What follows is a story about one of my worst navy bosses. After, I’ll discuss my top three takeaways and how this can help you in your career. Enjoy!

In March 1996, about five months after returning from the USS Lincoln WESTPAC, I submitted my first BUD/S package, that is, my application, along with all the necessary supporting documentation. It was quickly denied.

Instinctively, I knew that Clarin had screwed me. Only months later, I would learn in full detail what had happened.

For me to get out of my AW job and get orders to BUD/S, permission needed to come from the appropriate rating detailer, the person who controls where people transfer to or work next in the navy. As it happened, our rating detailer was a man with the mind-blowingly unfortunate name of Petty Officer A. W. Dickover. (Someone, somewhere, must have seen the humor in this and assigned him the job based on his name alone.) Chief Clarin had called Petty Officer Dickover and asked him not to approve my request for orders to SEAL training.

You are probably wondering how I learned what had happened. I knew it because Clarin himself actually admitted to me what he’d done.

The truth was, I was the only third-class petty officer in the squadron who was NATOPS-qualified (Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization),

which meant I could do things like give annual qualification tests or test someone who wanted to become a crew chief. After failing that first check ride, it hadn’t taken me long to test again—and pass. Now my rapid advancement came back to bite me.

“You have all these quals,” Clarin said. “Sorry, Webb, but I need you for this deployment.”

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