Sunday, June 08, 2008

Navy Chiefs Care for their Own

I got this note in my email this morning. It was always said that "the Navy takes care of its own". Usually, "the Navy" doesn't mean the official organization, it means Navy members doing it on their own initiative. Here's a story that exemplifies all the best in Navy sailors.

This note has a lot of Navy-specific terms, so here's a quick translation.
- MCPON = Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. He's the senior enlisted man in the service.
- Chief = one of the three senior enlisted ranks, which are Chief, Senior Chief, and Master Chief. Their culture is unlike anything in the Army or Air Force: they wear a different uniform than junior Sailors and have leadership responsibilities far beyond those of other services.
- AO1 = Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class. A senior enlisted man, one notch below a Chief.
- PACFLT = Pacific Fleet.
- CMDCM, FLTCM = Command Master Chief and Fleet Master Chief. The senior Master Chiefs in the command and the fleet.

Subject: Honorary Chief Presentation ICO AO1 David Eberhart

My fellow Chiefs, I wanted to share with you this picture as well as a short synopsis of how it came about. AO1 David Eberhart (pictured) is terminally ill with cancer. I was his Chief for his first tour on the USS INDEPENDENCE and even then his goal in the Navy was to be a Chief Petty Officer. His career, though very successful, has been interrupted with cancer treatment, periods of remission and finally with the news of being terminal.

He is currently assigned to MALS-24 at Kaneohe Bay. A few months ago he requested to see the MCPON. MCPON Campa happened to be on the island visiting and went to the hospital to see AO1. It was explained to him [MCPON] how badly AO1 wanted to be a Chief and that he even took the Chief's exam from the hospital during a three day period -- he didn't have the strength for more than an hour at a time. On his good days he would put on his uniform and make his way to work though the time there took a severe toll on him physically.

He did not make board as he was six-points shy. It was requested by PACFLT Chiefs that AO1 be made an Honorary Chief Petty Officer. We talked about it in Newport and MCPON was in concurrence. The intent was for MCPON himself to make the presentation.

News came this week that AO1 may not make it through the weekend as his health is rapidly declining. FLTCM Tom Howard along with a ton of Chiefs (including CMDCM Don Krampert from CPRW-2) from the area banded together to make this happen as quickly as possible. On Thursday, AO1 David Eberhart was designated an Honorary Chief Petty Officer.

I personally called and talked to Chief David Eberhart following his promotion Thursday and the excitement in his voice came with a strength and commitment that cannot be explained in words. He remembered well our time on the INDY but his short term memory is fading quickly.

Chief Eberhart's terminal prognosis remains listed in days. He is married with two children.

I tell you this story to remind you of the importance placed on us as Chief Petty Officers and the so many Sailors in our great Navy who look up to us and have the unwavering determination to be just like us. We have the responsibility to live up to that, to be the example, to walk the walk and talk the talk. It is truly an honor to be a United States Navy Chief Petty Officer and I am honored to call each of you - and Aviation Ordnanceman Chief Petty Officer David Eberhart -- shipmates.

Thank you for all you do.

V/r Aaron

Aaron A. Shipley
Sailor and Command Master Chief

1 comment:

dorothy said...

thank you all for what you wrote about my brother he was a good guy and a great friend and a great brother iand i miss him a hole lot and if there is anyone from the kittyhawk cv63 who knew my brother i want to thank you all for being my brothers friend please email me at thank you dorothy eberhart davids older sister