In last week’s post, I detailed the most damning portions of the Navy Inspector General inspection of the Naval History and Heritage Command – portions that told how the Command was failing in the most important parts of its mission, the restoration and preservation of documents, artifacts and other materials central to the history of our Navy.
A consensus of some colleagues here was that such a report would typically lead to a CO’s being relieved of his or her command.
Instead, Rear Admiral DeLoach today announced that he was “voluntarily stepping down” from his post as NAVHISTHERITAGECOM Director. As reported by the Naval History Foundation, Admiral DeLoach made this statement:“I shared with my command today that I will be voluntarily stepping down as their director. The turnover process with the new director will commence May 1 and end prior to May 15. When I took this job in 2008, I was tasked by the Chief of Naval Operations with fixing an organization that had fallen into obscurity for a variety of reasons and to rebuild it into a viable Echelon II command capable of executing its mission and making naval history ‘come alive’ for the Navy and the American public. Since then, the revived Naval History and Heritage Command has made tremendous improvements in collecting, preserving, protecting, and making available the history of the Navy as noted by the recent Blue Ribbon Panel. While I am very impressed with the strides that this team has made in preserving and telling the history of the world’s finest Navy, I believe it’s time for a new leader to expand on recent progress and deal with the challenges before us. I am proud of the men and women of the History and Heritage Command and incredibly grateful for the opportunity to lead them. We have been on a long journey together over the past 4 years, and would not be as far along as we are without the dedication and commitment of everyone at NHHC. My successor will bring a new infusion of energy to the command to continue on our journey into the future. The past four years at NHHC has tested every aspect of my professional talents and leadership and I am confident of the legacy of change and the connection with our Navy that I leave to my successor.”
I’ll try to find the report of the Blue Ribbon Panel (of which I was unaware) DeLoach mentioned in his statement.
We should all hope that the highest levels of Navy leadership have been awakened to the sad plight the Navy’s premier historical establishment, and will find ways to fund it properly, even in times of austere military budgets. Our naval leaders should never forget the age-old caution that those who forget their history are doomed to relive it (or at least the bad parts of it…).
©2012 Thomas L Snyder