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Navy’s Stockdale Winners – In Their Own Words

The Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Awards, named for the Medal of Honor recipient who epitomized the very essence of leadership during his nearly eight years as a POW in North Vietnam. During that time, Stockdale relied upon his five, self-defined roles of leadership – moralist, jurist, teacher, steward and philosopher – to help himself and a group of about 11 others, survive the camp. The award is presented to only two naval leaders annually and, most importantly, they are only in the running if nominated by their peers. The below remarks are from this year’s winners Cmdr. Robb Chadwick and Cmdr Gerald Miranda. These two fleet leaders were recognized as Sailors who best represent the five roles of leadership that Stockdale displayed-Chadwick for his performance as Commanding Officer, USS Roosevelt (DDG 80), and Miranda for his performance as Commanding Officer, USS Asheville (SSN 758).


“Leadership must be based on goodwill. Goodwill does not mean posturing and, least of all, pandering to the mob. It means obvious and wholehearted commitment to helping followers. We are tired of leaders we fear, tired of leaders we love, and most tired of leaders who let us take liberties with them. What we need for leaders are men of the heart who are so helpful that they, in effect, do away with the need of their jobs. But leaders like that are never out of a job, never out of followers.” – VADM James Bond Stockdale, Military Ethics. “Machiavelli, Management, and Moral Leadership.” 1987


Chadwick on leadership and the significance of this award:

“I am extremely honored to receive the Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership. Admiral Stockdale’s heroic conduct in the harshest of environments will forever stand as an example for our Navy and I am humbled to be associated with his legacy in any way. To be nominated by my peers, for whom I have so much respect, also makes this award very special.

Although this award is being presented to me, I truly view it as a unit award and I share it with the Officers, Chiefs and crew of USS Roosevelt (DDG 80). They were my source of inspiration. It was an honor and a privilege to serve as their commanding officer and it is because of their professionalism and dedication that I am being recognized in this way.

A leader should provide clear guidance and trust his or her subordinates to execute the mission. Stockdale wrote, “As strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.” My trust was rewarded with command achievements that highlighted the remarkable capabilities of United States Navy Sailors that have been proven throughout our history.”


Miranda’s leadership lesson from his time as XO:

“So here’s a little story about trust and developing a young officer’s confidence: we were getting underway one morning and an hour before we were to set sail, the captain was nowhere to be found. Now I called every number I had and still the captain could not be reached. As XO, the crew turned to me and asked, “What do we do?” I said continue with underway preparations and get the ship ready to sail. Now secretly, I was worried sick and debated on when to call the squadron to let them know my captain was MIA. So up the bridge I went to bring on the tugs and get the main engines ready. The officer of the deck asked me, “Are we really getting underway without the captain?” With confidence, I said, “you worry about the ship; the CO is on his way.” Of course, I could only hope this was the case.

Well, about 30 minutes before casting off lines, here comes the captain walking down the pier with a big smile and a confident and cheerful gait. I see him from the bridge and quickly meet him in his stateroom. Before I could ask any questions, he looks at me and says, “XO, report the status of the ship being ready to get underway on time?” I said, “Yes, but,” before I could get another word out, he said “Very well, Captain to the bridge.” Later that day he brought me in to his stateroom because he knew I had some questions regarding “his late arrival.” He simply smiled and said, “XO, I decided to spend the morning eating breakfast with my wife – I knew you’d have the ship ready so I turned off my phone.” His confidence in me taught me a valuable lesson for command: Do what you think is right and make a decision because you won’t always have someone to ask. This lesson has served me well.”


The 2011 Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Leadership Awards will be presented Jan. 5 at 9:30 a.m. in the Pentagon hall of heroes by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert.



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