Contributed by FORCM Tom Snee, USN(Ret)
April 1, 2020, is the 127th Birthday of the Chief Petty Officer rank in our United States Navy. Since those early beginnings, Chiefs have successfully influenced the quality of training, professional development, desired disciplines of leadership, while inspiring the optimum successes to make our Navy great. “Go Ask the Chief”, was never just a set of words, but rather, a commitment in respect, humility, in seeking the highest sustainability of mission accomplishment. Through this choice of character, it has underscored the direction of where our United States Navy has been.
GMCM Delbert Black, the first Master Chief of the Navy, coined the phrase very effectively: “Even when obstacles may seem overwhelming, the great leader will improvise, adapt, and overcome.” These are the ‘bow waves’ of what a Chief does, to create that ‘endearing wake’.
So in closing, allow me to pass along a quote I gave to my Mess on the 100th Anniversary of the Chief Petty Officer: “A Chief is a mentor, advocate and should always be a receptive listener.” These are the very pillars of what we proclaimed and proudly professed on the day we became Chiefs, in our CPO Creed. Those leadership domains have made us today, Chief Petty Officers.