How does it feel to be back at the Naval Academy?
It is great! I have always felt that the Naval Academy is the heart of the naval service. The yard is a beautiful national landmark, but what makes it truly special are the people who work here and the midshipmen who develop into leaders over their four years here.
How often were you able to return to the yard after graduation? How have things changed for today’s midshipmen? How have they stayed the same?
Unfortunately, due to operational demands and where I have been stationed, I have not been able to come back to Annapolis as often as I would have liked. My family lives in Maryland so sometimes I have been able to get to the yard while visiting family in the area. I was also able to come back for weddings and a few football games when my schedule allowed. As for how things have changed, midshipmen are busier and more connected than ever before. But the basics of what we do here have not changed. We still make leaders who are ready to join the fleet just as we have since 1845.
Did you ever imagine coming back as the Commandant when you were a midshipman?
Never. The Commandant was always a Navy Captain when I was here.
Midshipmen quickly learn to operate effectively and efficiently in a stressful environment. They learn to organize and work in teams to solve problems. Finally, midshipmen take on board a mission-focused attitude. All of these lessons have been valuable throughout my career.
Do you have a personal experience where your academy training helped you as a Marine?
The physical toughness I developed as a Navy rower has been helpful throughout my career. More importantly, my experiences at the boathouse taught me how to place the goals of the team ahead of personal aspirations. That lesson has been incredibly important as a Marine.
In what ways do you think your time in the Corps will benefit you during your tour here as Commandant?
Marines have an innate bond with their fellow Marines. We call this the “esprit de corps,” and it manifests itself in everything that we do. Marines are eager to help a fellow Marine and are fully committed to upholding the high standards of our service. I hope to bring these things to the Brigade of Midshipmen.
Character. An officer’s character is their fate.
What do you hope to accomplish during your tour as Commandant?
I want to ensure that we are producing leaders of character for our Sailors and Marines in the fleet. I hope to inspire the Brigade to be relentless in their pursuit of excellence as they are ready to lead Sailors and Marines in harm’s way.