ARABIAN SEA – From leading Sailors on the deck plates to instructing midshipmen and aircrew students on water survival and from helping launch aircraft on the flight deck to helping with relief efforts in Haiti; Master Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Robert Everson has done it.
After 24 years of naval service, Everson enters an elite group of top enlisted Sailors by being selected as a Command Master Chief (CMC).
“I was taught early on not to use any excuses,” said Everson. “Go as hard and as far with everything you do. Making CMC was the pinnacle of my career. It let me know that I’ve been doing a good job and I had sustained superior performance.”
The Georgia native is currently the departmental leading chief petty officer for the Air department, aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), but his leadership has stretched much further than just his department.
“Master Chief Everson is my mentor aboard Boxer,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman Allan Antonio. “If there’s anything I don’t have the answers to, I knock on his door to seek guidance and he will give me straight wisdom.”
Everson first thought about joining the military when he and two friends heard about the buddy program. However, out of the three, he was the only one who stuck through it and joined the Navy. At that time, he had no idea that he would make it a career.
“At first I was only going to do my four years and get out,” explains Everson. “After I joined, I really enjoyed it. I started to advance real fast. I was a second class petty officer before my three year mark.”
After Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) “A” school, he was assigned to his first ship, the aircraft carrier USS Kittyhawk (CV 63), with the V-2 division.
Everson went on to instruct other Sailors as a water survival instructor and Naval Air Technical training officer in Pensacola, Fl.
Everson’s next ship was the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). This is where he made chief. It was the first time he was eligible to be promoted to chief.
“When I first met Master Chief Everson, I thought so this is our new Master Chief, he looks pretty young for his rank," remembers Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Ursula Gnan. “Come to find out, he made E-9 in record time [18 years].”
With his reputation for achieving his goals, there were very few doubts that Everson would not get accepted for the CMC program.
“It wasn’t a surprise when he made it [CMC],” said Master Chief Personnel Specialist Jimmie McNuckle. “He is one of the most phenomenal leaders that I’ve ever met in my 21 years in the Navy. He coordinates calm leadership in any situation. If I had to describe him it would be a person who knows how to take care of business the right way with the new [generation of] Sailors, while incorporating the old school rules.”
When the father of two received the news of his selection for CMC, it was his eldest daughter who gave him the surprise.
“The Air department was off that day,” said Everson. “It was early in the morning, and I was in bed. My daughter came into my room and asked ‘What’s a CMC?’ I told her that’s Command Master Chief. Then she asks ‘Did you make CMC and not tell anyone? Everyone is on your Facebook page congratulating you.’ Then she handed me her iPad. I had to check the NAVADMIN to make sure, and sure enough I saw my name on the list.”
The easy going master chief attributes much of his success to his mentors.
“I had really good mentors that guided me along the way,” explains Everson. “They told me not to shy away from the hard jobs and don’t run away from responsibility. Anytime there was a job that was challenging, I did not run. I learned to take on a lot of responsibility early on.”
Now, he is the one giving others advice and guiding them towards becoming better Sailors.
“I believe his ability to relate to junior Sailors is his greatest asset,” said Gnan. “It makes us want to work harder just to make him proud, and any leader that can do that with ease, is a trusted leader.”
His ability to relate to junior Sailors and his peers might be part of what sets him apart.
“Even though we’re both E-9s, I still learn from him,” said McNuckle. “The few times I get upset, I always go to Everson. He sits there and listens to everything you have to say before he gives input. That gives you a chance to get everything off your chest, and then he’s going to give the best piece of advice that he can possibly give through his experience. After talking to him, I feel a whole lot better than I did when I first came to him.”
Everson is scheduled to take the CMC position for Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 75, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), in 2014.
“Master Chief Everson is going to be a tremendous CMC,” said Boxer’s Command Master Chief Todd Gruchalla. “When you look up deck plate leader in the Blue Jacket Manual, there should be a picture of Master Chief Everson. He truly cares about his Sailors.”