Tag Archives: Navy
Minor League Baseball player and Surface Warfare Officer Luke Gillingham shares his memories of playing baseball at the United States Naval Academy for Coach Paul Kostacopoulos, his recollection of being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, and the options the Navy presented to him as he fulfilled his commitment to serving his country through the Navy Reserve while having the opportunity to play professional baseball. Gillingham also shares his thoughts on playing professional baseball and baseball during the global health crisis of COVID-19.
Retired Fleet Master Chief Scott Benning speaks about the opportunities presented by the military for individuals to improve themselves while serving one’s country and receiving an education. It is vital to our country that the military is on the leading edge of technology and human capital development. Chief Benning speaks about the sacrifices people make in life and the meaning of a purpose driven life, including setting goals and overcoming setbacks. The more one puts into something, the more one receives from their efforts. You get in life what you give in life. Scott speaks about learning from our mistakes and passing that information on to the future generation. His book Power of Positive Leadership “challenges you to focus on your personal attitude, focus, and the importance of growing yourself so you can grow others to strengthen your team and grow a positive attitude” (pop-leadership.com). ICE leadership includes three steps: inspire, challenge, and empower.
Over 20 veterans take their lives each day, evidence of a suicide epidemic within our country, a problem specifically prevalent within the veteran community. The Suicide Awareness and Prevention flag is a symbolic combination of the Prisoner of War (POW) and Gold Star flags. The Gold Star is displayed on a service flag to indicate that a relative of the family was killed while serving in the armed forces during wartime. This is a conversation about warrior culture, removing stigma, expressing feelings, mental wellness, and what we can do to improve the situation together.
Retired Navy Chief Petty Officer Terry Spain speaks about his leadership philosophy, lessons learned in his life from family and military service, what it means to be a Chief Petty Officer in the world’s finest Navy, and writing his new book, Just Lead!
“Terry Spain is an author and CEO of Terry Spain Consulting LLC, which specializes in diversity and leadership training along with motivational speaking and team building. Before retiring from the U.S Navy, Terry served as an Instructor for the Senior Leadership Development Branch at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). He has trained members of the Federal Government, the White House, Camp David, and the Naval Academy.
As a pillar in the community, he is an active member of the NAACP Central Brevard Branch and serves as the Veterans committee Chairman. Terry is also a member of the Brevard County Chamber of Commerce (Military Affairs Council) and serves as an advisor for the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation.
Mr. Spain received his Bachelor’s degree from Thomas Edison state university in Trenton, NJ, and his Certificate of Mastery in Diversity & Inclusion from The Institute for Federal Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion (Georgetown University). He has served over 21 years in the U.S. Navy and attained the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Terry was assigned to various ships and bases around the world, which allowed him to gain in-depth life experiences relating to diversity and leadership.
In 2014, Terry was awarded The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Roy Wilkins Renown Service Award” (from TerrySpainconsulting.com).
Rear Admiral Frank Thorp speaks about his family’s longstanding service, within and outside of the military. He speaks about the principle of America’s service men and women serving and defending our Constitution, representing freedom and people’s desire to fight for it and give up what they have, as embodied by Bob Feller. Rear Admiral Thorp speaks about being in the Pentagon on 9/11 and reminds listeners that valor is not a word to be taken lightly.
“In his final active duty assignment in the Navy, Rear Adm. (ret) Frank Thorp, IV was the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO), serving as principal spokesman for the Department of the Navy and providing strategic communication counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. He led the Navy’s Public Affairs community of more than 2,500 active and reserve officer, enlisted, and civilian communication professionals.
Prior to this assignment, Thorp served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense (joint communication) where he was responsible for overseeing Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to shape department-wide communication doctrine, organization, and training for the joint force. As director of the strategic communication integration group (SCIG) secretariat, Thorp also led DoD efforts for strategic communication auspices of the deputy secretary of defense, DoD strategic communication plans.
He served as the special assistant for public affairs to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2003 until 2005. In 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Thorp was deployed to Qatar as the chief of media for U.S. Central Command (forward).
From 2000 to 2003, he served as special assistant for public affairs to the Chief of Naval Operations. His other assignments have included serving as the public affairs officer for the Bureau of Naval Personnel; Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Joint Task Force Middle East; Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He has also served as director of public affairs and congressional notification at the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs.
Thorp has also had several previous assignments at the Navy’s Office of Information. As a commander, he served as assistant chief of information for media operations. Other assignments include executive assistant to the chief of information, national news desk action officer, and aide to the chief of information.
Prior to specializing in public affairs, Thorp served as a surface warfare officer forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan.
In 1999, Thorp completed a fellowship at Hill & Knowlton Worldwide Public Affairs in Washington D.C. He has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism and public affairs from American University and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. Thorp is a 1986 graduate of the Defense Information School and a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in operations analysis.
His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (2), Legion of Merit (2), Meritorious Service Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), and the Navy Commendation Medal (3)” (United States Navy website).
Captain Greg Zettler speaks about lessons of integrity as a priority of his education at the United States Naval Academy. Captain Zettler speaks about the significance of service and recommends one assumes that everyone on their team has noble intent. Captain Zettler stresses the importance of creating individual ownership of the collective mission. The best advice Captain Zettler has received was to not try to by perfect: to rely on his innate ability and the training he has been provided. Zettler’s advice for those entering the military is relevant life advice for any person, especially youth: “Come in ready to learn, ready to work hard, ready to embrace the opportunities that come your way. Strive to achieve the mission. Embrace your own ownership for the mission.” For Captain Greg Zettler, valor is the willingness to do the right thing in the face of potential consequences to yourself.
“Captain Greg Zettler became the USS Norfolk’s 16th Commanding Officer November 18, 2011. He graduated from the Naval Academy in May of 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering. He has also earned a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Human Resource Development from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Master’s Degree in National Security Resources from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He has received several decorations in his career” (United States Navy).
Mr. Buster Olney shares his upbringing around the game of baseball, his career as a sports columnist covering the game, Hall of Fame voting and personal memories and stories from baseball legends Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman, including Gwynn’s gregarious personality and Coleman’s humility towards his service and respect for his comrades who did not return home from war.
Jerry Coleman: Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Coleman is the only Major League Baseball player to serve in combat in two wars, flying 57 combat missions in the SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber during World War II and 63 close air support and interdiction strike missions earning six more Air Medals during the Korean War. Lieutenant Colonel Coleman was selected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award recipient as an announcer in 2005 (Bob Feller Foundation).
Buster Olney: “Robert “Buster” Olney is a senior writer for ESPN.com and reporter for ESPN’s exclusive Sunday Night Baseball telecasts. He joined ESPN in June 2003 to cover baseball for all ESPN entities, including ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS and SportsCenter. He writes a daily column for ESPN.com and hosts the popular Baseball Tonight podcast as well as appearing on ESPN’s baseball studio show by the same name.
Olney’s two favorite events he has covered for ESPN are the 2014 and 2016 postseasons. “Particularly,” he said, “the historic performances of Madison Bumgarner.”
Olney began covering baseball in 1989 as the Nashville Banner’s beat reporter for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He later covered the San Diego Padres for the San Diego Union-Tribune (1993 – 1994) and the Baltimore Orioles (Baltimore Sun, 1995 – 1996). He arrived at ESPN after six years at the New York Times covering the Mets (1997) and the Yankees (1998 – 2001)” (ESPN Press Room).
“Baseball saw some of its biggest transformations in the 1940s and 50s. The introduction of night games, television, racial desegregation, and prevalence of jet travel all had a profound impact on how the game was forever played, observed, and experienced. Through these unprecedented times stood Carl Erskine, famed pitcher of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, and a witness to history.
Upon high school graduation in 1945, Erskine’s aspiration to play baseball came to a halt. With World War II in full swing, he was drafted into the U.S. Navy. A year later, Erskine introduced himself to the Navy recreation officer where he was stationed, and asked if he could play baseball. Already full of pitchers, he was turned away, but soon found consolation a few weeks later when scouted by the Dodgers and discharged from the Navy. Erskine spent the next year and a half in the minor leagues, at the time of widespread historical change in baseball.
While playing in 1947, baseball legend Jackie Robinson came on board the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American player in Major League history. After pitching in a challenging game in the spring of 1948, Robinson, who had watched Erskine pitch that game, befriended him and said, “You’re going to be with us real soon.” Truly inspired and with a great sense of optimism, Robinson’s prediction came true. Later that year, Erskine joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In the late ‘40s, television was beginning to permeate American society and millions of people started to see baseball in a new way. No longer restricted to archaic radio waves, the heroes of the sport now had faces to go along with their larger-than-life reputations–another milestone that would eternally change the nature of games.
Throughout the 1950s, air travel changed the way people moved across the country. With West Coast cities experiencing dramatic population increases, the major leagues started to expand. In 1957, the Dodgers left Brooklyn, New York and headed to California to become the Los Angeles Dodgers. Erskine, who did not like being away from his family, decided that relocating was not for him. He lasted only a year and a half and pitched his last game on June 4, 1959. His career spanned 12 seasons and accumulated 122 wins (.61).
After retiring from baseball, Erskine returned to his native Indiana and started his own insurance business in 1960. For 12 years, he coached the Anderson University Raven baseball program winning four championship games. While in the insurance business, he sharpened his business acumen and landed a job at Star Financial Bank serving as its president and director from 1982-1993. Erskine has also given his time and talents to many organizations, sitting on the board of trustees of Anderson University, St. John’s Medical Center, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and numerous other state and civic institutions.
Erskine was inducted into the Indiana National Baseball Hall of fame in 1979. In 2001, he wrote his first book, Tales from the Dodger Dugout, a collection of heartwarming stories recounting his days in the major leagues. Four years later, he penned his memoir, What I Learned from Jackie Robinson, sharing his memories of Jackie’s battle for racial equality and their enduring friendship that taught him important lessons about life.
The unique perspective of Erskine during baseball’s transformative years is a good reminder that change is something not to fear, but embraced with an open mind and heart (from CarlErskine.com).”
We were very fortunate to feature Mrs. Anne Feller, the widow of Mr. Bob Feller, on the American Valor Podcast. Mrs. Feller shares incredible stories of Mr. Feller’s recollection of his experiences in World War II and pride in his country, sharing insight into what made individuals like Mr. Feller and World War II and Korean War veteran Mr. Ted Williams so special.
Afterwards, hear about the upcoming baseball season.
American Values, Leadership, and the Power of the Individual: 75th Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Ray Mabus
On the twentieth episode of the American Valor Podcast, we are honored to be joined by the 75th Secretary of the Navy: the Honorable Ray Mabus. “Mr. Mabus served as the 75th United States Secretary of the Navy, the longest to serve as leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I. Throughout his tenure, Secretary Mabus has focused on four key priorities – People, Platforms, Power and Partnerships – that enable the Navy and Marine Corps’ unique ability to maintain the global presence that reassures our allies and deters our adversaries.
Before his appointment by President Obama, Mabus held a variety of leadership positions. From 1988 to 1992, Mabus served as Governor of Mississippi, the youngest elected to that office in more than 150 years. Mabus was Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1994-1996 and later was Chairman and CEO of a manufacturing company which he led out of bankruptcy.
Mabus has been recognized for his leadership of the Navy and Marine Corps on multiple occasions. In 2013, he was named one of the top 50 highest rated CEOs by Glassdoor, an online jobs and career community. Mabus was the only person in government to receive this award.
Secretary Mabus is a native of Ackerman, Mississippi, and received a Bachelor’s Degree, summa cum laude, from the University of Mississippi, a Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Law Degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School. After Johns Hopkins, Mabus served in the Navy as an officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock” (defense.gov).
Mabus encourages listeners to believe you can do whatever you put your mind to. He describes being in the United States Navy as one of the defining experiences of his life, teaching Mr. Mabus what it means to be part of a team.
Mr. Mabus preaches the importance of being honest. He states that Americans must stand for equality, democracy, openness, and freedom of expression across the world. Our strength as a nation lies in our values and what we have stood for since 1776.
Ray Mabus’ three traits of a leader:
- Know what you are willing to lose.
- Set an example for others to follow.
- Be very clear. Know why you are doing what you are doing.