US Navy Names 2013 Stockdale Award Winners

US Navy Names 2013 Stockdale Award Winners

Cmdr. Richard N. Massie and Cmdr. Leif E. Mollo are the 2013 recipients of the Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale Leadership Award, according to NAVADMIN 252/13 released Sept. 26.

The award was established in honor of Vice Adm. Stockdale whose distinguished naval career symbolized the highest standards of excellence in both personal conduct and leadership. It is presented annually to two commissioned officers on active duty in the grade of commander or below who are serving in command of a single unit and who serve as examples of excellence in leadership and conspicuous contribution to the improvement of leadership in the Navy.

Massie, commanding officer of the USS Maine (SSBN 741 – Gold) is the Pacific Fleet winner and Mollo, commanding officer of SEAL Team FOUR is the Fleet Forces Command winner. The two men were nominated by their peers and were chosen from among nine finalists to receive the award.

Massie was nominated by six of his fellow SSBN commanders for his commitment to excellence and highly successful integration of women into the submarine force.

“It is clear that his personal initiative and performance has infused his crew with a sense of honor and commitment that embodies the essence of the war-fighting spirit ,” wrote Cmdr. Tiger Pittman, commanding officer of USS Pennsylvania (SSBN 735 -Gold), about Massie. “His clear expectations of dignity and respect foster a command culture that encourages teamwork and cohesiveness among all crew members.”

Mollo was nominated by fellow SEAL, Cmdr. J. Lasky, commanding officer of SEAL Team TEN, for the leadership he provided through a time of change and adversity at two SEAL teams.

Mollo was commanding officer of SEAL Team EIGHT when its mission was changed from operations in Afghanistan to operations in Africa. He led the Team to become the “vanguard of Admiral McRaven’s vision for the Global Special Operations Forces Network,” wrote Lasky.

Mollo was then hand-selected to assume command of SEAL Team FOUR following the death of the previous commanding officer two months in to the Team’s eight-month combat tour in Afghanistan.

“Within weeks, through his ability to achieve excellence and balance, and to keep people focused on the mission, the Team built needed resiliency into the Afghan Local Police Program, drove Afghan Special Operations Forces into the lead, and laid the foundation for transition,” wrote Lasky. “Cmdr. Mollo exemplifies the SEAL Ethos and our Navy core values.”

Massie and Mollo are scheduled to receive their awards from Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert at a ceremony later this Fall.

Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale, for whom the Stockdale Award is named, articulated five roles for a leader – moralist, jurist, teacher, steward and philosopher.

A Naval Academy graduate and pilot, Stockdale ejected from his A-4E Skyhawk over North Vietnam in September 1965 and was held prisoner and frequently tortured until February 1973. He received the Medal of Honor in 1976 and served as president of the Naval War College from October 1977 until August 1979.

He died in 2005 and is buried at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. He is survived by his wife Sybil of Coronado, Calif., his four sons and eight grandchildren.

Press Release, September 30, 2013; Image: US Navy