THE NORTH ATLANTIC — Talk about courage on the high seas! When Navy Capt. Oral Mendelson's ship hit an iceberg, he didn't hesitate or jump overboard like a coward: He took the bit in his mouth and went down on the entire ship.
"It wasn't even sinking," said Cmdr. Luis Sanchez, the ship's executive officer. "But that's just the kind of captain he is, always taking care of his crew."
That type of bravery is tough to swallow!
Sources say the USS Bulkeley was on a routine patrol in the north Atlantic Ocean when the Captain was roused from his sleep following a jarring collision. Although the crew confirmed that the ship was not taking on water, and was in fact in pristine condition, Mendelson had all hands muster on deck and drop trou.
Now that's a leader who puts safety first!
"It's naval tradition that a good captain goes down on his ship," said Mendelson. "Of course, under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' it was just symbolic. Now we can do it for real."
With hundreds of sailors lined up and ready for action, this bold leader wasn't deterred from spitting out some good old-fashioned leadership lessons.
"I am both humbled and disgusted by his actions that day," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. "He has clearly violated just about every article in the UCMJ, but, my God, that's impressive."
Capt. Oral Mendelson: a real hero who wasn't afraid to go down on his ship.