First and foremost, we are a team onboard WILLOW. Together we will facilitate the flow of commerce into and out of our ports; enforce U.S. laws and maintain the integrity of our borders on the high seas; protect our natural resources by preventing or responding to environmental threats; and stand ready to defend the United States in whatever capacity we are asked to serve.
The Coast Guard has given us an excellent foundation for our personal and professional conduct with the Core Values. Let Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty guide all that you do. In addition, these principles are important to me while we are serving onboard WILLOW:
Be a person that your shipmates want to be around. Be nice to people. This is a hard job and it requires a lot of sacrifice. The schedule will inevitably change. The weather will sometimes be bad. Occasionally I will have a bad day. Occasionally you will have a bad day. It can be easy to get cynical and negative if we let that creep in; don’t let it creep in. Stand by and stand up for each other. Be unselfish. Be patient.
Treat people with respect. Everyone’s role onboard is different, but everyone’s value is the same. Be a person that others can rely on. Find the good in others and encourage it. Talk to each other and listen to each other. Remember that taking care of WILLOW is a team effort. Watertight integrity and material condition are a shared responsibility between all of us. Have confidence in our ship and our shipmates.
Learn as much as you can. Teach as much as you can. Each person who is junior to you right now will be somebody’s boss someday. Each person who is senior to you right now has something to learn from you. Know and understand the job of the person above and below you in the chain of command. Challenge yourself to get qualified in additional watchstations or enhance your personal growth. Be open to creative solutions, but always keep the fundamental principles of risk management and seamanship in mind.
The nature of our operations requires us to be flexible and adaptable. I will do my best to be transparent and I will always be honest with you. Be transparent and honest with me, your shipmates, and your loved ones in return. Speak up well before you are in crisis. Ask for help. Don’t let any one person become indispensable. Take time for yourself and the people, things, or activities that are important to you off the ship. Everyone is entitled to equal consideration for time off; nobody’s personal life is worth more or less than anyone else’s.
I will also strive to live by the principles laid out above. We have an expansive support system when we are tied to the pier, but once we take in all lines there is just WILLOW and those of us who have the privilege of sailing her. We must take care of the ship and each other so that we can safely and effectively operate in the isolated and dangerous maritime environment.