The senior enlisted sailor at U.S. Indo-Pacific Command has been selected to be the Navy’s 16th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), the service announced on Thursday.
Fleet Master Chief James Honea is now set to take over from current MCPON Russell Smith in September, according to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gilday.
“I selected Fleet Master Chief Honea because he has saltwater in his veins, embodies Navy values in every fiber of his being, and is the right leader to inspire and motivate our Chiefs Mess to continue to be the best in the world,” Gilday said in a statement.
“I know he and I will work together to take care of our sailors and ensure our Navy is the most formidable across the globe.”
Honea enlisted in 1987 and advanced as a Boatswain Mate and served at sea aboard former amphibious ships USS Juneau (LPD-10), USS Dubuque (LPD-8) and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). He served as a command master chief aboard USS Gridley (DDG-101) and USS New Orleans (LPD-18). Prior to his current role, he was the fleet master chief of U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Prior to serving as the 15th MCPON, Smith was the senior enlisted leader for Manpower, Personnel, Training, and Education in the office of the Chief of Naval Personnel and served in a variety of special operations and surface commands.
The following is the complete March 10, 2022 statement from CNO Gilday.
WASHINGTON – The Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday announced his selection for the 16th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), during the Navy Flag Officer & Senior Executive Service (NFOSES) symposium at the United States Naval Academy, March 10.
Fleet Master Chief James Honea, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command senior enlisted leader, will assume responsibilities from MCPON Russell Smith during a change of office ceremony scheduled, Sept. 8.
Gilday made the announcement to Navy Flag officers, Senior Executive Service members, and Fleet Master Chiefs attending NFOSES.
“I selected Fleet Master Chief Honea because he has saltwater in his veins, embodies Navy values in every fiber of his being, and is the right leader to inspire and motivate our Chiefs Mess to continue to be the best in the world,” said Gilday. “I know he and I will work together to take care of our Sailors and ensure our Navy is the most formidable across the globe.”
Honea was selected based on career performance, progression and his experience leading Sailors. According to Gilday, he is the most capable person to advocate on behalf of Sailors, the fleet, and their families.
During this time of strategic competition, Honea’s fleet experience, which spans nearly every area of responsibility, will help our people to maintain our competitive advantage.
Honea enlisted in 1987 and rose through the ranks as a Boatswain’s Mate, serving at sea aboard USS Juneau (LPD 10), USS Dubuque (LPD 8), and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). His command master chief tours include USS Gridley (DDG 1010), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), Naval Support Activity South Potomac and U.S. Naval Forces South Korea. Most recently he served as fleet master chief of U.S. Pacific Fleet.
Smith assumed duties as the 15th MCPON on August 29, 2018.