USS Sampson
"Through Courage and Arms"
Command Master Chief (March 2010 - April 2013)
Master Chief Sharon M. Fortson
Command Master Chief (March 2010 - April 2013)

Master Chief Sharon M. Fortson, a native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, joined the Navy in February 1987 and attended Basic Training at Recruit Training Command Orlando, Florida. Following basic training, she attended EM “A” School in Great Lakes, Illinois where she graduated with honors. Her first duty station was the USS VULCAN (AR 5) in Norfolk, Virginia where she earned her Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist qualification. Other assignments include: USS GRASP (AR 5), Bureau of Naval Personnel, USS LaSalle (AGF 3), Patrol Squadron FIVE, Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, USS NASSAU (LHA 4), USS SAIPAN (LHA 2) and PCU USS FREEDOM LCS 1 Blue.

In 1993, Master Chief Fortson became the first female to qualify Engineering Officer of the Watch (EOOW) onboard USS GRASP (AR 5). After GRASP, she reported to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, D.C. as an Electrician Mate Detailer. While assigned to BUPERS, she converted to Navy Counselor. In 1999, Master Chief Fortson earned her Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist qualification onboard Patrol Squadron FIVE. In 2001, Master Chief Fortson reported to Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes and served as a Recruit Division Commander for 7 divisions with 2 earning the Hall of Fame Honor Division status. She also earned her Master Training Specialist and qualified Command Duty Officer. In January 2007, Master Chief Fortson was selected into the Command Senior Chief program and reported to LCS CLASSRON PRECOM Detachment in San Diego, Ca in September 2007. In April 2008, she was advanced to Master Chief Navy Counselor and reported to PCU USS FREEDOM LCS 1 Blue where she was selected into the Command Master Chief program.

Master Chief Fortson is a graduate of the Senior Enlisted Academy, Class 131 (GREEN) where she was selected to the Academy’s Academic Dean’s List. She is also a graduate of the Command Master Chief Course. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Columbia College; Associate of Arts, Columbia College; Certificate of Completion in Counselor and Office Management Apprenticeship, United States Department of Labor.

Her personal military decorations include: Navy and Marine Corps Commendations Medal (four awards); Navy and Marine Achievement Medal (four awards), and various unit and campaign awards.



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