Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

In Defense Of Submarine CPOs

Rob found a very interesting letter from a retired aviation Master Chief in this week's Navy Times that he discusses over at the group submarine blog Ultraquiet No More. The whole thing is posted there; here's a brief snippet to whet your appetite:
I think that the nuclear Navy has a certain endemic problem with its chief petty officers in that they have no real chiefs’ mess from which to glean knowledge and leadership. The gold and blue crews are just that, and there is no goat locker where a chief can go to ask assistance from his fellow chiefs. The [chief of the boat] is not a mess president, he is a leading chief with the responsibility of caring for all ranks and rates onboard the vessel. He wears many hats, but not the one that is most important to the command structure — that of the president of the chiefs mess. Why? Because they do not have a CPO mess. There is no room, and most nuclear Navy types believe they can get leadership from a book. Case in point [is] the outgoing master chief petty officer of the Navy...
... I do not believe that a nuclear Navy submariner chief should be allowed to participate in the command master chief program until he has done at least one tour onboard a large surface combatant and is exposed to a real chief’s mess and understands his position in that mess. Leadership is a trait honed in the chief’s mess, and no book can give you the knowledge that a seasoned master chief can from his experiences alone.
Needless to say, I disagree with the Master Chief. I did one deployment on an aircraft carrier, so I'm not the world's biggest expert on the matter, but I'd put the leadership abilities of submarine CPOs against any others in the Navy. From what I saw, one doesn't demonstrate leadership by hanging out in the Goat Locker and talking about it while eating; you learn by doing. Drinking coffee in the Chief's Mess all day is all well and good for carrier guys, I suppose, but I'd take a submarine Chief who spends his time on the deckplates any day, and learns from a COB who's also out with the troops.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couldn't disagree more with the thought that sub CPO's are second fiddle to surface guys...MMCM(Nuc)Conrad Gillespie who was my COB on Drum in 1995 was won hell of a leader... Even treated coners with respect...

7/20/2006 5:58 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As usual, the skimmers are putting down what they don't understand. I am a retired MMC(SS/SW). I did a tour on a sub tender and was initiated there, and the CPO mess was over 50% Submarine guys. It was very clear that the Submarine Chiefs were by and large the most influential leaders. After a sea tour on a 637 class as the M-Div Chief, I did 3 years on a CVN (dont' ask me why), so I can tell you first hand that a Chief on a submarine has a bigger hand and a bigger influence on what goes on on the entire ship than any surface Chief below the CMC level has ever dreamed of. It is too easy for the skimmers to lay low and only worry about their little piece of the pie. Submarine Chiefs can't escape being involved in every level of the chain of command and across divisional and departmental lines.

7/20/2006 7:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been on both sides of that fence, I couldn't agree with your comments more.

7/20/2006 8:57 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree the that the sub CPOs are far more capable than the surface CPOs I've seen. However, my surface experience, as well as that of the other commenters, was with "larger" targets (CVN, AS, LHA).

So the question is: Is this a SS/SW difference, or a Large Crew/Small Crew difference?

7/20/2006 12:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a "don't understand what I'm talking about but I'll blast away anyhow" issue. The guy is a retired AFCM(AW/NAC). He's not even SW qualified, much less SS. How in the world can he understand the relationship between submarine CPO's and sailors? The "familiarity" he complains about extends up the chain of command as well, simply due to one reason... it has to! You can't live inside a boat and not be closer to your shipmates, same rank or not. He lost a lot of credibility with me anyway when he blasted the former MCPON for being a "Nuclear CPO". Terry Scott is a weapons type. I would advise at least having a small amount of knowledge about your target before taking a shot, AFCM!!!

7/21/2006 12:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A real Chief's mess?" That was a slap in the face of every boat Chief I know, including the guys that initiated me. Im a rider Chief, Ive seen a boat Mess in action and Ill be the first to tell Master Chief he is wrong.....

7/21/2006 4:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous said: Terry Scott is a weapons type.

True, and I'll never forget my initial reaction to having an MT on a fast boat. 8) He did some peculiar things toward the end of his MCPON tour (the uniforms, for instance), but out of eight COBs on three boats, he was definitely the best one I ever had.

RM1(SS) (ret)

7/22/2006 9:03 PM

Blogger loddfafnir said...

I agree with RM1(SS).
Out of four COB's on one boat Scott was the best of them.

7/27/2006 3:10 PM


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