John Whittet

John Whittet

Infobox Military Person
name= John D. Whittet

caption= 2nd Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy|nickname=
allegiance= USN
serviceyears= 1943-1975
rank= Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
commands= Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
awards=Distinguished Service Medal

Master Chief Petty Officer John D. Whittet (September 4 1925, Providence, Rhode Island - May 7 1989), was the second Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. He attended local grammar schools and the Cranston High School. Master Chief Whittet enlisted in the U.S. Navy on 24 March 1943, and upon completion of recruit training, was assigned to the Aviation Machinist’s Mate School in Great Lakes, Illinois. He followed the school with an assignment with Carrier Aircraft Service Units which operated from Guam. He won his combat aircrewman wings flying 31 missions from the carrier USS "Lexington" (CV-2) and USS "Anzio", which won Presidential and Navy Unit Citations respectively. He ended his wartime service aboard "Anzio" following the ship's participation in the capture of Iwo Jima.

Following the war, Master Chief Whittet completed flight engineer training for the B-24 Liberator aircraft and was assigned to Saudi Arabia. In 1950, he was transferred to Miramar Naval Air Station, San Diego, California. While serving as the leading petty officer of a shipboard detachment of F9F Panther aircraft, he was assigned temporary duty in the Western Pacific aboard the carrier USS|Bon Homme Richard|CV-31|6. While there, his air group participated in combat action in the Korean War and was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.

Master Chief Whittet followed his Korean War duty with assignments to several naval air station and aviation activities as a Jet Power Plant Instructor in the United States. In 1957 he was transferred to the Continental Air Defense Command at Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he worked as the flight crew plane captain for the Commander of Naval Forces at that command. In March 1960, Master Chief Whittet joined Fighter Squadron One Nine Three and made three additional Western Pacific deployments aboard "Bonhomme Richard".

Returning to stateside duty, Master Chief Whittet spent two years with heavy attack squadrons at Whidbey Island Washington, and in 1964, was assigned to the Aerospace Recovery Facility at El Centro, California, where he performed duties as the Assistant Aircraft Maintenance Officer and Leading Chief Petty Officer. In 1967, Master Chief Whittet was transferred to the NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, and served a three-year tour of duty as the Aircraft Maintenance Control Chief and the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Commander, Fleet Air Argentia. Immediately prior to assuming the duties as the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, he was assigned as the Master Chief of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet Air Force, in Norfolk, Virginia.

Whittet served as MCPON during a tumultuous time in the Navy's history. The Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, was enacting radical changes via his "Z-grams" to long-standing Navy policies and traditions. It fell to MCPON Whittet to solicit input and feedback from the enlisted force to the CNO and Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) regarding these changes, such as the removal of the traditional jumper uniform "crackerjacks" from the junior enlisted seabag, and replacement with the jacket and tie uniform worn by commissioned officers and Chief Petty Officers. Grooming standards were relaxed; sailors were permitted to grow beards, and the maximum hair length was increased. One of his greatest challenges was getting the senior enlisted leadership to adapt to what they perceived as a relaxation of military order and discipline. Whittet's tenure saw many modernizations to policy that are still in place today, such as the first posting of women to ships, the institution of random urinalysis for drug testing, revisions to the performance evaluation and enlisted advancement procedures and institution of the Chief Petty Officer selection board, and race sensitivity training to decrease racial tension within the enlisted ranks.

After his tour as MCPON, Master Chief Whittet accepted the position with the Human Resources Management Program at Naval Amphibious School, Coronado, California. A year after his MCPON tour was over, and after having served over 30 years on active duty, Whittet would become one of the first members of the new Master at Arms rating. After retirement from active duty in 1976, Master Chief Whittet went on to a position as director of morale, welfare, and recreation at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. On 7 May 1989, Master Chief Whittet was diving in the Colorado river. He became caught in the rocks and drowned.

In addition to two Presidential Unit Citations and two Navy Unit Commendations, Master Chief Whittet holds twelve other awards including the Good Conduct Medal (eight awards), the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and the Vietnam Service Medal. On June 25, 1974, the Chief of Naval Operations presented Master Chief Whittet with the Distinguished Service Medal.

External links

* [ Extensive biographical essay] about MCPON Whittet.

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