Admiral Fox, one of the few pilots to have shot down a MiG, was reading Covey’s recent business book
Speed to Trust. Fox says he rose through the ranks by following the advice “take off and land your plane, every time. Do exactly what you are supposed to do, don't make a big deal of it, and the right people will notice.” He handed us his personal core values, which are all about responsibility, strive hard to be trustworthy, and seemed fiercely proud of the equipment, comrades and mission they are protecting.
Master Chief Walker was another incredible character study. 47 years old, with a thick southern accent, he has risen over 30 years to be one of the top 20 enlisted men out of 300,000+ (ish) in the Navy. 5,000 men report to Walker. He claims that but one of them can run a mile faster than him. His philosophy: “Integrity means who you are on
Saturday night is who you are Sunday morning.” He rewards men with a touch on the arm and a friendly question about their families (video), whose names he tries to know. To the Master Chief, our force strength is anchored in family. After retirement in a year, he’s planning to become a marriage counselor.
The XO gave us his version of the same theme, retelling the story of how Harry Truman started his political career. Truman owned a Haberdashery in Iowa. It failed. Instead of seeking bankruptcy protection, he took years to pay every single creditor back. Word spread of his extraordinary character, and someone talked him into a judgeship.
When I returned to shore, I discovered that eight M5 employees had military experience. I hosted a lunch to discuss the relevance of this military culture to M5. I’ll write about this, and sex and drinking on an Aircraft Carrier, in part two. In part three, I’ll hit the MOST exciting subject: phone technology on the carrier.