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CDR

SNODGRASS VFA-195 CHANGE OF COMMAND SPEECH 16 DEC 2016 ATSUGI, JAPAN


Squadron, at ease

CAG, T-Y for kind remarks (only true)

My Sailors can tell you that Im a fan of great quotes, so its only fitting that I start my remarks with one from
Joseph Konrath, who said When it comes to public speaking, if you cant be funny or if you cant be smart
then be brief. Comedy isnt exactly my forte, so Ill endeavor to keep my speech brief

That being said, if speeches could be said to have a theme, then the theme for this one would be Dont
Wait to Make a Difference.

I say this after an 18-year career of direct observation and conversation, where Ive watched many people --
from the most junior Sailor to senior Admirals hesitate to act on great ideas because they elected to wait. In
most cases, they felt that they had to attain some arbitrarily higher level of rank before they would be in a
position to implement the ideas or the changes they thought were needed. In some cases, they were simply
afraid to fail.

Part of this phenomenon this belief that now isnt necessarily the right time, but that youll act once youve
reached some milestone in the future, has helped foster a general culture of risk avoidance and the zero
defect mentality. This is a culture that, if left unchecked, could cripple our Navy.

The reality is that our next conflict wont necessarily be won when we meet our adversary in battle. The
winner of that conflict may well be determined in advance before weve met our adversary in combat by
the amount of time, energy, thought, and training we dedicate in an effort to increase our abilities as
warfighters.

Dont wait to make a difference

If youre looking for some key personality characteristics of people who continually punch above their weight,
who dont wait to make a difference, Id offer these three characteristics as a great place to start:
Be lazy be childish and be selfish.

Be lazy, in that you want to create the best possible results from the least amount of effort. The Fleets
operational tempo is already incredibly high, so we have to be efficient with our innovative efforts. This is
especially true for senior leaders, as one leaders good idea can inadvertently become an entire organizations
burden. Always strive for the best results while being judicious with precious resources.

Be childish, in that you are willing to venture an idea or take a risk knowing that you might fail. Just like a
child, if you do fail if you hit a roadblock you bounce back, dust yourself off, and keeping trying until you
succeed. Never forget, walls and barriers arent necessarily meant to keep you out, but merely to see how
badly you want it.

Be selfish, knowing that a lot of thrust without much vector is counterproductive, so its critical that you find
time for yourself time to pull away so that you can be thoughtful and deliberate with your actions, to create
your plan of attack, and to consider the expected outcomes and next steps. Our Sailors deserve no less.

Dont wait to make a difference

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CDR SNODGRASS VFA-195 CHANGE OF COMMAND SPEECH 16 DEC 2016 ATSUGI, JAPAN

Ive been lucky to observe firsthand several instances of organizations and people willing to make a difference.

The men and women of the Dambusters, along with their counterparts in the Japanese Air Self-Defense
Forces 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, have created the Benkyoukai initiative, a first of its kind bi-lateral
partnership between tactical aviation units here in Japan. Weve held three events since April the last two
incorporating support from the Liberty Bells of VAW-115, and have now reached the point where
cooperation is becoming codified. Our goal is to make bi-lateral, tactical training between the Japanese Air
Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Navy so consistent that a squadron could pick up the phone Monday to create
a robust training opportunity on Wednesday, something that would have taken weeks if not months to
coordinate in years past.

One of the most impressive ideas Ive seen in recent years that has made the leap from concept to realization
is BADMANs own Dr. Lynn Waidelichs initiative called The Other Side of Service, an organization created to
empower military spouses to fulfill their career ambitions. What started out as an idea only a year or two ago
has now grown into a full support structure to provide opportunities for the spouses who so selflessly dedicate
themselves to our success while in uniform. Dr. Waidelich, congratulations on a successful start and I look
forward to seeing where you take The Other Side of Service next.

Without a doubt, Ive observed this during my two and a half years with the men and women of the
Dambusters, whose passion, innovation, and willingness to make a difference larger than themselves has
boosted the command to new heights. Your dedication to excellence resulted in the SECNAVs Safety
excellence award for 2015 and you followed it up with a year free of Class A, B, or C mishaps throughout fiscal
year 2016, earning you CAGs CNO Safety S nomination this fall. Youve earned CAGs Battle E nomination
two years in a row produced the best results in Naval Aviation on the 2016 Commander, Naval Air Forces
Aviation Maintenance Inspection and, something near and dear to CAG and RDML Williams heart youve
had truly outstanding performance as Ambassadors while on liberty going 337 days since your last alcoholrelated incident and 896 days since your last DUI and youve done it all while tangibly and measurably
increasing morale and esprit de corps. As an organization, you have been transformational

Never wait to make a difference

Shortly after arriving as Executive Officer, I checked in with CAPT Enfield the DCAG at that point and time
and after a while our conversation turned to innovation. He asked two questions which I think drove home
the point about being willing to take risks. First, he asked if I knew who John Boyd was. Then, he asked if I
knew who the Chief of Staff of the Air Force was during that point in time. The point, is that we remember the
innovators and risk takers the Wade McCluskys, Robin Olds, and Stavridises

Ill leave you with a terrific quote from recently deceased astronaut John Glenn. He said, If there is one thing
Ive learned in all my years on this planet, its that the happiest and most fulfilled people Ive known are those
who devoted themselves to something bigger and more profound than merely their own self-interest.

The reality, is that there IS no correct rank, or the perfect time, to make a significant difference. Seize the
opportunity now --- you might be surprised how your ideas and your passion could positively impact the Navy.
So, be lazy, be childish, and be selfish and maybe change the world in the process. Remember, nothing
worthwhile is ever easy
(txn to family)

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CDR SNODGRASS VFA-195 CHANGE OF COMMAND SPEECH 16 DEC 2016 ATSUGI, JAPAN

Of course, its tough to make a difference all by yourself. To quote an African proverb, If you want to go
fast... go alone. If you want to go far go together.

What we do would be impossible without the tireless support of our family and our friends.

To my wife, Sarah, thank you for sharing in this incredible journey. You are amazing You are my best friend,
my confidant, my life advisor, my editor, and you fulfill too many other roles than I can count in the time I
have available today. During our tour youve raised three incredible kids as a single parent during the sixmonths-a-year Im physically absent and at sea and, due to the nature of the command tour, youve raised
the kids as a single parent at times when Im virtually absent while ashore. I love you and words will never
truly or adequately express my appreciation for allowing me to live my dream.

To Ryan, Nathan, and Natalie. You are some amazing and resilient kiddos. Ryan, thank you for being the man
of the house in my absence and for taking awesome care of Mom Nathan, you are the 7-year old mayor of
Atsugi. Be sure to hit me up for a donation once you decide to run for Congress. Natalie, your imagination,
creativity, and empathy are boundless. I cant wait to see the adults that all three of you become.

To my fellow BADMAN COs and XOs, thanks for the ride its been awesome and I couldnt have found a
better group to serve alongside during my command tour. I am convinced that this is the most talented group
of senior leaders across all of naval aviation, and it proves that a rising tide lifts all boats. This air wing is the
tremendous asset that it is because of you.

To my XO, CDR Jackson, and my CMC, MCPO Marauta thank you for your dedication to excellence and for
following through on my charge to build the command that you want to inherit. I have no doubt that the
two of you, along with CDR Myers, will lead the squadron to new heights.

To the DAMBUSTERS of STRKFITRON ONE NINE FIVE. It has been the absolute privilege of a lifetime to serve
alongside you as your commanding officer. Thank you for your hard work, your dedication, and your
relentless pursuit of excellence, and for serving as the finest ambassadors possible for our command our
Navy and our Nation. I am incredibly proud of each of you and of your accomplishments, and cant wait to
see Skipper Jackson, XO Myers, and CMC Marauta take you to new heights. As always, I expect you to do it
with CHIPPY PRIDE CHIPPY STYLE

(pause)

I will now read my orders.

From Bureau of Personnel, Millington, TN to STKFITRON ONE NINE FIVE

SUBJ: BUPERS Order 195-98.

When directed by reporting senior, detach in Dec 2016 and report NLT Jan 2017 to Commander, Naval Air
Force Atlantic Fleet as his Assistant Chief of Staff for Training and Readiness, for duty in a flying status
involving flying.