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My Navy Chief Taught Me …

April 1 marks 124 years of deckplate leadership by our Navy chiefs. Navy General Order 409 established the rank of chief petty officer in 1893.

As we approached the birthday of the Navy chief, we asked our Facebook fans what their chief taught them about integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness. Below are some of their responses. After you’ve read them, add to the list by commenting at the end of this blog.

Cory P.:

“Integrity and accountability was the corner stone for everything. Without that, you can’t be a leader especially if no one will believe or you blame everything on others. These two things allowed you to have the toughness to be Innovative and make a change. “

ARABIAN GULF (Sept. 15, 2015) – Chief Logistics Specialist Donna Massie stands at attention after being pinned during a chief pinning ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anna Van Nuys/Released)
ARABIAN GULF (Sept. 15, 2015) – Chief Logistics Specialist Donna Massie stands at attention after being pinned during a chief pinning ceremony aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Anna Van Nuys/Released)

Kim. R.:

“My dad is my chief, senior chief in fact! He taught me about integrity, work ethic, the importance of knowing how to swim and how to lead by example. He’s an incredible man, retired after 22 years of service, and I couldn’t be more proud to have him as my dad! “

Chief Electronics Technician Richard Strader hugs his children after being pinned as a chief petty officer at Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force, in Norfolk, Sept. 16, 2015. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chelsea Mandello/Released)
Chief Electronics Technician Richard Strader hugs his children after being pinned as a chief petty officer at Commander, Operational Test and Evaluation Force, in Norfolk, Sept. 16, 2015. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Chelsea Mandello/Released)

Paul O.:

“The chief that made a difference in my life was when I was in deck division, hated it there – severely mismanaged bunch of misfits. Sucked all the life out of me even wanting to be in the military. Was standing watch one day as MOOW and my OOD was our QMC. He tried to talk to me about what my goals were and I told him I hated the Navy and couldn’t wait to get out. He told me that was too bad because I had a very good record and reputation around the ship. Then he said if I wanted to strike QM and work for him and give him 100% and then when it was time for me to get out and I still wanted to, he would shake my hand and thank me for everything and he’d carry my sea bag down the pier for me. It was the first time anyone believed in me and I did not want to disappoint him. That started me on a 24 year career that I loved. I retired at 2010 as a QMCS and thanked him in my retirement speech for being the difference in my career. I did all I could to do the same for my Sailors, because they were worth it.”

Quartermaster Seaman Jason Schutzman (left) and Chief Quartermaster Jory Mason, an inspector with Afloat Training Group Western Pacific, review flag signal cards prior to a flag hoist drill during the final evaluation period aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) in the South China Sea, Oct. 5, 2012.. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tatiana Avery/Released)
SOUTH CHINA SEA (Oct. 5, 2012) Quartermaster Seaman Jason SchutzmQuartermaster Seaman Jason Schutzman (left) and Chief Quartermaster Jory Mason, an inspector with Afloat Training Group Western Pacific, review flag signal cards prior to a flag hoist drill during the final evaluation period aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) in the South China Sea, Oct. 5, 2012.. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tatiana Avery/Released)an, from Pittsburgh, left, and Chief Quartermaster Jory Mason, from Chicago, an inspector with Afloat Training Group Western Pacific, review flag signal cards prior to a flag hoist drill during the final evaluation period aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Tatiana Avery/Released)

Lynnette N.:

“My chief was my father. … He taught me to stand up for myself and for what I believe. He taught me dedication, a work ethic and pride in a job well done because he served for 22 years. He remained true to the oath he took from the day he enlisted until the day he died. He showed me what it means to be an American and to honor all who serve to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.”

Chief Boatswain's Mate Sorrells Claiborne (left) teaches Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Charlesa Anderson how to signal while training her as a rig captain aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a replenishment at sea in the Arabian Sea, Jan. 13, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman George M. Bell/Released)
Chief Boatswain’s Mate Sorrells Claiborne (left) teaches Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Charlesa Anderson how to signal while training her as a rig captain aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) during a replenishment at sea in the Arabian Sea, Jan. 13, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman George M. Bell/Released)

William G.:

“My chiefs taught me to always take responsibility for my actions and lead from the front. The old goats said I’d see chiefs and E7, 8, 9 who never would be a chief only a pay grade. Those were the ones only out for themselves and cared little about their troops. I like to think I was a chief and never forgot where I came from. Shined lots of brass and scrubbed many a deck plate with my BTs as chief. Thanks to them I had a great 27 years.”

Chief Operations Specialist Jaqueline Renteria stands watch in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in Norfolk, Jan. 10, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zach Sleeper/Released)
Chief Operations Specialist Jaqueline Renteria stands watch in the hangar bay of the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) in Norfolk, Jan. 10, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zach Sleeper/Released)

T.j. V.:

“Gotta give a huge shout out to one of the best men, best influences, most respected and one of the greatest mentors I have ever had my entire Navy career MMC Walker. Happy birthday chief! And thank you for everything you did for me while I served alongside of you. And if the calling ever came again to serve alongside of you I would proudly do so with no hesitation or questions asked. I will follow you anywhere chief! But mostly thank you and happy birthday!”

Newly-pinned chief petty officers recite the Chief Petty Officer's Pledge in the hangar bay of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during the ship's chief petty officer pinning ceremony in the Philippine Sea, Sept. 16, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan N. McFarlane/Released)
Newly-pinned chief petty officers recite the Chief Petty Officer’s Pledge in the hangar bay of USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during the ship’s chief petty officer pinning ceremony in the Philippine Sea, Sept. 16, 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan N. McFarlane/Released)

What did your Navy chief teach you about integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness? Tell us in the comments below.

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