Ask retired Cmdr. Steven Corley to define his success, and he will likely share a quote from Vice Adm. Edward Waller.
Waller, who served as the 50th superintendent of the Naval Academy from 1981 to 1983, told Corley that his success came from considering it his responsibility to make his boss’ job easier.
If the boss succeeds, then the team succeeds, Corley said.
Corley was a midshipman during Waller’s tenure as superintendent. They only spoke once, during a reception for battalion staff during Corley’s senior year. But the conversation made such a lasting impression that Corley continued to quote the superintendent years after he left the academy.
It was a unique answer, Corley said. Most people do not see their jobs as supporting their boss.
Waller was a Naval Academy graduate of the class of 1949, with a degree in electrical engineering. He attended flight school in Pensacola following his commissioning, according to his obituary.
After a lengthy career in the Navy, which included time as the commander of Fleet Air Wings Pacific, director of Weapons Systems, director of Anti-Submarine Warfare and Ocean Surveillance Programs, and commander of the U.S. Third Fleet in Pearl Harbor, Waller was appointed superintendent to the Naval Academy.
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He retired from the Navy in 1983, ending his time as superintendent. Adm. Charles Larson replaced him.
One midshipman who attended the academy under Waller’s leadership is current Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck.
“As a midshipman during Vice Adm. Waller’s tenure as Superintendent, I was inspired by his distinguished career as a naval aviator,” Buck said in a statement. “I had the surprise and distinct honor and pleasure to reunite with him earlier in my tenure when he stopped by to see his former residence and reminisce about serving as the Superintendent in the early ’80s. It was a surreal experience to be the Superintendent 38 years later after having attended the Academy under his leadership.”
Buck passed along his condolences to Waller’s family in his statement and thanked Waller for his service in the Navy.
After his career in the Navy, Waller worked for the Lockheed-California Company and then Lockheed Corporation, according to his obituary. He retired in 1991.