Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Amid Tears of Shame ... I Find Hope

As I mentioned to a small cadre last week, this really should not see the light of day.

Whatever we do, we should not let Marine Corps officers read this ... as we would never hear the end of it.

Now, what kind of Salamanderesque attitude is that? I must be getting weak.

No, back to Vince Lombardi Salamander. Sunlight is the best medicine; things shouldn't be off limits just because it might create discomfort for some.

So ... has been such a treasure trove of for the snark inclined as of late; it would be sad to let such glowing gems of leadership not to be gibbetted to the masses as examples of what not to do. We simply must do better.

I'll let you get their names from the link, but here is what we got for answers from the question; "How Do Junior Officers Inspire Innovation?"

A junior officer, or JO as we call them, are your typical new kids on the block. Even a seasoned JO has something to learn and discover about his or her leadership style. ... The willingness to try something new and think outside the box is a junior officer’s key to inspiring innovation. The impact this has on a Sailor, fellow officer, and/or entire crew can have lasting effects. Their ideas can spread throughout commands simply by word of mouth. Innovation and new ideas from a JO can be a breath of fresh air. A curious JO, who is constantly learning, will always try to think of something new.
...Working on the deck plates with Sailors on a daily basis is the greatest responsibility of a junior officer. Our position demands that we guide Sailors to their optimal potential, personally and professionally. Because we are on the deck plates, we see the flaws that “trickle down through the ranks.” While we are a Navy rooted in tradition, our finest resource is the diversity in which we are comprised.
...The role of the junior officer in the Surface Fleet has evolved over the years. The junior officers have become more of a bridge between officers and enlisted,...
...comparing what I do on Freedom to a junior officer’s role on a traditional CRUDES ship is like comparing apples and oranges.

On my cruiser, you wouldn’t find a single junior officer (including myself) helping to clean, move boxes from the pier to the ship, take down lifelines for a gunnery exercise, or even clean their own plate and flatware.
...When I help my Boatswain’s Mates move shackles from anchor windlass or my Operational Specialists write messages, not only am I helping accomplish a task to further the mission of the ship, I’m simultaneously building rapport and a stronger working relationship with my Sailors.
For the love of all that is holy, I need a drink.

Wait ... wait ... there is hope, and hope has a name.

There is one JO in this cluster that deserves to be mentioned by name. By name, as he gets a Salamander BZ and should give all hope that yes, our Navy still makes them right.

Very well played Lieutenant ... very well played.

I give you the Salamander JO of the Month; LT Austin Henne, USN, Main Propulsion Assistant on USS Freedom (LCS-1).

His answer made my week.
I recently attended a LCS PMS summit headed by Rear Adm. Gale  The conference was focused on establishing clear informational objectives required prior to making a decision on the balance between LCS contractor preventative maintenance vs. ISEA based preventative maintenance.  I was extremely impressed by the individuals representing SURFOR, NAVSEA, Lockheed Martin, NAVSES, LCS Squadron 1, and various entities.

While they expressed insight into their specialized fields, I quickly realized I was the only individual in the room who was currently serving on a LCS.  When given the chance to speak, I made every effort to tell the story of the blue shirts on the deck plates who strive valiantly every single day to work hand-in-hand with contractors to ensure that LCS is a viable fleet asset to perform sustained operations at sea.  However, the number of hours that ship force was spending on contractor maintenance was going largely undocumented. In short, the following week a request was made to ship force to document the man hours that ship force spent on contractor maintenance either tagging equipment out, operating machinery, or escorting personnel in secure spaces.  I am very satisfied to know that the enormous effort that LCS Sailors are making are being more accurately documented.
Boom. It is all right there; 
- Put the entire LCS cabal on report, they are a detached and abstractly focused group. In spite of the fact that LCS has been displacing water for years, they only have one serving person at the summit. All those very senior, very experienced, and very important people in one room .... and only one 1st-hand report among them. Gobsmacking.
- Blowing off the squishy question and instead giving an answer to the question you wish were asked.
- Speaking truth to power that their metrics and pretty PPT are garbage as maintenance hours are not reported correctly. The worse fears that those of us have had since the start of LCS's manning CONOPS are right there; contractor maintenance is not meeting the needs of the Fleet, and as a result, already overworked Sailors are having to do the work for them. By doing so, you effected positive change that will help HIS Sailors and HIS Navy.
- Speaking for HIS Sailors because they cannot speak for themselves. Putting himself out there for HIS Sailors, because that is what an officer does. Focused on the ability of HIS Sailors to do their assigned duties in support of HIS ship in the face of a support structure that is failing them. Ship, Shipmate, and then Self.  

LT Henne; if you did this on purpose, BZ. If not, then even more of a BZ as you have the instincts of the best that we ask of our junior officers. Your peers that came first in the article should make sure and scroll down the page and ponder your entry.



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