Thursday, March 25, 2010

MCPON Joe R. Campa's first Chief

My first Chief had spent most of his near 30 years in the Navy at sea - and it showed. He had a long beard and his khakis were almost bleached white from the countless hours of being exposed to the sun, salt and spray of the ocean. His voice was kind of grizzled and wherever he walked, he left behind a little trail of salt.

Now this Chief was not a man of many words, but when he did speak we listened. He knew the ship, he knew his rate and he had a sixth sense about the sea.

I recall working on the boat deck one day, when the Chief came by—he stepped close to me and looked up at the sky, out at the horizon. He started to tell me to secure things topside for heavy weather. I looked around--the sky was clear--the seas were calm but sure enough a few hours later we were getting pounded by heavy rain and rough seas.

The Chief also had something that I refer to now as cop presence. When he walked into a space the tone of the entire space changed, if you were doing something that you thought he’d frown upon, you immediately stopped.

When he went up to the pilot house to check on those of us standing watch, he’d step on the bridge even the Captain sat up a little straighter in his chair.

That was my Chief.

Joe. R. Campa Jr.
11th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

You can read the rest of MCPON Campa's speech for the 232nd Navy birthday - HERE.

As we head toward the 117 anniversary of the creation of the Chief Petty Officer on 1 April 2010, my hope for every Sailor and officer is that they be as fortunate as MCPON Campa was to have a Chief like his.

For the Chiefs, my hope is that you are this Chief for every Sailor and officer with whom you serve.

I know of few compliments that are equal to - "He's my Chief."

1 comment:

Underway is the Only way! said...

That Chief sounds like my dad when he was a Chief.