Students + Campus

Coach Wooden's 'commitment to mission' guides former Navy test pilot in his career

Now a UCLA Anderson student, the veteran is named a John Wooden Global Leadership fellow

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Doug Larratt
UCLA

A former Naval flight officer, test pilot and veteran of multiple carrier deployments over 21 years of service, Doug Larratt enrolled in UCLA Anderson in fall 2015 with a résumé packed with a career’s worth of achievements.

He has flown through post-Gulf War oil fires in Kuwait, helped evacuate refugees from a volcano eruption in the Philippines and logged in 2,260 total flight hours in 26 different aircraft and 501 carrier landings.

Today, Larratt is a program director at Orbital ATK, where he manages design, development and production of major air-launched missile systems. His current project, the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile–Extended Range, is the next-generation missile for FA-18 and F-35 JSF aircraft.

Larratt, who already has earned two master’s degrees, is very clear about why he has come to UCLA Anderson for his M.B.A. “You can never stop learning,” he says. “I didn’t come to make a career transition or jump. It’s an opportunity to continue to grow.”

He is one of four UCLA Anderson students receiving a 2016 John Wooden Global Leadership Fellowship on Wednesday, Nov. 2, for embodying Coach Wooden’s inspiring leadership ideals and making a commitment to improve the lives of others.

He learned the brotherhood of service as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy and created lifelong bonds with friends who, like him, bled Navy blue and gold. “There’s something about committing yourself to a higher cause and serving that cause with like-minded teammates,” he says. “The bond created is unique.”

Following his Naval Academy studies, Larratt served in the Navy operationally, flying A-6E Intruder and EA-6B Prowler aircraft. He attended the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School, earned master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and strategic studies, and served in many flying and leadership positions.

Larratt says he still feels he is serving a higher cause by delivering high-quality systems to the young servicemen and women who defend our nation.

Today, the blue and gold he most often sees decorate the bearwear belonging to UCLA students. Both of his daughters are Bruins, and Larratt and his wife serve as officers in the UCLA Parents’ Council, a university-sponsored organization that supports Bruin students through volunteerism and mentoring.

He says being a father has also taught him leadership lessons.

“When I first had children, I learned things can be gray,” he says. “Children don’t listen to orders, and they don’t care about your rank. As a leader, you have to commit to something greater than yourself. You use that to inspire the team.” He says this works in both military and commercial contexts, as well as in parenting.

“What drew me to Coach Wooden,” Larratt says, “was his commitment to the mission. His teams were inspired and bonded by knowing they were committed to something greater than themselves.”

In addition to Larratt and the three other UCLA Anderson students selected to be 2016 John Wooden Global Leadership Fellows, the school will give the 2016 John Wooden Global Leadership Award to W. James McNerney, Jr., retired chairman, CEO and president of the Boeing Company. The Nov. 2 event will be held at the California Science Center. For event and ticket information, contact jwgla@anderson.ucla.edu. Proceeds from the event will fund fellowships for the four UCLA Anderson students.

To read about the three other student winners of this award, see the UCLA Anderson blog, where this story originated.

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