The following is the first message to the Navy from Fleet Master Chief Russell Smith, who will serve as an interim Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy until a permanent MCPON is selected.
At the request of the Chief of Naval Operations, I have now temporarily assumed the duties of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. I’m humbled to have been chosen to take on the important charge of maintaining the form and function of the office until the CNO can conduct a thorough search and make a thoughtful decision on who will best advocate for the nearly 270,000 Enlisted Sailors in our Navy.
Judging from what I’ve seen on social media and heard on the deck plates, the issues that brought this about have stirred some emotional responses. It’s vital we maintain the integrity of the office and what it stands for — advocating on behalf of our Sailors and their families.
Our Navy is a learning organization that is constantly growing and evolving. As an institution we are strong enough to absorb this challenge, but we must visibly lead through it if we are to come out stronger on the other side. With that I say thank you for your faith, support and well wishes as we keep charging to make this happen. This is the beginning of the next chapter for this historic office. Our goal is to provide authentic, transparent communications and a seamless transition.
Continued success for our Sailors is a truly collaborative effort. Together we will continue to execute the plans and initiatives important to our Navy’s future and maintain our focus on warfighting readiness without missing a beat.
Thank you in advance for your patience, professionalism and support — together we’ll steer this ship through these seas.
FLTCM(SW/IW/AW) Russell Smith