Chiefs – The compass for our workforce for 95 years

Graphic for Dialouge with the MCPOCG series.

This blog post is the ninth in a series titled “Dialogue with the MCPOCG,” written by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Steven Cantrell. As the Coast Guard’s senior enlisted leader, Cantrell is responsible for advising the Commandant on workforce issues, and advocating for military benefits and entitlements. He will periodically use this platform to pass information to the Coast Guard workforce.

Written by Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Steven Cantrell

On May 18, 1920, the 66th U.S. Congress decreed:

“The grades and ratings of warrant officers, chief petty officers, petty officers and other enlisted persons in the Coast Guard shall be the same as in the Navy, in so far as the duties of the Coast Guard may require.”

This action, authorizing the rate of Chief Petty Officer in the Coast Guard, was distributed throughout our service by 48th Secretary of the Treasury David F. Houston in his General Order No. 43.

A lot has changed in our Coast Guard since 1920. We’ve shifted from Treasury Department oversight, to the Department of Transportation and finally to the Department of Homeland Security. We’ve added and dropped ratings and warrant officer specialties. (Did you know we once had a Sailmaker warrant specialty, to lead our enlisted Sailmaker’s Mates?)

We’ve commissioned and decommissioned cutters and stations. We’ve established emerging technologies and disestablished outmoded technologies.

But, among all the changes we’ve seen since 1920, I’m proud to say one constant has been our Chiefs; Chiefs have delivered world-class leadership to our workforce, improving the lives and careers of our Coast Guardsmen and ensure they are fully capable to accomplish any and all of our missions.

“There isn’t anything a bunch of Chiefs can’t accomplish, whether its tackling an organizational problem or a personnel problem, because of the strength of the Chiefs Mess working together,” said Command Master Chief Leilani Cale-Jones, deputy master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard.

Since I arrived in my position as your 12th Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard, I have asked Chiefs to lead with Compassion, Heritage, Integrity, Expertise and Flexibility. Command Master Chief Terry Vanderwerf feels that “Chiefs are the building blocks for the future generations of Coast Guardmen who will stand the watch.”

Nothing makes me prouder to serve alongside today’s Coast Guard men and women, and to count myself a part of the 95-year legacy of Chiefs.

Chiefs truly are the compass of our workforce.

Semper Paratus!


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