USS Mahan Association

The Top 10 Characteristics Of A Naval Chief Petty Officer 10 - They feel that Ensigns should be seen and not heard, and never, ever, be allowed to read books on leadership. 9 - Their greatest fear is signing for property book items. 8 - They've served on ships that are now war memorials or tourist attractions. 7 - They get tears in their eyes when the "Chief" dies in the movie "Operation Pacific." 6 - Their favorite quote is from the movie Ben Hur, "We keep you alive to serve this ship." 5 - They think excessive modesty is their only fault.

Tribute to Chief Petty Officers

The Top 10 Characteristics Of A Naval Chief Petty Officer

10 - They feel that Ensigns should be seen and not heard, and never, ever, be allowed to read books on leadership.

9 - Their greatest fear is signing for property book items.

8 - They've served on ships that are now war memorials or tourist attractions.

7 - They get tears in their eyes when the "Chief" dies in the movie "Operation Pacific."

6 - Their favorite quote is from the movie Ben Hur, "We keep you alive to serve this ship."

5 - They think excessive modesty is their only fault.

4 - Their last ship was always better.

3 - They know that the black tar in their coffee cup makes the coffee taste better.

2 - Their idea of Heaven - Three good PO1's and a Division Officer who does what he is told.

And the Number One Characteristic of a Naval Chief Petty Officer is:

1 - He thinks John Wayne would've made a good Chief, if he hadn't gone soft and made Marine movies.

 

TRIBUTE TO CHIEF PETTY  OFFICERS

THERE'S NO DOUBT THAT SOME OF YOU CAN RELATE TO   THIS, IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.   IT PRETTY MUCH SUMS UP WHO I WORKED FOR, AND HOW I GREW, AND LEARNED AS I WAS   COMING UP IN THE NAVY.   THE CHIEF PETTY OFFICER   Chief Petty Officers   One thing we weren't aware of at the time but it became evident as life wore   on, was that we learned true leadership from the finest examples any lad was   ever given, Chief Petty Officers.  They were crusty old guys who had done   it all and had been forged into men who had been time tested over more years   than a lot of us had time on the planet.  The ones I remember wore hydraulic   oil stained hats with scratched and dinged-up insignia, faded shirts, some   with a Bull Durham tag dangling out of their right-hand pocket or a pipe and   tobacco reloads in a worn leather pouch in their hip pockets, and a Zippo that   had been everywhere.   Some of them came with tattoos on their forearms that would force them to keep   their cuffs buttoned at a church social.  Most of them were as tough as a   boarding house steak.  A quality required to survive the life they lived.   They were and always will be, a breed apart from all other residents of Mother   Earth.   They took eighteen year-old idiots and hammered them into sailors.   You knew instinctively it had to be hell on earth to have been born a Chief's   kid.  God should have given all sons born to Chiefs a return option.   A Chief didn't have to command respect.  He got it because there was nothing   else you could give them.  They were God's designated hitters on earth.  We   had Chiefs with fully loaded Combat Patrol Pins in my day...  Hard-core   bastards, who found nothing out of place with the use of the word 'Japs' to   refer to the little sons of Nippon they had littered the floor of the Pacific   with, as payback for the December 7th party they gave us in 1941. As late as   1970 you could still hear a Chief Petty Officer screaming at you in boot camp   to listen to him, because if you didn't, the damn gooks would kill us.  They   taught me in those days, 'insensitivity' was not a word in a sailor's   lexicon.  They remembered lost mates and still cursed the cause of their   loss...  And they were expert at choosing descriptive adjectives and nouns,   none of which their mothers would have endorsed.   At the rare times you saw a Chief topside in dress canvas, you saw rows of   hard-earned worn and faded ribbons over his pocket.  "Hey Chief, what's that   one and that one?" "Oh Hell kid, I think it was the time I fell out of a   hookers bed, I can't remember.  There was a war on.  They gave them to us to   keep track of the campaigns were in.  We got our news from AFVN and Stars and   Stripes.  To be honest, we just took their word for it.  Hell son, you   couldn't pronounce most of the names of the villages we went to.  They're all   gee-dunk.  Listen kid, ribbons don't make you a Sailor.  The Purple one on   top?  OK, I do remember earning that one.  We knew who the heroes were and in   the final analysis that's all that matters."   Many nights we sat in the after mess deck wrapping ourselves around cups of   coffee and listening to their stories.  They were lighthearted stories about   warm beer shared with their running mates in corrugated metal hooches at rear   base landing zones, where the only furniture was a few packing crates and a   couple of Coleman lamps.  Standing in line at a Philippine cathouse or   spending three hours soaking in a tub in Bangkok, smoking cigars and getting   loaded.  It was our history.  And we dreamed of being just like them because   they were our heroes.  When they accepted you as their shipmate, it was the   highest honor you would ever receive in your life.  At least it was clearly   that for me.   They were not men given to the prerogatives of their position.  You would find   them with their sleeves rolled up, shoulder-to-shoulder with you in a stores   loading party.  "Hey Chief, no need for you to be out here tossin'   crates in the rain, we can get all this crap aboard." "Son, the term 'All   hands' means ALL hands."  "Yeah Chief, but you're no damn kid anymore, you old   fart." "Shipmate, when I'm eighty-five, parked in the old Sailors' home   in Gulfport, I'll still be able to kick your worthless ass from here to fifty   feet past the screw guards along with six of your closest friends."  And   he probably wasn't bullshitting.  They trained us!  Not only us, but hundreds   more just like us.  If it wasn't for Chief Petty Officers, there wouldn't be   any U.S.  Naval Force.   There wasn't any fairy godmother who lived in a hollow tree in the enchanted   forest who could wave her magic wand and create a Chief Petty Officer.  They   were born as hot-sacking seamen and matured like good whiskey in steel hulls   and steaming jungles over many years.  Nothing a nineteen year-old jaybird   could cook up was original to these old saltwater owls.  They had seen E-3   jerks come and go for so many years, they could read you like a book.   "Son, I know what you are thinking.  Just one word of advice.  DON'T!  It   won't be worth it."  "Aye aye , Chief."  Chiefs aren't the kind of guys you   thank.  Monkeys at the zoo don't spend a lot of time thanking the guy who   makes them do tricks for peanuts.  Appreciation of what they did and who they   were, comes with long distance retrospect.  No young lad takes time to   recognize the worth of his leadership.  That comes later when you have   experienced poor leadership or lets say, when you have the maturity to   recognize what leaders should be, you find that Chiefs are the standard by   which you measure all others.  They had no Academy rings to get scratched   up. They butchered the King's English.  They had become educated at the other   end of an anchor chain from Copenhagen to Singapore.  They had given their   entire lives to the United States Navy.  In the progression of the nobility of   employment, CPO heads the list.   So, when we ultimately get our final duty station assignments and we get to   wherever the big CNO in the sky assigns us.  If we are lucky, Marines will be   guarding the streets.  I don't know about that Marine propaganda   bullshit, but there will be an old Chief in an oil-stained hat, a cigar stub   clenched in his teeth and a coffee cup that looks like it contains oil,   standing at the brow to assign us our bunks and tell us where to stow our   gear...  And we will all be young again and the damn coffee will float a rock.   Life fixes it so that by the time a stupid kid grows old enough and smart   enough to recognize who he should have thanked along the way, he no longer   can.  If I could, I would thank my old Chiefs.  If you only knew what you   succeeded in pounding into this thick skull, you would be amazed.   So thanks, you old casehardened unsalvageable sons-of-bitches.  Save me a rack   in the berthing compartment!   Thanks, Chief!  

OLD CHIEFS

One thing we weren't aware of at the time but became   evident as life wore on, was that we learned true leadership from the finest   examples any lad was

ever given, Chief Petty Officers.  They were   crusty bastards who had done it all and had been forged into men who had been   time tested over more years than a lot of us had time on the planet.

The ones I remember wore hydraulic oil stained hats   with scratched and dinged-up insignia, faded shirts, some with a Bull Durham   tag dangling out of their right-hand pocket or a pipe and tobacco reloads in a   worn leather pouch in their hip pockets, and a Zippo that had been everywhere.

Some of them came with tattoos on their forearms that   would force them to keep their cuffs buttoned at a Methodist picnic. Most of   them were as tough as a boarding house steak. A quality required to survive   the life they lived. They were and always will be, a breed apart from all   other residents of Mother Earth.

They took eighteen year-old idiots and hammered the   stupid bastards into sailors. You knew instinctively it had to be hell on   earth to have been born a Chief's kid. God should have given all sons born to   Chiefs a return option.

A Chief didn't have to command respect. He got it   because there was nothing else you could give them. They were God's designated   hitters on earth.

We had Chiefs with fully loaded Submarine Combat   Patrol Pins in my day... Hard-core bastards, who found nothing out of place   with the use of the word 'Japs' to refer to the little sons of Nippon they had   littered the floor of the Pacific with, as payback for a little December 7th   tea party they gave us in 1941. As late as 1970 you could still hear a Chief   Petty Officer screaming at you in bootcamp to listen to him, because if you   didn't, the damn gooks would kill us. They taught me In those days,   'insensitivity' was not a word in a sailor's lexicon. They remembered lost   mates and still cursed the cause of their loss... And they were expert at   choosing descriptive adjectives and nouns, none of which their mothers would   have endorsed.

At the rare times you saw a Chief topside in dress   canvas, you saw rows of hard-earned worn and faded ribbons over his pocket.   "Hey Chief, what's that one and that one?" "Oh Hell kid, I think it was the   time I fell out of a hookers bed, I can't remember. There was a war on. They   gave them to us to keep track of the campaigns we had in country. We got our   news from AFVN and Stars and Strips. To be honest, we just took their word for   it. Hell son, you couldn't pronounce most of the names of the villages we went   to.  They're all gee-dunk. Listen kid, ribbons don't make you a Sailor.   The Purple one on top? OK, I do remember earning that one. We knew who the   heroes were and in the final analysis that's all that matters."

Many nights we sat in the after mess deck wrapping   ourselves around cups of coffee and listening to their stories. They were   lighthearted stories about warm beer shared with their running mates in   corrugated metal hooches at rear base landing zones, where the only furniture   was a few packing crates and a couple of Coleman lamps. Standing in line at a   Philippine cathouse or spending three hours soaking in a tub in Bangkok,   smoking cigars and getting loaded. It was our history. And we dreamed of being   just like them because they were our heroes.

When they accepted you as their shipmate, it was the   highest honor you would ever receive in your life. At least it was clearly   that for me. They were not men given to the prerogatives of their position.   You would find them with their sleeves rolled up, shoulder-to-shoulder with   you in a stores loading party.  "Hey Chief, no need for you to be out   here tossin' crates in the rain, we can get all this crap aboard." "Son, the   term 'All hands' means all hands."

"Yeah Chief, but you're no damn kid anymore, you old   fart."

"Shipmate, when I'm eighty-five, parked in the old   Sailors' home in Gulfport, I'll still be able to kick your worthless butt from   here to fifty feet past the screw guards along with six of your closest   friends. " And he probably wasn't bullshitting. They trained us. Not only us,   but hundreds more just like us. If it wasn't for Chief Petty Officers, there   wouldn't be any U.S. Naval Force.

There wasn't any fairy godmother who lived in a   hollow tree in the enchanted forest who could wave her magic wand and create a   Chief Petty Officer. They were born as hotsacking seamen and matured like good   whiskey in steel hulls and steaming jungles over many years. Nothing a   nineteen year-old jaybird could cook up was original to these old saltwater   owls. They had seen E-3 jerks come and go for so many years, they could read   you like a book.

"Son, I know what you are thinking. Just one word of   advice. DON'T. It won't be worth it." "Aye, Chief." Chiefs aren't the kind of   guys you thank.  Monkeys at the zoo don't spend a lot of time thanking   the guy who makes them do tricks for peanuts. Appreciation of what they did   and who they were, comes with long distance retrospect. No young lad takes   time to recognize the worth of his leadership. That comes later when you have   experienced poor leadership or lets say, when you have the maturity to   recognize what leaders should be, you find that Chiefs are the standard by   which you measure all others. They had no Academy rings to get scratched up.   They butchered the King's English. They had become educated at the other end   of an anchor chain from Copenhagen to Singapore. They had given their entire   lives to the United States Navy. In the progression of the nobility of   employment, CPO heads the list.

So, when we ultimately get our final duty station   assignments and we get to wherever the big CNO in the sky assigns us. If we   are lucky, Marines will be guarding the streets. I don't know about that   Marine propaganda bullshit, but there will be an old Chief in an oil-stained   hat, a cigar stub clenched in his teeth and a coffee cup that looks like it   contains oil, standing at the brow to assign us our bunks and tell us where to   stow our gear... And we will all be young again and the damn coffee will float   a rock.

Life fixes it so that by the time a stupid kid grows   old enough and smart enough to recognize who he should have thanked along the   way, he no longer can. If I could, I would thank my old Chiefs. If you only   knew what you succeeded in pounding in this thick skull, you would be amazed.   So thanks you old casehardened unsalvageable son-of-a-bitches. Save me a rack   in the berthing compartment.

 

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