For the past few years,
I’ve had the opportunity each Fall to talk leadership with the newly
promoted admirals of the U.S. Coast Guard and their Senior Executive
Service counterparts from the Department of Homeland Security. I’ll be
joining the group again this October and will be bringing a new
perspective to the conversation. That perspective comes from a once in a
lifetime opportunity I had last weekend patrolling the Florida Straits
with the captain and crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Venturous.
Last year, I wrote a similar post to today’s titled What I Learned on an Aircraft Carrier. Some of the lessons from the Venturous are in the same ballpark, but there are a number of new ones. I attribute the dichotomies to the difference in scale (The USS Harry S Truman has 3,000 to 5,000 crew members and is 1,092 feet long. The USCGC Venturous has 80 crew members and is 220 feet long.) and mission. As they patrol the Straits of Florida and the Caribbean, the crew of the Venturous may be intercepting drug runners one day, rescuing boaters the next and picking up Cuban migrants the next. I was only with them two days and, by the end of the second day, the crew had picked up a raft full of Cubans. I was in email correspondence with the executive officer, LCDMR Blake Novak, a few days ago and he wrote that by the end of the week that started with my stay onboard the Venturous had picked up a total of 80 migrants. For Coasties, it’s all about being prepared and adapting to the current reality.
In today’s post, I’m sharing a few of my high level lessons learned and this overview video of my time with the crew of the Venturous.
In the days and weeks to come, I’ll post more videos of specific tasks (or, as the Coast Guard calls them, evolutions) and additional reflections on what I learned onboard. For now, here are the headlines on some of my leadership takeaways from Venturous Commanding Officer Troy Hosmer, XO Novak and their crew: