Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pacific Fleet Sailor Of the Year

Aloha Shipmates,

We recently finished our PACFLT Sailor Of the Year (SOY) competition and just like previous years, this years 8 finalists were great examples of “Deck-Plate Leadership.”

Our candidates go through a rigorous selection process having to go through competition from the Department level, to the Command level, to the ISIC level and then the TYCOM level. Our eight finalists consisted of four that would compete for the Sea Duty selection and four who would compete for the Shore Duty selection. The SOY chosen for Sea duty is eligible to be meritoriously promoted to Chief Petty Officer during the CNO program in July and the Shore SOY chosen will compete at one more level, that being the VCNO Sailor of the Year competition later in May, held in Washington, D.C.

Our Sea SOY’s and the reporting command they represented:
Representing Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific, Shipmate - Air Traffic Controller First Class Alea Creighton;
Representing Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific, Shipmate - Aviation Structural Mechanic First Class Christopher Green.
Representing Commander, Marine Forces Pacific, Shipmate - Religious Programs Specialist First Class Patrick McCormick.
Representing Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Shipmate - Special Warfare Operator First Class Marcos Ybarra.

Our Shore SOY’s:
Representing Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Shipmate - Operations Specialist First Class Terrish Bilbrey.
Representing Commander, Naval Air Forces Pacific, Shipmate - Aviation Electronics Technician First Class Ethan Clark.
Representing Commander, Marine Forces Pacific, Shipmate - Religious Program Specialist First Class Patricia Hernandez.
And representing Commander, Naval Surface Forces Pacific, Shipmate – Hospital Corpsman First Class James Nicholson.

Trying to select just one from each stellar group was much like trying to select which Sailor looks the best from a group consisting of members from the U.S. Navy’s Ceremonial Guard!

In the end the board (consisting of the Force Master Chiefs from AIRPAC, SURFPAC, SUBPAC, and CMC’s from 3rd Fleet and MARFORPAC selected Aviation Structural Mechanic First Class Christopher Green as the Sea SOY and Hospital Corpsman First Class James Nicholson as the Shore SOY.

These eight candidates are the representatives of 100,000 E6 and below Sailors throughout the Pacific Fleet and the way they carried and handled themselves were as true professional Sailors. Congratulations to all our Sailors who wear the uniform in this all-volunteer Navy! I couldn’t be prouder of each of you. –Fleet sends.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What's happened to the "Mess?"


Thought it relevant for me to send this out to you for your interest as I received the original from a friend of mine in Japan who didn't know Paul Harvey's version of "the rest of the story."

Much like some of the emails that surfaced a year ago regarding a CPO select in one of our regions, there is always a second version of the story that needs to be heard before passing judgment.

John Heck is a heck (no pun intended) of a CMC and is doing great things in GHW BUSH.

Sail safe and thanks for leading Sailors and taking care of the issues they and their families have. Fleet Sends

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 2:38

Morning All, many of you may have received or heard of the below email
recently generated by retired Chief Petty Officer Brian Harman, a MARMC
worker embarked onboard CVN 77 for Acceptance/Sea Trails. Below is Chief Harman's email and CVN-77's CMC response and sincere APOLOGY for this simple misunderstanding. I only ask that those who forwarded the original email, please read and forward the CMC's complete response and possibly see this issue from all sides. There is much blame to had, including Chief Harman, his employers embark policy and indeed CVN-77. Our Navy and every Chiefs Mess honors and respects the Chiefs that have served our Great Navy and Nation, they are and will always be WELCOMED in our Chiefs Mess. V/R, FORCM Fred Pharr Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

-----Original Message-----
From: Heck, John W., CMDCM [mailto:cmc@cvn77.navy.mil]
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 16:08


I'll dispense with the adjectives and just give you the meat of the issue which resulted in this Chief's e-Mail.

Never in my wildest dreams would I turn away (or allowed to be turned-away) any Active or Retired CPO from our Chief's Mess. This was a mistake and my sincere apologies go out to the individual involved.

GEORGE H W BUSH has been to sea a total of four (4) days.

During the first two (2) days (builder's sea trials) the ship had
approximately 900+ Civilians aboard from various agencies and companies, as well as 200+ Active Duty (in Uniform) from different commands all around the country. Everyone was here for different reason and purpose, whether they were here as a Northrop Grumman employee, or as someone sent here to inspect a particular system, the types of jobs numbered in the hundreds. The reason I mention this is because everyone has an employer, or a Chain of Command somewhere who issues rules and guidance. The guidance that everyone received at check-in was similar to what all Ship Riders are supposed to receive (Where berthing is located, Man overboard muster locations, EEBD Indoctrination, locations of where the Mess decks, CPO Mess and Wardroom are located, etc). The group at-large received briefings by
their various employers or Chains of Command (where applicable), but they were also issued security Badges which indicate where their messing arrangements are located. It is the responsibility of everyone to know (and go) to where those locations are at mealtimes.

During our Last Underway, it became a free-for-all in the CPO Mess anyone who wanted to come down, did so with no control or sanity check. The food was gone, the place was a wreck, and our FSAs and CSs were rode hard until we could get them some additional help from the other Departments. In the Mess, we were expecting an additional 220 guests (on top of the ships crew) but received more than 350 at each mealtime until we got the situation under control. We also had to secure the Mess at different times of day and night just to get it cleaned-up, because it was becoming a "Lounge" for certain riders, and in a state of disarray at different times. I can go on and on about this, but I'll stop at this point and give credit to our young Sailors who were the ones who stood out and helped keep the place at the standard where it needed to be. The Chiefs helped by challenging the guests who they
didn't know. And by the way these youngsters maintained our Mess without complaining of all the extra hours either in the Mess (or in taking care of cleaning up all of our berthing compartments afterwards).

The lessons we received out of this were of crowd control. We needed to actually post MAs outside the Chief's Mess to check credentials and
basically validate who was allowed in and who wasn't. People who couldn't produce a security badge that said "CPO Mess" on it, or produce some other type of proof that they are a CPO, were not admitted. Not addressed before this underway period was the necessity of having a better accounting of the Active and Retired CPOs to expect, because we really didn't have as good a visibility on that as we would like.

Basically what we had were three distinct groups of folks:
- Workers who were authorized guests, whether their badge said that or not.
- Workers who were guests of the ship and were supposed to be elsewhere.
- All CPOs in uniform.

Fast-forward to this previous Underway period - (2) days (of acceptance
sea trials and INSURV) - we were expecting roughly the same numbers,
possibly less, approximately 700+ Civilians and about 200+ Active Duty.
Again, the group at-large were supposed to receive briefings by their
various employers or Chains of Command, as well as get their Security
Badges. During this two-day U/W, several came in the CPO mess with retired Chief's credentials, and even though these workers were programmed (by their employer) to eat in the general mess, we made an allowance for these workers to eat in the CPO Mess anyway. The effect strained the CPO Mess above 250 guests, without any extra support, but we handled it. That wasn't a problem.

Not having good visibility on exactly HOW MANY we were supposed to get, and understanding how unique these sets of circumstances were (this will probably never happen again with this many riders) - that WAS the problem. We could not get an accurate count from all the different agencies, commands and workers who were coming, with the understanding that any Chief would be allowed to enter the Mess, whether badged correctly or not.

Somewhere in all of this, this particular situation had slipped through the cracks. The MAs who were told to do their job did it to the best of their ability and checked everyone's credentials. They turned-away several people who without proper badges. This individual should have been allowed to enter the Mess.

Concerning the CPO (Retired) who generated this email, I never met him. At no time was I ever contacted by him, his employer, or by anyone else
associated with MARMC - or - in their group. I carry a radio.
I am mobile and available. I honestly feel bad that he got turned away, and I should have been called when it happened. That was not supposed to happen. He DOES have an open invitation to come back. Bottom line here is that it would have been an easy situation to diffuse, had he Simply contacted me. In his conversation with CSCM he didn't show his I.D., so I probably would have told him to eat in the General mess also. I consider this an isolated event.

Since I have been on board (23 Jan), I have had three CPO Hail and
Farewells, numerous CPO Meetings (the Whole Mess), and one CPO Dining-Out in downtown Norfolk. I constantly go to the Mess for meals and business. I am also doing CPO Career Development Boards. If there are two CPOs who don't know me, then I'd like to know what commands they are from (because they were not part of this one).

I'll close this by saying (again) that everyone who comes aboard this ship, if they are a CPO, active or retired, they are welcomed in the Mess. To outside agencies who employ retired CPOs, it might matter to them (because - we observed - that they are assigning retired Chiefs to other areas of the ship, and not the Mess, that's a contributing factor. It could be their employers DO know that these workers are retired Chiefs, therefore do not badge them correctly.

Now if it were me - and I mean no disrespect to anyone - I would have gotten my badge fixed before it became a problem. Or - if not other recourse and located the Ships CMC and asked what's up?

-----Original Message-----
From: Harman, Brian R CTR MARMC, 282
Sent: Friday, April 10, 2009 8:27 AM

Joe, Tony, Curran, Don, Joel, Ed and Ted,

I just got back from the Acceptance Trials on CVN-77, I checked
onboard at 0500 and thought I would grab a cup of coffee in the mess.
Low and behold there was security posted at the hatch to the chief's mess and since my riders card said general I wasn't allowed to enter. After badgering security long enough they left me pass, once in the mess I asked the MDMAA where the caterer was and he pointed towards the mess lounge, inside I found Master Chief Askew (CSCM I think) I asked about if I could eat chow in the mess being a retired CPO, not only did he say no that I couldn't eat but I was permitted in the mess at all.
He told me that there was to many of ya, I was suddenly not a retired CPO but a ya.

After being talked to like a FN and treated like a dog, I was exiting the mess at flank speed with flames coming from both ears to talk to
someone, anyone, I stopped 2 chiefs and asked who the CMC was and where I could find him, I got the same answer from both, "I don't know" at that exact moment I realized that my mess isn't my mess anymore, when the hell did the comrade, fellowship and brotherhood change to me, me, me!!!

When I was frocked to chief on the Truman I left the frocking
ceremony and reported the mess where I became the mess caterer, I can tell you one thing no retired CPO or Retired E-7 and above from any branch was ever turned away or even paid for a meal, I owed them that much. The ship saying there was to many people to let all retired CPO's in the mess is bullshit, I hosted a bring your boss to supper and also bring a blue shirt to supper quit often on the Truman and I could run 800 people thru the line in less than 3 hours.

2 years ago I went to my oldest son's graduation from Marine Corp
boot camp at Parris Island and I was welcomed with open arms there, and when I see him at Camp Legune I retired status is excepted well.

Last week I went to Fort Jackson to my youngest son's Army
graduation and was recognized and honored during the ceremony for being a retired vet.

Has the new Navy flushed away centuries of tradition and thrown our
retired CPO's away, I think so.

You have my permission, and I encourage you to forward this to
anyone you see fit. I'm pissed, embarrassed and ashamed of what is happening to my mess. R/ ICC(SW) Brian R. Harman (Retired)