A Mistake Should Not Kill a Sailor’s Career
(See E. Heck, p. 14, December 2017
Prepare for the “To Be Or to Do” Moment
(See R. Schuhart, pp. 10-11, December 2017 Proceedings)
As a judge advocate who has served inter alia as trial counsel, defense counsel, and staff judge advocate, I was extraordinarily impressed with Petty Officer Third Class Elizabeth Heck’s candor and wisdom. Too often, officers and noncommissioned officers have a horrible zero-defect mindset that is especially manifest in those “company men” of whom Commander Schuhart spoke within three pages of Petty Officer Heck’s contribution. When I joined the military, it was not uncommon for command sergeant majors (E-9s) in the 82nd Airborne Division to tell me, “Yeah, I made sergeant [E-5] three times!” And when I look back at the leadership qualities of those men, many with Silver Stars from Vietnam, it saddens me to think that today our military may be losing such colorful, valorous individuals.
Petty Officer Heck’s article ought to mandatory reading at every JAG school, as it justly brings compassion and humanity to the law.