I don’t have many heroes. But two of them passed away this past year. In September 2009, retired Rear Admiral Wayne E. Meyer, the father of the Aegis weapon system, died after a lengthy illness. Then, in July 2010, George Steinbrenner, principal owner and manager of the New York Yankees, was stricken by a massive heart attack and died suddenly.
Although they lived and worked in very different worlds, these two titans had something in common: They both took troubled organizations that were mired in mediocrity and built them into highly successful, world-class teams that delivered excellence—at sea and in the ballpark. And their legacies for the nation go well beyond the U.S. Navy and major league baseball, respectively. Their experiences offer lessons that apply to the Navy—and the nation—in the area of national defense against ballistic missiles.