On of my fellow Sailors wrote this piece and I felt the need to post it here. I think the Navy Chief is a heck of a lot like the Police Sgt. and therefore most of you on here will shed a small tear reading the truth in this piece.
One thing we weren't aware of at the time but it became evident as
life wore on, was that we learned true leadership from the finest
examples any lad was ever given - Chief Petty Officers.

They were crusty old guys who had done it all and had been forged
into men who had been time tested over more years than a lot of us
had time on the planet. The ones I remember wore hydraulic oil
stained hats with scratched and dinged-up insignia, faded shirts,
some with a Bull Durham tag dangling out of their right-hand pocket
or a pipe and tobacco reloads in a worn leather pouch in their hip
pockets, and a Zippo that had been everywhere.

Some of them came with tattoos on their forearms that would force
them to keep their cuffs buttoned at a Methodist picnic. Most of
them were as tough as a boarding house steak. A quality required to
survive the life they lived. They were, and always will be, a breed
apart from all other residents of Mother Earth. They took eighteen
year-old idiots and hammered them into sailors.

You knew instinctively it had to be hell on earth to have been born
a Chief's kid as were my four sons. God should have given all sons
born to Chiefs a return option.

A Chief didn't have to command respect. He got it because there was
nothing else you could give them. They were God's designated hitters
on earth. We had Chiefs with fully loaded Combat Patrol Pins in my
Hard-core bastards, who found nothing out of place with the use of
the word 'Japs' to refer to the little sons of Nippon they had
littered the floor of the Pacific with, as payback for the December
7th party they gave us in 1941. As late as 1970 you could still hear
a Chief Petty Officer screaming at y in bootcamp to listen to him,
because if you didn't, the damn gooks would kill us. They taught me
in those days, 'insensitivity' was not a word in a sailor's lexicon.
They remembered lost mates and still cursed the cause of their

And they were expert at choosing descriptive adjectives and nouns,
none of which their mothers would have endorsed. At the rare times
you saw a Chief topside in dress canvas, you saw rows of hard-
earned, worn and faded ribbons over his pocket.
"Hey Chief, what's that one and that one?" "Oh Hell, kid, I think it
was the time I fell out of a hookers bed; I can't remember.
There was a war on. They gave them to us to keep track of the
campaigns were in. We got our news from AFVN and Stars and Stripes.
To be honest, we just took their word for it. Hell, son, you
couldn't pronounce most of the names of the villages we went to.
They're all gee-dunk. Listen, kid, ribbons don't make you a Sailor.
The Purple one on top? OK, I do remember earning that one. We kn who
the heroes were and in the final analysis that's all that matters."

Many nights we sat in the after mess deck wrapping ourselves around
cups of coffee and listening to their stories. They were
lighthearted stories about warm beer shared with their running mates
in corrugated metal hooches at rear base landing zones, where the
only furniture was a few packing crates and a couple of Coleman
lamps. Standing in line at a Philippine cathouse or spending three
hours soaking in a tub in Bangkok, smoking cigars and getting
loaded. It was our history. And we dreamed of being just like them
because they were our heroes. When they accepted you as their
shipmate, it was the highest honor you would ever receive in your
life. At least it was clearly that, for me.

They were not men given to the prerogatives of their position.
You would find them with their sleeves rolled up, shoulder-to-
shoulder with you in a stores loading party. "Hey Chief, no need for
you to be out here tossin' crates in the rain, we can get all this
crap aboard." "Son, the term 'All hands' means ALL hands." "Yeah
Chief, but you're no damn kid anymore, you old fart." "Shipmate,
when I'm eighty-five, parked in the old Sailors' Home in Gulfport,
I'll still be able to kick your worthless *** from here to fifty
feet past the screw guards along with six of your closest friends."
And he probably wasn't bull****ting. They trained us! Not only us,
but hundreds more just like us. If it wasn't for Chief Petty
Officers, there wouldn't be any U.S. Naval Force.

There wasn't any fairy godmother who lived in a hollow tree in the
enchanted forest who could wave her magic wand and create a Chief
Petty Officer. They were born as hot-sacking seamen and matured like
good whiskey in steel hulls and steaming jungles over many years.
Nothing a nineteen year-old jaybird could cook up was original to
these old saltwater owls. They had seen E-3 jerks come and go for so
many years, they could read you like a book.

"Son, I know what you are thinking. Just one word of advice. DON'T!
It won't be worth it." "Aye aye, Chief." Chiefs aren't the kind of
guys you thank. Monkeys at the zoo don't spend a lot of time
thanking the guy who makes them do tricks for peanuts.
Appreciation of what the Chiefs did, and who they were, comes with
long-distance retrospect. No young lad takes time to recognize the
worth of his leadership. That comes later when you have experienced
poor leadership or, lets say, when you have the maturity to
recognize what leaders should be you find that Chiefs are the
standard by which you measure all others. They had no Academy rings
to get scratched up. They butchered the King's English. They had
become educated at the other end of an anchor chain from Copenhagen
to Singapore. They had given their entire lives to the United States
Navy. In the progression of nobility of employment, CPO heads the

So when we ultimately get our final duty station assignments and we
get to wherever the big CNO in the sky assigns us, if we are lucky,
Marines will be guarding the streets. I don't know about that Marine
propaganda, but there will be an old Chief in an oil-stained hat, a
cigar stub clenched in his teeth and a coffee cup that looks like it
contains oil, standing at the brow to assign us our bunks and tell
us where to stow our gear.

And we will all be young again and the damn coffee will float a rock.
Life fixes it so that by the time a stupid kid grows old enough and
smart enough to recognize who he should have thanked along the way,
he no longer can. If I could, I would thank my old Chiefs. If you
all only knew what you succeeded in pounding into this thick skull,
you would be amazed. So thanks, you old casehardened, unsalvageable

Chief, save me a rack in the berthing compartment!