“They have so much f—ing power… so much power.”
“…they also have the power to work you from 0600 to 2200 every day and sometimes not let you get sleep in the middle of the night…”
Sean, a lieutenant stationed ashore on the West Coast
It’s a bit of a long read but worth it. Here are some highlights.
Navy Chiefs play a vital role in shaping the service. They set the tone for young and old sailors alike and can be a great support system or cause significant problems. With the Navy dealing with several personnel crises, more attention is needed on these leaders. Some Chiefs go above and beyond to care for their sailors, while others barely tolerate them. We must have robust and supportive leadership in the Navy to help weather any storm.
A bit from my story
Chiefs and above were by far the worst. I had a few other senior enlisted that caused me problems. I share a story below.
A little background. My last 6 months in the Navy. I suffered multiple traumatic incidents in and of themselves or triggered previous trauma. I had a total hysterectomy which put me into surgical menopause immediately.
I did realize that I needed to see a therapist. I just could not get into see one. If I had been a spouse, they could have seen me immediately, but because I was on Active Duty, there was a waitlist.
So I asked my Chief for options, and he told me to talk to the Command Master Chief, which I did. Long story short, he was very religious. I rebuffed his religious conversion conversations while trying to get him to get me a therapist. On top of everything else, the whole thing was just too much.
I’ll sum it up with this. In my last week in the Navy, I received my second Navy Achievement Medal. I was being harassed by the Command Master Chief, leaving religious pamphlets in books on my desk and such. He was genuinely pissed off at me. I came to work one day, and as I walked towards the front door, he came barreling out, yelling at me to stand at attention. He did not like my haircut; I had a very short haircut. The hair grows into a point at the back bottom of my head. He swore I was growing a tail, and I was to have it shaved off the next day. So I went to work and told my Senior Chief what happened. He said I was not growing a tail and not to worry about it, that he would talk to the Master Chief.
The next day was Dec 15, 1990. I was due to get out on Dec 17, 1990. As I got out of my car, I saw another First Class Petty Officer. It was his last day before he shipped off to his next command. I walked over to his car to wish him at his new command. And he said to me, “Why don’t you hop in here and suck me off” while rubbing himself. I just turned on my heels and walked away. I thought this shit was just never going to stop.
I headed towards the door, head down and just trying to move forward. Out runs the Master Chief, and he’s back on the tail only he sees. I say my Senior Chief told me I didn’t need to shave it, and he would talk to you. Clearly, my Senior Chief did not speak with him, and the Master Chief could care less what the Senior Chief had to say. So I had to go to my office and tell the Senior Chief that I would be late cause I had to go shave the back of my neck. “Oh, Yeah, I forgot about it,” he said, and I thought, “Fuck You All.”
Dec 16, 1990. One day left, and I was losing it. Turned out to be a combination of being in surgical menopause without any medication; cause yeah, the docs kind of forgot about that for a while. And PTSD.
Dec 17, 1990, and I was done.