Capt. David James

Capt. David James

In a previous assignment as the Commanding Officer, Naval Recruiting District Nashville, I had the distinct honor to witness so many young Americans transition from civilian life to enlisting in the world’s finest navy. You could not help to wonder where these soon-to-be U.S. Navy Sailors would be 10, 15, 20 years down the line. You wanted to think that the overwhelming majority yearned to someday become Chief Petty Officers. The remaining would have alternate, yet equally ambitious goals.

The fact of the matter is that not everyone who enlists will become Chief Petty Officers. It takes a commitment to re-enlist at least once. Much more is expected of every paygrade today than ever before and the competition is fierce. It is no small feat to be eligible and to have a solid chance at having anchors pinned on you.

This week the results were released and allow me to say: Congratulations to all of the newly-selected Chief Petty Officers onboard Naval Air Station Lemoore! Independent of family, I can assure most of you that nothing you have done thus far in your lives will compare to this major milestone in your lives. The transformational experience you are about to embark on is one of a kind. The mantle of Chief Petty Officer is not freely bestowed and I feel confident that each of you will fully embrace the responsibility and weight that comes with wearing the anchors of a U.S. Navy Chief. I look forward to seeing you throughout the season, especially when you receive your fouled anchors during your pinning ceremony, September 13.

While this time of the year is special for Chief Petty Officers and those on the cusp of that transition, it is also a reminder for all of us who wear the uniform to think about what it means to have Chiefs in our Navy. The role of a Chief Petty Officer is to train junior Sailors and officers, enforce standards and be the backbone of our Navy. The principles of good deck-plate leadership have not changed in the 126 years since the rank of Chief Petty Officer was established.

In everyday terms, Chiefs are the experts. They know the standards of performance in their specialty, and they must see to it that their Sailors understand what is expected of them and how to deliver it.

The U.S. Navy depends on its Chief Petty Officers to exercise dynamic initiative by continuing to move forward, without lowering standards or expectations. I challenge each of you to help make your Sailors the best. Do not be afraid to stop a young Sailor whose work may be passable, but not optimal. If nothing else, it is an opportunity to teach. If you show interest in what your Sailors are doing, you will enhance their performance.

Of course your duties as a Chief Petty Officer do not stop at work. The example you set and the conversations you have about standards of conduct must continue, both on and off duty. From the moment you pin on your anchors, you will always be a Chief. This means not turning a blind eye to a fault, just because that Sailor belongs to a different command. We are all on the same professionally demanding team, the U.S. Navy. A Chief would not be doing their job, or living up to the full measure of their duty, if they did not engage Sailors in every capacity of conduct.

Every Sailor is yours to guide, shape and help get back on track, even if it means engaging that Sailor's Chief as well. So much is expected of Navy Chiefs. When Chiefs fulfill their rightful place in the Navy's scheme of leadership, the wheels of managing and leading our Sailors run smoothly.

Every officer and enlisted personnel in the Navy should pause a moment to reflect on the strong legacy of leadership on which the Chief’s Mess is founded. This is a time for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to our Navy, our Sailors and each other.

It is also a time to celebrate everything it means to wear the fouled anchors of a Chief Petty Officer. Those anchors are the symbol of a culture and a way of life, representing character, loyalty, a strong commitment to leadership, core values and Navy ethos. Since 1893, Chief Petty Officers have been charged with the responsibility of leading Sailors to be the best in the world, ready to carry out our Navy's mission whenever and wherever the Nation calls.

Thank you, Chiefs! Through your leadership of our Sailors, you are keeping your heritage alive and our Navy strong, and as you know, our Navy is the best it has ever been. Look at your Sailors today, and you will know how you stand as a Chief and the impact you have on not only your command but our Navy. Continue to make a positive impact on your command, your Sailors, yourself and your Mess.

All my best to our selectees as they go through the season of the Chief. Enjoy the season and this once in a lifetime opportunity to join one of the greatest fraternities in the world, that of the Chief Petty Officer.



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All my best,

CAPT David James

Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station Lemoore

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