Rear Admiral Martha Herb Director, Inter-American Defense College
Why did you decide to join/serve the Navy?
After graduation from Lake Forest College, I taught school and coached a swimming team.
I worked almost 10 hours a day, coached at swimming meets on the weekend, and made just enough money to pay the bills. My mom suggested joining the military. The Navy promised "an opportunity" ... to go to OCS ... to have an adventure. But the picture of the Navy Diver on the front of a magazine in the recruiter's office was what sealed the deal. As a competitive swimmer, I figured it was the perfect job.. getting paid an outrageous amount of money to be in the water/on the water every day.
Who have your role models or mentors been that influenced your helped you?
Across my Navy career I have met so many people that have influenced me.
Each one has impacted me in some way. The Navy recruiter was the first. After a Senior Chief in the recruiting office had been less than welcoming, I decided the Navy was not for me. The Navy recruiter, LT Bill Sullivan, called me about two weeks later and invited me to come see him. It was in his office where I saw the magazine cover of a Navy Diver and he went on to say that yes, you can be a Navy diver, if you make it through the school.
More than twenty years later, I worked for VADM Bill Sullivan at NATO in the US Delegation to the Military Committee. (Yes, the same recruiter.) When I worked in OPNAV, RADM Tony Kurta provided a superb example of leadership and strategic, critical thinking. But my husband, retired CAPT Mike Herb, provided that day to day insight. As a USNA graduate, when we married, I married his entire company (or so it seemed) and between Mike and his 14th company shipmates, I had the best mentors possible.