JEBEL ALI, United Arab Emirates -- The crew of the amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) bid farewell to their Command Master Chief (CMC) Kenneth Robertson, while the ship was moored in Dubai Nov. 25.
Robertson served as CMC from April 2015, undertaking responsibilities as the commanding officer's advisor on enlisted matters, policies and procedures, and ensuring the personal and professional wellbeing of America Sailors.
Under Robertson’s leadership, the crew earned both the Capt. Edward F. Ney Award for excellent food service and the Battle ‘E’ for overall exceptional execution of command programs. He also oversaw as the crew participated in the inaugural Los Angeles Fleet Week, the ship’s first Rim of the Pacific exercise in 2016, and the third phase of development testing for the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter.
“The definition of leadership to me is to inspire others to do great things,” said Robertson. “I hope I was able to inspire the crew during my tour. I wish them many great things in the future. “
Robertson said that his goal for this tour was to simply do what he loves; to look after his Sailors.
“If I can inspire one Sailor to stay Navy, or if I can inspire one Sailor to advance, get their qualifications, become a better person, then I feel I’ve done my part. At this job, I just want to take care of people. There are no personal goals in this for me. It’s all about the Sailors,” he said. “I’m probably a little bit different than some CMCs. You see me around, I’ll fist bump, I’ll high-five, I’ll shake hands, I want the Sailors to know I am here for them.”
During ‘Coffee with the Old Salts,’ a mentorship exchange where junior Sailors talked with the most senior enlisted, a Sailor asked what the most monumental moment was for Robertson during his tour.
“Without a doubt, my proudest moment on board this ship was how we, as a Navy/Marine Corps team, responded to Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG 56),” said Robertson. “Everyone just chipped in because they knew what needed to be done. Not once that entire week we were there did any of our Sailors or Marines ask for liberty because they knew we were there for a bigger purpose. I’ll never forget that.”
Robertson is going on to serve as the command master chief of Expeditionary Strike Group 3 in San Diego. There, he hopes to bring what he has learned to improve the lives of Sailors.
“I can take my five years of experience on the San Diego waterfront and relate all the issues or struggles or challenges our ships and Sailors are having and take it back to the admiral and try to make things better,” he said. “Maybe I can make some improvements to help our Sailors and their families.”
Fellow crew members stood as side boys for the traditional “ringing off” of the CMC. They lined up from the ship’s hangar bay all the way down the ramp, through the vehicle stowage area and up to the quarterdeck to support their senior enlisted leader.
“It’s going to be the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do later this morning; to get rung off America and say ‘good-bye’ to the junior Sailors one final time,” said Robertson. “I can’t promise you there won’t be any tears. I love what I do. I just hope the Sailors are as proud of me as I am of them.”
America is the flagship for the America Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.
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