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Heroes and Patriots
By Ron Hovis

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What Is A Chief Petty Officer? (A Tribute)
(September 1, 2005)

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A chief petty officer is an American patriot who made the decision to spend the greater part of his life in service to his country.

He started his navy career the same as all of us . . . as a seaman recruit who was just as lost and confused as we were our first day in boot camp.

The rating of chief did not come easy, only after many years of dedication, work, training . . . and giving of himself.  This indicated that he was a teacher and a leader, who could always be depended upon to have the answer to the most complicated question.
  • The chief was the person who set the example for the rest of us to follow . . . His conduct, skill, knowledge and general bearing was always displayed as the goals we all should try to achieve.
  • The chief was the guy you could go to with a personal problem and who always had the time to listen . . . even if he didn't always say what you wanted to hear.  Still, you knew it was good advice.
  • The chief was the guy who would stand behind us if we fouled up, making it his mission to see that we were trained not to make the same mistake again . . . And God help us when we did!
  • The chief was the first one to shake your hand the day you sewed your first crow onto your left sleeve.
  • The chief was the guy who could step on your toes without messing up your shine.
  • The chief was the guy who made me proud to be a sailor and honored to be a part of our great navy.

Yes, there were times when I didn't care to much for my chief, but now I know that it was due to my immaturity and lack of good sense . . . Little did I know at the time that the chief was actually my best friend and everything he did was for my own good.

The chief is the backbone of the navy . . . and without the chief we would surely founder and sank.

As I grow older I think back to my few short years as a navy man and find that many of my actions and the way I have conducted myself are a direct result of the lessons my chiefs taught me.  Those lessons include... fairness, understanding, firmness, honesty, pride, honor and most importantly,  love for my country.

I wish that I would have told all my chiefs these things when I had the chance to do it in person.  So if any of my chiefs should read my thoughts here and would happen to remember this hard headed QM3 . . . I send you all the honors befitting a brave and loyal leader.  And you have my sincere thanks for taking this scared young country boy and doing your best to turn him into a sailor and more importantly a man.

Our country owes you more than it will ever know!

Ron Hovis
United States Navy (1951 to 1957)
Copyright 2005

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