By Cmdr. Camille Flaherty
Commanding Officer, USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51)
Aboard USS Arleigh Burke, we affectionately refer to her as “The Admiral’s Destroyer.” She is the lead ship of the guided missile Arleigh Burke destroyer-class and as such, she and 60 other DDGs are named for Admiral Arleigh Burke, a WWII destroyerman and Chief of Naval Operations.
A prior Commanding Officer, Capt. Dan Voth, told me, “Captain, you are commanding history.”
I truly believe that. Today, the Admiral’s Destroyer is made up of a diverse crew with a fighting spirit that ensures her continued success.
Arleigh Burke recently departed on an eight-month, independent Ballistic Missile Defense deployment to the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility. Since being commissioned on 4 July 1991, Arleigh Burke has seen a number of changes, including a mid-life engineering upgrade to her machinery control system, a combat systems upgrade allowing her to perform ballistic missile defense and welcomed women to her ranks. Today, she has over 60 women serving aboard—over 20% of the crew. Whether it is Women’s, African American, Hispanic or Asian Pacific Islander History Month, or any other celebration, Arleigh Burke is strengthened by recognizing and celebrating the diversity of her crew.
Aboard Arleigh Burke, the leadership strives to achieve a work environment where all peoples’ contributions are valued. We work to foster an environment where Sailors can speak up when they see something is not right—on duty and off. There is no place for favoritism, discrimination, harassment or sexual assault. I want each of my Sailors to leave Arleigh Burke better than they found her and for them to leave here as a better person. How do you encourage diversity of thought in your organization and reward it? How do you inspire people on a daily basis to give their all? These are questions Arleigh Burke leaders strive to answer everyday.