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Good Evening ladies and gentlemen! What a wonderful week and a superb Convention. My hat is off to John Kennedy and his great team for the outstanding planning and execution of the Submarine Veterans 2012 Convention Week here in Norfolk, Virginia.

As many of you know, the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II conducted their formal closure last evening. These Shipmates will never be forgotten and I trust they will continue their camaraderie as members and friends of the U.S. Submarine Veterans Incorporated organization.

To honor these exceptional Americans and their families I offer the following statement and a prayer put together by a Submarine Veteran of World War II some years ago.

“The final curtain on the play has fallen. And all that remains is for you and I to close the show. But, for us, there will always be the memory of glory, and the triumph, and the tragedy that was part of the play. And if some day some stranger should ask, ” What was it like living and going through an attack on that submarine you were on?”

There’s just one answer you can give

“You had to be a part of it. You had to be there” .

Now the Prayer

They were young, straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.

They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,

They fell with their faces to the foe.

Bravely they died. In proud remembrance we salute them.

Thank you Submarine Veterans of World War II!! Shipmates join me in giving them a rousing round of applause!!

I know that being a Submariner means much to every individual here who has served this Nation. I feel the same way and can truthfully say that earning my coveted Dolphins was one of the most important moments in my professional career.

Lately, I’ve given considerable thought to what makes us such a strong fraternity, and perhaps more importantly, why do our submarines, manned by young Americans averaging 22 years old, perform so well under the most arduous of conditions for very long periods of time during deployments.

I may have found the answer in new research being done by the Gartner Group Distinguished Analysts, Ors. Debra Jergen and Carol Rozwell.

“The purpose of their research is to test the hypothesis that socially conscious leadership – characterized by personal authenticity and community connection -ALONE – are enough to define a good leader. If these two characteristics are present as leadership themes, then workers will be engaged, talent will be attracted and retained, successful projects will be delivered, innovation will come naturally and the ‘key performance indicators’ will fall into line. If they are not, then attrition will be high, management will be a struggle and organizational goals will not be met.

Their goal is:

  • To interview leaders of companies, organizations and projects to determine their leadership styles and match that against the ‘success’ of their enterprise: whether that be a workgroup, project, division, or a whole company.
  • To understand how leaders have developed their skills and what they recommend to others.
  • To look at companies and projects that have failed or struggled, those that have a high rate of attrition or who rate badly with their customers, to determine what kinds of leadership styles prevail.”

What caught my interest as I contemplated the hypothesis characterized by personnel AUTHENTICITY and community CONNECTION defining great leadership; was that the environment in our submarines, in the past and today, is made of officers, chiefs, and sailors who are forced to be authentic because there is no personal or psychological privacy on a submarine. Submarines makes a person AUTHENTIC or they fail and leave. Regarding community CONNECTION; all of us are taught on day number one that submarining is a team sport! We all understand early on that the newest crewmember is as important as the Skipper or Chief of the Boat when it comes to operating the boat or sewer pipe safely in times of war or peace; at great depths; far from home, for months on end. This CONNECTION or community spirit has always driven our crews to be close knit teams.

As I see it now, the nature of our Submarine Force is to attract smart, risk taking, inventive and socially adaptive people. Aboard the boats AUTHENTICITY is honored and grows in each crewmember and community CONNECTION is driven home constantly as each crewmember relies on one another! The result is a crew of real leaders who are truly defined by their AUTHENTICITY and CLOSENESS or CONNECTION.

The combination that I’ve discussed allowed our Submarines to readily defeat the Imperial Japanese Navy and Japanese Shipping in World War II. AUTHENTICITY and our CLOSENESS allowed us to lead the world in development of nuclear powered submarines and warships and to invent passive ranging and digital tracking that enabled the defeat of the Soviet Union in the Cold War.

Shipmates, this leadership of yours spawned from AUTHENTICITY and CONNECTION in our Submarine Crews, continues today as our fine submarines operate worldwide, over long periods of times, in shallow water, taking on threats that we couldn’t imagine a few decades ago.

If the hypothesis is true -“that leadership is defined solely by AUTHENTICITY and community CONNECTION” … then we have nothing to fear about the Submarine Force of today and that which will come tomorrow. The environment that exists, and has existed, on our boats has created great leaders who cherish authentic people and love the military community that they serve! That’s why we are all here this evening!

In closing, God Bless our Shipmates who gave all;
God Bless our Shipmates who are no longer with us;
God Bless all who serve and have served this Nation;
And God Bless the wonderful spouses and families who support those who Serve!

Finally, God Bless our Great Submarine Force!

Good Evening Bubbleheads! Keep Charging!

Naval Submarine League

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