Taking Command: The Crew Is Only as Good as the Captain

When veteran submarine officer Ron LaSalvia arrived in Brest, France to take command of the USS Montpelier nuclear fast-attack submarine, he was struck by the lack of a warm welcome on the part of the current officers. LaSalvia knew in advance that the USS Montpelier’s command staff and crew had a reputation for being too risk averse and having problems with coordinating attacks and strikes. The crew was not particularly close-knit, and LaSalvia knew they yearned to go to see with warrior leadership leading them. LaSalvia implemented a very demanding training regimen, and worked constantly to grow the crew’s skills. The contrast between the submarine under his leadership versus the previous captain’s just goes to show what a difference leadership can make.

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