The Story of My Life so Far - Part 78 - Beginning of my command of the Cybèle

in story •  last year  (edited)

This is the story of my life so far: 68 years and counting.
Prequel: A Brief History of my Family in France

The story starts here
Previous episode: Part 77

Beginning of my command of the Cybèle

After the week I spent with my predecessor on the Cybèle, I was recognized as the new Commanding Officer by the commanding officer of the mine hunter division, in a ceremony named "Prise de Commandement" (taking of command).


It's me on the left, when the division chief is saying:

  • Officers, petty officers, quartermasters and sailors, from now on you will recognize as your commanding officer lieutenant-commander Celier, present here and you will obey him in all that he will command ...

Inspecting the honor guard

Inspecting the rest of the crew

There were several things that I did not like from my predecessor.

First, he was micromanaging everything, so all the officers were afraid of taking any initiative. And he complained to me that his subordinates did not learn anything. No wonder, as he was terrorizing them!
I promised myself that I will do the opposite and let my subordinates take initiatives as much as possible, as long as it was safe and it did not break any rule. It took them several weeks to realize that I was serious and that I was not trying to trick them.

In the French Navy, the Commanding Officer of a ship is given personally a sum of money every month, called "traitement de table". He is free to do anything with it. In particular, he uses this money to buy wine and spirits, tax free. At the end of his command, the remaining wine and alcohol is kept by his successor. Either the successor buys the stock, or he gets it free.
My predecessor made me buy it. I am also convinced that he kept some of the money for himself, as he was allowed to do.
However, I did not like this behavior, so I made sure that all the money from the "traitement de table" was used for all the officers of the ship, and at the end of my command, I did not make my successor pay for the wine and alcohol.


Another thing he was doing was maneuvering from the roof of the bridge, were he said he could see all around.
The communication with the bridge to give orders for the engines and the helm was not adequate, in my opinion, and potentially dangerous. So, I never maneuvered from there.
My Executive Officer, who had been with my predecessor too, did maneuver from the roof, and the result was not good.

Continue to Part 79

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Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8
Part 9 - Part 10 - Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15 - Part 16
Part 17 - Part 18 - Part 19 - Part 20 - Part 21 - Part 22 - Part 23 - Part 24
Part 25 - Part 26 - Part 27 - Part 28 - Part 29 - Part 30 - Part 31 - Part 32
Part 33 - Part 34 - Part 35 - Part 36 - Part 37 - Part 38 - Part 39 - Part 40
Part 41 - Part 42 - Part 43 - Part 44 - Part 45 - Part 46 - Part 47 - Part 48
Part 49 - Part 50 - Part 51 - Part 52 - Part 53 - Part 54 - Part 55 - Part 56
Part 57 - Part 58 - Part 59 - Part 60 - Part 61 - Part 62 - Part 63 - Part 64
Part 65 - Part 66 - Part 67 - Part 68 - Part 69 - Part 70 - Part 71 - Part 72
Part 73 - Part 74 - Part 75 - Part 76 - Part 77

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Time to take charge and bring new blood to the line.
Get everyone involve. That is good.

Micro managing is awful. Totally stifles the people below. Glad you changed it. Those pictures are awesome!

géant ces photos d'époque et on te reconnait bien! Et je comprends ta philosophie de commandement, j'aurai eu la même je pense :-)

I love that you changed the way things were run. Leadership is not dictating orders and micro-managing. Rather, leadership is putting people in the right positions and giving them a chance to use their skills to the best of their abilities. Delegate and oversee. Happy workers are usually more productive and successful. Great pictures BTW!!! I can only imagine the albums you must have and the stories that go along with all those great memories. I know that I would have been so stressed out becoming the Captain of the ship. It sounds like you handled it admirably.

you look handsome when you were young!

  ·  last year (edited)

Very nice source article, I am visiting again.

This is great that you published this in English as well @vcelier. It interesting what makes a person who he is and the events that molded him.

he was terrorizing them!
I promised myself that I will do the opposite and let my subordinates take initiatives as much as possible

This was a great decision. You learned a good lesson from the Navy.



This is great that you published this in English as well

I am not publishing this in English as well, I am writing "The Story of My Life" first in English, then I translate it to French for "Histoire de ma vie".

  ·  last year (edited)

I see. Thank you for helping me understand. I saw the French version first. I will follow your English version and I think I will learn some life lessons on the way.

Just came across your blog.... Thanks for taking out time to share this. Definitely gonna be following

Good post of your experience.

i like this story thank you & Good Job @vcelier

Oh how I love this! Thank you for sharing a slice of your life, I always look forward to your English articles.

Good Post