Leadership!

Several days ago, the San Diego U-T carried a story of the new Jack Cheevers book, Act of War and the story in the newspaper carries comments by a real hero of that event, Bob Chicca.

Bob was awarded the Bronze Star, but in a rational world it would have been the Navy Cross. Only the internal politics of the Navy denied him his just award.

Jack Cheevers did relentless research for many years to produce this definitive history, and he had access to many originally classified but subsequently declassified documents.

The capture is still controversial among many who were not there, but Bucher’s crew adored him. Bucher was isolated from his crew immediately upon arrival at Balboa Hospital to allow him some sleep, but on Christmas Day as Bucher entered the dining hall among the families and crew, I saw a crew member reaching through the throng with tears in his eyes,trying to touch Bucher’s trousers.

THAT is leadership!

During the Court of Inquiry, Bucher, his attorney (E. Miles Harvey) and I were going up the ladder to the second deck auditorium on the Amphib Base where the Court was being held. Several members of the Crew were being escorted by MPs (because they were witnesses) were coming down the ladder.

I saw a Crew Member flash a white note in his hand and as we passed on the ladder he palmed the note into my hand.

It read: “Skipper, we started this together, and we will end it together.”

Leadership!

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