Today was an interesting day at work, as we had the pleasure of interacting with three phenomenal Flag Officers. VADM "Jack" Dorsett, RADM Mike Brown and RADM Jan Hamby stopped by after they completed their responsibilities as members of this year's RADM Promotion Board. I used the short commute home to reflect upon some of the wonderful contributions these three leaders have made for their respective community, the Information Dominance Corps, the Navy and our Nation. In essence, though they have many years in front of them as Naval Officers, all three will individually and collectively leave us with quite the legacy.
The topic of legacy has been at the forefront of my thoughts of late as I witness a long time friend continue his battle with cancer. Because such reflection is a regular part of my battle rhythm, I often times find comfort in viewing Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture". For those few who may not know Randy's story, I will let the video speak for itself, but when you hear about leaving a legacy, following your dreams and time management from a man with months to live (unfortunately, he has since passed), it really hits home. Rather than focus on the life and death aspects of how a remarkable man coped with an all too real situation, it struck a simpler chord with me related to my life as a Naval Officer (though the deeper message is clear and unambiguous).
If you think about it, each tour is a defined amount of time to do something we enjoy, to contribute both individually and as a team, and to develop both personally and professionally. During my XO tour, I would ask each and every Sailor prior to detaching the command two questions that required no answer but provided them with an opportunity to reflect:
1) Are you leaving this tour of duty a better Sailor, Cryptologist/Information Warrior and person?
2) Is the command a better place for having had you here?
When you think about it, being able to answer "Yes" to those two questions is what defines a successful tour, not flowery awards or evaluations. Life is about continually growing and adding value to those with whom we share this wonderful journey. It is my hope that we are all giving thought to what legacy we will be leaving behind when we leave our current duty station, when we no longer wear the nation's cloth or when we depart this world altogether. Additionally, the collective wardroom should be giving thought to what legacy we want to leave to the next generation of Sailors.
- What legacy will you leave your shipmates at your current command?
- What legacy will the IDC/IW Wardroom of 2009 leave to the wardroom of 2029?
We must be deliberate in our actions and execute with a sense of urgency.