NEWS | Nov. 22, 2021

Message to Newest Chief Petty Officers

By Commander Navy Reserve Public Affairs

Bravo Zulu Chiefs!  Congratulations on this well-earned, life-changing, momentous milestone in your Navy career.   Becoming a member of the mess is an epic accomplishment, and one for which you and your families should be justifiably proud.
 
You are joining an elite team.  Navy Chiefs represent a  long line of committed leaders – leaders who were ready when they were needed, and who responded to the nation’s call during periods of conflict and peace.  MCPON Delbert Black, Chief Edwin Hill, Chief Donald McFaul, Chief James Williams – they are only a few inspirational chiefs who wore the same anchors you’ve donned, and are immortalized in U.S Navy warships that bear their names.  We honor their sacrifices and legacies every day. 
 
Legacies you now symbolize.  In addition to earning your anchors, each of you were selected for important reasons, through one of the most competitive screening processes in any service. More than you likely realize, you will now directly contribute to the totality of the Navy Reserve’s readiness to compete and win in conflict. You will be a critical enabler of our ability to fight tonight if that is what the nation asks of us. 
 
As a chief, you are no longer evaluated solely on your individual performance…now you are responsible, and accountable, for the performance of the team you lead, and those you mentor and cultivate.  You are expected to look out for others, as they…your sailors, other members of the mess, and the wardroom…look out for you.
 
I expect each of you strive to be an ideal chief petty officer.  And to embody the characteristics of the giants who served before you.  Those who have proudly served our Navy for nearly two and a half centuries, winning wars and deterring adversaries in the age of sail, the age of steam, and every maritime period culminating with today’s Navy.  For the United States to continue leading as the world’s premier power, the Navy will factor heavily in our future, and we need motivated, well-honed, and well-trained commands to perform our global missions.  And I know from experience that without an effective chief’s mess, a command cannot succeed - and yet with an effective chief’s mess, a command cannot fail.
 
Across the Navy, every day since the 1893 establishment of the rank of chief petty officer, the phrase “Ask the chief” has preceded any significant task.  Why? Because for 128 years, any aspiring chief, before donning anchors, was required to prove their worth.  In demonstrating their competence and potential, they proved that they were worthy of the mess.  They proved their strong leadership, work ethic, and competence.  The chief’s mess only accepts the best, and we are expecting the best from you.
 
You will not be alone as you accept more leadership and the associated responsibility that accompanies it.  The leaders that trained and mentored you during your career will remain invested in your success. The families and employers that gave you the strength, motivation, flexibility, and resiliency to reach this leadership level as you matured in your Navy journey will remain equally engaged.   Stay in touch with all of them – mentoring is a two-way street.
 
I expect you to make big decisions every day, with one goal in mind – warfighting readiness.  We must be ready on day one.   To be clear, I need you to deliver fresh perspectives on the policies and procedures guiding your command, every day.  Compliance, which I consider the minimum target threshold, is far from excellence – your target is, and always will be, excellence.
 
And it's incumbent that the khaki team within your organization is united and leads actively from the front.  To build and reinforce a culture of excellence, you must enforce standards relentlessly and consistently. 
 
There is no room for mediocrity or sub-standard performance in your operations.  But it goes deeper than that.  The way we interact with one another directly impacts the environment of the command, which in turn, impacts the success or failure of every mission.  So I’m counting on you to eliminate discrimination, extremism and inequity from our service should you encounter it. Work with your mess to find new ways to combat destructive behaviors.  Those thoughts and actions have no place in our Navy, or our Navy family.  Your sailors depend on you. Your leaders depend on you. We depend on you to achieve mission success.
 
As a Reserve Force, we have done, and continue to do, much to be proud of.  But we have much more to do.  We’re going to ask you to make hard decisions.  To think and lead.  To assist those young sailors, junior officers and leaders around you and create a unified, trained team.  One team, one fight. 
 
Chiefs, once again, congratulations.  Welcome to the mess and to our khaki team.  Celebrate with your shipmates, families, and friends…and remember, we have high expectations for you.
 
Thank you for what you have done and will do in support of our Sailors and the Force.  Now let’s get busy out there.
Respectfully,

Vice Adm. John B. Mustin                                      Force Master Chief Petty Officer
Chief of Navy Reserve and                                    Tracy L. Hunt (SW/EXW/AW)
Commander, Navy Reserve Force                         Navy Reserve Force