The Lieutenant wanted to “get involved” and show the troops that he could get his hands dirty just like them. As he turned the torque wrench inside the launcher, the Petty Officer leaned in and said, “Sir, let me do that. You’ll hurt yourself.” That Petty Office eventually made Master Chief, so I think he was on to something.
There is a difference between officers and enlisted troops.
I was told recently that enlisted training dates back to the industrial revolution. Back then, employees were trained as apprentices, journeymen, then – after proving they knew their stuff – earned master status.
Officers earn their degrees and before their new khakis are out of the wrappers (at least in my case), they find themselves in charge of thirty or forty experienced technicians.
What could go wrong?
Don’t get the wrong impression; I have worked with and for plenty of incredible officers. Maybe it was just me.
But here is the beauty of the military. One of the mantras drilled into the head of every junior officer is to trust the Chief. Listen to him/her. Do what they say. Learn.
Before they know it, they have mastered the art of leadership. They realize that a crew is a finely tuned machine, with each cog having a function that contributes to the overall effort.
And it works. In the case of the U.S. military, it works very, very well.