DVIDS – News – The weight of leadership
The United States Navy Civil Engineer Corps has a tradition of awarding the newest Ensign battalion the care of “command boots”. The ensign is nicknamed “The Boot” because they have just left their first officer commissioning school, the officer equivalent of boot camp.
The Bull Ensign is the oldest command ensign. They have been through hardships, lead others, and work on organizational management as they progress to the rank of junior lieutenant. The Bull Ensign receives the command helmet decorated with real horns for the Corps of Civil Engineers. The Naval History and Heritage Command describes the meaning not only in the sense of a bull gathering a group of young ensigns, but as “optimistic”, – hardworking and optimistic, running towards opportunity.
The tradition is governed by the senior enlisted leaders of the command, the Chief’s Mess. U.S. Navy chiefs are responsible for the orientation and leadership development of new ensigns in commands.
The boots represent the weight of leadership, the need for attention to detail and the constant care of the troops. The heavy, ornate boots remind us of the Seabees that came before us and 80 years of battalion heritage that the new Ensign is tasked to learn from. They remind the ensign to develop a new way forward for the battalion.
Leaders will continually try to steal the boots, always looking for an opportunity to teach the ensign to stop focusing on their troops.
“It is a great honor to be able to carry on this tradition. The new officer must learn humility, working with the chief’s mess and the wardroom. The boots represent those we have lost in battle,” said the teaches Charlie Duverge. , “As a junior ensign, this tradition teaches me to always carry the troops in my mind when carrying out orders. It represents the battalion, the mission and the lives of our sailors for which I will be responsible. ‘committing to safe care for NMCB 14 and demonstrating my willingness to lead.”