ALAMEDA, Ca. – The Commandant of the Coast Guard is prepared to name a 500 page copy of the 2010 Edition of “The Essential Guide To Leadership and Management” Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf during a change of command ceremony on Friday morning, according to sources.
The manual has already assumed the duties of the former skipper, Capt. Robert E. Thomas, who assumed command of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton back in January. Thomas issued a statement, saying, “I look forward to seeing what this purely inanimate object can accomplish with this wonderful crew in tow.”
Captain Essential Guide is already saying the right things, according to officers familiar with the situation. “As a leader ... your primary job is to create an operating environment where others can do great things," said the manual, on page 367. “Leadership cannot be trained, although it may be educated and improved through instruction and mentoring,” Guide added, in its introduction.
Guide is getting decidedly mixed reviews from his crew and others outside the service, however.
“I mean the new guy is fine and all, but he sounds like every other Commanding Officer I’ve ever worked for,” said Chief Petty Officer Ben Soto. “He says the usual stuff like, 'We continually face challenges — how we view them defines us’ and ‘In leadership, people and relationships are more important than tasks.’ I mean, it’s all the usual cliché bullshit and everyone knows it.”
Guide received four and a half stars on Amazon, which sources say played a big role in the commandant's appointment. But one three star review complains, "If you are looking to take your management skills to a new level, best to look elsewhere."
Guide's previous duty stations include Coast Guard Training Center Petaluma and District Five Command Center, where it basically sat on the shelf and did nothing but reference itself.
"I am excited at the prospect of working with the new CO," said Lt. Cdr. Chris McDonald, the ship’s Executive Officer. “Well, he’s basically just like the last guy. Says things he hopes are inspirational, never leaves his state room, and collects dust until the next guy shows up.”