The Ghost of Pride

The surface fleet, after having two ships completely fail to pass an inspection demonstrating that they were capable of basic operation, has realized that something is wrong with the attitudes of the current fleet.

The commander of the Navy’s surface force took an unscheduled drive down the San Diego waterfront April 10 with his force master chief, and the two were not pleased with what they saw.

Sailors didn’t salute. Their uniforms were dirty. The ships showed rust, and their docks and parking lots were messy.

The conditions so offended Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis, the Navy’s Surface Force commander, that he issued a special message the next day urging sailors to “get back to basics” — get their uniforms and haircuts squared away, get their ships back into fighting trim, and generally look the part of sailors in “the world’s greatest navy,” he wrote.

Surface Force Master Chief (SW/AW) Michael Schanche sent a message of his own, singling out chiefs across the surface Navy and charging them with whipping their crews back into shape:

“Shipmates, I have always been incredibly proud to be the surface force master chief. Today however was the first time during my tenure that I have to say that I was professionally embarrassed!”

Fairly damning words, especially from the Force Master-Chief. I’m not going to throw stones at the surface fleet since I’m a submariner. However, when it comes to poor attitudes of junior sailors, all I can say is “Checks with chart.”

Just like I saw in the CARRIER series and I’ve seen on the boat, if no one bothers to explain to the junior personnel what they are doing, or WHY they are doing it, they will come up with their own reasons. And more likely than not, they will be incorrect and lead to disgruntlement. People need to understand that what they do, no matter how menial, makes a difference.

Sometimes you need to help people understand why they should have pride in their job, instead of expecting that it will just happen if they get a hair cut.

“The only lifelong, reliable motivations are those that come from within, and one of the strongest of those is the joy and pride that grow from knowing that you’ve just done something as well as you can do it.” – Lloyd Dobens

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One Response to The Ghost of Pride

  1. xformed says:

    I find it interesting that the leadership, after all that time, FINALLY drove down to the piers…and had to drive the Force MCPO with him. Reminded me of the SURFLANT Staff pogues who wrote compeletely unattainable instructions, chopped them and got them signed, then took off for two hour lunches before leaving early, then telling me, when I came back from doing inspections (oh, yeah, by their regs) that I should cut the ships some slack and “not grade so hard.”

    I graded by the instructions signed by their three star and those above them and then lobbied them to pull their heads out and write reasonable and functional specs. Of course, that would require them to work full days and maybe think about it on weekends, so that was a no go.

    Then, when disaster struck, we were sent out to find out what happened, because the staff sure had no clue.

    Funny, in all those investigations that I took part in over 20 years, it always showed the end result was reasonably predictable by the pre-conditions, but…the supervision, it had gone lacking for the run up to the event. Response: Toss the sailors under the hull and steam on like you’d done your duty ib blaming them, nevr stopping acknowledge you could have helped them keep from the career ending circumstances in one way (rolling up your sleeves) or another (relieving those not getting with the program).

    That finger points at the ship’s company leadership, as well as the staffs up the line. Work: It’s the requirment for taking the taqxpayer’s money twice a month…

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