By Midshipman 4th Class Zach Litwin, BU-MIT NROTC
BOSTON (Apr. 28, 2015)—“Attention on deck! Admiral Harris on deck. Good morning, sir.” This week, Midshipmen from Boston Consortium NROTC unit received a visit from Admiral Harris, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. The Admiral addressed the 1/C as well as a number of other Midshipmen and Unit Staff.
A visit from an Admiral is a rare occasion in any forum, so those who attended were fortunate to have such an amazing opportunity in a small-group setting. Admiral Harris has 41 years of training and operational experience. He graduated the United States Naval Academy in 1978 and became a naval flight officer. In addition to his strong educational background, Admiral Harris has significant and diverse operational and staff experiences upon which he based his remarks and advice to the Midshipmen and Staff.
In his address, the Admiral strongly urged those present to “be the best that you can be wherever you go” because much can be learned from every experience. He stressed that mentors and a positive attitude are of great value when planning and completing difficult assignments and added that “you can’t say ‘thank you’ enough.”
When discussing his philosophy for leadership and training, the Admiral focused on balancing priorities and maximizing the two vectors of mission success: “smarts” and “motivation.”
One of the Midshipmen asked “What can Midshipmen do during their time in NROTC to prepare themselves for their future careers in the Navy?” Admiral Harris responded, “I think you can learn how to work together” and stressed that teamwork involves both receiving and giving help.
“It’s a team sport, and you’re going to have to carry each other,” said Harris.
The Admiral went on to further discuss the important role of diversity in the Navy and its positive effects on teams and organizations. He emphasized that today’s diverse Navy represents impressive improvements from the past but reminded the Midshipmen that more work lies ahead.
When asked about the visit, MIDN 1/C Klatt from MIT commented, “Admiral Harris gave us a lot of advice, and I think everyone in attendance benefited greatly from his visit.”
While the Boston Consortium is lucky to have access to excellent guest speakers from many different backgrounds, the BU and MIT Midshipmen and Staff were especially grateful for this extraordinary in-person visit by one of the nation’s highest ranking and most experienced military officers.