In the Clear the Deck section of the March – April 2021 issue of Shipmate, John Kurowski’s (11th Co.) response to the question regarding the best advice they had received from mentors, their predecessors at the Academy, faculty and their peers in the fleet was published:
Pick A Ship That Needs Help
The best advice came during a Superintendent’s call with then-Vice Admiral Kinnaird R. McKee ’51, USN (Ret.). He talked about the importance of conducting oneself in a professional manner at all times. I will never forget his words. He said that a true professional does best what he likes least. Those words stuck with me my whole career. I believe it helped me become a more complete naval officer as I embraced learning new things and becoming proficient at things that I otherwise might have shrugged off.
One other piece of valuable advice concerning service selection came out of that same call with Vice Admiral McKee, and following that advice changed the trajectory of my career in the Navy. McKee recommended we not pick the newest, shiniest ship, but rather, we pick a ship that needed help. As a SWO, I chose an aircraft carrier even though my class ranking afforded me the opportunity to pick a newer ship. I was told by some officers that I would be lost on a carrier and would never earn my SWO pin. But my commitment to do best, what I liked least, served me well in that environment and I earned my SWO pin on SARATOGA while still an ensign.
Thank you, Admiral McKee.
—Commander John M. Kurowski ’78, USNR (Ret.)