This blog, written by Cmdr. Jennifer Couture, Executive Officer USS Porter (DDG 78), highlights what she considers to be the most important part of a ship … Sailors. The dedication, teamwork and professionalism necessary to get underway, cannot adequately be described with words; Instead, it needs to be experienced. Take notice as Couture describes how the the blending of Sailors’ talents with diverse leadership can achieve greatness.
As USS Porter (DDG 78) settles into our Trans-Atlantic voyage and my first deployment as Executive Officer, I reflected back on the loyalty and commitment of the hard-working crew in preparing this warship to go into harm’s way as called upon by our nation.
Over the past year that Porter has undertaken pre-deployment training, a group of over 280 individual Sailors became a cohesive team of shipmates, leveraging their many differences to weave a strong cloth of sea-going, war-fighting professionals.
During Women’s History Month, we have taken the time to recognize the achievements of women as integral to our naval heritage. While I may be Porter’s first female Executive Officer, I play only a minor role in the tradition of leadership excellence since women were integrated into the combatant fleet in 1994. As a junior officer, women in positions of war-fighting leadership were infrequent, and I aspired to earn the respect and trust they fought for from their peers.
Today, as I walk the passageways of this fine destroyer, I am encouraged to see impressive female leadership at every level – in the Wardroom, Chief’s Mess, First Class Association and beyond.
From the small boat coxswain to the 25mm gunner, on the Bridge and in Combat Information Center, female Sailors are absolutely integrated on the team. Male and female Sailors now stand side-by-side with all their shipmates, expecting equal performance and freely giving equal respect for hard work, integrity, and a job well done – regardless of gender.
Our Sailors are trained, motivated, and ready to answer all bells – especially because we are different and no longer in spite of our differences!