Our Navy team needs to remain vigilant and strong throughout this holiday period. Take care of each other and keep an eye on one another. As we progress through the holidays, lean on friends and shipmates; if needed, don’t be afraid to turn to (or urge a friend to do so) our more robust professional services – as I and other senior leaders have done in our careers – to find the help you need to get you through those moments that might seem insurmountable.
In talking with another Chief a long time ago, a phrase I used stuck with me: “the mountain that stands tallest is the one that stands before each of us.” It’s easy to dismiss our issues, or not seek help because we think others have it worse or think no one will understand, but it’s all about perspective. The challenges you face can be as serious and as overwhelming as you perceive them to be. A Marine I once worked for, Brig. Gen. Liszewski used to say “it’s ok not to be “ok,” but it’s not ok not to ask for help.” We are a team, and as a team we must help each other.
While we all need to find the time to take a knee and catch our breath, as a team we cannot relent in our pursuit of readiness, we must not loosen our grip – our sense of urgency – in preparing for the fight.
From the very birth of our American nation, we’ve understood the vulnerability and corresponding advantage of a time of anticipated relaxation. Washington’s daring maneuver to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and attack Hessian forces in Trenton pressed an advantage presented by an enemy who was not expecting a fight.
Our Sailors must be prepared to “fight tonight,” even if that night falls when we least expect it or want it to – for those on watch around the globe, our hearts are with you. For those of us who stand behind you, we will continue to provide the support you need; as the CNO delineates in the Design 2.0, those not in the fight will be ready to “rearm, resupply and repair our operational forces” – we will be where and when you need us to be in forceful backup.
Have a happy and safe holiday season.
MCPON Russell Smith