USN Ordnance Team

In my previous post, I mentioned I wanted to be a fighter pilot. As a child of the ‘80s, I was captivated by Top Gun. I researched anything military, whether it was bombers, ICBMs, nuclear-powered submarines or aircraft carriers. As a military brat, I visited Navy stations, Army bases and Air Force runways just to catch a glimpse of an aircraft, but it was almost always from afar. The closest I got was during air shows. Sometimes I was part of a crowd surrounding stunning, military jets or part of a group of onlookers as we gazed into a roped-off hangar further away.

When I got to work with the US Navy, I was up close and personal with fighter planes. It wasn’t cockpit-close like the F-15, but these jets were on an active runway and in use. When the F-18 Super Hornets took off, you could wait and hear the faded booming of distant bombs falling on the desert range to the east, pounding the ground with 500 lb. of explosives on each drop.

My job was helping the naval ordnance team to be more efficient in the entire process from bunker to fighter and return. I worked with a small group of E2s to E4s, with an E6 to keep them in line. Their language was enough to make a sailor blush. Oh wait, they were sailors. Enough to make me blush. They pushed each other hard, they didn’t let any mistake remain unfixed or poor performance not be corrected, and they called each other out on anything and everything that kept them from achieving top level results.  I loved it.

The process I apply at clients can be very demanding. We pull aside a team of about ten people for a full business week to drive significant improvements immediately. Every day can be draining. They have nicknames for each hard day: Margarita Monday, Tequila Tuesday, and Whiskey Wednesday. By Thursdays, the team has made it past the tough part and has to implement the defined work.

These soldiers did a fantastic job. Their Chief had created a team that could perform under difficulty. I pushed them hard too. They came together, fought, talked it out, argued, cursed and came up with a great new process that improved mission readiness and performance. They were proud of their motto and shouted it with pride: IYAOYAS!

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