Thursday, April 14, 2005

Admiral, ‘Chiefs to the Front’ is great, but did you just put yourself on report?

The new head of Naval Surface Forces just took over, VADM Etnyre. Nice overview in the 11APR Navy Enquirer by William H. McMichael, but you have to be a subscriber to read it, and it isn't available on line yet.

VADM Etnyre (that in what the article calls him, but everything else calls him RADM-but then again they didn’t capitalize Sailor either-editor call your office) wants to push hard on the Chief’s Mess and overall.
…stricter personal and professional standards and tighter overall discipline.
Ummm. That will be a, uhhhhh, unusual, emmmm, departure for the surface community. (Right now, Brownshoes the world over are kissing their gold wings saying, “Thank Neptune I am not a Shoe, thank Neptune I am not a shoe…”)
Chief Petty Officers serving at Naval Surface Forces commands have new orders to get tougher on Sailors. … Asked why he aimed his message at Chiefs and not Officers, Entyre told Navy Times in an email reply that Chiefs are the “backbone of the Surface Force and the ones closest to the crew. They are very important role models. If Chiefs are actively engaged in knowing how Sailors in their divisions are doing and what they’re doing – that’s successful intrusive leadership. It means asking the right question, getting the right answer, ensuring standards are being met, nurturing and mentoring their Sailors.
That is right on target, and I agree with everything he says. What comes out as an issue is, why does it take a 3-star to make this a priority? What are our Master Chiefs, Senior Chiefs, and Chiefs NOT doing in mentoring their 1st Classes and hard charging 2nd Classes that we need to have one of the top leaders in the Navy make this push. What are we NOT teaching at the Senior Enlisted Academy.

Where is the Force Master Chief on this? Why isn't HE the one that is out on front with this? If the Chief's Mess isn't taking charge and doing what they do best, why in the same issue of the Navy Times are they talking about sending Master Chiefs to the Navy War College? Vince Lombardi people. If you don’t have the fundamentals down, the rest won’t do you any good. If we have the significant problems as outlined that require a 3-star to beat the drums about, then take those top running Master Chiefs out of the classroom where we warfighting LCDR, CDR, and CAPT are supposed to be and put those Master Chiefs in the commands whose Sailors need "direct intervention."

Also, if we are going to push for the Chiefs to be tougher, I hope we give them the top-cover when the inevitable Congressional inquirery comes in because Seaman Pain’s Mommy didn’t like the fact that Chief Saltcake made her little boy cry because we was never on time and had trouble shaving.

What caught my eye in the article was that VADM Entyre took over this MAR. Back a short four months ago, when he was Commander, Atlantic Fleet Surface Force, he put out a message that stated,
…he “noted an apparent decline in the traditionally high standards of professional and personal excellence” and that his assessment encompassed “a broad range of issues including safety, operations, military smartness, and personal behavior. … We are/may be trending in the wrong direction.”
Later on he comments that things have improved (as of this MAR, after he left) I can’t comment on that. Just read it a couple of times. Just leav’n it right there. Not saying a word of commentary.

Let me put this thought out there though, but it isn't-and I repeat myself here-it isn't directed at VADM-RADM-oh....lets just call him Admiral Entyre. This is a general statement on how things often read different depending on your perspective and what level you earn your present Command Pin.

It as been noticed ad nauseum how many Commanding Officers have been fired over the last few years, many for good reasons, some for hard to pin down reasons. Admiral Entyre has been quoted in the past about this.

Fired or not, just for promotion or FITREP reasons; how would your standard issue CDR or CAPT be treated by higher Echelons if he was to acknowledge something to the effect:
Since I have taken command here at the USS Neverdock, we have had a compete breakdown in personal behavior and professional conduct. Everyone is getting drunk, and my Chiefs are a bunch of lazy scupper trouts that only play golf and fraternize with the help. I look forward to the time after the Change of Command when these disturbing trends will be corrected; just remember that I had nothing to do with the decay that took place while I was in command, but the improvements afterwards are a direct result of the attention I gave them prior to my departure. Now, when in the WWR potluck? I have to get to a Navy Relief golf tournament.
Hey, I'm just wondering.

My take. Sub-optimal Staff work. His Staff let him down and shouldn't have let things go out this way. One would hope COS or the Flag Sec would walk in and say, "Admiral, you may want to word this a little different...."

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