Navy News December 03, 2007
Washington D.C. -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead presented the Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale Leadership Award at a ceremony in the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes, Nov 28, to two officers for their achievements in leadership.
Roughead recognized Cmdrs. Frank J. Olmo and Craig A. Clapperton for displaying excellence while serving in positions of command. The officers were nominated by their peers within their assigned fleets.
As the ceremony opened, Roughead spoke of the unique nature of the award being recommended by the recipients' peers.
"One does not obtain the recognition or receive the recommendation of their peers if they truly do not love what they do," said Roughead.
Olmo was commanding officer of USS Mahan (DDG 72). During his tour, Mahan deployed as Flagship for Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, and won the 2006 Battle Efficiency Award, the Golden Anchor Award for retention excellence, and the Bloodhound Award for anti-submarine warfare excellence.
Both award winners credited their success to deckplate Sailors and the mentorship they received throughout their naval careers.
"It was really the chief's mess and triad (executive officer) that got me here today," said Olmo. "You rely on them to take your leadership philosophy and get it down to the deck plates. If you can get down and reach that level, then you're going to have a great command."
Clapperton was commanding officer of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141. His command successfully executed the Prowler community's first ever sustained dual site combat operations from an aircraft carrier and a remote expeditionary base while flying missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After an expedited turnaround cycle, Clapperton led the Shadowhawks on short notice deployment in Iwakuni, Japan in support of Marine Air Group 12 and the First Marine Air Wing.
"Every commanding officer you have along the way you learn something from," said Clapperton. "When I was in command, there were many times that I thought back to myself, 'what would those gentlemen do when they were in this situation?'"
The Vice Admiral Stockdale Leadership Award is given annually to officers below the rank of captain who have commanded a ship, submarine or an air squadron. The award is in honor of James B. Stockdale, whose distinguished naval career symbolized the highest standards of excellence in both personal example and leadership.
Both award winners said they could not have done it alone. Their families, mentors and Sailors gave them the inspiration, motivation and perseverance to get the job done.
Clapperton said that although he was the one receiving the award, it truly recognized the accomplishments of the 200 Sailors of VAQ-141 with whom he served.
"They certainly taught me more about leadership and about service than I could ever have taught them," said Clapperton.