COMMAND AT SEA
The Prestige, Privilege and Burden of Command
“Only a seaman realizes to what extent an entire ship reflects the personality and ability of one individual, the Commanding Officer. To a landsman, this is not understandable, and sometimes it is even difficult for us to comprehend, but it is so.
A ship at sea is a distant world in herself and, in consideration of the protracted and distant operations of the fleet units, the Navy must place great power, responsibility and trust in the hands of the leaders chosen for command.
In each ship there is one man who, in the hour of emergency or peril at sea, can turn to no other man. There is one who alone is ultimately responsible for the safe navigation, engineering performance, accurate gunfire and morale of his ship. He is the Commanding Officer. He is the ship.
This is the most difficult and demanding assignment in the Navy. There is not an instant during his tour of duty as a Commanding Officer that he can escape the grasp of command responsibility. His privileges in view of his obligations are most ludicrously small: nevertheless command is the spur which has given the Navy its great leaders.
It is duty which most richly deserves the highest, time honored title of the seafaring word… CAPTAIN.”
Attributed to Joseph Conrad
“ Copyright © 2002, Tin Can Sailors, Inc., Used by permission”