- Master Chief Petty Officer
Master Chief Petty Officer
Master Chief Petty Officer is the ninth, and highest, enlisted rate (paygrade E-9) in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, just above Senior Chief Petty Officer. They are referred to as Master Chief in most circumstances. They constitute the top 1% of the enlisted members of the maritime forces.
Advancement to Master Chief Petty Officer is similar to that of Chief Petty Officer and Senior Chief Petty Officer. It carries requirements of time in service, superior evaluation scores, and selection by a board of Master Chiefs. Similarly, Senior Chief Petty Officers and Chief Petty Officers are chosen by selection boards.
Petty Officers of all grades possess both a rate (the enlisted term for rank) and rating (job, similar to a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) in other branches). The full title is a combination of the two. Thus, a Master Chief Petty Officer, who has the rating of Fire Controlman would properly be called a Master Chief Fire Controlman.
Each rating has an official abbreviation, such as FC for Fire Controlman, FT for Fire Control Technician, or STS for Sonar Technician Submarines. When combined with the rate abbreviation, it produces the full rate designation, such as FCCM for Master Chief Fire Controlman. It is not uncommon practice to refer to the master chief by this short hand in all but the most formal correspondence (such as printing and inscription on awards). Mostly, though, they are simply called "Master Chief", regardless of rating. In certain rates, where the rate itself is split into two, or more designations, the third letter is often dropped when the rank of Master Chief is attained, such as STS (Sonar Technician, Submarines), and STG (Sonar Technician, Surface), upon reaching Master Chief, the final letter of the designation is dropped from the official abbreviation, and is shown as STCM, or Sonar Technician, Master Chief Petty Officer.
The rate insignia for a master chief is a white eagle with spread wings above three chevrons. The chevrons are topped by an arc that goes behind the eagle. Two inverted silver stars (a reference to the stars used on the sleeves of line officers) are placed above the eagle. Between the arc and the top chevron is the specialty mark of the enlisted rating. In the picture above, the two crossed anchors is the specialty mark of a Boatswain's Mate (abbreviated as BM). This is used on the Service Dress Blue, Dinner Dress Blue Jacket, and Dinner Dress White Jacket uniforms. On other uniforms, the insignia used for shirt collars and caps is the one that has become universally accepted as the symbol of the Chief Petty Officer. This is a gold foul anchor (note: the proper term is "foul anchor", not "fouled") superimposed with a silver "USN" (Navy) or a silver shield (Coast Guard). As on the rating badge, this is capped by two five-pointed stars, showing one ray down.
Command Master Chief Petty Officer
Master Chief Petty Officers are generally considered to be the technical experts in their fields. They serve at sea and ashore in commands of all sizes. Many Master Chiefs choose to enter the Command Master Chief Petty Officer Program. If selected they receive additional leadership training and are assigned to commands as the Command Master Chief (CMC). The Command Master Chief is the senior enlisted person at a command and as such works as a liaison between the Commanding Officer and the enlisted ranks, serving as the senior enlisted leader. In this capacity the CMC assists the commanding officer in issues of quality of life, discipline, training, and morale. On Submarines, the CMC is called the Chief of the Boat or "COB". The CMC insignia has a silver star vice their enlisted rating between the arc and the top chevron.
Fleet/Force Master Chief Petty Officer
These two ranks are equivalent and their insignia is also the same—a master chief rating badge with two gold stars above the eagle and a gold star for the rating insignia.
Force Master Chief Petty Officer
These are Master Chiefs who have virtually the same responsibility as Command Master Chiefs, but Force Master Chief Petty Officers (FORCM) are responsible for larger force commands: e.g., Submarine Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet. There are 16 Force Master Chief positions in the Navy: Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Naval Air Force, U. S. Atlantic Fleet, Naval Air Forces, Naval Education and Training Command, Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Naval Special Warfare, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet, Naval Surface Forces, Navy Cyber, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, Navy Installations Command, Navy Personnel Command, Navy Recruiting Command, Navy Reserve Forces, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Submarine Forces.
Fleet Master Chief Petty Officer
These are Master Chiefs who have virtually the same responsibility as Command Master Chiefs, but Fleet Master Chief Petty Officers (FLTCM) are responsible for larger fleet commands: e.g., U.S. Pacific Fleet. There are four Fleet Master Chief positions in the Navy: United States Fleet Forces Command, United States Pacific Fleet, United States Naval Forces, Europe/Africa, Navy Total Force/Manpower, Personnel,Training and Education.
There exists one post, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, (MCPON, pronounced "Mick-Ponn") which is unique. The holder of this post is the most senior enlisted member in the U.S. Navy. The MCPON adds a third star above the rating insignia described earlier, and all three stars are gold (silver on the gold foul anchor collar device). Likewise, the rating specialty mark is replaced by a gold star. In December 2008, Rick D. West assumed the role of MCPON, replacing Joe R. Campa.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard
The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (MCPOCG) is the most senior enlisted member in the U.S. Coast Guard. The MCPOCG adds a third star above the rating insignia described earlier, and all three stars are gold (silver on the gold foul anchor collar device). Likewise, the rating specialty mark is replaced by a gold shield. The current Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard is Michael P. Leavitt.
- In the 2000 film Men of Honor, the character Leslie William "Billy" Sunday (portrayed by Robert De Niro) is a U.S. Navy diver with the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer. This film is based on real life events of Carl Brashear, the first black man to be accepted into the salvage divers school and eventually earning the rank of Master Chief in his own right.
- In the 1997 film, G.I. Jane, the U.S. Navy SEAL in charge of training the recruits is Command Master Chief John Urgayle, played by Viggo Mortensen.
- In the Halo video game franchise, the protagonist, Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, commonly referred to as "Master Chief" or simply "Chief," derives his nicknames from his rank as Master Chief Petty Officer.
- ^ "OPNAVINST 1306.2F". Department of the Navy. http://doni.daps.dla.mil/Directives/01000%20Military%20Personnel%20Support/01-300%20Assignment%20and%20Distribution%20Services/1306.2F.pdf. Retrieved 28 April 2011.
- ^ "MCPON West takes over as Campa leaves office". Andrew Tilghman, Staff Writer. Navy Times. December 16, 2008. http://www.navytimes.com/news/2008/12/navy_mcpon_121208w/. Retrieved January 7, 2009.
- U.S. Navy uniform regulations
- U.S. Military enlisted ranks
- Official website of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy
- Official website of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Coast Guard
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