Force Master Chiefs set Standards and Tones
for Submarine Force CPOs
by COMSUBFOR Master Chief Petty Officer Dean Irwin
and COMSUBPAC Master Chief Petty Officer Michael Benko
Today, as elements of the Submarine Force continue to engage enemy forces
in the global war on terrorism, our focus and daily efforts must continue
to ensure that we remain ready to answer our nation’s call, wherever
and whenever it comes. We are more powerful and more ready than many
of us have ever experienced in our careers. Sailors today are better
educated, better trained, and more mission-focused than at any time in
our history. And the ability of you, the Chief, to lead and mentor these
Sailors remains a crucial ingredient of our overall success.
To do this,
we need to set the proper standards and tone for our submariners to
strive for. These standards must be set at achievable levels but ensure
that our force succeeds in its mission without sacrificing what we believe
in. There are a number of clearly-stated standards that drive the tone
at your command. You should know where your ship or station stands
on each of these areas and work your leadership teams to move the weak
areas forward. We need to be stressing each of these topics as an integrated
First and foremost, we expect every Chief to discuss
openly our Navy’s
Core Values, the problem of Sailor-
on-Sailor violence, substance abuse, healthy lifestyles, and other
vital to being a good Sailor and
submariner in our Navy. Knowing the Navy’s and the Chief’s
expectations may very well be that one thing
that prevents one of our Sailors from straying into shoal waters.
conversation you have with them may become the key influence – or
create the mind set – that makes clear what’s acceptable
and what isn’t – and it may prevent a career-ending incident.
Over the years, many a Sailor has taken aboard what his Chief has
to say – and we must make sure we’re telling the right
story. And, it isn’t enough to print it in the POD or put it
out in an e-mail. These are very personal issues that require your
presence, personal effort, and intervention. No Sailor should doubt
or question what their Chief’s or the Navy’s position
is on any of these subjects.
Substance abuse should be at the forefront
of your conversation. Though random sampling and unit sweeps are
among our most productive deterrents, we continue to battle substance
abuse. There is no room for error here. Any substance abuse can affect
a boat’s operational readiness and
mission accomplishment. Our Sailors need to know that the use of
drugs is not only illegal, but unhealthy. That is the standard.
must set the standard for our junior personnel when it comes to physical
fitness, also. We can’t expect our Sailors to maintain
Navy physical-fitness standards if we don’t maintain them ourselves.
We shouldn’t be seeing our chiefs doing physical training only
during CPO Transition season. It’s a day-to-day thing. Physical
fitness programs should be put on the agenda of planning meetings
and included in the command schedule of events to become a significant
of the lifestyle of all of us. A good physical fitness program ties
directly into command readiness. The stamina, speed, and agility
of our submariners in any crisis situation demand a healthy lifestyle
and proper physical fitness.
We should place continuing emphasis on
the cleanliness and appearance of both our physical infrastructure and
our submariners themselves. As you walk through your spaces, look at
your surroundings and ask yourself, what message is this environment
sending to my people? Those spaces are setting a tone – is it the
one you want? The military bearing of each of us is as important as the
job we do. Are uniforms maintained? Are salutes rendered when appropriate?
Are we respectful of both juniors and seniors? We cannot become lackadaisical
in these areas. We should encourage an atmosphere of professionalism,
confidence, and crisp execution of duty. The tone of the command is often
measured by the first impression of the ship, the shore station or the
Sailors themselves. How does yours measure up?
We, as Chief Petty Officers
who lead both the Sailors and our Navy, must continue to instill pride
and a renewed sense of dedication to the Navy’s
Core Values: Honor, Courage,
and Commitment. We, as a Force, must continue to be in the forefront
of the global war on terrorism, by doing what we do best – watching
and waiting for the time to strike, with stealth, endurance, and flexibility.
And from the waterfront to the squadrons and groups, the Chiefs must take
the lead and set the standards for others to follow.