Leading from the Front

I’d like to introduce today’s guest blogger, my son-in-law Danny McCarthy. He recently graduated from Officer Candidate School and experienced some great leadership opportunities. Of course, I did what any normal mother-in-law would do and asked him to blog about the leadership lessons he learned while there! This blog is short and to the point.Danny is not a man of many words because he leads with humility and because he’s married to my daughter who, like me, is honored to carry the burden of speaking often in our marriages. Ha! Actually Danny needs to say no more. I think you’ll agree his leadership lessons apply to every one of us no matter where we lead.

I am proud to say I am an ensign in the United States Navy. I recently graduated from Officer Candidate School (OCS) in Newport, Rhode Island. If you don’t know anything about OCS, it’s a bit different from other commissioning sources in our armed forces such as ROTC or the military academies.  At OCS, future Naval Officers are trained by United States Marine Corps drill instructors. That’s right, imagine R. Lee Ernie from Full Metal Jacket, and you have a very good idea of what it’s like.  We, OCS grads are proud of the phrase “Navy owned, Marine Corps trained.”

When I first arrived at OCS I did not want to be in any sort of a leadership position for my company or my Class (to be clear there were two companies, Echo and Foxtrot, which made up Class 05-14). It was selfish of me, but my goal was to graduate and move on with my naval career. My “sense of duty” led me to volunteer as Vice President of Echo Company. The role of vice president was a fairly easy job of assisting the president and staying organized. The really hard job was president! But, with my luck, the president was fired after a week, which then made me president.

I took the job knowing that all of those under my command were my equals. After we all graduate from OCS, we would all be ensigns. I learned to lead with humility. Know that you are no better than the men and women underneath you. They will look up to you, so lead with confidence and with their needs in mind. By leading in this manner, you will earn respect, and your people will follow. Lead from the front; always lead from the front.

Semper Fortis and Hoorah Navy

ENS Dan McCarthy

When I asked Danny to explain what lead from the front meant he said, “Leading from the front means going in first. Don’t order your people to do anything you wouldn’t do. When you charge into battle you are in front of all your sailors.” Wow! Impressive! Thank you Danny!

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  • Dan McCarthy says:

    Thank you all for the comments, I will do my best to continue to contribute to Linda’s blog.

    @CDR Siefker…I will definitely be listening to my Chiefs. The Chiefs at OCS and my Chief here at CECOS have a great wealth of knowledge that I can’t imagine taking for granted. I have nothing but respect them. Thank you sir for the advice, it is greatly appreciated.

    @Mr. Breon…Thank you for your service sir, I will need to look into reading about Gen. Mattis. I am extremely proud to have the opportunity to serve alongside and lead Marines in Naval Mobile Construction Battalion. Kill!

    @Mr. Snowdy…She absolutely is! I am very blessed to be a part of the Sasser family!

    Again thank you all for the comments!

  • Karen Heine says:

    Well said, Danny! I like your way of thinking and leadership!

    Keep Doing What You’re Doing!

  • JOHN says:

    Wow… I love this.
    Lead with needs of others in mind.
    Sounds like Jesus. My best Friend.

    ps…Your mother in law is one talented LADY!!!!!
    John Snowdy

  • Earl Breon says:

    Well written, Sir! As an enlisted Marine nothing made us happier than working for an officer that got “it”. That it being, we follow you and not your rank. Rely on the weight of the content if your character more than the weight of your collar and you will go far. Look no further than Gen. Mattis for a prime example.

    Semper Fi

  • Robert Siefker says:

    Well written, Mr McCarthy! I look forward to readiing of your experiences. I suspect you have already learned the most important lesson for a new “butter bar” – listen to your Chief’s! Fair winds and following seas.
    Bob Siefker, CDR, USN (Ret)