's professional journals allow some of our brightest and most innovative officers to critique – sometimes bluntly – the way the service does business, to include judgments about senior leadership, both military and civilian. I believe this is a sign of institutional strength and vitality. I encourage you to take on the mantle of fearless, thoughtful, but loyal dissent when the situation calls for it. And, agree with the articles or not, senior officers should embrace such dissent as a healthy dialogue and protect and advance those considerably more junior who are taking on that mantle."

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

MCPON Campa's response to "Anchor Up, Chiefs - Reset the Mess"

"Captain, Thanks for the great article. It is right on target and its release in September is well timed with thousands of new chiefs entering the mess. Appreciate your support. I have said many times that Wardroom support is critical in getting our Chiefs Mess back to the deckplates.
V/R MCPON Joe Campa"

Sent in reaction to my article "Anchor Up, Chiefs - Reset the Mess!"

Monday, April 21, 2008

Arleigh Burke - "NOT READY TO FIGHT"

"The success or failure of any command-wide inspection can be placed directly at the entrance to the CPO mess. There are all kinds of challenges, and reasons for failure. But it’s been proven that the experience that resides in the mess can tilt the results of any inspection toward success if the chiefs are engaged on the deck plates.”

MCPON Campa explaining that the CPO mess is accountable for the failure of USS STOUT to successfully complete InSurv. I think there will be much discussion about this. The CO/XO/CMC triad will be closely scrutinized in the coming days. There was certainly a breakdown at that level. There's no other way to account for the magnitude of failure - monumental. We failed the Sailors of this ship. We can do better. We have to.

Most of the missiles couldn’t be fired, and neither could any of the big guns. The Aegis radars key to the ships’ fighting abilities didn’t work right.

The flight decks were inoperable.

Most of the lifesaving gear failed inspection.

Corrosion was rampant, and lube oil leaked all over.

The verdict: “unfit for sustained combat operations.”

Those results turned up by an inspection by the Navy’s Board of Inspection and Survey — commonly known as an InSurv.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Keeping the promise

"The call to serve is the catalyst for thousands of courageous acts that happen every day in our Navy. By raising their right hand and swearing to support the Constitution of the United States, our people promise to embark on a lifestyle of service.

As leaders, we must also keep our promise to them. We promise to give them the opportunity to contribute to a cause greater than themselves. We promise to give them the tools to grow and develop. And if they succeed, we promise to give them the chance to lead.

Keeping these promises can be the difference between victory and defeat. Anyone can lead when the going is easy, but it takes strength and character to navigate through rough waters. By keeping these promises, our leaders are rewarded with the satisfaction that comes from making a difference in the lives of their Sailors, in the defense of our nation and in the course of history."

Admiral Vern Clark, former Chief of Naval Operations

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Dependable, honest, steadfast and sincere

"He is dependable and honest, steadfast and sincere, and I'm going to miss him."

Admiral Mike Mullen commenting about Admiral Fox Fallon

"His life’s work, his strength, and his integrity have advanced America’s interests and helped defend our nation and liberty."

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Friday, April 18, 2008

Godly, honest men

"A few honest men are better than numbers. If you choose godly, honest men to be captains of ships, honest Sailors will follow them.

Oliver Cromwell - paraphrased

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The military is a good life

"For the military life, whether for sailor, soldier, or airman, is a good life. The human qualities it demands include fortitude, integrity, self-restraint, personal loyalty to other persons, and the surrender of the advantage of the individual to a common good. None of us can claim a total command of all these qualities. The military man sees round him others of his own kind also seeking to develop them, and perhaps doing it more successfully than he has done himself. This is good company. Anyone can spend his life in it with satisfaction."

Sir John Winthrop Hackett Jr.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Communications is the fulcrum

"In order to be an effective MCPON, I have established standards for myself and my staff. The most important of these concerns communications. A great deal of emphasis is being placed on communications these days and rightly so. Communications among all levels is extremely important and is the fulcrum upon which our organization functions."

MCPON Robert Walker

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

First black Chief Petty Officer

In 1917, John Henry ("Dick") Turpin became the first African American chief petty officer (CPO), the Navy's highest enlisted rank at the time. Turpin enlisted in 1896 and survived the sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. A chief gunner's mate, he was one of the few blacks allowed to stay in 1919 and retired in 1925. He helped perfect a technique for underwater welding. He was a Master Diver, generations before Carl Brashear. Looking for inspirational leadership? Look no further.

He did not have the benefit of an equal opportunity program. NONE EXISTED AT THE TIME. He created his own opportunities through his own hard work and dedication.

African Americans in the Navy
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2001 – Blacks have served in the Navy since before there was a republic, but their contributions -- even their numbers -- aren't widely known.

Military records seem to indicate that few African Americans served in the Navy until World War II. DoD historians note that information about early African Americans in the Navy is skimpy because records were not kept by race until shortly before World War I.

"Negroes," as they were called back then, bravely manned gunboats during the Revolutionary War, fought valiantly during the War of 1812, performed heroically during the Civil War, and gallantly distinguished themselves during the Spanish- American War.

Evidence exists of African Americans serving on gunboats in the Continental Navy and in the navies of several states. It seems their patriotic service and heroism were ignored as soon as their services were no longer needed.

For example, "A Negro, Capt. Mark Starlin of the Virginia Navy," commanded the Patriot, but at war's end, despite an outstanding battle record, was re-enslaved by his old master. That account comes from the book "A Pictorial History of the Negro in America."

Many African Americans also fought in the War of 1812, hoping to become free afterward. American victories in the war are primarily naval ones. Naval records indicate about 16 percent of all enlisted sailors would have been black. What they can't show is the number of hopefuls who gained freedom.

When the Civil War broke out in 1861, hundreds of newly freed slaves flocked to Union naval service. By war's end, blacks had served on almost every one of the Union's nearly 700 Navy vessels and six, records said, earned the Medal of Honor for gallantry in combat.

The Navy, however, seems to have overlooked many of its black Sailors. For more than a century, Navy authorities estimated 10,000 blacks had served. Researchers of the Naval Historical Center, Howard University and National Park Service recently discovered new evidence that changes history: The real number is nearly twice as high.

In a ceremony at the Navy Memorial in Washington on Nov. 17, 2000, Navy officials added more than 8,000 neglected black Sailors -- including more than a dozen women -- to its rolls of honored Civil War veterans. The researchers even proved the actual number of black Medal of Honor recipients was eight.

Naval historical records list three African American heroes during the 1860s. Robert Smalls (1839-1915), a slave-pilot aboard the Confederate steamer Planter of Charleston, S.C., hijacked the ship when the white crew had gone ashore. He and the Planter's slave crew delivered Planter to the Union in 1862. Smalls was lucky, because he was among a few African Americans who were recognized for their wartime exploits. He was appointed pilot of the USS Keokuk and eventually was promoted to captain.

Another African American, John Lawson, received the Medal of Honor for service on the USS Hartford during the Battle of Mobile Bay, Ala., in 1864. Post-war records note the outstanding service and patriotism of Frank Allen, who served on the USS Franklin in European waters in 1868.

Naval records indicate 15 African-American sailors aboard the USS Kearsarge when it engaged the CSS Alabama and sank the Confederate commerce raider off the coast of Cherbourg, France, in June 1864.

After the Civil War, African Americans served in unlimited roles among the Navy's enlisted ranks. However, that's when the custom started that "encouraged" blacks and other men of color to become officers' stewards and cooks.

The first decades of the 20th century brought increasing restrictions on the role of African Americans in society and in the Navy, according to naval historians. The enlisted rates remained open to all men, but African Americans were pushed into servant roles.

The Navy's racial segregation policies limited African Americans' participation in World War I and, after the war, barred black enlistments altogether from 1919 to 1932. The only black Sailors in uniform during that period were the ones aboard in 1919 who were allowed to stay to retire.

Even with its distinct policy of racial segregation, the Navy permitted mixed racial crews. Records show that while African Americans saw limited naval action during World War I, one of them, Edward Donohue Pierson, earned the French Croix de Guerre for valor when he was wounded aboard the USS Mount Vernon when it was torpedoed off the coast of France.

In 1917, John Henry ("Dick") Turpin became the first African American chief petty officer, the Navy's highest enlisted rank at the time. Turpin enlisted in 1896 and survived the sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. A chief gunner's mate, he was one of the blacks allowed to stay in 1919 and retired in 1925.

When African Americans were allowed into the Navy again in 1932, it was as stewards and mess attendants.

The Navy began rethinking its policies when the nation entered World War II in December 1941. Navy officials had to deal with a shortage of manpower and well- focused political activities. But thousands of patriotic black men also clamored to join, inspired by the heroics of black sailors like Doris "Dorie" Miller and Leonard Roy Harmon.

One of the first American heroes of the war, Miller had been a mess attendant on the battleship USS West Virginia during the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Though he had no gunnery training, Miller took charge of an anti- aircraft machine gun when its crew was disabled. Popular legend has it that he shot down several of the 29 enemy planes claimed that day. Ship's officers also cited him for his part in rescuing sailors who had jumped or been thrown overboard. Miller received the Navy Cross.

Harmon, also a mess attendant, received the Navy Cross posthumously for valor during naval combat off Guadalcanal on Nov. 13, 1942.

The Navy would remain racially segregated in training and in most service units, but enlisted ratings opened to all qualified personnel in 1942.

The first African American officers in naval history were commissioned in 1944. The 12 commissioned officers and one warrant officer became known as the "Golden Thirteen."

President Truman ended formal racial segregation in the armed forces in 1948 by executive order. Opportunities gradually expanded for African Americans in the Navy and in American society from the late 1940s and the 1950s, a time marked by the Korean War and the Cold War.

During that period, Ensign Wesley A. Brown became the first African American graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md. Ensign Jesse L. Brown became the first African American naval aviator and died in action during the Korean War.

Major changes in the Navy's approach to African Americans came between 1965 to 1972 during the Vietnam War and the civil rights struggle. Samuel L. Gravely Jr. was promoted to rear admiral in July 1971, making him the first African American to reach flag rank. He retired as a vice admiral on Aug. 1, 1980.

Adm. J. Paul Reason became the Navy's first African American four-star admiral on Nov. 15, 1996. He served as commander of the Atlantic Fleet from December 1996 to October 1999 and retired in November 1999.

Rear Adm. Lillian E. Fishburne became the first African American woman Navy flag officer in February 1998. Her most recent assignment was deputy director and fleet liaison, Information Space Warfare Command and Control at the Pentagon. She's scheduled to retire in February 2001.

As of Feb. 1, 2001, there are eight African American male admirals and one woman admiral.

As of Dec. 31, 2000, there were 115 male African American captains and 22 African American female captains. On the enlisted side, there are 268 male master chiefs and 15 female master chiefs.

Up and coming African American naval officers include Vice Adm. Edward Moore Jr., commander of the naval surface forces in the Pacific; Rear Adm. David L. Brewer, deputy chief of naval education and training; and Rear Adm. Larry L. Poe, a defense attache in France.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Everything is not of equal importance

"If everything is so critical it requires your personal intervention as a leader, you are destined to failure. First, you lose your followers. No one can maintain a pace of everything being of equal importance. Things simply are not. "

"Leadership is often about just standing back. Standing back and deliberately moving your branches aside so some sunlight get down to the saplings. Giving your subordinates the time and nourishment necessary for growth."

Leadership guru - Rear Admiral Dave R. Oliver Jr. - in "LEAD ON - A Practical Approach to Leadership"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

CO relieves himself for loss of confidence

"Once you start nibbling on the edges, occasionally extend those and start exceeding those limitations then you have to start questioning. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I can hold my head high with pride. I haven't crashed any airplanes, none of my pilots has crashed an airplane, none of my pilots have been hurt."

"The decision, when it came before me - the right stars aligned, you might say, and it was pretty evident to me that I needed to take some action to preclude some type of mishap from occurring."

Statement by Commander Donnie Cochran, the first black Navy Blue Angels pilot and the flight demonstration squadron's first black Commanding Officer upon resigning as CO of the unit in May 1996. Two other black pilots have followed him as Blue Angels pilots in the 12 years since.

"I am perfectly aware that I am an African American".

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Healthy organization

"Any healthy organization can survive individual divergencies, and may even profit from them. Compulsory unification of opinion can only achieve the unanimity of the graveyard."

Rear Admiral Hyman G. Rickover

Friday, April 11, 2008

Philosophy of command

"One, get a good chief of staff. Two, keep a firm grasp of fundamentals. Three, leave details to the staff. Four, go for morale, which is of almost transcending importance. And next, don't bellyache and don't worry. Show confidence, because if you don't have confidence, certainly your subordinates won't."

Admiral George W. Anderson, former Chief of Naval Operations

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Our commanding officers

“We are a very busy Navy; we are doing lots of things in lots of places. There is no person that I depend more on in the execution of that than our commanding officers. The full spectrum of responsibility, authority and accountability is something that this institution cherishes and is represented in command."

Admiral Mike Mullen while serving as Chief of Naval Operations

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Three lanes of thinking

"When I get up in the morning, I think in three lanes – and the first thing is building tomorrow’s Navy. What will we need to fulfill those capabilities that we’ve called out for in our strategy? And how will we do it? The other thing that occupies my mind is current readiness, the ability to do the things the nation calls for right now. Are we trained? Are we prepared? Are we an integrated part of the joint force? And the third, which is to me the most important is our people."

Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Damn good seaman

"Yes, a good seaman can usually get out of trouble. But, a "damn" good seaman avoids getting into trouble."

Admiral Robert Bostwyk Carney, former Chief of Naval Operations

Monday, April 7, 2008

What can be more important ?

"Mike, thanks for your continuing engagement on the vital issue of leadership -- at the end of the day, what can be more important to our Navy and our nation?"

Admiral James Stavridis, Commander, Southern Command

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Making the average man a leader

“ ...I concur that we can take average good men and, by proper training, develop in them the essential initiative, confidence, and magnetism which are necessary in leadership. I believe that these qualities are present in the average man to a degree that he can be made a good leader if his native qualities are properly developed; whether or not magnetism, moral courage, and force which makes the difference between the average man and the above average man....”

Admiral Forrest Sherman

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lots to be done

"There's lots to be done. Look around, see what it is and do it."

Admiral Robert Lee Ghormley

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Superior morale, superior cooperation

"Superiority of material strength is given to the commander 'gratis'. Superior knowledge and superior tactical skill he must himself acquire. Superior morale, superior cooperation he must himself create."

Admiral Joseph Mason Reeves

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A man's judgment

"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

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Decisive Naval Force

"I can see no change in the future role of our Navy from what it has been for ages past, for the Navy of a dominant Sea Power to gain and exercise the control of the Sea that its country requires to win the war, and to prevent its opponent from using the sea for its purposes. This will continue so long as geography makes the United States an insular power and so long as the surface of the sea remains the great highway connecting the nations of the world."

"From the birth of our nation, from the beliefs of our first President, George Washington, we have understood the worth of what he called "decisive naval force."

Admiral Raymond Ames Spruance