BY RETIRED REAR ADM. DONALD E. HICKMAN, SC, USN, COMMANDER NAVAL SUPPLY SYSTEMS COMMAND AND 40TH CHIEF OF SUPPLY CORPS
I am a United States Naval Officer. I am further privileged to serve in the Supply Corps, the Navy’s premiere community of business managers and logisticians. The unique nature of my role entails an uncompromising degree of stewardship for public funds and property. This accountability follows me throughout my career. I can neither ignore it, nor divest myself of it. Afloat or ashore, I serve in a capacity of trust and responsibility, and will conduct myself accordingly. My professional actions will reflect the highest degree of personal integrity, selflessness, and moral courage.
I will strive to be a “whole” person, seeking the proper balance between my professional life and private life. But I will always be mindful that in terms of personal conduct, there must be, for me, no difference – in this regard, I am on duty twenty-four hours a day. My oath of office makes no distinctions between time on the job and away from the job; nor do I. I will do nothing in civilian attire I would be ashamed to do in uniform. Additionally, I will remain sensitive to the critical nature of perceptions, for in many ways, the appearance of wrongdoing can be as harmful as the act itself. The need to conform to standards of behavior which may be more exacting than those demanded in other professions is not a burden but an honor, and I accept it with humility.
I am sworn to uphold the Constitution and abide by the laws of the land and the community in which I live. I am also subject to established military rules, including the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Navy regulations and the standards of conduct. Recognizing that I will sometimes be tested by complex moral and ethical situations which go beyond the bounds of printed regulations, I will consider these rules only as a minimum standard. Ultimately, my conscience and personal sense of honor must guide me. But, as I weight the alternatives, I shall never lose sight of the fact that I am responsible not only to my own chain of command, but to an extended family of superiors, peers and subordinates. Being part of an elite community means I cannot take comfort in anonymity. Like it or not, my actions reflect on those of my fellow Supply Corps team members; if I err, the discredit falls upon many besides myself.
Therefore, when I am faced with an ethical challenge – above all other considerations – I will do the right thing. My action must bring nothing but credit to the United States Navy and the Navy Supply Corps. When viewed by those around me, my example will be positive, defendable, and morally correct. If my actions are made public, I will proudly stand by them – knowing that I did the right thing.
I am aware of my place in the Supply Corps’ proud tradition and reputation for excellence, which has endured for two centuries and more, and am inspired by the example of my predecessors. To the significant challenges which face me today, I shall bring to bear every fiber of my creativity, technical expertise and commitment, and I shall do so without compromising my honor or integrity as a United States naval officer.