David Marquet tells an interesting story in Turn the Ship Around about his submarine, the Santa Fe, picking up a SEAL team. He writes on page 198:
I passed through the crew’s mess, one deck below the control room. Here, the lights were on and blankets were stacked in piles in case they were needed. Even though it was three o’clock in the morning, the crew was still ready to serve these guys soup as soon as they arrived on board. . . .
Beyond that, I passed into the engine room where the nukes were ready to provide maximum propulsion even though we were sitting at all stop right now on the surface. The nuclear reactor was still running to provide us electric power and steam in case we needed it. . . .
Forward, in the lowest level, in the torpedo room, torpedoes were loaded and ready. We didn’t expect trouble, but we were prepared to face it.
The wardroom, where the officers eat, was set up like an operating room by Doc Hill. This was where he would deal with any injured SEALs.
David paints a picture of a very prepared crew, as one might expect aboard a nuclear submarine in the Navy. However, readers of his book quickly begin to understand this kind of preparedness does not come naturally.
You might be used to the Hollywood picture of a captain in perfect command of his crew. Perhaps you picture scenes from movies such as Master and Commander or Hunt for Red October, as I did. The reality on David’s boat was quite different, and this is what makes his book worth reading. Following up from our previous quote David says next:
Now, here’s the thing: almost none of these preparations had happened because of my orders. They happened because someone on the crew thought “Hey, those guys are going to be wet. They’re going to be cold. They’re going to be hungry. They might be injured. And we should get ready for them.” My crew didn’t wait for orders. They just did what needed to be done and informed the appropriate personnel. It was leader-leader all the way.
Leader-leader all the way.