A New Method of Resupplying ~ Putting “I intend to…” into Action
Another excerpt from “Turn The Ship Around! How to Create Leadership at Every Level“, By L. David Marquet, Captain, U.S. Navy (retired), published by Greenleaf Book Group LLC, released today, August 1, 2012:
For context, read the post, “I intend to…,” before reading this excerpt.
“A New Method of Resupplying”
Santa Fe was operating in the Strait of Hormuz and we were running low on oil. I was “thinking out loud” (one of our mechanisms) with the Engineer in the control room when a solution came from an unexpected place: the newest officer on board. After listening to a discussion about our need for more oil, Ensign Aviles chimed in. He was manning the periscope and was looking at the contacts around us. “Hey, that’s a fast-resupply ship. Why don’t we just ask them for some oil?” I looked at the periscope display and, sure enough, the USS Rainier is transiting through the Strait of Hormuz several miles away. The Rainier was a supply ship designed to support a carrier battle group. She carried 2 million gallons of diesel fuel, 2 million gallons of jet fuel, and tons of ammunition and supplies. All we needed was a few cans of oil. Surely Rainier would have that.
There was a problem. All ship movements in the carrier battle group were pre-directed 36 hours in advance. One just didn’t “call up” and get supplied. But I was curious. I waved the flashlight around. “Go ahead, guys, see if you can set it up.”
“I intend to break radio silence to coordinate a resupply from Rainier,” said the Officer on Deck (OOD).
The OOD called Rainier on the radio, identified who we were, and what we needed. Sure enough, they would supply us! Fortunately, Captain Kendall Card, commander of the Rainier, had reinforced with his crew that they were there to support the ships of the U.S. Navy, and that trumped bureaucracy. I’d never heard of such a thing. Not only that but the CO invited us to send over any crew members who needed medical or dental checkups beyond what Santa Fe’s Doc Hill could provide.
Rainier had a schedule to maintain; we couldn’t delay long. If we didn’t get surfaced in a few minutes, it wouldn’t be able to stay around to help us.
The crew sprung to action, to which I gave my immediate assent.
From the Officer of the Deck: “Captain, I intend to prepare to surface.”
From the Chief of the Boat (COB): “I intend to muster the small boat handling party in the crew’s mess. I intend to open the forward escape trunk lower hatch. COB is Chief in Charge.”
From Doc Hill: “I intend to muster selected personnel for dental checkups in the crew’s mess, conducting watch reliefs as necessary.”
From the admin officer, Petty Officer Scott Dillon: “Captain, I intend to canvass the crew for outgoing mail and transfer it to Rainier.”
From the supply officer: “Captain, I intend to transfer the hydraulic oil from Rainier.”
Myriad various activities happened quickly and in a synchronized manner. Here’s where the training paid off. There’s no way I would have been able to pull off a plan for conducting this kind of operation and direct it piece by piece. You could call it speed of response, or reducing the sense-act delay inherent in organizations, or adaptability to change. Whatever you call it, the crew’s performance allowed us to resupply at sea and continue being a submarine in defense of the country rather than limping into port for a fill up.
*Reprinted with permission from “Turn The Ship Around!: How to Create Leadership at Every Level”, by L. David Marquet, 2012, Greenleaf Book Group Press, Austin, Texas. Copyright © 2012 by Louis David Marquet.
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This entry was posted on August 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm and is filed under Leadership, Naval Leadership, Reading Room with tags author, David Marquet, empowerment, leadership, management, military, military leadership, Navy, organizational culture, organizational development, organizational leadership, people management, Strait of Hormuz, submarine, Turn The Ship Around, USS Rainier, USS Santa Fe. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.