Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Milestones and Mentors...

Today, I reached a Navy milestone when Vice Admiral Richard K. Gallagher "pinned on" my Silver Oak Leaves signifying that I've attained the rank of Commander.  I'm proud, but I must admit a continuous need to "prove myself."  Nevertheless, one never attains goals without the aid of others and this seems like a good time to recognize a few of those who have taken extra care to help me develop (many of them continue to mentor and guide me today).

Master Chief Jim Matthews--My first "Chief."  Jim's calm demeanor and dry wit allowed me to weather many challenges during my first shipboard tour.  Simply put, Jim reinforced my belief that smart men need to be told WHAT to do... Not HOW to do it.

Admiral Robert "Rat" Willard--My first C.O.  allowed his Junior Officers to fail (as long as they learned and progressed).

RADM Jack Natter--If I hadn't attended his daughter's wedding and been inspired by his commitment to Service (in the Navy Reserve), I'd have never affiliated with the Reserves.  

CAPT Jan Schwarzenberg--A prolific mentor, CAPT S. provides guidance to nearly every Diver and EOD Officer in the Reserves.

Commodore (CAPT) Scott Jerabek--A Warrior, a family man, an inspiration.  He entrusted me with my first Command (IBU-11).  His legacy will be the hundreds of Officers and Enlisted he has inspired through sheer force of positive personality.

Col (Ret)--Paul Van Gorden--An intellect and realist at CGSC.  He tolerated my biting comments and challenged my thinking while keeping things "fun."

LTJG Marc Heise--My friend who pushed me through my first solo 24-Hour Mountain Bike Race and who has the courage to tell me (many times) when I am wrong.  

Master Chief (Ret) John Wright--My SEL at IBU-11.  A fine example of an old school Chief.

My many friends on land and sea who tolerate my "relief valve" personality and rein in my "big ideas" when they border on nutty.

There are many others as well.  Lists can be dangerous.  Everyone touches us in different ways.  However, I needed to mention this group today as every one of them kept me on course at times when I was considering a different route.

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