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Rear Admiral Linda Wackerman

Navy Leaders

by Defense Media Activity
30 September 2016 Join us as we celebrate Hispanic Sailors, past and present, and their important contributions to the defense of our nation. Rear Adm. Linda Wackerman, Deputy, Naval Inspector General

Q: How did you decide to join the Navy?

A: I joined during an age where the movie Top Gun came out and the Blue Angels were making cool videos with Van Halen singing in the background.

I wanted to fly but give back to my country, first and foremost. My brother had recently become a Navy pilot; my college had a large recruiting base for the Navy and especially in flying. A lot of my friends and classmates were being recruited as young aviators; and as a young aviator myself, I was destined to join them in the Navy. I wanted to give back to my country and go fly cool and important missions.

Q: Who have your role models or mentors been that have influenced you or helped to guide you throughout your Navy career?

A: First, was my brother who got me in the door. Along the way, I had many mentors both from the officer and enlisted ranks.

I learned a lot of valuable leadership traits and valuable flying skills from my squadron mates, and especially from my adopted brother and best friend, CAPT Robert Powers. Additionally, and most importantly, I learned and was mentored by the first senior female role model who I encountered and worked with. She happens to be our first female CO in our Wing, CFLSW and Chief of Navy Reserves. She instantly became my dearest mentor and friend, VADM Robin Braun.

Q: Can you share a story about someone, perhaps someone in your family or otherwise, who has influenced you or challenged you to become more than perhaps even you ever thought you might.

A: My husband and children inspire me every day. As the mother of four children, I remember a while back when my kids were young, that I was upset because I was not sending much time at home with them and I remember talking to my kids about it.

I asked them if I should quit what I was doing to spend more time with them at home. They told me, without skipping a beat, "No mom, we love spending time with you and when you spend time with us, its quality time. What you do is cool; and everyone we know thinks it is cool too. We are so proud of you -- you inspire us!"

Q: Please tell us which past assignments are the most memorable to you and why?

A: I love squadron life -- for the flying, the mission, and the people.

From my initial fleet tour to my sqaudron command tour-I love it all. I also like instructing. It feels great to teach and give back.

Q: What does being a leader in the Navy mean to you?

A: A leader to me means empowering those around you to do their job and be the experts in what they do.

As a leader, I listen to their advice, experience and ideas. I may not be the expert in the room, but as their leader, I make the ultimate decision in what is best for the command, for our mission, and our people.