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MCPON Steven Giordano’s 125th CPO Birthday Message to Mess

By Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Steven S. Giordano

Today is not about me, it’s not about you, it’s about us. It’s about what we, Chief Petty Officers past and present have done together across generations of service. It’s about what we continue do for our Navy as visible, competent, and confidently humble Chief Petty Officers dedicated in leading our Navy Team forward in becoming more capable and lethal every day.

125 years ago, the Navy’s role in the world was obscure. And for the first Chief Petty Officers in 1893, there was no process known as initiation, there was no CPO Creed, no Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy and certainly no National Chiefs Mess. Ask the Chief was not yet a household name.

However, from these early beginnings, there was one thing I believe these plank owners of Senior Enlisted Leadership instinctively knew. That as Chiefs, “More will be expected of you; more will be demanded of you.” And from that point forward, with each passing generation of Chiefs, grew an enduring legacy of exemplary character and devotion to uncompromising higher standards. A legacy of serving as trusted leaders, technical experts, advisors, and mentors, enabling America’s Navy to be the most lethal global maritime force. It’s a legacy we continue to grow today.

We owe an extreme debt of gratitude to all those who have worn the anchors throughout our 125-year heritage who were pivotal in forging our Navy into the world’s most well trained and premiere combat ready force.

For 125 years Chief Petty Officers have risen to the challenge of the day. Risen to being the leaders our Sailors, our Families, our Navy needs. In turn making us a better, stronger, more capable Navy with each passing year, ensuring the mission, be it winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas. And in doing so, in many cases with great sacrifice.

Today we reflect and honor all that Chief Petty Officers have done for our Navy and for our country. But we do so realizing there is more work to be done.

We’re at a crucial point in our Navy’s history. Our Navy has embarked on a new era, where maritime superiority not only means dominance on the sea, but dominance in domains that were unforeseeable 125 years ago. The security environment is becoming more complex, faster paced, and increasingly competitive.

To be the Navy the Nation Needs. We are going to need a bigger, better, ready fleet, more networked, agile and capable, operated by the most talented Sailors and led by Chiefs who demand and demonstrate the highest levels of competence and character. Our Sailors have always been our greatest advantage in prevailing over any adversary. And we will maintain that advantage as long as the Navy has flexible, innovative and confident leaders achieving excellence in tougher environments.

In the years to come, the Navy will demand and expect even more from its Chiefs. Now, more important than ever, we must build on the achievements and lessons of the past 125 years. The Navy the Nation Needs will require Chief Petty Officers to be an even stronger and more lethal backbone in leading the Navy Team forward. We must stay focused on and deliberately developing future Leaders while continuously developing ourselves.

Developing Enlisted Leaders has been an evolving process in our Navy history. It’s essential to stay on the forefront of providing the best leadership to our Navy team in keeping with societal, technological, and operational developments.

Following the release of the Leadership Development Framework last year, Chief Petty Officers leading forward launched at the opportunity presented and took the helm on designing a means to better incorporate a focused character development strategy into enlisted leader education and training.

Today, I share with you that we will soon gift our Navy a new course for Enlisted Leadership development. One that will better align us to true north. While there is still some work to be done, I’m confident we’ll soon give our Navy a way forward ensuring we’ll continue to have the best Enlisted Leaders serving in the world’s premier naval force.

As keepers of our heritage, our legacy we will continue to build on it, in line with our principle ideal of teaching and developing our Sailors to one day become Chief Petty Officers, better than what we were. We will do so guided by the wisdom of the Chief Petty Officer Creed, that timeless and spiritual living document that inspires us all to be exceptional every day, in everything we do in service to our Navy.

It’s a document that best represents, the expertise, grit, and passion, of decades of Chief Petty Officers who shaped the CPO rate into the time-honored, respected and revered fellowship simply known today as “The Mess” recognized worldwide for its distinct leadership in developing Sailors and accomplishing the Navy’s mission.

So let us celebrate and reflect today on our rich and storied legacy, but return to our respective deckplates tomorrow invigorated to build on that tremendous legacy, through fellowship, good grace, toughness and an unwavering passion to do great things.

Always remember that as Admiral Halsey was once quoted as saying, “You think those ships float on water, you are wrong, they are carried to sea on the back of Chief Petty Officers.” Happy Birthday Chiefs.

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