First Honorable Mention, Vincent Astor Memorial Leadership Essay Contest
Charles Stewart’s 62-year naval career—including his famous defeat of the Levant and Cyane as commander of the Constitution in 1815—has much to teach current leaders about bravery, skill, competence, and humility.
The U.S. Navy has a 200-year history of officers and enlisted who truly can be called "leaders." Most of those leaders are not as well-known as the Barrys, Farraguts, Deweys, or Halseys. Displayed high in the Naval Academy's Memorial Hall is a portrait of one of these largely unsung leaders.
Commodore Charles Stewart's career as a naval officer spanned 62 years. When Stewart was commissioned as a Lieutenant in 1798, he was part of the new generation of early U.S. Navy officers who eventually would lead the young nation to its victories in the War of 1812. When he left active duty in December 1860, the country was at the dawn of civil war. Theodore Roosevelt called Stewart "one of the bravest and most skilful [sic] captains of our navy."