Mitt, thanks for taking the highroad and voting your conscience knowing it would not make you very popular with your “super boss” and many of your colleagues. I've been there, done that. I refused to approve the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger some 34 years ago after my company gave their go-ahead against the recommendation of their own engineers because they knew that is what their most important customer, NASA, wanted. I then provided this information to the Presidential Commission investigating the accident right after NASA and my own management tried their best to cover-up the truth concerning the launch decision.

I was immediately removed from my job and removed from the joint NASA/Morton Thiokol Failure Analysis Team for doing this in the hopes that I would quit. Fortunately, some of your past colleagues at that time in the Congress recognized this action for what it was -- retribution for telling the truth. As a result, the full Congress passed a resolution to restore me to my job; the only time this has happened in American history. This gave me the opportunity to lead the redesign of the solid rocket motors that resulted in restoring the Space Shuttle to safe flight; something I'm very proud of. This also gave me the opportunity to write a book on my experiences after I retired and provide lectures to many universities, professional societies, and corporations on the “Lessons Learned” from my experience.

The primary lessons learned are what I refer to as “McDonald's Laws of the 7 R’s Plus 1.” They are:

Do the Right thing

For the Right Reason

At the Right time

With the Right people

And you will have no Regrets

It will help you sleep well for the Rest of your life

(PS - You don’t always have to be Right, but you always have to be honest.)

Mitt, you're a good example of doing just that. Furthermore, good leaders of people do not demand loyalty; they earn it. Hold your head high Mitt and help us “Make America Grateful Again.” By the way Mitt, I am not a Mormon, I am a Catholic.

Allan J. McDonald


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