Thanks Jerry, for your kind introduction. I once had a wonderful boss-great submariner named ADM Bob Long who used to say-behind every successful person is a truly surprised spouse. So let me thank the spouses, all the spouses, and especially Nikki Hunt and the Ball Committee. This really is a fabulous gathering.
We have a number of distinguished guests here and although they have been recognized I do want to thank:
Adm Hank and Peggy Mauz
Admiral Jan Tighe
Civilian and Academic leaders of this prestigious school.
And we have three generations of submariners and their families here with us tonight.
WWII Generation represented by Harold Mulnix. Harold qualified in May of 1943 on board USS STURGEON. Harold also has his WWII patrol pin on and I highly recommend you take the time to say hello. I believe it is the only one in this room.
Now how many of you have spent some time at Pearl Harbor? My favorite place in all of Hawaii to take a distinguished visitor-and I have done it countless times-is the Skipper’s Lounge in Clean Sweep Bar at Lockwood Hall. It doesn’t take long as you view the pictures of those who served on submarines in World War II to gain an appreciation for the full measure of devotion and sacrifice a generation contributed to winning that war. As Admiral Nimitz said:
It was the Submarine Force that I looked to carry the load until our great industrial activity could produce the weapons we so sorely needed to carry the war to the enemy. It is to the everlasting honor and glory of our submarine personnel that they never failed us in our days of peril
Then there is the Cold War Generation. I guess I should count myself in that group along with many friends here tonight-like Adm Jerry Ellis who commanded both ULYSSES S. GRANT and CITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI. ADM Joe Ekelund of Ekelund Range fame, who commanded GRA YBACK. Gordon Eubanks my shipmate on GUNARD and many more. Joe, I want you to know that Gordon and I lost a lot of money to a GRA YB ACK wardroom playing poker while deployed to the western pacific. As a matter of fact the term pirates comes to mind.
Make no mistake, this was a generation of submariners that protected American interests worldwide … that gained the knowledge and understanding of the Soviet Union, which allowed us to prevail. And without question, led the American effort to win the Cold War. CORPUS CHRISTI and GURNARD, ships of their time whether SKATE & SKIPJACK, 594/637 or the Los Angeles class … each rode to the sound of the guns, kept the Soviets at bay, and developed a reputation for readiness and an ability to deploy on short notice, that is simply unmatched in our history.
And then there is the Current Generation. That’s all of the rest of you. And it is different once again. Despite the common heritage and the manner in which we sailed fearlessly into the perils of the Cold War, every time I took a debrief from a returning Commanding Officer or talked to our current force leadership, I have marveled at your management of literally hundreds of contacts in very shallow water. You have different set of problems but it is pretty clear to me that the level of stress and excitement and the demands for an exceptionally well-trained crew and superior platform hasn’t changed one bit.
Over the last few years I have had the great fortune of riding both the LOUISVILLE and NORTH CAROLINA.
The lesson to me was that in the 20 years since I had left command, we had added tremendous capability to collect, process and disseminate information to deal with a newer, more complex environment-and on the Virginia class, we had designed in a clear leap in both technology and arrangement to meet this challenge from day one.
One of the folks that we invited to sea with us on LOUISVILLE was Eric Schmidt, who was at the time, the CEO of Google and now the Chairman. Now here is a guy whose principal objective is to figure out how to share all that is known with all who want to know it.
-It is the world we live in today.
He had a great time and of course was hugely complimentary of all whom he met and the importance of our mission.
I dropped him off at his plane at 6:00 p.m. When I woke up 12 hours later, he had posted a blog, edited a video which was available on You-Tube and sent me a Google Picasso Galley of 50 photos.
-It is the world we live in today. And it is different and demanding.
So we are going to have to title this new and equally fearless generation of Submariners. My sense is you will define your-selves. But for starters, I’ll just call you the Generation of the Pacific Century. There is a lot of discussion about the Pivot to the Asia or Rebalancing. But the Submarine Force figured this out and led this movement almost a decade ago when shifted ships to the Pacific and initiated attack submarine home porting in Guam.
Since we were talking about social media a moment ago, there is one item I would like to clear up. It is the term Bubble Head You may have been called one .. .I certainly have. But in 40 years as a qualified submariner, I have never understood where it came from. But in the current day and age we can find that out. We go to Google and then Wikipedia … and here it is: Bubble Head: a member of a unique tribe populated by exceptional warriors known to be bright, engaging and fearless of adversity; Uncommonly attractive … compassion when appropriate Derives from always bubbles to the top … a.k.a The Submariner.
I gave a speech not so long ago to the Aloha Section of the Professional Golfers of America including the National CEO of the PGA. How many folks watched the Masters last weekend? Just a show of hands. OK, then I think I can proceed.
Now that was a different audience for me. Not about Asia-Pacific or building submarines. These guys Teach Golf, Run Golf Courses and arc the Course Superintendents. After giving it some thought, I titled it “Pride Runs Deep.” -What I learned from golf and growing up in the Submarine Force. Now that may seem a little strange and I certainly didn’t clear the title through Naval Reactors, but the more I thought about it, the better I liked it. Because fundamentally, I have found that the key principles you learn growing up in the Submarine Force will make you successful in almost any organization or aspect of life.
I told the golfers we have a lot in common, but above all else, when we get up in the morning we can’t wait to get to work. That doesn’t mean every day is a great day. I have some for the record books.
-I made, maybe, the Navy’s only 63 bell landing. The good news was the damage to SKA TE’s port propeller was relatively minor.
-And I tried to pump the entire Atlantic Ocean into the Forward Trim Tank of a submarine. By the way it didn’t fit. .. we started to sink … and I finally got control of my depth about 200′ later. But like depth control it is how you recover that is especially important.
But day in day out, we could not have a better job.
- It is exciting.
- The people arc the best you will ever work with.
- And you have a job that is important and hugely meaningful to your country.
Now I am not going to give you the whole speech that I gave to PGA but here are the take aways: I told them what we have learned:
- First. you can’t lead an organization well-unless you really understand it. That means crawling over every inch of a submarine in our case or the golf course cart barn in theirs. All this business about a great leader can take over any organization and quickly achieve success is frankly hogwash. You have to understand how it works. It is not lost on me that this lesson must be why the TV show “Undercover Boss ” got started.
- Above all else, the people who work for you respect more than anything else, competence. And knowing that, will save you the price of a dozen books on leadership.
- I mentioned you can learn more working out with troops or sitting in a lower level engine room with the watch than at any management meeting. IBM used to call it Manage-ment by Walking Around.
- Of course the corollary-you fail to listen at your own Peril.
- One of the principal responsibilities of every leader is to set standards (my choice is high standards) or said another way if you walk by something that isn’t right and fail to ACT-you have just set the new low standard. And for sure there is nothing inconsistent with high standards and having fun.
So if you see a few golf pros walking around Pebble Beach that act like they are nuclear trained, you will know where they got it from.
My own experiences have been equally exhilarating:
In 35 years, I climbed Mount Fuji, walked the Great Wall of China, scaled Machu Picchu in Peru, toured the Pyramids and the Valley of Kings and Queens in Egypt and visited and enjoyed the beaches of Ipanema and Copacabana. The person who penned the phrase “Join the Navy and See the World” was certainly right on. But of course, those were just the sidelights.
Nothing has compared to the opportunity to lead a cross-section of our Nation’s citizens, from those early days as a division officer on board GURNARD, through to the various commands in Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East. Of taking of a billion dollar submarine (now we would say two billion) and 130 souls and sailing into the most demanding days of the Cold War.
You know it is funny how our Naval service works. You start out in your first assignment as a Division Officer, you work hard to learn your job and gain operational competence. And when you look at the person you arc working for-in my case the Engi-neer-you probably feel that he or she has the toughest job on the planet. But at some point along the way, while you are intently focused on your current responsibilities you have this revelation-that you could handle that next assignment-in fact you recognize you could do it very well. That is where you are right now. That doesn’t mean there isn’t some trepidation-if there isn’t-you may not understand the stakes. But that progression is as true in moving from a Division Officer to a Department Head as it is from a Strike Group to a Fleet Commander. And in reflection, I believe ADM Kin McKee, a former Director of Naval Reactors had it right when he convinced me 30 years ago that the three most respected components of leadership were competence, as I mentioned earlier, integrity and endurance. Yes, endurance. Because you have to make good judgments when you are tired. Kind of like making that foul shot after running the court for 38 minutes.
Through it all, I have had great fortune to work for a number of magnificent leaders-really too many to name. Some visionary, some courageous, others compassionate and a few were really tough. But each felt a responsibility to develop me personally and professionally and ensure I had every opportunity for success.
Which brings me to this equally great opportunity that you all have before you. In my experience, in both the military and private sectors, there is no place in our society where at this point in a career you assume greater responsibility or exercise more immediate leadership. Whether you stay in our military for a career or move down a different path, you will find yourself tremendously well served, by not only your initial training and sea tours and your time here, but each experience in the immediate years ahead.
Of course, with opportunity comes obligation. Your solemn obligation to train and develop and impart what you have learned to each sailor placed in your charge. It may also mean later in your career trying to sleep, maybe with one eye or ear open-so to speak-as you allow a newly qualified Officer of the Deck to stand the watch in the dark at night.
Not everybody walks on board a superstar. Such was the case of a shipmate on SALT LAKE CITY named Scaman Beauprez, a 19 year-old sailor who walked aboard from Illinois in 1987. Now I’m sure Scaman Beauprez would have been the first to admit that there had not been a lot of discipline in his life up until this point (maybe not one iota) and as you can imagine, he got off to a rocky start. Within weeks, the Navigator was in my stateroom pleading to allow Beauprez to take a fast train back to Chicago. “Bottom blow this guy” was the expression used then. But I believed strongly, as I think most Commanding Officers do, that we have an obligation to train and develop each sailor on board. Play the hand you’re dealt so to speak and besides there was a spark I saw in Beauprez that I really liked. Things didn’t get particularly better and one day we were up in the great Pacific Northwest shooting torpedoes by day and pulling into a small Canadian Port at night called Nanimo. It was our last night-Nanimo is what I would call a two disco town-and so the Executive Officer and I decided to take a lap around the town to see how the crew was doing.
- 144 Sure enough -Beauprez was dancing the night away with a woman who had to be a Madonna clone (white T ~shirt black bra over the top).
- Are we going to get him back-XO My responsibility.
- XO-You will have the duty the night before every underway for the rest of your life.
- Beauprez woke up, got the message-QMOW
0900-lines singled-no Beauprez-Chief of Boat-Go find him. Came off Bridge-I was hot.
Six years later.
- Great Lakes-reviewing grad. Walking barracks. Beau-prez is pushing boots
I followed his career pretty closely over the years. So where is SN Beauprez today? A year or so ago at a Submarine School Graduation I had great pleasure to introduce Electronic Technician Master Chief Chris Beauprez. A clear success by any standard. COB on Pittsburg.
So we recognize we have sailors from all walks of life and very different backgrounds-each of which has a tremendous amount to contribute to our Navy and our Nation.
Early I talked to the term Generation of the Pacific which I very much believe to be the case. There is no doubt that our submariners have performed magnificently in the Persian Gulf, the North Arabian Sea, on Strategic Patrols both East and West, even the Mediterranean conducting hugely successful strikes from both USS FLORIDA our SSGN which fired 100 missiles along with PROVIDENCE and SCRANTON against Libya. It is a record of capability and contribution that is universally admired.
One additional point you should understand clearly about your profession. There is no warship better able to operate in the contested littoral regions of the world today than the submarine. And that really is where our future security concerns are at in this globalized world. Every time we sit down with a clean sheet of paper and start to design a ship, we ask for one that is fast and stealthy and survivable, with of course, unlimited endurance and the ability to absorb and manage huge amounts of information. It is the submarine we have today.
To sum up, I can’t think of a place I would rather be than at sea, on the front line with today’s Submarine Force and each of you.