Nobody Asked Me But...Bearing Zero, Zero, Zero

By Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman Ronald Williams Jr., U.S. Navy

No longer can we sweat last-minute squaring away, because our organization is squared away on a daily basis . VIPs want you to tell them about your spaces. They want to talk to you on a personal level, shake your hand, and thank you for keeping the organization up and running. After their visit you will find yourself recalling the pride of the moment, and proudly writing home to your family that you shook hands with a VIP.

Regarding training, in addition to off-duty education we will focus on continual-education units by utilizing the talents of our senior enlisted, warrant, and senior officers to train and update Sailors about technical and professional expectations. Rating proficiency points will be earned through these education units. During this underway period our watchstanders will log events as they occur, recording key elements of our legacy for the future. Having a real understanding of our naval heritage , through professional literature and lessons learned, will be paramount in the 21st century.

With thousands of miles of ocean in front of us, we listen to the calming sound of the swells and gaze at the horizon. We think of ourselves as the supreme rulers of the high seas.

The boatswain's pipe sounds again and a different voice says: Good morning shipmates. I would like to welcome you to the new millennium and address a few important rules. After a brief pause the speaker continues, Shipmates, everyone is taught values at some point in their lives. Most of you will have two sets by the time you have completed your tours serving the U.S. Navy. Our Navy core values— honor, courage, and commitment —define the standards of conduct expected of us. They will not only help us maximize our operational abilities, but also will have a major impact on mission effectiveness. As we gaze off into the pre-dawn sky the speaker notices four stars of brilliance twinkling at us, and he identifies them as pride, leadership, operational primacy, and teamwork .

It's time to dust off our tool belts and evaluate the reality of these stars for our junior Sailors and quickly man up the motor whale boat for an organizational recovery if we are not navigating by these stars. Organized physical readiness is mandated three times a week to keep us healthy, stress free, and confident at all times. Khaki leadership will lead this—and all other evolutions—from the front of the pack. Wellness is the new buzzword of the millennium. The Surgeon General has rung up rudder order changes in the direction of True North for a rendezvous with health promotion activities. Intervention at this underway replenishment station will continue to save us billions of dollars which will be used in other critical areas of the fleet.

Quality leadership and management fundamentals will build unit cohesion, enabling and empowering deckplate Sailors to give them a sense of ownership and making them feel like valuable team players. Sustained superior performance will remain the key element to promotion, special assignments, and special programs. We developed the U.S. Navy's strategic plan in the early 1990s, and if you haven't already done so, all departments and all Sailors need to write their own personal plans, with a mission statement and motto, to keep us pointed in the necessary direction. Advancement must remain a priority for all, by promoting the organization, demonstrating initiative, increasing pay, creating better watches, and offering added responsibilities.

The boatswain's pipe screams again: Set condition 1A for well deck operations. We will be conducting a non-combatant evacuation from discrimination. We will continue to be the world leader in equal opportunity , and we will continue to carry the motto of " zero tolerance ." Unfair treatment will only ground us and cost millions of dollars in repairs.

Suddenly, the word is passed to assemble the Human Resource Council representatives in the wardroom to discuss culturally diverse activities . On a monthly basis we will recognize personnel from the cultural theme of the month and learn and celebrate their significant contributions to our American heritage. We are warriors, and our warfare-fighting capability is the reason for global stability . We train hard as a team, and we are the best in our subcultural communities —as indicated by our warfare breast insignia.

Recognition is instrumental to increased professionalism. In this millennium we cannot give our Sailors more pay, but we can recognize their motivation, superb performance, and dedication with medals or other mementos of thanks, to keep them on this all-volunteer team. Balancing the distribution of awards keeps the system honorable. Operational commitment is essential for all departments within the organization. We work in harmony to accomplish a mission. Each department is equally important and will have the same impact on readiness.

The boatswain pipes the word to commence a safety standdown for operational risk management (ORM). The ORM assesses the safety of every evolution to prevent death, injury, and unplanned loss of our personnel and equipment. The general alarm is sounded because of a possible threat to our core values . Material condition zebra is set in less than five minutes, and all battle stations are manned and ready to counter any threat to the organization. As we are passed on our port and starboard sides by some identified foreign vessels the skipper relaxes from General Quarters. The word is passed to restow all gear and set material condition yoke throughout the ship. This gives us some time to reflect on our existence as a force.

Senior Chief Williams is a medical inspector for Commander, Amphibious Group Three in San Diego, California.

 

Senior Chief Williams is a medical inspector for Commander, Amphibious Group Three in San Diego, California.

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2014 U.S. Naval Institute History Conference

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