WASHINGTON, DC – “More will be expected of you; more will be demanded of you,” states the U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Creed. The rank of Chief Petty Officer (CPO) carries with it unique responsibilities and the fellowship of CPOs is an integral part of Navy success.
Naval Support Activity Washington’s Command Master Chief Keith Hayden reported to the oldest U.S. Navy shore installation—Washington Navy Yard (WNY)—in 2016 and quickly identified the need for a central location where chiefs can gather. He then set in motion establishing a WNY CPO Mess. “The Chief’s Mess is a place where we can network. It’s a place where chiefs can get together, address problems and collectively develop a way to fix them,” said Hayden.
Activating the chiefs on the WNY, the group found a location and renovated it over the past year and a half to serve as the WNY CPO Mess. Operating within the CPO Mess since January, they celebrated the official opening with a ribbon cutting March 8, 2018. During the ceremony, Hayden thanked everyone who was a part of establishing the necessary collaborative venue and noted that the NSAW Commanding Officer empowered him to establish the Mess.
“Getting back to the basics, living the Sailors Creed, what we do as a Chief’s Mess—that doesn’t get done over email and phone,” said NSAW Commanding Officer Capt. Jeff Draeger. “We use those tools to communicate but getting these people together face to face is how relationships are built, how Sailors are mentored and how problems are solved. This is meant to help with that.”
Getting back to basics has been a recurring message for Navy senior enlisted leaders since Steven Giordano became Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. He shared a letter at the beginning of 2018 reminding chiefs of all ranks of their inherent responsibilities in their individual and collective roles.
“We must be more focused than ever on leading forward in our efforts to strengthen enlisted leader development for all ranks, tackle destructive behaviors even in our own tanks, and eliminate unnecessary burdens that distract us from our warfighting priority,” said Giordano in a Message to the Mess.
Before cutting the ribbon and ceremonially opening the WNY CPO Mess, Hayden said, “This gives us the venue on the Yard to come and make things happen and do what we do best as chiefs.”