KINGS POINT, NY – Sep. 17, 2019 – The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) recently hosted U.S. Army General Stephen R. Lyons, as the keynote speaker for the fall J. Smith Lanier Distinguished Lecture series dinner. Lyons, the commanding officer at U.S. Transportation Command, addressed about 750 midshipmen and special guests in Delano Hall. After welcoming remarks by Regimental Commander, JC Henderson, 1/c, Rear Admiral Jack Buono, Superintendent, introduced the evening’s keynote speaker.
General Lyons spoke to the assembled midshipmen of leadership and commitment, telling them our Nation will always need adaptive and agile leaders of character in her ranks.
He offered five leadership points for the midshipmen to consider. His first was, “Work hard every day and enjoy what you do.” He encouraged the group to seek out hard jobs and to do them well.
He followed with a second point, saying that success has less to do with rank, position and salary than one might think. His third leadership point was that there “Is no substitute for tough, realistic training.” He implored the audience to set high standards and work hard to achieve them. To stretch people, opining that cohesion and pride come from teamwork.
Gen. Lyons finished off with two final points, saying that leadership is the difference between good and great. He said that physical presence counts and he referred to it as “battlefield circulation,” or visibly moving about your area as a leader. He said great leadership results in a legacy -- the people you leave behind. His final point was a simple request, and that was, “Always remember to take care of yourself.” Five points for leaders to live by, from Gen. Lyons
Gen. Lyons’ leadership experience spans more than 35 years in the U.S. Army. He began his career in Germany during the Cold War and subsequently held a wide range of assignments to include command, multiple operational deployments, and more than six years of experience in joint assignments. As a battalion commander in 2003, he led more than 1200 Soldiers as part of the 3d Infantry Division’s ground assault to liberate Baghdad. Since 2003, he has spent more than 40 months deployed to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). He also served as the 14th USTRANSCOM deputy commander from 2015-2017.
A native of Rensselaer, NY, General Lyons graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army in 1983. He holds two master's degrees, one from the Naval Postgraduate School, and a second from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. His awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal and the Master Parachutist Badge.
Following his speech, Henderson and Regimental Executive Officer, MIDN Joe Gramegna, 1/c, presented Gen. Lyons with the Light of Leadership Award. The award’s inscription explains, “The light of leadership is the light from within, this light is honor and integrity – the true foundation of leadership. It radiates outward to provide vision, encouragement, and inspiration to those we lead.”
The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, located in Kings Point, N.Y, educates and graduates leaders of exemplary character who are inspired to serve the national security, marine transportation, and economic needs of the United States as licensed Merchant Marine Officers and commissioned officers in the Armed Forces. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Academy, which was established under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936, as the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 1943. It is administered by the Maritime Administration under the auspices of the Department of Transportation.
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