Create High Reliability

by Thomas A. Mercer, RAdm, USN (retired)

TAM79x99web.jpgRAdm Mercer initiated the studies of High Reliability when he invited academicians from the University of California, Berkeley, to study his crew with the goal of improving their performance. At the time (July 1983-March 1986) he was Captain of the USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Rather than offer methods to improve, the academicians codified RAdm Mercer’s command philosophy and methods as a High Reliability Organization (HRO). He flew 255 Vietnam Combat Missions, has 970 carrier arrested landings, and has 3,700 hours in the A-4C and A-7E. His awards include the Defense Distinguished Medal, Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two awards), Distinguished Flying Cross (three awards), four individual Air Medals, 25 Strike Flight Air Medals, and six Navy Commendation Medals.

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