This week and next the U.S. Navy is making and living history. At Pearl Harbor-Hickam, the People’s Republic of China Army Navy is making a port visit (see a photo of the "Aloha Arrival" ceremony at the bottom of this blog post). The Chinese navy is readying for a search and rescue exercise with host ship USS Lake Erie (CG-70) in waters off Diamond Head, Hawaii.
|USS Lake Erie (CG 70) is homeported in Hawaii.|
USS Lake Erie is a guided-missile cruiser named for the Battle of Lake Erie from the War of 1812; next week, Sailors will commemorate the bicentennial of that battle.
A lot has happened in those 200 years: from wooden ships to littoral combat ships; the birth of naval air forces, airpower and UAV; nuclear-powered fleet ballistic submarines; computers and cyber-security. The world is changing too, as captured in the Maritime Strategy, from world war confrontation to global cooperation. Think about the evolution of the fleet and the world in which it operates today.
Thomas J. Cutler thinks and writes about changes and challenges over the past 200-plus years in “A Sailor’s History of the U.S. Navy.” His Naval Institute Press book is a mainstay and now a top pick on the “Be Ready” list of the CNO’s Professional Reading Program suggested reads.
Cutler writes about the “magic” of the lore, language and legacy of the United States Navy, and invites Sailors to reflect on the “club” to which they belong. His book recounts and makes relevant history through the stories of Sailors in the past and present.
“The more you know about the Sailors who served before you, the more prepared you will be to do your job, and do it well. It is your turn to follow in the wakes of those who went before you, to lead the way for others who will follow you, and to make your contributions to the Navy’s ongoing legacy of honor, courage, and commitment.”
In a Chapter 6, “Don’t Give Up the Ship,” Cutler sets the stage with a brief description of Master Commandant (Commander) Oliver Hazard Perry, his famous pennant and the sailors who fought in the face of adversity at the Battle of Lake Erie. Cutler then gives more recent history, including the story of the five Sullivans brothers lost aboard USS Juneau in Guadalcanal Campaign, 70 years ago this year. He ties in the brothers’ namesake ships, including the current USS Sullivans (DDG 68), showing how the ship was targeted in a failed attack by al Qaeda in Aden, Yemen in January 2000. That same year, on the day before the Navy’s 224th birthday, terrorists launched another attack on an Navy ship, this time against USS Cole (DDG 67).
Cutler recounts the heroism of the Sailors who all focused on three tasks, “caring for the injured, providing security against further attack, and saving the ship.” Don’t give up the ship...
The author packs a lot of history in this easy-to-read overview that contains stories and photos about JFK’s PT-109, Rear Adm. “Amazing” Grace Hopper, 1776‘s gondola Philadelphia, Commodore Matthew C. Perry, battleship USS Maine, Master Chief Boatswain’s Mate Carl Brashear, and naval aviator and astronaut Alan Shepard Jr., among others.
In the appendix he offers synopses of key engagements through battle streamers, showing the operational history of the U.S. Navy.
The streamers demonstrate a commitment to always “Be Ready.”
Speaking of “back to the basics,” also recommended is a new book by Rear Adm. Robert O. Wray Jr., “Saltwater Leadership: A Primer on Leadership for the Junior Sea-Service Officer.”
The book, with a forward by Sen. John McCain, is endorsed by retired Adm. Gary Roughead, former chief of naval operations, and former President George H. W. Bush, who served as a naval aviator and “junior officer at sea.”
Wray offers self-described bite-sized “sea stories” and practical, pragmatic “salty advice” along with plenty of lists, including traits and tributes, rules and advice, and a list of 35 books on leadership!
Interestingly, the book opens with advice from ancient philosopher from China Lao Tzu:
A leader is best
When people barely know that he exists,
Not so good when people obey and acclaim him,
Worst when they despise him.
“Fail to honor people,
They fail to honor you”;
But of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will all say, “We did this ourselves.”
-- Lao Tzu’s “Tao Teh Ching,” verse 17, 6th century BC
Wray’s book was just published by the Naval Institute Press and is in the same “Blue and Gold Professional Library” series as “The Bluejackets Manual,” “Command at Sea,” and “A Sailor’s History of the U.S. Navy” (above), among others.
Wray writes, “One hundred percent of the royalties from this book will be donated to charities that support Sailors and mariners, including the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, the Coast Guard Foundation, and the United Seaman’s Service.”
130906-N-ZK021-008 – PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (Sept. 6, 2013) – U.S. and Chinese leaders watch as Keiki Hula dancers perform during an arrival ceremony for three People’s Liberation Army-Navy ships, Luhu-class destroyer Qingdao (DDG 113), Jiangkai-class frigate Linyi (FFG 547) and a Fuqing-class fleet oiler as they arrive in Hawaii for a scheduled port visit. Over the weekend, Chinese and U.S. leaders will conduct dialogues to build confidence and mutual understanding between the two nations. The port visit is part of the U.S. Navy’s ongoing effort to maximize opportunities for developing relationships with foreign navies to build trust, encourage multilateral cooperation, enhance transparency, and avoid miscalculation in the Pacific. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Nardel Gervacio/Released)