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  Guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72) approaches guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) during a Sail Pass in the Baltic Sea.
Official U.S. Navy file photo of Guided-missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG 72).
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Midshipmen Learn Lessons from the Fleet
Story Number: NNS071020-04
Release Date: 10/20/2007 11:19:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew A. Ebarb, U.S. Naval Academy Public Affairs

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NNS) -- Nearly 40 midshipmen attended a leadership forum with the commanding officer (CO) of USS Mahan (DDG 72) at the U.S. Naval Academy Oct. 19.

Mahan was visiting Annapolis for the Academy's homecoming weekend. Cmdr. Rick Miller, the ship�s CO, is a 1989 Naval Academy graduate and spoke to the Navy and Marine Corps� future officers about what the fleet expects from the newest members of the wardroom.

�I spoke to one of the leadership classes back in the spring as a soon-to-be-commanding officer,� said Miller. �Now that I�ve been in command for six months and through a deployment, I can provide added value for midshipmen as to what the commanding officer of their ship is going to expect from them the day they walk aboard.�

Miller used Mahan�s recent deployment experiences to emphasize the importance of combat readiness.

�Combat readiness is the reason we are here,� said Miller. �One of your biggest jobs is making sure whatever piece of the ship you�re responsible for is ready to fight.�

According to Miller, the junior officer�s job is taking care of their Sailors and Marines and ensuring their divisions� are functioning smoothly. Miller explained that a successful junior officer takes responsibility for the success of his or her personnel.

�You have to take a sense of pride and ownership in your people, and make sure that they are able to perform and are given the chance to aspire to their goals,� said Miller. �I�d say that takes enthusiasm, initiative, and showing them that you are always ready to go, ready to take charge and make something happen.�

According to Miller, everyone makes mistakes, but it is imperative to learn from them.

�You�re still learning and you�re not expected to know everything right off the bat,� said Miller. �The important thing is not making the same mistake twice. You always want to show you are motivated and trying to do the right thing.�

Miller concluded by explaining that the overall success of the division and its people dictates the success of the officer leading it.

�It�s not about you. It is about your ship and your Sailors. When it comes to your personal goals, it�s up to you to find the spare time and motivation to see them through,� said Miller. �However, I guarantee you if you give your all to your people and your superiors, they will in turn help you and give you the opportunity to succeed at your goals.�

Mahan is the fifth ship named after Rear Adm. Alfred Thayer Mahan, who is also the namesake of the Naval Academy's Mahan Hall. Mahan, whose theory on sea power advocated that control of the sea lanes was critical to victory in war, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1859.

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