Saltwater Leadership Second Edition

In a slim, pocket-sized book authored by Rear admiral (RADM) Robert O. Wray Jr. USN (Ret), Vice admiral (VADM) John B. Mustin USN, RADM Theodore P. S. LeClair USN, and Commander (CDR) Andrew K. Ledford USN, PhD, Saltwater Leadership captures the collective wisdom of their 100-plus years of successful naval service concisely. It is based on their surveys of 380 other senior leaders and their review of thousands of pages of leadership books. True to the aim of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Blue & Gold Professional Library, the book is an inside job for naval leaders by naval leaders.

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The Debrief Series: HM1 John Housinga

Today, I have the privilege of speaking with the HM1 John Housinga, an Independent Duty Corpsman serving with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. He acts as the enlisted medical provider for over 1,000 marines and sailors. He is also a sought-after subject matter expert, incredible mentor, and a dependable leader. Housinga sheds light on the reality of being a leader in today’s military, how he has recovered personally from failures, and provides guidance to the future leaders of our armed services.

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The Morality Conflict Series: Crisp Morning

The high-pitched droning began somewhat slowly, but swiftly climbed in intensity as he stiffened his back and widened his stride. Maybe it’s the coal mine down the road ramping up their stripping operations, he quickly ponders to himself, but they’ve never made that kind of noise before. Instantly, hurtling like an angel falling from heaven, he could see the massive 757 passenger airliner come twisting from the sky and clipping the tree line. The whistling of the air passing over the shaking wings produced a gut-wrenching shriek, which made Ryan’s heart drop.

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The Morality Conflict Series: For What is Right

s. A loud bang echos through the room as one of our lead supervisors comes stomping into the lounge area. “So, are we making any progress? Or are you all as stupid as I assume you are?” The massive Italian man yelled as he strode past us, looking over our shoulders and inspecting us for any potential flaws that he could write us up for. “Well? Is no one gonna answer me? Ah I see, I guess it’s International Disrespect a Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Day. I wonder how we will celebrate. No suggestions? Sounds like an additional chapter of memorization due today.” He smiles mischievously, thinking that he has indeed taught us quite the lesson.

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Oath of Enlistment – It’s Your Oath!

You’ve taken the Oath of Enlistment to the Constitution, and perhaps administered it, too.

When’s the last time you read the U.S. Constitution or the Declaration of Independence, though? Your perspective on the meaning of those words changes over time. Revisit it now!

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A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy

James R. Holmes opens his book, A Brief Guide to Maritime Strategy, writing, “This book is a tutorial for my younger self”. This notes the prior existence of a strategic gap in the naval education of his youth. Like most young naval professionals, training was in the technical and tactical aspects of his trade, but not in its strategic purpose. In this slim volume, Holmes explains a logical, readable, and useful primer on a maritime strategy that will close this gap for any newcomer to the field.

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Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal

James D. Hornfischer’s Neptune’s Inferno cuts through such over-simplifications while also conveying the very personal and visceral stories of the naval personnel who fought at Guadalcanal. Critically, he examines the essential role the US Navy played in this campaign, specifically highlighting the decisiveness of the amphibious task force.

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By Water Beneath the Walls

Told through the eyes of remarkable leaders and racing from one longshot, hair-curling raid to the next, By Water Beneath the Walls is the tale of the unit’s heroic naval predecessors, and the evolution of the SEALs themselves. But it’s also the story of the forging of American special operations as a whole—and how the SEALs emerged from the fires as America’s first permanent commando force when again and again some other unit seemed predestined to seize that role.

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Leading Lessons – It’s Your Leadership

The leadership experience from the U.S. Navy prompted my Leading Lessons from multiple leaders, who missed one critical step as they tried passing on good leadership principles: first, know yourself, then know others. Leading Lessions – It’s Your Leadership highlights covers it.

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Mars Adapting: Military Change During War

Mars Adapting examines what makes some military organizations better at this contest than others. The book explores the internal institutional factors that promote and enable military adaptation. It employs four cases, drawing upon one from each of the U.S. armed services. Each case was an extensive campaign, with several cycles of action/counteraction. In each case, the military institution entered the war with an existing mental model of the war they expected to fight.

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The 100 Book Journey

In 2020, I started to focus more on my reading. I always read what I thought to be a great deal during my life, but in 2020, I buckled down and read over fifty books. As I read more and more, I developed a greater perspective on issues that I had only seen as one-sided before. The diversity of books I read last year was more varied than ever before. I read science fiction, philosophy, biographies, books on real-life tragedies, and even a book on rocket fuels. In my reading, I found a great quote which re-affirmed the importance of the endeavor I was undertaking. Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis in his book Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead writes:

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