Fall 2017 – Mr. Billy Hurley – USNA Grad and PGA Golf Professional on “Lessons from the Suez Canal”

Pro Golfer and USNA graduate Billy Hurley tells a story from his days as a Naval officer. As Officer of the Watch during a transit of the Suez Canal on May 2, 2009, realizing the awesome responsibility he had for the safety of his ship and crew he failed to ask for help when he was unable to see channel markers. As he reflects on that experience, he questions why he did not seek that help. He regrets not having mustered the moral courage to ask for that help, even though the ship was not in danger. He discusses how the Academy culture did not prepare him for this sort of experience, even as it excels in imparting mental toughness. Since that time he has changed, and has found that mustering the courage to ask for help has had sundry benefits. That capacity is the single most important lesson he has taken away from his stint in the Navy. He spent five years as a Surface Warfare Officer, attaining the rank of lieutenant before fulfilling his commitment in 2009. He was deployed twice on the USS Chung-Hoon, the ship he was navigating that day in 2009. He has gone on to a successful career as a pro golfer on the PGA tour. The Volgenau Honor Courage and Commitment luncheon is an annual event, focused on the core values of the Academy, to which select faculty, staff and midshipmen are invited. It is generously funded by Mr. and Mrs. Ernst Volgenau, USNA – Class of 1955

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