Bull Halsey: Right Navy Leader at Right Time

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By Rear Adm. Brian Fort
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific delivers remarks at the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)
PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific delivers remarks at the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)

On Sept. 2, I had the privilege of attending a ceremony on the battleship Missouri to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II in the Pacific. The theme was “They Stood Tall, They Held the Line and They Set the Course to Peace,” and the focus was on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

Among the reasons last week’s commemoration was special for me personally, I had the chance to meet and speak with World War II veterans and United States Marines – always an honor; I was invited to speak about the history, heritage and legacy associated with Guadalcanal; and did I mention we were aboard the “Mighty Mo,” Battleship Missouri Museum!

Back in 1945, USS Missouri (BB 63) hosted the signing ceremony for the end of the War in the Pacific. At the time, Missouri was flagship of Adm. William “Bull” Halsey.

Adm. Chester Nimitz and Adm. E. J. King handpicked Halsey to serve as the wartime commander of the South Pacific for a reason. They needed someone with his “very particular set of skills,” to quote Liam Neeson. They needed him Halsey to take command in the South Pacific, where, according to the historical record, other Navy leaders were overly cautious and risk averse.

Halsey took charge in the Solomons, where our Marines were in a bitter fight with Imperial Japanese forces. He gathered all available ships, ordered mechanics to work around the clock to repair ships and make them battle-read, maximized use of patrol torpedo boats (to great effect) and changed the maritime strategy from strictly defense to bold offense – willing to take cruisers and destroyers to engage with more powerful Imperial Japanese Navy battleships.

PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Service members parade the colors aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)
PEARL HARBOR (Sept. 2, 2017) Service members parade the colors aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Justin R. Pacheco)

No wonder the United States Marine Corps loves him to this day. Marines defended Henderson Field and beat back enemy forces throughout late summer and early fall of 1942. Then, on Friday, Nov. 13, under Halsey’s orders, Adm. Daniel Callaghan led a fierce and deadly fight against the enemy in Sealark Channel off Guadalcanal.

In a close and thunderous gunfight, five American cruisers and eight destroyers went up against two enemy battleships, one cruiser and 14 destroyers. The result: brutal wounds, terrible damage and significant losses on both sides. Callaghan lost four ships and was himself killed, but Imperial Japan lost one battleship and two destroyers – their seeming invincibility was smashed.

Halsey was deeply saddened by the losses of his Sailors and ships. Nevertheless, he and Nimitz considered the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific one of the key turning points of the war.

The Battle of Guadalcanal would wage on for several more months, but the clear naval victories in November meant that our Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen would continue rising to the challenge to advance up the “ladder” toward Japan. At Guadalcanal, they stood taller, they held the line and they set the course to peace.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 11, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transits the Pacific Ocean during a strait transit show of force exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)
PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 11, 2017) The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) transits the Pacific Ocean during a strait transit show of force exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Paul L. Archer/Released)

Today, we have 10 homeported ships in Pearl Harbor ready to protect freedom, security, stability and prosperity in the Pacific, and one of those ships is namesake to the take-charge admiral who ensured victory at Guadalcanal. The guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey’s motto is a quote from Halsey, “Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.”

Like any of us, Adm. Bull Halsey was far from perfect. But in 1942, he was the right leader at the right place at the right time. If our call comes to “fight tonight” we will need bold leaders like Halsey who can inspire and lead warfighters. Semper Fi. Semper Fortis.

Editor’s note: Rear Adm. Brian Fort assumed command at Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Aug. 9. He was invited to speak to the community at the End of World War II ceremony aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial, which makes its home in Pearl Harbor.


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Bull Halsey: Right Navy Leader at Right Time

Dorie Miller’s Legacy: Inspiration for all U.S. Navy Sailors and all Americans

By Rear Adm. John Fuller
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific

The story of Dorie Miller is inspiring for all Sailors and all Americans.

In honor of African American History Month, let’s consider what his legacy means for all of us.

Mess Attendant Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller
Mess Attendant Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller

Mess Attendant Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller was ready, willing and able Dec. 7, 1941. He literally took matters into his own hands to protect his ship and his shipmates when he – on his own volition – took control of a machine gun aboard USS West Virginia (BB 48) and returned fire during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Prior to and even during World War II, mess attendants were relegated to laundry detail, cooking meals, swabbing the deck and shining officers’ shoes.

And, while the support functions the mess attendants provided then – and by extension the things our culinary specialists do today – have mission impacts, “messmen” were not allowed to be direct warfighters. In a fight, they carried ammunition and they carried the wounded to medical care.

They also carried the weight of discrimination and segregation – separate and unequal.

Adm. Chester Nimitz presents Dorie Miller with the Navy Cross on May 27, 1942, aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) for Miller’s valor on Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)
Adm. Chester Nimitz presents Dorie Miller with the Navy Cross on May 27, 1942, aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) for Miller’s valor on Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives)

Adm. Chester Nimitz personally presented Miller with the Navy Cross May 27, 1942 aboard USS Enterprise (CV 6) for his valor Dec. 7, 1941.

Then, like most Pearl Harbor survivors, Miller took the fight from Hawaii and across the Pacific.

Miller was aboard USS Liscome Bay (CVE 56) in November 1943 during the Battle of Makin Island when an Imperial Japanese Navy submarine sank his ship. Miller was among the 646 Sailors killed when Liscome Bay went down.

In addition to the Navy Cross and other medals and awards, the Navy honored Doris “Dorie” Miller in 1973 by commissioning a Knox-class frigate, named USS Miller (FF 1091) after him.

On Oct. 11, 1991, the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority dedicated a bronze commemoration plaque in a military housing community near Pearl Harbor that is also his namesake – Doris Miller Housing.

Miller became a poster-hero in the earliest days of the civil rights movement.

He became a symbol of the notion that we should expect the exceptional if talented individuals have an equal opportunity or level playing field.

Miller fought for the ideals that our founders so eloquently described in the Declaration of Independence and in our Constitution, ideals that are meant for every American.

The United States military – and our society – have made great strides since President Truman desegregated the military; since Brown v. Board of Education; and since Presidents Kennedy and Johnson (both former U.S. Navy officers and World War II veterans) fought for and achieved the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Today, as we contemplate Miller’s bravery over 75 years ago and his sacrifice for our freedom, let’s consider the gift he and other World War II Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines gave us.

We have peace and freedom for ourselves, and our families because of their sacrifice and we must protect that gift.

Think about it: Dorie Miller and other young service members killed in World War II never had a chance to have their own family. We, however, have the privilege to honor their memory.

Since 1945 millions of American families have lived, loved and thrived thanks to the sacrifices warfighters like Miller made during World War II. Here in Hawaii, hundreds of families since 1991 have called the Doris Miller Housing community “home.”

Like Miller and his shipmates, we who wear the cloth of our nation are ready, willing and able to run toward danger to defend our homeland and our values.

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Dorie Miller’s Legacy: Inspiration for all U.S. Navy Sailors and all Americans

Navy Live

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By Vice Adm. Bill Moran
Chief of Naval Personnel

Vice Adm. William F. Moran, Chief of Naval Personnel, speaks to Sailors during an all-hands call aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43).

Vice Adm. William F. Moran, Chief of Naval
Personnel, speaks to Sailors during an all-hands call aboard USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43).

Next week we will announce the names of about 20,000 Sailors selected for advancement to E-4 to E6. Sailors and COs routinely ask about the notification process –answers to two of the most frequent are below:

Q: Why not provide command triads the chance to notify those who did and didn’t advance, before publicly releasing the results?

A: In response to feedback from the fleet, we are going to make a change to the notification process. Many COs, XOs and CMCs tell us that by simply releasing the results on the web and via social media, they lose a valuable opportunity to counsel and mentor their Sailors–before they get the news from their Shipmates. An advance heads-up, that doesn’t slow down the notification process, allows time to reach out to congratulate and counsel as necessary.

Q: When can we expect to see the advancement results?

A: Typically, Navy tradition is to release E4-E6 advancement results prior to Memorial Day and Thanksgiving; however, the timing does not always work out.  We do try to meet these timelines and releasing the results via Navy social media helps expedite the process.

Given fleet feedback and consistent with efforts to continue to reinforce the roll and authority of command triads, the goal for advancement results release for this cycle will look like this:

-Monday, May 19 – Quotas released publicly

-Thursday, May 22 (morning Eastern Time) – Command triad notified via BOL of their command’s results.

-Friday, May 23 (morning Eastern Time) – Individual Sailor advancement notification on BOL, Navy Enlisted Advancement System (NEAS) and NKO.

-Friday, May 23 (approximately 1000 Eastern Time) – Public release via Navy social media, web and news sites.

Feedback will be important–let us know if this improves the process and how we can continue to meet the collective needs of our leadership and our Sailors.

Q: The designation, conversion, and advancement opportunities for Professional Apprenticeship Career Track (PACT) Sailors are lower than in the past–why is this and what advice can you offer?

A: First off, PACT Sailors are absolutely necessary to accomplishing the apprentice-level work required in the Fleet. Over the last two years we brought in a large number of these Sailors to help improve at-sea manning levels to reduce gaps at sea.

Engineman 3rd Class Malcolm Price, center, assigned to the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1), is pinned by his mentors Gunner's Mate 1st Class Michael Davis, left, and Engineman 2nd Class Miguel Cantu during a frocking ceremony.

Engineman 3rd Class Malcolm Price, center, assigned to USS Freedom (LCS 1), is pinned by his mentors Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Michael Davis, left, and Engineman 2nd Class Miguel Cantu during a frocking ceremony.

As a result of these manning shortfalls, we were able to designate PACT Sailors in an expedited time frame, well below the 24-months onboard guarantee. We now recognize that this may have created an unrealistic and unsustainable expectation.

In our efforts to stabilize communities and ratings, and to avoid unpredictable and unwelcomed advancement rate swings (the ones we all recognize as unproductive–100% for several cycles and then single digits for years to follow), we have reduced the immediate reliance on our PACT inventory to quickly fill rated apprentice-level gaps.

Feedback is clear, this progress may be viewed as double-edged. Many view “stability” as helpful and needed, but to those who signed up with the understanding and expectation that they would quickly and easily convert, this “stability” has slowed down what appeared to be an expedited conversion timeline.

PACT Sailors should still anticipate being on track for designation by 24 months at their initial duty station (and probably not much earlier) but should be encouraged to start the conversation process as soon as possible.

Continued command and unit level leadership mentoring will help set expectations and prepare Sailors to achieve transition goals–encouraging Sailors to utilize Command Career Counselors, Career Development Boards and the Career Exploration Module within the Career Waypoints system, https://careerwaypoints.sscno.nmci.navy.mil.

Additionally, PACT Sailors should be familiar with the Job Opportunities In the Navy (JOIN) interest battery, https://join.sscno.nmci.navy.mil, to aid in job identification and subsequent designation into communities that best fit with their abilities and interests.

These resources along with continued mentoring and guidance from the chain of command will help to ensure our Sailors are aware of their options and the steps required to optimize their opportunities (e.g. retake the Armed Forces Classification Test (AFCT) to improve their scores and/or earn a driver’s license). In most cases, transition success is influenced at the unit level–by the leaders who know these Sailors best.

Fleet Beldo and I leave this weekend to meet with Sailors and their families in Japan and Hawaii–in fact we will be there during the advancement notifications. Please keep the feedback and suggestions coming on these and other issues of interest.

See you around the Fleet.
CNP

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