Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Isn't that the XO's job?

I don't comment much of firings ... heck at the rate we are going you could do a blog on nothing but that. 

People are human, people sometimes are stupid, and sometimes people are just unlucky. Only on rare occasions are people actually bad. 

Sometimes, people don't deserve to be fired, but find themselves in a Kafkaesque place. In this case; who knows where this is on that spectrum.

I do find something strangely compelling about this story for some reason. From my email, so do many of you.
The second-in-command of a deployed frigate was fired Sunday “because of offensive comments and behavior towards the crew,” reported Naval Surface Forces Pacific.

Cmdr. James “Slim” Pickens, executive officer of the frigate Gary, was “temporarily relieved” by the Destroyer Squadron 1 commodore, Capt. Mike Elliot, SURFPAC said in their Sunday statement.
That immediately brought to mind a whole string of "XO said this ... " stories.

I guess we'll find out more down the road, as unless we have gone REAL squish, you must have really gone high-order as XO to be shown the door for this reason; XOs have a pretty wide lane when it comes to, "... offensive comments and behavior towards the crew,” - after all, someone has to let the CO be the good guy.

Let's be a little superficial while we are at it. Just look at CDR Pickens .... he even looks like a XO. 'Ole Shipmate even wears a what looks like a NEX special Casio Tide-Watch in his official photo. Very SWO-Daddish. On top of that, he has a Salamander approved background.
Pickens, a former enlisted cryptology maintenance technician, was commissioned in 1997 via the enlisted commissioning program and later served in Baghdad as an individual augmentee.
Now he is cooling his heels with the good folks at DESRON 1. 

Slim, I don't know what happened, but I hope you have some good peer support and friends right now. You've served your country exceptionally well with a very good record of service to this point. No one can take that away from you. 

A little unsolicited advice to everyone working towards positions of senior leadership - think about what you would do if for whatever reason you found yourself where CDR Pickens is right now. You can do everything right - have competitive #1 after #1, and get fired. You can have your own moment of imperfection and get fired. If you think being XO or CO is a lonely job - try being relieved as one.

Reach out to others who have been in similar places. Goodness knows there are a lot of folks out there who have been invited to PCS early. If you've run in to a streak of bad luck, or have just been a bonehead - at least you were in the game.

Let's wait and see what exactly happened here. We all know these stories can go either way ... so give him the benefit of the doubt.

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