Captain Clyde C. Lopez, United States Navy – retired, celebrates his 81st birthday today. This great American enlisted in the Navy in October 1955 and served for 40 years, retiring in 1995.
His illustrious Navy career would fill volumes. It is sufficient to say that he was a Sailor worthy of being called a Shipmate by all who know him.
He was born on this day in 1937 in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
Sir, Happy Birthday SHIPMATE !!
Rear Admiral James S. McFarland and I carried on a regular correspondence for almost 20 years. He was a great mentor and a conscientious note/letter writer. This last response was just before his death in February 2003. We had been exchanging ideas about the future of cryptology in our Naval profession. He was committed to the idea that some aspects of our profession were fundamental and should never change.
He was deeply proud of the 10,000 or so Sailors that comprised the Cryptologic Community. He, more than most, understood the value of those Sailors to the Navy and its mission. He believed in taking care of those Sailors and his Sailors knew it.
The atmosphere of a Navy or a ship is created by the attitude of the officers. Officers are obligated to insure that each of their subordinates knows that the senior officers, and the Navy, do care about men as individuals. Each person in the Navy must have assurance that his progress, his training, his career, and his performance of duty are of concern to the Navy.
Slackness in Command. All major catastrophes in the loss of discipline in all organizations have been preceded by a general slackness in the command. The old saying that a taut ship is a happy ship is still true. The reason is that on a taut ship the officers and the men know where they stand and what is expected of them. There can be complete dependence on one’s associates, for lack of reliability will be brought up with a round turn. On such ships, all men do a day’s work, not just the conscientious ones. There are no soft billets in a taut outfit. The officers and the men are on the job and require others to be on the job. Chiselers and transgressors are promptly punished while their offenses are still minor.
From: General Discipline in the Navy, ADM A.A. Burke
Ensigns, don’t try this at your command
- You are a great speaker. Be careful not to lose the feeling behind the words. Words have meaning; actions have consequences. Ensure your actions match your words. Some Sailors actually listen to every word. They can sense any hint of insincerity.
- Your command philosophy should be written down and distributed widely in the command. This is a huge reason for the CNO’s success in the Navy. We all know where he’s going and we talk about it. The command wants to follow you. Tell us where you want to go.
- Respect our time. Typically, ten or more people are always awaiting your late arrival at some function (staff meeting, wardroom meetings, dinners, graduations, etc). If people believe that you are willing to consistently waste their time, they will stop feeling guilty about wasting yours.
- Be consistent with your administration of military justice. It’s easy to punish junior members in the command for trivial violations. Applying the same standards across the board does not always work. In fact, the more senior the individual is, the more accountable they should be held for their action or inaction. Everyone is watching and judging.
- When senior officers visit the command, maximize their exposure to the junior Sailors of the command. They will benefit the most.
- Take your junior officers, Chiefs, and Sailors to lunch or simply go have lunch with them in their mess. Everyone will learn a lot, especially you.
- Invite your key command leaders to your home for a social event so they can see how it’s done. Juniors need to see how their seniors do this. It’s part of the learning process.
- Share information with your department heads. It is astounding how much information a commanding officer is exposed to and that is not shared with the department heads. Distributed information is enormously powerful. Your department heads can keep a secret if there is a requirement for secrecy. Trust them.
- Don’t play favorites with members of the wardroom. It hurts the wardroom and it hurts you.
- Focus your calendar on the command ‘s mission. Ceremonial events and public relations are important, but your time should be spent on those areas the commanding officer can directly influence for the greatest benefit to the command’s mission.
From my January 2007 PROCEEDINGS magazine article “360-Degree Feedback: Can We Handle the Truth?” You can subscribe to PROCEEDINGS (the professional journal of the U.S. Navy) HERE.
“Ethics is not a sometime thing. It is the small everyday decisions that, if handled badly, can erode your moral landscape.”
Commander Fred W. Kacher offers three tips that he has tried to follow in his career:
do not ignore the little voice in your head,
do your best in all things at all times, and
be ready to do the right thing every day,
because “you don’t get to choose when you’ll be tested.”
Since the Revolutionary War, the Purple Heart, the world’s oldest military decoration in use, has been awarded to service members who have been wounded or killed during any action against an enemy of the United States.
NOTE 1: I have filed three separate requests (two under the Freedom of Information Act) with the Navy for a list of Cryptologic Technicians who have earned the Purple Heart in the Global War On Terror (Overseas Contingency Operations). The Navy (NNWC/OPNAV/Navy PAO) has yet to respond. If you are aware of a CT who has earned the Purple Heart, please leave me a comment.
NOTE 2: I received a note from Navy Safe Harbor – they don’t maintain information on those wounded in combat. On 10 January 2010, I received a note from OPNAV stating that they are routing my request to another office for consideration.
Update: on 25 September 2018 – 8 1/2 years after my initial request – still no answer from the Navy on the number of CTs awarded the Purple Heart in Iraq and Afghanistan).
CTT1 Steven P. Daugherty (deceased)
CTM3 Matt O’Bryant (deceased)
CTI1 Aaron Windle (shot)
CT2 Chad Kueser (mortar round) lost both legs
CTRCS (SW/FMF) David B. McLendon (deceased)