Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Attributes of success in the Information Dominance Corps

I believe there is a set of fundamental attributes that members of the Information Dominance Corps should possess, they include:

  • Professional Competence
  • Dedication
  • Sense of Urgency
  • Leadership
  • Vision
  • The Highest Ethical Standards
  • Attention to Detail
  • Humility

If you possess all, or even most, of these attributes, you will be successful in the Information Dominance Corps.

VADM Jack Dorsett

The entire brochure is HERE.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sometimes your FOIA requests go into the Navy Blackhole

I received this response today from the Navy's FOIA office about CTs killed or wounded in the GWOT/OCO. Note that my request was sent to them via their online processing system 6 months ago.

"Your message



Sent: Fri, 18 Dec 2009 14:22:38 -0400

was not read Tue, 29 Jun 2010 09:46:20 -0400਍"

Damning words about our great Navy

"Poor training, impenetrable bureaucracy and cultural resignation have caused a spike in the number of technical problems and a dip in the operational performance in"... _______________ (fill in the blank; the problems are widespread).

"it can be assumed that less important systems could well be in worse material condition."

The findings came in the report of the "fleet review panel," convened last September by Adm. John Harvey, head of Fleet Forces Command, to conduct an outside assessment into the readiness of the surface force.

Men of principle

"God grant that men of principle be our principal men."

Thomas Jefferson

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Take up a pen and write

“There are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up a pen to write.”

William Makepeace Thackeray

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Public trust

When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Success is available

to every officer-indeed to every Sailor in the Navy. Success, up to the limits of one's innate abilities, is available to all who dedicate themselves to their career, who are willing to work long and hard to prepare themselves, who recognize and develop the high character necessary to successful leadership, who love their fellow humans and show concern for their well-being, and who can communicate with other officers in a manner that inspires confidence and devotion to duty.

From Edgar Puryear's book "AMERICAN ADMIRALSHIP".

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Virtual FOSE - 21 July 2010

Virtual FOSE briefing HERE.

Time: July 21, 2010 from 8am to 4pm
Location: Your Computer!
Website or Map:
Event Type: virtual, technology, event, for, government., it
Organized By: 1105 Government Information Group

Unfortunately - Number 9 is in the books

Commander Herman Pfaeffle is the 9th commanding officer to be fired in 2010. He was the skipper of FFG-32 - USS John L. Hall. The ship hit a pier nearly a month after he assumed command. His photo and bio have been removed from the official USS JOHN L. HALL website and the Chain of Command page is listed as "UNDER CONSTRUCTION".

Commander Pfaeffle was fired by Vice Adm. Harry Harris, 6th Fleet commander. The pier strike occurred during a port visit to Batumi, Georgia (part of the former Soviet Union).

USS John L. Hall was conducting joint drills with Ukrainian naval pilots and the Georgian coast guard in the Black Sea.

The ship's Executive Officer has assumed temporary command.

Commander Pfaeffle is a former enlisted submarine Sailor mustang. He entered the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps through the Navy’s Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) Program and received his commission in 1993.

World Class Professionals

Navy Information Warfare Officers and cryptologic technicians are world class professionals and I'm not saying that just because they work for me and they wear the same uniform. I went around the world and visited them in their workspaces. These people are incredible.

VADM Bernard McCullough
Commander, TENTH Fleet
Commander, Fleet Cyber Command

Navy Information Dominance Industry Day
22 June 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

VFA-14 Tophatters' Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles -


And, CDR Salamander would add, this must be done "Proactively From the Sea; leveraging the littoral best practices for a paradigm breaking six-sigma best business case in the global commons, rightsizing the core values supporting our mission statement via the 5-vector model through cultural diversity."

My good friend and former Joint Staff intern extraordinaire - Commander Kevin M. McLaughlin (callsign PROTON) just reported aboard as Executive Officer. He is one mission focused son of a gun.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Nota Bene (n.b.)

Commander Stone Davis concluded his 22 year Navy career with a retirement ceremony at Commander, 10th Fleet/Commander, Fleet Cyber Command on Friday 18 June 2010.

Fair winds...

....following seas.

Command Tour - Success

On the other side of failure is success. Upon conclusion of my command tour, I received this kind letter from the former Commander, SEVENTH Fleet Cryptologist and Commanding Officer of NSGA Kunia, Hawaii - Captain Jerome P. Rapin.

This kind of validation from a fellow Commanding Officer is a nice thing.

Not long after I received this letter, my former command, U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka, Japan received its reward for the great job those Sailors did - a Secretary of the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Gold Anchor for retention excellence.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Command Screen - FAIL

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.

The letter on the right 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.

Friday, June 18, 2010

"WARFARE IS NOT NETCENTRIC" - from a commander who knows a thing or two about warfare

First of all, if I could, just with respect, correct a term that I have never felt was accurate. Warfare is not network centric. It's commander centric. And that commander is enabled by networks.

And we went through - this is actually a hugely important concept that you approach it that way. And in fact we've had to work - in fact I came home from Iraq the second time and went out to Fort Leavenworth, I was also in charge of our combat training centers and the simulations centers and all the rest of us that do the very high level exercises.

We did some major overhauls because we actually were a bit too networked and too staff centric. And anyone who had actually commanded in real combat, which we hadn't done for several decades, actually, realized that it's actually about the commander who's enabled by this network. And it is a very, very powerful tool. . . . . . . .

The big idea with this stuff is that you need to start out with a concept of need to share rather than need to know. If you actually - if the intelligence analyst actually writes the report in the beginning with a sense of sharing it as widely as possible, as opposed to making it the perfect document that can only be released to one or five partners or what have you, you have a breakthrough.

And so we have to do that conceptually in addition. Now with respect to how do you spread that to other countries, I think that other countries have really seen the power of what it is that we have. The challenge is obviously their procurement accounts are nothing like ours. I think it is true now that the United States spends more than all the other countries put together win that regard in defense. So that's the challenge that they have.

General David Petraeus

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Own your job

“When doing a job, any job, one must feel that he owns it, and act as though he will remain in the job forever. He must look after his work just as conscientiously, as though it were his own business and his own money. If he feels he is only a temporary custodian, or that the job is just a stepping stone to a higher position, his actions will not take into account the long-term interests of the organization.”

Admiral Hyman Rickover

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Actions of Commanding Officers in superior commands. Spotlight on CDR Tyrone Ward.

• Targets Key Issues
• Gets Crew to Support Command Philosophy
• Develops XO
• Staffs to Optimize Performance
• Gets Out and About
• Builds Esprit de Corps
• Keeps His Cool
• Develops Strong Wardroom
• Values Chiefs Quarters
• Ensures Training Is Effective
• Builds Positive External Relationships
• Influences Successfully

Congratulations to Commander Tyrone Ward who assumed command of U.S. Navy Information Operations Command - Misawa, Japan on Friday, 11 June 2010. Some will remember that RADM James S. McFarland and RADM P.W. Dillingham were privileged to command NSGA Misawa in the 1970s.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Command Excellence - Training and Development

Training in superior commands links directly to combat readiness. Training for 'training's sake' is avoided. If a drill or exercise doesn't advance the combat readiness of the command, then it's changed around until it does.

Top commands don't question the value of training. The wardroom is key in coordinating training activities throughout the command. Each department commits itself to bringing its people up to speed. There is a give-and take in working with other departments to coordinate training activities. Training is targeted to get personnel closer to combat readiness. This drives the effort to keep training realistic and practical.

In outstanding commands all levels are involved in training and development. The wardroom coordinates the training, but the involvement of junior enlisted personnel with critical areas of expertise is crucial to training program success. Top wardrooms make their presence felt by continually monitoring programs to keep their commands combat ready.

Finally, superior commands are committed to the professional development and career planning of their people. Junior officers make sure their people are continuing to advance and qualify. Department heads take the lead in making sure division officers become qualified.

The impact of an outstanding wardroom is also reflected in high retention and reenlistment as junior officers command respect in encouraging sharp enlisted personnel to pursue Navy careers.

The following Navy Information Operations Commands (NIOCs) are on the FY10 Retention Excellence Honor Roll:

NIOC GEORGIA - Captain Michael Fisher - Commanding Officer
NIOC MARYLAND - Captain Steve Ashworth - Commanding Officer
NIOC MISAWA - Commander Ken Weeks - Commanding Officer
NIOC NORFOLK - Captain Brian Johnston - Commanding Officer (Featured in the photo above upon assumption of command.)
NIOC PENSACOLA - Commander Frank Shaul - Commanding Officer
NIOC SAN DIEGO CA - Commander Bryan Lopez - Commanding Officer
NIOC SUITLAND - Captain Diane Gronewold - Commanding Officer
NIOC TEXAS - Captain Greg Haws - Commanding Officer
NIOC WHIDBEY ISLAND - Commander Bill Dodge - Commanding Officer


Don't assume your high performing staff officer knows how good he is. Instead, use these three tips to give him the feedback he wants and deserves:

1. Identify development areas. There may only be a few and you may need to work hard to identify and articulate them, but help your star naval officer understand what he can get better at.
2. Show your appreciation. Failing to say thank you is a simple and common mistake. Your star officers need feedback and praise just as much as everyone else.
3. Give feedback often. Don't wait for review time. High performing officer thrive on feedback and it's your job to give it frequently.

Stolen from HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW. Full story is HERE. The Navy Executive Development Program offer access to FREE articles in HBR. You can access them HERE.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Worth Your Time?

One of my former JOs recently started working on a large command headquarters staff after spending two years aboard ship working as a Signals Information Warfare Officer (SIGWO). She e-mailed me a few days ago for some advice.

"I'm wasting a tremendous amount of time," she complained to me in her e-mail, "I'm in some kind of meeting all day. The only way I can get any real work done is by coming in real early (0500) and staying super late (2000). My kids hate me."

My JO had moved from a very lean, tactically focused operational shipboard organization to a land-locked organization of several hundred and was ironically drowning ashore in the time suck of of Headquarters Staff collaboration. She is one Action Officer among dozens.

She pointed to the same three things we have all struggled with that wasted our time the most on the staff - unnecessarily long meetings with disinterested participants and no firm agenda, hundreds of unimportant e-mails, and protracted PowerPoint brief preparation, revision, and presentation.

I called her this past Friday at 1630 to give her some advice. Proudly, she had already solved the problem herself - she went home. Some problems resolve themselves.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Let's not forget our Coast Guard Shipmates.

On August 4, 1943, the citizens of Grand Haven, Michigan stood somber as a ray of sunlight pierced the blackened sky. The mood changed instantly when a band broke the silence with the tune "Semper Paratus." The crowd of over 6,000 had gathered as they had for many years to celebrate Coast Guard day. This year, however, the crowd assembled for a more important reason; to pay tribute to the cutter Escanaba which had been sunk just six weeks before.
The current ESCANABA skipper and his crew pay tribute to those lost.

Take a look over HERE.

The Significant Role of Navy Chief Petty Officers (CPOs) In Superior Commands

"The backbone of the Navy" is how one old adage sums up the importance of the chiefs quarters. Superior commands are especially quick to acknowledge the chief petty officer's special role and contribution. The uniqueness of that role is a function both of the position the chief occupies in the organizational structure and of the job qualifications that must be satisfied before the position is attained. Chiefs have considerable managerial and technical expertise and are the linchpin between officers and enlisted.

For there to be a strong chiefs quarters, the chiefs must feel that they are valued and that they have the authority and responsibility to do the job the way they think it ought to be done. In superior commands, the chiefs feel that their special leadership role is sanctioned and appreciated by the rest of the command, especially the CO. In these commands, the chiefs are included in all major activities, particularly planning. Their input is sought and readily given. If they believe that something won't work or that there is a better way to do it, they speak up.

Chiefs in superior commands lead by taking responsibility for their division. They motivate their subordinates, counsel them, defend them when unjustly criticized, monitor and enforce standards, give positive and negative feedback, communicate essential information, solicit input, monitor morale, and take initiative to propose new solutions and to do things before being told. The chiefs play a key role in the enforcement of standards. Because they are out and about, they see for themselves whether job performance and military bearing meet the Navy's and the command's requirements.

When work is done well, they offer recognition and rewards; when it is done poorly, they act to correct it. They also know the importance of modeling the kind of behavior they expect their people to display. If they expect their personnel to work long hours to get something done, they work the same hours right along with them. Their concerns extend beyond their immediate areas, however.

Chiefs in superior commands act for command-wide effectiveness, promoting the success of the unit as a whole. Although they have a strong sense of ownership and take responsibility for their division's activities, they are able to look beyond the job at hand: when other departments or divisions need assistance, chiefs in superior commands are willing to help.

The superior chiefs quarters usually has a strong leader who plays the role of standard-bearer for the command, creates enthusiasm, offers encouragement, and drives others to excel. It is usually someone whom the other chiefs perceive as fair, who stands up for their interests and those of the crew, who listens with an open mind, and who has demonstrated a high degree of technical proficiency.

In superior commands, the chiefs quarters functions as a tight-knit team. The chiefs coordinate well, seek inputs from each other, help with personal problems, identify with the command's philosophy and goals, and treat each other with professional respect.

Finally, this ability to perceive larger goals and to work toward them as a team extends to their relationships with division officers. Chiefs in superior commands are sensitive to the difficulties that arise for division officers, who lack experience and technical know-how but must nevertheless take their place as leaders within the chain of command. A superior chiefs quarters supports and advises these new officers fully and tactfully.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

Information Warfare Officers

Disable enemy threats with communications technology Information Warfare

Discover threats and use vital communications to protect your country. Provide service members, planners and policy makers with real-time warnings, offensive opportunities and ongoing operational advantages. Work side-by-side with other Officers to make certain the right information is used at the right time, ensuring the success of the Fleet.

Job Description

As an Information Warfare Officer, you will be directly involved in every aspect of Naval operations, deploying globally to support Navy and joint military requirements. You will deliver vital information to decision makers by attacking, defending and exploiting networks to capitalize on vulnerabilities in the information environment.
Specific Responsibilities

Your responsibility as a member of the information warfare community is to supply information superiority that successfully supports command objectives. This is achieved through the application of Information Operations (IO) and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) expertise.

Other responsibilities of a Navy Information Warfare Officer typically include:

* Leading Information Operations personnel and advising Commanding Officers
* Coordinating information warfare measures in exercises and operations
* Assuming responsibility for processing real-time signal intelligence
* Conducting Computer Network Operations (CNO)
* Developing cutting-edge exploitation and defense systems

Work Environment

Your role as a Navy Information Warfare Officer will take you to sea, air and shore commands all across the globe. You may also have the chance to serve at the National Security Agency, the Pentagon or Regional Cryptologic Centers throughout the country. What’s more, you could have the opportunity to lead Cryptologic Technicians in related activities both afloat and ashore.
Training & Advancement

Prospective Navy Information Warfare Officers attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island.

After completing OCS, you will attend the 11-week Navy Information Warfare Officer Basic Course in Pensacola, Florida, learning:

* Information Operations
* U.S. Cryptologic System
* Electromagnetic Theory
* Satellite Fundamentals
* Military Communications
* Signals Collection Operations
* Tactical Cryptology
* Collection Management
* Traffic Analysis
* Signals Intelligence Reporting
* National Security Strategy
* Computer Networks
* Introduction to Security

After graduation, your initial assignment will be at one of the four National Cryptologic Centers, where you’ll gain additional leadership and management experience:

* San Antonio, Texas
* Kunia, Hawaii
* Augusta, Georgia
* Fort Meade, Maryland

Education Opportunities

Vital communications demand highly educated Officers. These are some of your opportunities:

* Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, allows the opportunity to earn an advanced degree. The school offers advanced degrees (master’s or doctoral) in many programs.
* The Junior Officer Career Cryptologic Program is a competitive three-year program that will broaden your education and experience and includes an intensive internship at the National Security Agency.

Pay Range

You may earn better pay options for certain duties and proficiencies:

* Special sea pay
* Hazardous duty incentive pay
* Foreign language proficiency pay


Navy Information Warfare Officers are required to have a four-year degree from a college or university.

After the Navy

Career Officers often enjoy increased responsibility and challenges that can include command, Fleet Commander Staff duty, major staff duty and duty as Information Warfare Commander. The specialized knowledge and expertise you gain as an Information Warfare Officer, coupled with your security clearance, may prepare you for future employment with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or National Security Agency (NSA) if you decide to return to the civilian sector when your service is finished.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Identify fellow "leadership" freaks

“You convince the higher-ups of the need for change by doing it, not by brilliant Powerpoint presentations. Find common cause. Identify fellow freaks across your organization and work with them to make changes you can then show to the bosses after you have done it.”

Tom Peters

Note: Some among you have started doing this. BZ!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Why Write?

"If you can't delight someone, there is little point in writing."

And this leads to my advice. Take pen to paper and write. Take time to write to friends and loved ones. Be yourself in your notes or letters. Transferring your thoughts with pen to paper is still the best way to communicate, because thoughts in writing come from the heart.

Today, with the flood of the e-mail and text messaging, the handwritten message seems so much more meaningful. I love to send one. I love to receive one.

By EDWARD A. IANNUCCILLI, The Providence Journal

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Ideas for the Navy IW Community

Some time ago, I posted this "empty" gauge for ideas for the IW community. As a result, here are some of the ideas that I received.

1. IW Commanding Officers (COs) should self organize, set their own agenda and have their own IW Commanding Officer's conference via VTC/teleconference to discuss IW community issues.

2. Like-minded IW officers could meet in cyberspace (GOTOMEETING.COM) and chat (brain storm) once a month (on a specific topic) at a designated time with a moderator (IWOCM?).

3. IW COs could set up a best practices blog (similar to the Army's Company Commander's site) to share ideas and practices that have worked for them.

4. Re-evaluate where we are as a community. Can we 'bring back' cryptology?

5. IWOs could become insurgents (ala Seth Godin) and self-market to the warfighter. We used to 'sell' our SIGINT capability to the warfighter and had Flag officers champion our capabilities. How do we regain that?

6. Information Warfare Commanders self-organize and set their own agenda and have their own IW Commander conference via VTC/teleconference to discuss IW Commander issues. Built a story for their reliefs. What are the respective IW Commanders doing? What are they not doing that they should?

7. Build a repository of IW officer and enlisted lessons learned from the IA/GSA experience on SIPRNET. What are we doing right; what have we done wrong?

8. Review our progress on the IW officer survey. Where do we stand on the actions recommended in the survey? Are we done? What did we accomplish with the survey?

9. Get the IW blog back into the open. (Note: I think this is done now with some visibility on FaceBook). If it's good enough for Admiral Chad Allen (USCG) and Admiral Jim Stavridis (SOUTHCOM), then it's good enough for us. Hey, do our Flags tweet?

10. Change our detailing process. (Not much help with this one since no other specifics were provided. What do you want to change about it? What paygrades are we talking about? Is it detailing in general or slating/command screening? More specifics, please. Not enough to go on here).

Recent Addition: (6/8/10)

11. Provide more transparency on the command slating process. Republish the O5/O6 slate and distribute widely.

Dueling First Women

Not to be outdone by the Navy, the USAF has named its first female fighter pilot to command wing

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Jun 3, 2010 17:05:44 EDT

Col. Dawn Dunlop, the first woman to fly the F-22 Raptor, will soon achieve another milestone when she becomes the first female fighter test pilot to lead an Air Force wing.
Dunlop is set to take command of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on June 4.

A 1988 Air Force Academy graduate, Dunlop began her aviation career as a T-38 Talon instructor pilot and was among the first women flying Air Force fighters once the ban on female fighter pilots was lifted in 1993.

After flying operational F-15E Strike Eagles for 2 1/2 years, she was accepted into the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards in 1997 and began flying F-15 tests mission the following year.

In 2003, she was assigned as operations officer for the F-22 Combined Test Force at Edwards and became the first woman to fly the jet that November.

Out of the cockpit, Dunlop was chief of the Air Staff’s Senate liaison division and a White House fellow.
She returned to Edwards in August as vice commander of the 412th. Dunlop takes over from Brig. Gen. William Thornton, who is moving to Materiel Command headquarters at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Finding truth (and oneself) in the closet - give all you've got

"If you give less than you're able to, you'll let everyone down—me, your ship, your Navy, and your country. I can't use people like that. I can only use people who have the courage and discipline to give all they've got."

Admiral Rickover to Midshipman William Toti

Captain Toti never gave less than he was able to. His story "The Wrath of Rickover" is over at USNI PROCEEDINGS in the June 2010 issue.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

First woman picked to lead carrier air wing

Captain (select) Sara Joyner was announced by the CNO as the first women selected to head a Carrier Air Wing.

She is on the Tailhook Board of Directors.

As Commanding Officer of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 105, embarked in Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), her callsign was "MUTHA".

Source: U.S. Naval Academy 1989
Designation: Naval Aviator, 1991
Assignments: VC-5, VC-8, CSFWP, VFA-125, VFA-147, JFCOM, VFA-105, OPNAV staff.
Hours/Traps: 3,300 / 600
Other: Combat Missions in Operations Southern Watch/Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom

BZ !

Unfailing index

“A man’s penmanship is an unfailing index of his character, moral and mental, and a criterion by which to judge his peculiarities of taste and sentiments.

Lord Philip Stanhope

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Navy Information Dominance Vision

The CNO has directed that the Navy be the most prominent and dominant Service in the areas of Intelligence, Cyber Warfare, Command and Control, Electronic Warfare, Battle Management and Knowledge of the Maritime Environment. This aspiration is only possible if we continue to break down barriers between fields, professions and skills … and create a dramatically more competent and influential information-focused work force for the future.

Navy information professionals will receive world-class training, qualification, experience and tools, and be expected to become prominent elements of Navy’s warfighting arsenal.

For the near term, the CNO expects to dramatically increase the depth of professional skills of the members of the Information Dominance Corps. Navy’s Information Dominance Corps professionals, in junior grades, will be required to strengthen and deepen their professional skills in their communities and sub-specializations, while also obtaining a broader understanding of cross-Corps disciplines. Senior enlisted, officers and civilians within the Information Dominance Corps will be required to retain depth in specialty and sub-specialty areas, while broadening their professional expertise across the information disciplines.

The U.S. Navy's Vision for Information Dominance is available HERE.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More on CTT1(SW/AW) Cassandra Foote

You are probably already aware that CTT1 Cassandra Foote, stationed at CID Corry Station, was recently selected CNO Shore SOY. I had learned about her earlier selection as NETC SOY and the fact that she is originally from Vergennes, VT, the town right next to where I am retired. As I am on the Memorial Day parade committee for our local Legion post, I undertook an effort to try to get her back to her hometown to be the Grand Marshall of our parade (which is the largest in the state.) To make a long story short, the CO at Corry thought it was a good idea and we put the plans in motion. To make a good thing even better, by the time Memorial Day rolled around, she had been selected MPT&E SOY and then CNO SOY.

In addition to her being in the parade, we set up a few other activities. She addressed a couple of local schools at their Memorial Day assemblies. She had a radio interview on a local station. Before the parade, she got a congratulatory certificate from the Governor and after the parade was given the key to the City of Vergennes and congratulated by one of our US Senators.

I've attached a link to the local TV coverage which was very positive:

I don't know if this is of interest to you for your web site. I also don't know how much longer the link will be active but maybe you are smarter than I am on computers and know how to download the actual video.

Also here is a link to the radio interview (about 16 minutes long):

Click on the "Podcast Archive" button on the right and you will see her interview which you can listen to.

I had a ball working this and getting some positive Navy publicity out there in the local community.

All the best,
Captain John Mitchell

Special thanks to Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and MCPON Jack Whittet for creating the Sailor of the Year Program in 1972.

Last Iwo Jima Chaplain passes away.

In the bloodiest days of Iwo Jima, Marine Chaplain LT. E. Gage Hotaling spoke the last words over fallen Marines and Navy corpsmen as they were buried in the island’s black sand.

On 20 May 2010, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers returned the favor to the late Reverend E. Gage Hotaling of Agawam Massachusetts, sending the old Navy chaplain on to join his comrades with military honors.

Reverend Hotaling was the last surviving chaplain who served ashore with the Marines at Iwo. He joined the Chaplain Corps at age 28 in 1944 because he didn't feel he could preach to the WW II generation unless he knew what they had endured, so he found himself with the 4th Marine Division on Iwo Jima. Some of his experiences on Iwo Jima are included in the book, “Flags of Our Fathers,” which tells the stories of the men who raised the American flag during the battle of February 1945.

Rev. Hotaling's first sermon was delivered at a Manton, Rhode Island church on November 19, 1933. At that time the country was in the depths of the Great Depression. Rev. Hotaling was 17 years old and had promised his father, who was dying of cancer, that he would carry on the work of ministry.

Hotaling, 94, died Sunday 16 May 2010 in a Springfield hospital, 65 years after the iconic battle for the Pacific island. In a 2007 documentary, he talked about the grim task he faced as Marines fell in bitter combat against the dug-in Japanese enemy. Of the 6,821 Americans killed, Hotaling believed he buried about 1,800.

“We would have four Marines with a flag over each grave. And while they were kneeling with the flag, I would stand up and I would give the committal words for each one,” he told the filmmakers.

He said he took up smoking to overcome the stench of decay.

“I did it not as a Protestant, Catholic or a Jew, but as a Marine,” the Baptist minister said. “Every man was buried as a Marine. And so I gave the same committal to each one.”

A Marine Corps honor guard stood by as family members and other veterans paid their respects yesterday at Massachusetts Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.

“He was a man of God, a man who comforted people and a shepard to his flock,” said son Kerry, 57, of Ludlow. “He brought comfort to the fighting Marines who were on the island.”

Thanks should go to Massachusetts State Trooper Mike Cutone, an Army vet, who was on a prisoner watch at Mercy Hospital when he learned from an old Marine that Hotaling was dying down the hall. Cutone made some calls and saw to it Hotaling was attended at his bedside by Marines in dress blues in his last days, just as he had tended to them in theirs in dirty, bloodstained dungarees.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Words...just words...

Leadership also requires integrity. You may, at times, prove better than your word, but you will rarely prove better than your actions. The high standards by which you measure your own personal behavior and that of others, say more about you and your potential than any statements you make or guidance you give. You should strive to conduct yourself always in such a manner that it can never be said that you demanded less of yourself or of the men and women in your charge than that which is expected of you by your families or your countrymen.

Admiral Mike Mullen at US Air Force Academy graduation.

Full speech over at Naval Leadership

And then from his commencement address to Florida A&M:

Mullen recalled going to a diversity conference in New Orleans in 2005, when he was serving as chief of naval operations.

“I walked in with my immediate staff, which was all white males,” he said. “A young officer from the Coast Guard sent me a note after that that said, ‘You have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.’ He wasn’t happy with what my staff looked like.

“About 18 months later in my home,” he continued, “I was having a farewell party for my immediate staff of about 15 to 20 officers, and I stood back and looked at that immediate staff, and I THINK I WAS THE ONLY WHITE MALE IN THE GROUP.”

“It was absolutely the best staff I’d ever had,” he recalled. “And I can’t remember if there was a white male on that staff.”

What struck him, the admiral said, is the missed opportunities of the past and HOW LONG IT TOOK HIM TO FIGURE IT OUT.

“In fact, all I did was create opportunities for them, and they excelled,” he said. “They made me better, they made our Navy better, and I stood there looking at what I could have done had I figured this out earlier. And I would urge you to think that way, because you are young – to reach out and make sure you grasp and take advantage of the diversity that we have as a country. It will become more and more critical in the future.”

Full article here. As the Admiral notes: "...success in a life of service is a product of guidance, grace and love from leaders and mentors."