March 27, 2019

NAVY: Message To The Mess: Earn Back The Sailors’ Trust.

What I’m about to say is directed to the Navy’s Chiefs’ Mess and there are a few of you who will take it personally, and to you I say, good. Many more of you will question the medium and the audience and wonder why this discussion has to take place openly.

My answer to that is the way we conduct ourselves as chief petty officers affects our entire Navy.

Many of our sailors don’t trust the Mess. They don’t trust us because we are not doing the jobs we used to do, the jobs the Mess was intended to do.

Our focus seems to have shifted. Too many of us believe the strategic direction of our Navy is where we should be concentrating. Not enough of us are walking berthings, establishing standards, visiting the mess decks, and just listening to our men and women.

Chiefs need to get their damn heads out of their academic and post-Navy aspirations and back into the lives and development of their sailors. Our sailors don’t need chiefs pretending they understand the very complex concept of “strategy.” Our sailors need chiefs whose daily “strategy” revolves around unit mission and sailor development. Their playbooks are PODs and MRCs, profile sheets and evals. Our best chiefs have their sleeves rolled up and their ears open. We’re moving away from that, and our sailors’ faith in us is dwindling.

Don’t be out of touch and career-obsessed. That’s what officers are for.

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