USS Sioux City crew visits Annapolis High NJROTC
Rachael Pacella
March 15, 2018

Cmdr. James Malone said he grew up chopping cotton and earning $1 an hour in Arkansas.

Three decades later, he is the commanding officer of the Blue Crew of the USS Sioux City, a littoral combat ship to be commissioned at the Naval Academy later this year. The commissioning was scheduled for this spring or summer, but that timeline has shifted to fall.

Malone and other members of the Blue Crew, one of two rotating crews assigned to the ship, visited the NJROTC program at Annapolis High School on Wednesday to talk about the ship and service in general. They also answered questions from the students, who hail from high schools across the county.

Malone received his education in the Navy, starting as an enlisted man before becoming an officer. The way you are commissioned doesn’t matter when it comes to your role as a leader, he told students.

“It’s your what your ethics are, your moral character and what you want to do in life,” he said.

In the military you can see the world first-hand and serve beside people of every sex, color or creed, he said.

“The military can teach you a lot about life, and it can teach you a lot about society.”

Malone’s leading message for the students was for them to follow their dreams — their own dreams, not someone else’s.

And if that future doesn’t include the military, that’s fine, too, he said. But being in NJROTC will give them a head start if that’s their direction.

Malone and the other crew members were also introduced on the floor of the state Senate on Wednesday in Annapolis. They’re in town advertising the ship, promoting the Navy and meeting with academy officials.