CHINHAE, Republic of Korea (NNS) -- The mine countermeasure ship USS Chief (MCM 14) is 224 feet long and 39 feet wide with a crew of 94 Sailors. The ship may seem small compared to other U.S. Navy vessels. Yet rather than letting size impact their mission, these Sailors harness their tight knit command climate to achieve mission success.
"While tactically employed, the crew is in two duty sections, while conducting neutralization or sweeping operations the crew collapses to a single section, making nearly every mission that we do an all hands effort," says Lt. Cmdr. Shane Dennis, commanding officer of Chief, "It bonds this 'Band of Brothers' together in a way that I've never experienced before in the three other ships that I have served aboard."
In the times between their port and starboard watch schedule, Sailors dedicate their time to seeking out qualified crew members to earn qualifications and facilitate in-rate training.
Command Senior Chief Randy Bell said this high state of readiness directly contributes to the ship's high morale, low disciplinary problems, and safe execution of tasks as well as mission accomplishment.
"Due to the size of our ship and crew, Sailors quickly become leaders and subject matter experts in their rates at an early stage as well as pay grade," said Bell. "With every challenge and hardship we face onboard, we become a stronger team."
Between officers and chiefs, MCM-14 has 21 E-7 through O-4 Sailors, which puts nearly 20 percent of the crew in key leadership positions. The other 73 Sailors on Chief are made up of E-6 and below.