Sunday, March 27, 2022

Better than a medal

 I served on the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) staff as the Branch Chief for Information Assurance (J6K) and on the Secretary of Defense's staff as Staff Director for the Detainee Task Force from 2003 to 2006.  I am fairly certain I am the least decorated O6 during that time but I am proud to have this letter instead


.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Is 10,000 hours enough?

 

 

I think this can be applied equally to leadership. Becoming truly great at anything -- (leadership included) -- requires ten years of experience and 1,000 hours of practice per year. 

"Ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness," he argues.

Becoming a leader requires "deliberate practice." 

What are the elements of 'deliberate practice'? 

It's designed explicitly to improve performance -- the little adjustments that make a big difference. 

It's repetitive, which means that when it's time to perform for real, you don't feel the pressure. 

It's informed by continuous feedback; practicing leadership only works if you can see how you're improving. 

Bits and pieces paraphrased (and others cut and pasted) from HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW.

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Mustang

 


The Mustang, aka Methuselah

Task & Purpose

The Mustang has more Good Cookies (Good Conduct Medals) than a box of Chips Ahoy, and he’s an officer. He has campaign medals that no one even recognizes. Where the hell is Kosovo, or for that matter “Southwest Asia,” anyway?

The junior enlisted troops love the Mustang. They think it’s cool as hell that someone went from enlisted to officer. The senior enlisted troops are not nearly as enamored, because the Mustang doesn’t fall for their bullshit. “It doesn’t take all day to do that, gunny. If you need time off, how about you just freakin’ say it?”

The Mustang is not, objectively speaking, that much older than his contemporaries. But whatever happened during those seven or eight extra years of enlisted service, it sure looks like it got to him. As they say, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” Apparently the Mustang hasn’t just been around the block, he’s been around the planet. Twice.

Stolen from: https://taskandpurpose.com/humor/6-types-majors-meet-military/

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Ethical Challenges


 There is no getting around the fact that every promotion and new position brings with it a new host of challenges, demands, relationships, problems, opportunities, and even new, and maybe previously unseen ethical challenges. ...It is only a smart thing to be ready and prepared to address all of these issues.

               - U.S. Army War College student observation

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Smartest person in the room? Not by a long shot.

 


I met with a small group of IDC officers some years back and one of my fellow Captains wanted to make sure all of us understood he was the smartest guy in the room.  It wasn't a declarative verbal statement. But, you readily understood his intent. He professed his sincere apologies for arriving late to our meeting.  It wasn't long before he made it known that his schedule was way overbooked and he really didn't even have time for the meeting we were currently involved in and he would have to depart early.  Thank goodness one of his Sailors brought him his coffee and he had time to take a few sips before he jaunted off for his next meeting for which he was already late.  Good thing he was a Captain and those 40 Sailors didn't mind waiting.  Quite the busy man.

He wasn't the smartest person in the room, nor was he even the smartest man in the room.  Self importance is not a virtue in most environments requiring servant leadership.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

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.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Timeless advice from Joe


Many professionals do not want to write because they feel by doing so they are telling people how to think or that no one will even care what the author, regardless of rank, thinks about a subject. What I have learned over the years is that published ideas, both good and bad, serve as a fuel for workplace conversations. And these conversations, which are a form of professional development, can have positive second and third order effects that the author never intended. 

For example, an article about improving performance counseling could lead to leaders reassessing and eventually changing their counseling programs in a unit on the other side of the globe. The changes may not be exactly in line with the article, but it was the article that got that commander or first sergeant thinking and talking about counseling in the first place.

Much more is available HERE.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

A Letter To My Junior Officers - Circa 2000 - 21 years ago seems like a lifetime

 

In August of 1982, after OCS 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 former friend and 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) - The World Watchers -  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 Whiton’s and RADM 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 PROCEEDINGS magazine article that the Naval Security Group was broken.  RADM 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 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 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 people 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.  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 gone 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 FIFEso 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.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Born this day in 1900 - Father of the nuclear Navy


27 January 1900 – Hyman Rickover, American admiral the “Father of the Nuclear Navy” was born in Makow, Russia (now Poland). He emigrated to the United States with his family in 1906. He served on active duty with the United States Navy for more than 63 years, receiving exemptions from the mandatory retirement age due to his critical service in the building of the United States Navy’s nuclear surface and submarine force.

He died at home in Arlington, Virginia, on July 8, 1986 and was buried in Section 5 at Arlington National Cemetery. His first wife, Ruth Masters Rickover (1903-1972) is buried with him and the name of his second wife, Eleanore A. Bednowicz Rickover, whom he met while she was serving as a Commander in the Navy Nurse Corps, is inscribed on his gravestone.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Correspondence is history kept alive



While in command of U.S. Naval Security Group Activity Yokosuka Japan, my Executive Officer (LT Bob Duncan) and I would meet at the command at 0630 or so each morning to spend 30-45 minutes hand writing letters to a different set of parents or relatives of our Sailors to let them know what 'their' Sailor was up to. One in 20 or so letters generated a response from a grateful parent or relative. The letter above is one such letter. The XO and I cared deeply about each of the 200 or so Sailors under our charge. Some of them understood and some didn't. Some came to that understanding later as they transferred to 'less caring' commands. Some still don't understand.

One of the most heart warming examples of the meaning of all this correspondence came on two separate occasions for my Command Master Chief - CTMCM(SW) Ronald N. Schwartz. In 2003 when he retired, his Mother and Father (Ron and Sandra) brought a notebook to his retirement ceremony (over which I presided) at Corry Station, Pensacola Florida (where he started his cryptologic career as a student). The notebook was filled with the letters I sent them regarding the Master Chief's many accomplishments helping me lead our Sailors. There were many letters and news articles sent as he accomplished a great deal. I was gratified to see his parents had kept every letter. In 2007, I saw those same letters in the same notebook in plastic liners at a far less joyous occasion when the Master Chief passed away tragically in an accident. Those letters meant so much to his parents because they reflected a detailed accounting of his very successful career history. His parents and I still exchange letters as I keep them informed of our efforts to keep his name and memory alive in the Navy.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Someone worth following


Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield is a native of Garden Grove, California, and a 1987 graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and French Language and Literature. She received her commission through Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) in 1988 and earned her wings of gold in 1989. Chatfield was awarded the Navy's Political/Military (Pol-Mil) Scholarship and attended the Kennedy School of Government, receiving a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University in 1997. 

In 2009, the University of San Diego conferred upon her a doctorate of education. She was assigned to Helicopter Combat Support Squadrons (HC), serving in HC-1, HC-3, HC-5 and twice in HC-11 before making the move to the Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) community. Operationally, she flew the SH-3, CH-46D and MH-60S and deployed in helicopter detachments to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf supporting carrier strike group and amphibious ready group operations. 

Ashore, she participated in the Joint Staff/OSD Internship Program, augmenting the Joint Staff, Plans and Policy (J-5) Directorate, Central; Eastern European Branch; was assigned as deputy executive assistant to the chief of naval operations; was senior military assistant to the supreme allied commander Europe; and was the United States deputy military representative to the NATO Military Committee. 

She served as assistant professor of political science at the United States Air Force Academy from 2001-2004. 

Chatfield was the 20th commanding officer of HC-5 and, upon its disestablishment, the first commanding officer of HSC-25, the Island Knights. 

She subsequently commanded a joint provincial reconstruction team in Farah Province, Afghanistan, in 2008 and was type wing commander of HSC Wing, U.S. Pacific Fleet from 2011-2013. 

Most recently, Chatfield commanded Joint Region Marianas from January 2017 to August 2019. 

 Her personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal, Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal and various unit awards.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

My dear Admiral...

 

In the 1940's, the Navy used a form letter to reduce the Flag Officer Ranks. It let "My dear Admiral" down with a gentler bump. Sent in November 1945 to all of the 369 flag officers still on active duty, the Navy's letter simply asked that if (for guidance in future planning) , the admiral wanted to retire— please reply.

Of those who had replied by December 10, 1945, only 16 said they wanted to get out. Among them were Fleet Admiral William F. Halsey; 62-year-old Admiral Royal E. Ingersoll, commander of the Atlantic Fleet throughout most of the war; hardboiled Admiral Emory S. Land, for seven years head of the Maritime Commission. The Navy sent nearly 150 Admirals home who did not request retirement.

Nevertheless, the Navy's stars were rapidly thinned out. Scheduled to go by the end of 1945 were 51 admirals who were recalled to duty after they had already been retired. The Navy hopes by June 1946 to reduce its flag roster from the peak of 400 to 228.

From TIME MAGAZINE, 17 December 1945

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

I am a United States Sailor

 

I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.

I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.

I proudly serve my country’s Navy Combat Team with HONOR, COURAGE and COMMITMENT.

I am committed to excellence and fair treatment of all.

Monday, January 17, 2022

It's not rocket science - You're in the people development business

 


"If you’re a leader, your whole reason for living is to help human beings develop—to really develop people and make work a place that’s energetic and exciting and a growth opportunity, whether you’re running a Housekeeping Department or Google. I mean, this is not rocket science."
"It’s not even a shadow of rocket science. You’re in the people-development business. If you take a leadership job, you do people. Period. It’s what you do. It’s what you’re paid to do. People, period."
Tom Peters

Sunday, January 16, 2022

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 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 15, 2022

Making a difference for Sailors as their leader


1. SAILORS LIKE TO FEEL SPECIAL... COMPLIMENT THEM
The highest compliment a Sailor can receive is one given by his or her Commanding Officer or their Chief Petty Officer. Take the time to notice your Sailor's work and don't hesitate to tell them when they've done a good job. Make a habit of being sincere with your compliments. They know whether you are being genuine or not.
2. SAILORS LOOK FOR A BETTER TOMORROW... GIVE THEM INFORMATION.
When your Sailors are having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (deployment), remind them of the purpose of their work and help them envision what their work will accomplish. With that information, your Sailors will work harder and longer to see the task through to completion.
3. SAILORS NEED TO BE UNDERSTOOD... LISTEN TO THEM.
Every leader would be wise to heed the Cherokee saying: "Listen to the whispers and you won't have to hear the screams." Don't judge what your Sailors want to tell you before they've told you. Take time to understand your Sailors' points of view and listen to their suggestions. It's the best way to ensure that your Sailors have been listening to you and it opens the door to their innovative ideas for improvement.
4. SOME SAILORS MAY LACK DIRECTION... HELP THEM NAVIGATE.
Part of your job as a leader is to help your Sailors figure out what they're most passionate about, then help them pursue it. Sometimes that may involve a job change within your command or even allowing a Sailor to pursue another opportunity somewhere else. But when you understand that effectiveness comes as a result of surrounding yourself with Sailors who love the mission, it's not difficult to let a Sailor go who doesn't enjoy their work. Spend your best time developing and giving direction to those Sailors who are passionate about the work your command is accomplishing.

Friday, January 14, 2022

The U.S. Navy - An Object of Special Pride

 

"From our earliest national beginnings the Navy has always been, and deserved to be, an object of special pride to the American people. ... It is well for us to have in mind that under a program of lessening naval armaments there is a greater reason for maintaining the highest efficiency, fitness and morale in this branch of the national defensive service. I know how earnest the Navy personnel are (in their devotion) to this idea and want you to be assured of my hearty concurrence."

President Warren G. Harding, 1922

Thursday, January 13, 2022

A Naval officer



A Naval officer should have a firm handle on not just one or two, but every aspect of his humanity, working to strengthen himself in every way possible. If he is blessed with the gift of intelligence, his academic pursuits should not be chased to the expense of his physical health. Similarly, a creative personality should not lead an officer to isolate himself professionally and ignore the social aspect of his being a Naval officer. Excellence in one of these areas does not take attention away from the pursuit of the others but rather serves only to increase competence in complimentary areas, giving the Naval officer a greater understanding of himself, the Navy and the world around him.

Adapted from "The Art of Manliness"

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

A couple of things about caring for Sailors that I learned at my first command - 1977-1979

Learning is a lifelong process.   "Stop learning - stop living" someone wise once told me.  First commands offer an incredible and long-lasting learning experience if you really pay attention.  I like to think that I did pay attention.

Some of the leadership best practices I picked up from then Captain James S. McFarland (a career long mentor and later-in-life friend):

- When Sailors reported to the command, he wrote letters to the parents letting them know that their son/daughter had arrived safely in a very distant Misawa, Japan and that his officers and Chiefs would take care of them.  Commands which make this time are remembered long after the Sailor departs.  Some commands have the Department Head or Executive Officer do this.

- Most Sailors were sent to the Naval Air Facility (NAF) Misawa photo lab for their "official Navy photo".  Little did the Sailors know that the CO actually sent these photos back to the parents.  Captain McFarland also sent a copy of my Sailor of the Quarter (SOQ) photo to my parents, as well - along with a copy of "The Misawan" newspaper's SOQ announcement.  Sent in 1979, my family still has these.  

Getting a photo of their Sailor means a lot to parents.  If you doubt it, ask a parent!

My feedback to my CO in 2003.

 Ensigns, don't try this at your command

This is a summary of my 360 degree feedback to a former commanding officer. Skipper, there's no doubt you're going to be a leader in the community; these things may help you.
  • You are a great speaker. Be careful not to lose the feeling behind the words. Words have meaning; actions have con­sequences. Ensure your actions match your words. Some Sailors actually listen to every word. They can sense any hint of insincerity. 
  • Your command philosophy should be written down and distributed widely in the command. This is a huge reason for the CNO's success in the Navy. We all know where he's going and we talk about it. The command wants to follow you. Tell us where you want to go. 
  • Respect our time. Typically, ten or more people are always awaiting your late arrival at some function (staff meeting, wardroom meetings, dinners, graduations, etc). If people believe that you are willing to consistently waste their time, they will stop feeling guilty about wasting yours. 
  • Be consistent with your administration of military justice. It's easy to punish junior members in the command for trivial violations. Applying the same standards across the board does not always work. In fact, the more senior the individual is, the more accountable they should be held for their action or inaction. Everyone is watching and judging. 
  • When senior officers visit the command, maximize their exposure to the junior Sailors of the command. They will benefit the most. 
  • Take your junior officers, Chiefs, and Sailors to lunch or simply go have lunch with them in their mess. Everyone will learn a lot, especially you. 
  • Invite your key command leaders to your home for a social event so they can see how it's done. Juniors need to see how their seniors do this. It's part of the learning process. 
  • Share information with your department heads. It is astounding how much information a commanding officer is exposed to and that is not shared with the department heads. Distributed information is enormously powerful. Your department heads can keep a secret if there is a requirement for secrecy. Trust them. 
  • Don't play favorites with members of the wardroom. It hurts the wardroom and it hurts you. 
  • Focus your calendar on the command 's mission. Ceremonial events and public relations are important, but your time should be spent on those areas the commanding officer can directly influence for the greatest benefit to the command's mission. 
From my January 2007 PROCEEDINGS magazine article "360-Degree Feedback: Can We Handle the Truth?"  You can subscribe to PROCEEDINGS (the professional journal of the U.S. Navy) HERE.


Stay tuned to this blog for the 360-degree feedback I received from everyone following my command tour. It's a very interesting and eye opening experience.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Writing

 

Other things being equal, a superior rating will invariably be given to the officer who has persevered in his studies of the art of self-expression, while his colleague, who attaches little importance to what may be achieved through working with the language, will be marked for mediocrity.

A moment's reflection will show why this has to be the case and why mastery of the written and spoken word is indispensable to successful officership.

As the British statesman, Disraeli, put it, "Men govern with words." Within the military establishment, command is exercised through what is said which commands attention and understanding and through what is written which directs, explains, interprets or informs.

Battles are won through the ability of men to express concrete ideas in clear and unmistakable language. All administration is carried forward along the chain of command by the power of men to make their thoughts articulate and available to others.

There is no way under the sun that this basic condition can be altered. Once the point is granted, any officer should be ready to accept its corollary - that superior qualification in the use of the language, both as to the written and the spoken word, is more essential to military leadership than knowledge of the whole technique of weapons handling.

It then becomes strictly a matter of personal decision whether he will seek to advance himself along the line of main chance or will take refuge in the excuse offered by the great majority: "I'm just a simple fighting file with no gift for writing or speaking."

From: The Armed Forces Officer, 1950

Monday, January 10, 2022

Sailor - with a capital "S"


1-16. Identifying Navy and Marine Corps Personnel . . . Capitalize "Sailor" and "Marine" when referring to members of the U.S. Navy or U.S. Marine Corps.

Secretary of the Navy, John Dalton in 1994

SECNAVINST 5216.5D, Navy Correspondence Manual

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Vice Admiral Lando W. Zech Jr. - forever in my memory

 


http://www.robcannonphoto.com
Back in 1981, the Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Admiral Lando W. Zech Jr. made a very wise detailing decision.  He sent CWO3 Wallace Louis Exum to teach celestial navigation at Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.  I was one of hundreds of CWO3 Exum's students at OCS.  Both men influenced my Navy career greatly.  VADM Zech signed off on my first set of orders in June of 1982, sending me to Atsugi, Japan to fly with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1).  Thirty years later, both men were still in touch with me and we developed into great friends.

Sadly, Vice Admiral Zech passed away eleven years ago in January and is no longer with us, except in spirit.  The last time I saw him, he was in good spirits.  He was ill and weakened from his lengthy hospital stay - but his spirits were high. We talked a little bit about the USNA honoring him and a few of the other guys recently for being Captains of their varsity baseball teams over the years.  He was very proud of his years at the United States Naval Academy.  The 7th of January 2011, my wife and I went to the gift shop at the Yard to pick up some Navy things to decorate his room in the care home where he was recovering in Falls Church.  Sadly those gifts were never delivered.  The wool blanket with the Navy N and star and some posters would never warm him.

Besides being an athlete, he was very much an old school nuclear submariner and later a surface warfare officer. My goodness, how he loved the Navy and his family.  After his retirement from the Navy, he was Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  He left behind a wonderful widow - Jo, 5 beautiful daughters and many grand children.  And, he leave behind a very sad Shipmate who still grieves deeply and tries to keep his memory alive in all ways that he can.  Farewell Admiral Zech.  Those who knew you - loved and respected you greatly.  Those who didn't - missed out on a great experience.  I said my good-byes at Arlington National Cemetery but they were in no way - final good-byes.  You will remain fresh in my memory.

His obituary:

ZECH LANDO W. ZECH. JR Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy (Ret.) Former NRC Chairman Lando W. Zech, Jr., age 87, a retired Navy Vice Admiral who later served as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission died on Sunday, January 9, 2011. Admiral Zech, a resident of Falls Church, VA was born in Astoria, Oregon and spent his youth in Seattle, Washington, where he attended Roosevelt and Lakeside high schools. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1941. At Annapolis, he played varsity baseball and basketball. In his senior year, he captained the baseball team. Admiral Zech served 39 years in the Navy after his graduation from the Naval Academy in 1944 with the World War II Class of 1945. His first assignment was to the destroyer USS JOHN D. HENLEY (DD 553) in the western Pacific where he participated in the second battle for the Philippines, the Iwo Jima and Okinawa campaigns and on picket station duty off the coast of Japan during the last days of the war. After the war and a second destroyer tour on the USS HENRY W. TUCKER (DD 875), Admiral Zech volunteered for submarine duty and subsequently commanded four submarines, USS SEA ROBIN (SS 407), USS ALBACORE (AGSS 569), and after nuclear power training, USS NAUTILUS (SSN 571) and USS JOHN ADAMS (SSBN 620). He later commanded the guided missile cruiser USS SPRINGFIELD (CLG 7). Upon his selection to flag rank, he served as Commandant of the Thirteenth Naval District in Seattle, WA, the Chief of Naval Technical Training in Memphis, TN and as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Japan in Yokosuka. After his selection to Vice Admiral he served as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Manpower, Personnel and Training and Chief of Naval Personnel in Washington, D.C. He retired from the Navy in 1983. Admiral Zech graduated from the Armed Forces Staff College, the National War College and received a Masters Degree in International Affairs from George Washington University. In addition to campaign and foreign service medals he was awarded two Distinguished Service Medals, two Legions of Merit and the Navy Commendation Medal. On retiring from the Navy he was appointed a Commissioner and later Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by President Ronald Reagan. During this 5 year appointment he visited all 110 nuclear powered plants in the United States and many plants overseas including Chernobyl after the accident in the then Soviet Union. After retiring from the NRC, he served on the Board of Directors of the Commonwealth Edison Company (now Exelon) for another 5 years and later as a Nuclear Safety consultant. Admiral Zech had been a resident of Falls Church since 1983. He was a parishioner of the Cathedral of Saint Thomas More in Arlington, VA, a supporter of the U.S. Naval Academy, the Archdiocese for the Military Services, U.S.A., the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and a member of the Army Navy Country Club. He is survived by his wife of 61 years, Josephine K. Zech; five daughters: Janet Z. Cocke (James) of Richmond, VA, Joanne Z. Lyons (Coleman) of Atlanta, GA, Nancy Z. Cunnane (Robert) of Coto de Caza, CA, Carol M. Zech of Arlington, VA and Patricia Z. Nelson (Kirk) of Sammamish, WA.; his 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren. Also surviving are his brothers, Dr. Robert J. Zech and Dr. Jerome M. Zech, both of Seattle. He was preceded in death by his brother John R. Zech. 

Saturday, January 8, 2022

"The Chief" has slipped the surly bonds of earth - gone 5 years now, never forgotten

 



Joseph Charles Anthony Lambert, 84, retired USAF Chief Master Sergeant, slipped the surly bonds of earth eternally on 26 December 2016. The son of the late Myrtle and Camille Lambert, he was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on 25 June 1932.  At 19, he joined the USAF and enjoyed a 29-year career as a Communications Systems Maintenance Engineer, Manager, and Superintendent.  His career took him from Louisiana to Texas, to Germany (several times) France, South Carolina, Oklahoma (several times), Illinois, Missouri, Turkey, Newfoundland and many other locations.  He served over 16 years in foreign countries and earned numerous awards – most notably the Meritorious Service Medal and AF Commendation Medal. During his time overseas, he played tenor saxophone and was a vocalist in an AF jazz band.  He was also a great basketball player on several AF base basketball teams.  His most memorable tour was at Laon Air Base, France where he served as Chief of Maintenance for the base commander’s squadron and two radio-relay stations, providing all communications between the Laon Air Base and the rest of the world.  He ended his AF service the same place it started at Tinker Air Force Base where he served as Maintenance Superintendent for the 3rd Combat Communications Group.  Following his lengthy active duty Air Force career, he served as a technical writer, a USAF civil service employee, and as Crest Food Stores greeter.  Joe was an avid reader all of his life.  The family would like to thank all of Joe’s great neighbors and friends in the Stone Meadows neighborhood who looked out for Joe in his later years – always providing refuge from the storm.

His wife Irmgard Anne Lambert, his daughter Patricia Lee Lambert of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and his older sister Lois Karamozous of New York, New York preceded him in death.  His younger sister, Dianne Auzenne, resides in Baton Rouge, not far from their childhood home.


Joe and his wife Anne raised five children – Annette R. Pate (George Wayne – USAF), Leane L. DeFrancis (Anthony – US Army), Josef R. Lambert (US Army), Reiner “Mike” W. Lambert  - USN (Lynn M. - USAF), and Patricia L. Lambert.  They have three grandchildren – Trisha R. Pate, Michael G-J. Lambert, and Bond L. Cavazos (Aaron Joseph).  Anne and Joe have one great-granddaughter Colette Marie Cavazos.

Friday, January 7, 2022

"Anchor up, Chiefs !!" - MCPON talks about CPO responsibility

 


MCPON West’s message

Pass to all command master chiefs, chiefs of the boat, command senior chiefs and senior enlisted leaders and conduct training on CPO standards and Navy core values within the CPO mess.

Senior enlisted leaders, during the past several weeks we’ve had several incidents of CPO misconduct. Also during the past year, CPOs have been involved in several incidents regarding DUIs, sexual assaults, domestic violence, fraternization and general misconduct. This is unacceptable within our mess and must stop immediately.

Additionally, during the past year we’ve detached for cause ten CMCs and COBs for some of the same practices mentioned above, as well as poor performance in leading a mess.

CPO DUIs are a mess failure, and a leadership issue that must be addressed. As a mess, we have averaged 54 per year since 2005. This represents a trend and average we must reverse now. This number indicates that some within our mess are not looking after themselves or one another. There is no doubt in my mind that this type of conduct has a negative effect on the Sailors we lead.

As chiefs, we are the leaders and bearers of standards for our sailors twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The way we live our core values and Navy ethos are emulated by the Sailors we are privileged to lead.

I’ve asked each fleet and force master chief to brief me on any CPO involved in a DUI, sexual assault, domestic violence, fraternization or general misconduct. This brief will explain how the CMC and the mess involved expect to provide a course correction so this doesn’t reoccur. This process will be implemented in a manner that does not interfere with ongoing investigations and respects the authority of the chain of command to take administrative or disciplinary action as appropriate.

Shipmates, overall our mess remains strong. You are leading this Navy and doing it well, but even one miscue from a chief petty officer resonates and reflects poorly on the entire chief’s mess and our great Navy.

We as leaders have the responsibility to uphold the credibility this mess has earned over the course of a century. Leadership is counting on you, your Sailors are counting on you and I am counting on you.

Keep an eye on one another, take swift and appropriate action if you see someone steering the wrong course, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you see something that your instincts tell you may be unusual, and always set the standards for the Sailors you serve.

Chiefs, anchor up.

MCPON West

MCPON and I are on the same page. I take credit for coining this phrase ("ANCHOR UP") several years ago and it was published in my September 2007 USNI PROCEEDINGS article "Anchor Up, Chiefs. Reset Your Mess" - just in time for the promotion of the FY08 Chief Petty Officers. You can read it HERE at the Chief's own GOATLOCKER website. I am honored that the Chiefs thought enough of the article to post it for their Mess to read.