News: Maine Gold CO wins Vice Adm. Stockdale Leadership Award
Story by Chief Petty Officer Ahron Arendes
SILVERDALE, Wash. - Cmdr. Richard N. Massie, USS Maine (SSBN 741) Gold crew commanding officer has been selected as a recipient of the Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award.
According to a naval message released Sept. 26, Massie was selected for his performance as Gold crew commanding officer out of a group of four other Pacific Fleet finalists.
The award was established in honor of Stockdale whose distinguished naval career symbolized the highest standards of excellence in both personal conduct and leadership. It is presented annually to two commissioned officers on active duty in the grade of commander or below who are serving in command of a single unit and serve as examples of excellence in leadership and conspicuous contribution to the improvement of leadership in the Navy. All candidates are nominated by peers who themselves must be eligible for the award.
"Admiral Stockdale is a legendary figure in our Navy's and our nation's history. His leadership under the most extreme adversity continues to provide inspiration for generations of leaders," said Massie. "For me, it is the honor of a lifetime to be presented this award named for him. If you look at past recipients and my fellow nominees this year, there are some truly impressive people. To even be mentioned alongside these great officers is humbling."
Massie, who is in his first tour command tour, takes an involved approach to his leadership style, making sure his sailors understand their role in supporting the fleet ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) mission and the Navy.
"I don't have a command philosophy typed up and framed in the passageway. However, I do spend time with every individual Sailor discussing what I think is important to make our crew and ship strong," he said. "This includes a focus on the mission - ours is strategic deterrence, providing survivable second-strike capability for the United States. Every sailor, no matter how junior, plays an integral role in this mission. Without all of us, we cannot succeed.
"It also includes rock-solid integrity. Without this, no command can function effectively. And lastly, we are all volunteers, first for naval service and second for submarines. Accordingly, we all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. We need to focus, not on our individual differences, but what we have in common: our mission and a drive toward our common goals," he said.
The award is the latest in a string of successes for both Maine crews this year. They were named the 2012 Submarine Squadron 17 Battle Efficiency (Battle "E") Award winner in January and the Captain Edward F. Ney Memorial Award winner for earning runner-up in the Submarine Category July 19. On Sept. 26, just hours prior to Massie winning the Stockdale award, Maine received the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
Massie's counterpart, Cmdr. William E. Johnson, Maine Blue crew commanding officer, said his selection is the culmination of his highly successful 40-month command tour.
"[While] winning the Submarine Squadron 17 Battle Efficiency "E" for 2012 and earning a Meritorious Unit Citation for demonstrated sustained superior performance, he provided the vision, commitment and inspirational leadership to motivate and focus his crew and those around him to work as a team and consistently achieve superior results," said Johnson. "His selection by his peers for this prestigious award is well deserved.
"As the commanding officer opposite Cmdr. Massie, I learned how vital it is for our individual crews to work as a team for the success of Maine as a whole. SSBNs are somewhat unique in that they have two crews, Blue & Gold, for one ship. This is done to maximize the operational readiness of the submarines and ensure they are at sea executing their strategic deterrent mission. Even when our crew doesn't 'own' the ship, our support is critical to ensure Maine deploys on time in 100 percent material readiness and receives the necessary support while at sea to fully execute her tasking," he said.
According to Massie, the award is a result of what his crew has been able to accomplish.
"Clearly this award is all about Maine and the crews' impressive performance," Massie said. Without their efforts, we wouldn't be having this conversation, and we wouldn't have earned the recent meritorious unit citation, the 2012 Squadron 17 Battle "E", or any of the other accolades that Maine has received. I am honored to be part of such an impressive and motivated team. I like to think that I have something to do with our success, but we have some exceptional deck plate leaders who I'm confident would excel regardless of who was in charge. I hope that the crew is justifiably proud of their accomplishments."
Massie is scheduled to receive his award from Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert at a ceremony later this fall.
"I am very proud of my crew and their accomplishments. I also feel incredibly humbled and honored that my fellow commanding officers chose to recognize my crew and me with their nominations, and that our fleet leadership had the confidence in me to make this selection," said Massie.