Commander RJ Zamberlan, Commanding Officer USS Kansas City
Posted on February 29, 2020 by Dr. David Turnipseed
Captain Richard Zamberlan, US Navy, was the quest speaker for the MCOB Leadership
class and MCOB Executive Leader Series, on 3 February, 2020. Captain Zamberlan is
the Commanding Officer of the new littoral combat ship, the USS Kansas City (LCS 22),
built in Mobile by Austal. The littoral ships are designed to operate close to coasts,
in waters too shallow for the traditional navy ships. Captain Zamberlan explained
that part of the uniqueness of the new littoral ships is a relatively small size and
very highly trained crews. Because of the small size of the ships, each crew member
must be able to serve in more than one role.
According to Captain Zamberlan, a ship captain’s job ranges from management to leadership. When the crew is highly trained and motivated, little leadership is needed on a day-to-day basis, and the Captain spends the majority of his time managing and overseeing proper operations of the ships functions. The Captain must be ready to transition from manager to leader instantly when unexpected or unknown events occur or when the going gets difficult. The Captain must be able to move into the role of motivator, disciplinarian, or director, and immediately take care of the problematic event or issue while keeping the ship moving ahead 100% mission-focused. Captain Zamberlan said that the highly-trained crew on the littoral ships required less leadership than many crews because they were older and had a much greater level of experience than crews on many larger ships.
Captain Zamberlan also discussed the function of the navy in the world order and briefly described the situation in the Persian Gulf area where he has spent a large amount of his navy career. He described the “territorial waters” concept and how it was being applied differentially around the world.
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