This past week I had the opportunity to travel to Kansas City for the Marine Operations Leadership Summit (MOLS.) It's always great to reconnect with my salty shipmates - i.e., the actual real-life professional mariners and Marine Operations personnel that keep our ships safely at sea conducting NOAA's mission. This year's gathering-formerly-known-as "Command Seminar" was attended by department heads as well as the XOs. Based on my memory and nearly 23 years of service this is a first, and a significant step toward a more inclusive team-oriented approach to marine operations.
Through out the week, I was struck by the energy, enthusiasm and pride in mission in the discussions and break outs, but I was even more impressed with the cohesiveness of this group. Perhaps it was due to the validation of the critical leadership roles our professional mariners provide aboard our ships by including them in this year's MOLS. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that we're a relatively small group of shipmates who, by virtue of living and working with each other over many years, have developed a type of "ohana" based on the special bond created through shared experiences, common values, and the rigors and risks of serving aboard ships at sea. Or perhaps it was because while we can be passionate in our opinions, we all possess a fundamental respect for and trust in one another, and truly appreciate not just our respective roles in keeping our ships sailing, but each individual as the person they are.
During the week, conversations and comments pertaining to teamwork, inclusion, respect, and commitment were had. Words like "respect," "caring," "trust," "inspire," and "inclusion" were heard frequently and felt by the majority, if not all.
While we are in the thick of the holiday season, and as we prepare to end 2016, I want to expand on one of the themes in RDML Lopez's talk at MOLS. The Admiral discussed time. Time is a commodity. Look at how we speak of it - "I spent way too much time on chart corrections." "What did you do with your time on leave?" "We don't have time for that CTD station." "Can I have a minute of your time?"
The sudden and unexpected passing of RET Ricardo Guevara, LCDR Greg Schweitzer, and Ms. Allison Routt (BOTC-84, NMFS civilian employee) has shocked and impacted a lot of us. We never could have imagined that their time with us was coming to such an abrupt end. The grief from their unexpected loss combined with this time of year provides fertile ground for thoughts of hopelessness, or can exacerbate chronic emotional pain. So please, take care of yourself and spend some time on yourself...whatever that looks like.
And if you're feeling the holiday blues for any reason, know that you're not alone and you're not broken. Put down the phone, the tablet, the remote, and unplug. Get outside the echo chamber of your head and reach out to someone. Seek counseling, get pastoral care, talk to a shipmate or family. There is no shame or stigma in seeking help. (I think I'm a prime example of that!) Don't be so hard on yourself. Know that you are allowed to be human, and that includes the time you spend at work. Emotion is not only allowed, it is expected and I encourage it. Spend time with people who care about you; your ohana whoever that may be - blood relatives, adopted, or intentional.
I never want to find myself wishing that I had more time with anyone else ever again. If you're struggling, know that from what I saw and felt from my shipmates at MOLS, there are plenty of people who are glad you're here, care about you despite whatever quirks or flaws you THINK you have, and would do anything for you to see you underway again in the near future. I'm extremely grateful for my NOAA ohana. You make me proud to be a part of this organization every day.
CAPT Amilynn E. Adams, NOAA
|09-13 Jan 2017||OMAO Mid-Grade Week One|
|23-27 Jan 2017||OMAO Mid-Grade Week Two|
|30 Jan - 3 Feb 2017||XO Immersion|
|2017||NOAA Corps Centennial Events|
|20 May 2017||NOAA Corps "Century of Service" Anniversary Dinner|
|ENS Samuel McKay||16 Dec 2016|
|LT Lindsay Morrison||30 Dec 2016|
|LT Timothy Smith||01 Jan 2017|
|LCDR Guinevere Lewis||31 Jan 2017|
|ENS Lander Ver Hoef||28 Feb 2017|
|LT Amber Payne||01 Mar 2017|